Monday, August 5, 2013

July 29-August 4: Don't Leave Your Race on MacArthur Boulevard

A very wise coach once offered the following advice on championship meets:

Don’t leave your race in the warm up pool.

When athletes get to their A race/taper event/championship meet, they may go in feeling unsure of their paces in light of the reduced training volume and some (typical) not-so-stellar days during taper. They go and do some pace work during warm up, maybe repeating 50s or 100s until they see a time they like…and then get up on the blocks for their race already fatigued.

Not ideal.

It’s tempting to do this all throughout taper. Last week, my legs finally started to repair a bit after a lot of the work I did this spring and summer, and I hit the 5-hour Saturday brick able to push some power numbers that I hadn’t seen on long rides in a long time.

And then I held back. And held back even more on the 2 hour run after, even though I felt like I could have flown.

Because nobody wants to leave their race on MacArthur Boulevard.

Monday: Rest day.

Tuesday: In the morning, 75 minutes of spinning in zone 2 (134W) on the trainer. In the evening, a 3600 meter swim that involved an old favorite set: 200s threshold on 4:00. I hit 2:55-2:59 for the first 10, and then cut it off at 12 total when the last two were 3:03s.

Wednesday: Speedwork on the treadmill: 5 miles including 1600m (7:10)-2x800m (3:36s)-4x400 (1:46s). Then a late flight to Minneapolis to work.

Thursday: 5.41 miles on a hotel treadmill (9:14 pace). Better than potentially getting lost in a city I don’t know at all.
Friday: Rest day. (Yes, again. This is one of many reasons that I dislike taper.)

Saturday: Last big brick before race day – 46 miles (3 hours) of biking, followed by 12.61 miles of running (2 hours, 9:26 pace). The bike portion felt much better than usual, and I was able to average 148W (normalized) without pushing too hard, and the run felt very, very easy. The hardest part was holding back to ensure that I didn’t overdo the effort and compromise my taper.

Sunday: 3800 m (2.4 miles) of swimming in 1:03:14. Not too hard of an effort, and good practice for focusing during the swim come race day.


  1. Sage advice. You sure sound ready for IMMT.

  2. Great advice. I heard once that you should finish every workout feeling like you could do one or two more reps (of whatever you were doing). Wise advice...every run is not a race!

  3. YOU ARE SO READY FOR IMMT. And I echo was Ashley wrote above; my coaches always say when you shut down workouts during taper, you should feel warmed up and ready to keep going. You're going to crush it this weekend!

  4. I remember my coach saying similar things. You are going to do awesome and I cannot wait to hear how it goes!

  5. definitely the right move. but it sounds like you're topping off the tank and will be ready to explode (in a good, powerful way) at IMMT :)