This weekend I will be down in Galveston, TX to race a 70.3 there, which means that this week my training volume has dropped. I am now in “taper mode.” Being the obsessive compulsive guy that I am, this drop in training is driving me crazy. Fears and doubts buzz like vultures around my head and I cannot even take out my anxiety in my workouts! However, the taper is critical to a good race. It can make or break a performance. Here are my tips to dominate the taper and set yourself up for the best race of the season (without going crazy before):
Pump up the intensity not the volume: Since this is the first race of the season, it is not a full taper with both a decrease in volume and intensity (that will come in the Fall for my A race); instead my intensity is actually going up while my volume decreases slightly. By structuring my taper in such a way, my muscles get tuned up without causing residual fatigue.
Focus on race pace: My workouts this week are focused on short race pace intervals. At the beginning of the week, I keep my eyes on my Garmin to make sure that I hit my splits, but then as the week progresses, I go strictly off feel and then look at the data after in TrainingPeaks. I can then associate what I was feeling with a number. Come race day, I will know exactly what X pace and X wattage feels like without having to be so focused on the numbers.
Keep it clean: Now is not the time to make a massive overhaul of your diet. Keep on eating what you are familiar with and do not stress out about carbo loading or specific numbers. Just keep it clean and as least processed as possible, so that your body does not have to deal with any extraneous stress in addition to the stress of the race.
Get some sleep: Use the extra time that you have to catch up on sleep. If you are traveling to the race go to bed at the same time you would in the time zone that you are going to be racing in. It helps with jet lag
Less is more: You may have a lot of energy in your workouts, but hold back and stick to the plan. Save that extra energy for the race
Overall focus on the race and your plan; know that you have done all the work that you can and trying to squeeze in any extra fear driven workouts in will only hurt your race times. Just go out there and rock it!
Race well and race hard
Coach Chris and Kev