My wife and I are now heading into our last week before Ironman 70.3 Austin. This is, thankfully, the last race of what has been a very long and challenging season. Last night, after we got back from dropping our bikes off for TriBike Transport, I started thinking about the concept of “taper blues.” I think I saw half a dozen articles and blogs about it this year. Basically, “taper blues” are feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and restlessness during a taper.
If anything, I almost always welcome my taper. It means the work is done. I accept that the time for fitness improvements has passed, trust my training, and know I have more to gain by going to my race rested. In any event, plenty of race preparation remains and there is still plenty to do.
- Travel preparation. Most of our major races involve some kind of travel. I start putting things so I’m not packing at the last minute.
- Wrapping up at work. Since most of our major races involve some kind of travel, they usually also involve a day or two off from work. Wrapping up projects so I can get away for a couple days can require some planning and a bit of extra time at the office.
- Stretching. You need to stay loose. If anything, this is the time to stretch more.
- Practice transitions. Practice getting out of your wetsuit and getting your helmet and running shoes on. At Ironman 70.3 Oceanside this year, I beat the next guy in my age group by 1 second. Transitions count, even in long course racing.
- Get more sleep. Sleep is necessary for recovery and many other things. Go to bed early. It is every bit as important as those long runs you were doing when you put in your training hours.
- Get your gear ready. Start putting aside your gear, your nutrition, etc. Go through your checklist. Check your bike. Clean and lube your drivetrain. if you have separate set of race wheels, ride with them at least once or twice to make sure the shifting, braking, ect. works the way you want it to. Do not wait until race morning to find out whether your tires are in good shape.
- Make any arrangements necessary for the house, pets, etc., whether it be having someone water your plants or feed the dog.
With everything to do, it is hard to see how anyone could become restless during taper week. It is as much a part of you race preparation as your track workouts and long rides and the last thing you want is to derail your race or create any last-minute panic because you forgot your skewers or race kit.