My first Olympic-distance event in two years is done. It was a small race and an usually hot day, so given the conditions, I’m happy with my performance. You can’t control the weather and ultimately can only race the race you chose and do as much as your body allows.
It’s race week and if you’re an athlete, you know what that means. Call it what you want: tapering, peaking. Most everyone agrees it works, is necessary and can improve your race day performance, but how exactly do you do it? Every coach and every athlete seems to have their own opinion.
And maybe it is personal. What works for one, might not work for another.
Unlike a lot of training, it is more art than science. This can freak people out that are used to following a plan and a routine.
Twenty years ago I could lace up my shoes and get out for a run without any serious repercussions. There was no thought of nutrition, no warm up. There wasn’t much thought beyond, “Let’s go for run.”
Those days are long over. Today, I rarely roll out of bed without some ache or pain nagging at me to notice it. Some of those aches are just age, but when the chorus gets too loud, I know I’ve probably been neglecting my pre- and post-run routines.
Other than one day, the cold, wet spring continued this week, so more time on the treadmill and trainer. I’ll be honest, I’m nearing my limit and I’m the type of person that usually doesn’t mind the indoor winter grind. Or maybe it’s just coinciding with a natural middle of a training block sag. The excitement and initial gains from starting have leveled off and the race is still far enough in the future to not totally feel real yet.
It’s not helping that I’m repeating a block to pad out the time resulting in a 20 week total block. So it’s literally the same workouts as the previous 8 weeks. I should have learned my lesson from my first marathon plan that that is just too long for me. I seem to thrive and peak on a 14-16 week cycle and 16 is probably the very outer edge.
As a Dad, with a full-time day job, in addition to blogging, 60 minutes is usually the absolute max I can spare for a workout and still make a dent in my daily to-do list. In order to get the most fitness return for my time, I lean heavily on VO2 max intervals across biking, cycling and swimming to get me as ready as possible for my races. And this strategy can work really well in boosting strength and fitness, but you need to be careful as there is a dark side to leaning too heavily on interval training.