Wow, what a week! My taper officially started on Monday of this week, and for the first time EVER on a taper, I have had one of my best training weeks to date. I don't feel sore and tired and sluggish. In fact, I feel just the opposite. Loose, and STRONG and fast and energetic.
Mark Allen's training plan taper mixes things up the last 2 weeks. Instead of doing 2 workouts a day, with only one rest day - you have 2 days with all three sports done. And 2 weeks out is all about speed and tempo. Between those tripple set days are rest days. Wednesday was my first. I started with a speed bike, followed by a speed run, followed by a swim....more on the 3rd in a minute....
Maybe it's because I trained for Ironman 2 years in a row? I forgot what this not so tired, fired up feeling was like? I don't know, this time it feels SO great!
Like, so great that where at the beginning of this training I decided it was "all about the bike" and I completely ignored the swim & the run... I put very challenging goals out there for my bike split. I was less confident in my swimming and my running, but felt strong on the bike.
Well, things seemed to have changed. My running has done a 180! In comparison to my Ironman paces I've dropped ~:40/mile off my long run pace and significantly more off my tempo pace. Most of this happened in the last 2-3weeks! Maybe the less is more is working for me this time? Unfortunately I did not get to test my new-found speed on anything longer than 9 miles due to the IT band, but endurance isn't what I'm worried about next Sunday.
And the swim.... The swim & I have a love hate relationship. I know I have potential, but when it comes down to proving it, I usually come up short. Honestly, I had kinda just given up on my swim speed. After my neck issues and epidural injections last year I had 6 months of no swimming. It took me about 8 months to get back to the speed I was before all of that... and then I was going NO WHERE. I started doing some tough speed sets with my masters coach, which I felt was helping me sustain my "fast" speed, but not really getting me any faster...
Then again, like the running, something happened in the last 2 weeks. My on switch, if you will, finally went ON! I dropped about 5 seconds off both my 200 speed and my 100 speed! And, after some more wetsuit drama, I squeezed my butt into my very first "mini-me" wetsuit from 2003, and bam - TWENTY seconds off of my 200's. TWENTY seconds.... I felt like I was flying!
It's a fantastic wetsuit, the old Ironman Stealth (before Blue Seventy Helix) I bought to do my first colder water triathlon several years ago. I got it on clearance for like $99 or something! I downsized (on the edge of the size chart) to get the deal... and when the next season came around, well needless to say I couldn't really fit in the damn thing anymore! So, I upped a size and wore the same wetsuit, a bigger size for a few more races. In fact, I even posted the mini-me suit on a few websites to try to sell it. It had only been worn once!
It had been a while sine I had raced in a sleeveless wetsuit so I thought I should try it out in the pool. So, last week I brought my wetsuit to the pool and tried it out. I was faster - about 10seconds on my 200's, but when I got out of the pool, I felt the same problem I had in the past with a borrowed wetsuit that was too big. Water gushing down the legs putting me off balance. I had been holding a lot of extra water...
So, freaking out I decided to see if I could squeeze into the smaller suit. I dug it out of the bottom of a storage bin on top of a closet. THAT was a workout. I got in it, but DAMN. Really, it was just in the neck. Like right by your trachea, in the middle of the neck. I decided no way could I swim in that and I put it away. But then at masters someone else was trying out a wetsuit and Anne, our coach was checking the fit. I decided I should tell her about the water filling up & see what she thought...
The next day I was at the pool in the mini-me suit to try it out. She said it was absolutely perfect! I showed her the neck problem, and she said as long as it's not restricting my breathing, and I could tolerate it the rest of the fit was perfect. The test was a set of 200's descending in speed. 2:50,2:48,2:41!! The last one a solid 11seconds faster than my best time in the other wetsuit! I felt like I was gliding across the pool!
Anne told me, if there was any way I could tolerate the neck problem, "I HAD to wear that wetsuit!"
So, now I'm all giddy. I have all these visions of my race. Of having my ONE swim. That one where I push myself, and get out in front and DON'T get off course.... And, I can't gain a freaking lb in the next week or I don't think I'll fit in it! I'll have to swim in it again next week :-)
And the bike... Well, I'm not nearly as confident as I was.... but I've got the heart and the desire & I'm really hoping that carries me!
The run. Wow. I just don't know what to think. I feel SO good right now. I'm faster, more efficient and surprising myself every time I finish. I actually end up looking at my Garmin over and over to see if those times were for real! The heat will be a big factor in my performance.
So for now, I'm going to enjoy being "ON" and hoping more than anything that I can keep on, all or nothing next Sunday. If any of you out there see me next weekend.... If I'm not flying by you - or my HR is not in zone 3. I expect 4 words from you....
SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP!
btw... being "on" is making me very hungry.... that does not bode well for the min-me wetsuit!