Monday, 24 February 2014

Karen writes: Taper

Taper is a confusing sort of thing if you read the advice of the experts, some recommend anything from 5 weeks of taper down to none at all.  Some deliver dire warnings about overtraining and poor performances because of not enough rest, others suggest that you lose condition for every day off you have.  I struggle with knowing what to do, especially since according to some plans, my peak is equivalent to what others do in their final week of taper.

I've never followed the official plan I got off the coach back in 2012 for taper, I lean towards the less is more style.  I instinctively felt that having the longest run and ride at 2 weeks out wasn't good for me, so I split them up and moved them to 3 and 4 weeks out.  Peak weekly hours of 16.5 was a month out, and things have been on a gradual decline since.  In the final two weeks I cut time by 30% then a further 50%. Yesterday, Friday I had my last proper bikeride, 80km.  Today I've had my last swim of 3km and tomorrow is the final run, 15km. The final week of taper starts with spin on Monday, nothing Tuesday...who knows after that, it wont be much.

Today's swim wasn't my best.  It was a high tide in the afternoon, conditions were perfect and I struck out along the beach feeling quite warm in my wetsuit.  It took an hour 40 to complete the 3 km, I stopped lots and was bored and wanted swim to the beach and walk home.  I wasn't even inspired when an elderly lady doing something that looked like a breast-stroke/dog paddle hybrid kept pace with me. She held her head high, hair immaculate, I'd pass her then stop, she would pass me, so depressing!

Perhaps my sluggishness was because I ate too much cake at the daughter's 8th birthday party.  She took a group of her friends to a trampolining place in East Tamaki called Jump.  What a fantastic way to party, imagine a huge building with a great space made up of joined together trampoline mats and what seemed like 100's of yelling kids (big and small) leaping all over the place. I doled out urgently purchased bottles of water to panting children and felt the need to explain to their mothers that their children were red-faced and sweating because of exertion not that we'd been mean to them.  Water and cake, the stuff miracle recoveries are made of.

Anyway, 4 days until packing the whanau into the car and heading south.  4 days to finalise equipment for race day, wash essential clothes, organise the necessities to keep 4 people happy while away from home over an extended weekend.  Just 4 days till we go away!