CoachCox

We are Officially in Taper

I’m calling it today. After a shocking start to the long ride this morning rest is long over due. I knew it was coming. The early nights, plenty of sleep and then still feeling tired. The pain and struggle of running. Than pain and struggle of cycling! Yes, even the pain and struggle of swimming! The past few weeks have contained some very solid sessions for all my gripes.

This morning I headed out with Steven on a nice long ride to Margaret River and back. A better route than my one involving less highway and no dirt tracks! My legs were dead from the start. Unwilling to give as much as they have done on previous days. The powermeter doesn’t lie, I was weak all the way to the coffee stop.

I wonder if I’ve been a little too strictly paleo. My hard training has been matched with probably the lowest carb consumption I’ve ever managed! Certainly the highly un-paleo Magic Slice in the coffee shop seemed to pick things up on the return leg. For those wondering a Magic Slice consists of a biscuit base, lots of dried fruit, lots of white and milk chocolate, some jam I think and a lot of condensed milk. It is incredibly sweet especially to those of us who rarely touch sugars. When it kicks in it dulls even the hardest ache in tired legs.

The Taper Plan

I made a plan on Saturday and have changed it daily since. Mostly cutting down the volume in response to all the obvious signs of fatigue. As of today this is its current form. I reserve the right to chop out more workouts!

23/11/2009 Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
AM 1 Swim
Threshold
(60 min)
Bike
Hard TT Effort
(3 hours)
Bike
Endurance
(5 hours)
Run
Endurance Pace
(60 min)
Swim
Threshold
(60 min)
Bike
Endurance Pace
(2 hours)
Swim
Open Water
(60 min)
AM 2 Gym
(90 min)
Swim
Open Water
(80 min)
  Swim
Open Water
(60 min)
Bike
Race Pace Intervals
(2 hours)
Swim
Endurance
(60 min)
 
PM 1       Gym
Easy
(90 min)
     
PM 2 Run
Easy
(30 min)
    Massage Run
Easy
(30 min)
  Run
Easy
(30 min)
Hours 3:00 7:00 12:00 15:30 18:30 21:30 23:00
30/11/2009 Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
AM 1 Swim
Threshold
(60 min)
Bike
Race Pace Efforts
(90 mins)
Swim
Easy
(60 min)
  Swim
(15 min)
Ironman Western Australia 2009 Swim
Very easy!
(30 min)
AM 2   Run
Easy/Race intervals
(30 min)
Bike
Easy
(60 min)
Massage Bike
Easy/Race interval
(15 min)
Massage
PM 1   Massage     Run
Easy/Race interval
(15 min)
 
PM 2            
Hours 1:00 3:00 5:00 5:00 6:00 ??:?? ??:??

I’m following a similar logic to that outlined during my Kona reports. You can see my taper plan for that here and here (yep, two parts). So a heavy load till about ten days outs and then a massive drop in volume. Little bursts of intensity during my sessions, but again not too much. There’s a lot of rest going on there.

I’ll take each day as it comes and see how I feel. Steven invited me on some tempting rides the coming weekend, but I’m not sure it’d be wise to go. On the one hand I won’t get an opportunity to do those rides at the very least for a while. On the other I possibly need more rest. Amazing that despite sore, heavy legs the prospect of more riding still appeals!

My running volume is pretty low, but then to be honest it has been since I started training again. In fact I wonder if going from a long period of daily running to a more sporadic routine isn’t partly responsible for this awkward feeling I’m under doing things. It doesn’t feel quite right if you don’t run every day!

The Taper Numbers

Referring back to those Kona taper plans again you’ll know I like to use the numbers coming out from WKO+’s Performance Management Chart to help guide my taper. A challenging aspect in planning this race is the short build time has left me building little fitness or fatigue. The numbers I’m playing with are entirely different to those I’ve seen before.

Race Date Bike
TSB % Change ATL % Change CTL % Change
Ironman Western Australia 2009 14/11/2009 -19.28 0.00 91.61 0.00 66.08 0.00
21/11/2009 -21.58 -11.93 100.58 -9.80 72.25 -9.33
28/11/2009 -26.72 -38.54 103.89 -13.41 81.12 -22.76
5/12/2009 17.17 189.04 45.40 50.45 67.87 -2.70
Race Date Run
TSB % Change ATL % Change CTL % Change
Ironman Western Australia 2009 14/11/2009 -8.27 0.00 30.02 0.00 25.89 0.00
21/11/2009 -6.54 20.95 30.75 -2.42 28.39 -9.65
28/11/2009 -3.84 53.61 28.37 5.50 28.32 -9.38
5/12/2009 7.71 193.27 14.54 51.55 23.89 7.74

Both bike and run TSB (form) values are much lower than I’ve previously said I should aim for. To get them higher though I have to sacrifice more CTL (fitness). I’m not really sure of the best balance here. Is it better to have a bigger drop of CTL and higher TSB, or to take a lower TSB and preserve what fitness I’ve built?

After a few hours playing around and thinking it through. Along with going on how my legs and body feel I’ve opted to let my CTL drop more than I initially planned. Training sessions are giving me good signs I can go hard when I need to. I think I’m better off being a bit more rested even if it sacrifices what WKO+ terms fitness a little.

Looking at my Kona analysis I noted that I thought my run TSB was a little too low at 10. Currently I’m not even close to that! I wondered if the lower TSB accounted for feelings of fatigue early in the run. Equally perhaps it came down to pushing on the bike earlier in the day. Very hard to tell. It leaves me questioning whether to pull further run workouts from my schedule and keep that CTL lower still to raise TSB? Tricky!

I’m never going to get the numbers I had for Kona or any of the other races anyway. Perhaps I should view this as a little experiment. If things go well on race day it’s a sign I can have lower TSB values for racing! Either way I’m not letting the numbers from a chart dictate my performance. I’ll arrive at the swim start rested and ready to race hard. Then it’ll hopefully be about nine hours of pushing myself hard!

Ironman Training Library

From nutrition to pacing - a collection of CoachCox blog posts focused specifically on Ironman training and racing.

Comments

  • Roger Canham

    during my 6 weeks from Kona to IMAZ i did perhaps 80% of my normal volume and intensity for the weeks 2/3/4 then cut back aggresively, more so than usual, and really trainied on feel. if i felt tired i did nothing, if i felt up to it i did what i could until i felt fatigued. the emphasis was on recovery and rest rather than any notion of peaking
    dont beat yourself up with the numbers, get more rest than you think you need as that will pay back way more than any training effect at this stage – 10 days out there is no training effect, just mental preparation.
    good luck

  • Cheers Roger – congrats on Arizona by the way! Saw your performance there, hope I can emulate it next week!