The Ironman is 1.5 weeks away! Right now, I’m in the middle of my peak phase, or taper. This week the volume of training is down (a lot) and it feels good to have the extra time. But with the extra time comes a lot of focus on the race itself.
At this point, as the saying goes, the hay is in the barn as far as my training is concerned. I’m not going to make any gains in fitness at this point. What I’m doing now are a lot of ‘recovery’ workouts, and then shorter workouts at race intensity.
Recovery workouts are nice, because you’re just taking it easy. But doing them is tough from the perspective that I’m used to going a lot harder, so I’m constantly putting the brakes on, so to speak. And as I learned last night, it’s actually more painful to run slow than it is fast.
Because during this phase, as I’m slowing things down, my body is starting to absorb all the training stress of the past months. Yes, it is a constant process, but this is similar to a phase in life where you’ve been very, very busy and the dust finally settles and you have a chance to stop and catch your breath – whew!
And the race intensity workouts are fun, because they are short, but at Ironman pace which means they aren’t super fast – for instance, during the Ironman I’ll be on my bike for a little over 5 hours, and running for about 3-4 hours (I hope!)…so doing shorter sessions at that pace is relatively easy at this point. And I feel fast doing them, which is a great confidence booster.
I’m doing a lot of stretching, because when things start slow down a bit, the body begins to stiffen up a little. Both of my Achilles tendons are sore, as is my left knee. I’ve been paying a lot of attention to them, taking Anti-Inflammatory Formula and Systemic Enzyme Complex to reduce inflammation, stretching and using a foam roller. Oh and the IT bands – that tough fibrous band on the outside of your leg – they can become really, really tight and painful with a lot of running. Putting the foam roller to it feels like one long, extended charlie horse.
Lastly, I’m focusing on staying healthy – avoiding the winter bugs. I’m taking Chronic Immune twice daily, 5000 IU of vitamin D (my nice cycling shorts tan is all but gone) once daily, and glutamine three times a day. I’m getting a lot of sleep (bed about 9:30 and up at 5), and staying away from sugar and alcohol - neither of which help your immune system!
So there you have it. One last week of ‘real’ training, and then next week, race week, is about relaxing and doing very, very short workouts designed just to keep the body in motion. Stay tuned!