Taper weeks are always fun. I get to turn up the speed dial a bit and due to the reduced training load – my body is recovering faster and thus going faster at the same HR zones. Which…after all, is the whole point of the taper – to increase your speed/endurance while maintaining a given HR (in laymen’s terms: have more energy). This means that I reduce duration and increase intensity (read: shorter but harder).
So what does that look like? Well, here’s the skinny on the week ahead leading up to Saturday morning’s half-marathon race (National Half Marathon). My coach and I are treating this as a ‘B’ race. We’ve got a specific time goal in mind (1:19), but I won’t at all be upset if I miss it by a few minutes. It’s also my first race since December, so it’ll be a solid tune-up session.
Oh, and I’m feeling pretty good now and my RHR, temperature and everything else agrees. So…
Without further delay, here’s the dealeo:
Monday: A swim. Today was no different than any other Monday, a fairly normal 3,300 yard swim. Focused quite a bit on technique as usual. Not to forget the sweet 750yds of fist swimming thrown in. Oh how I heart fist swimming. But since I was up early due to my time zone being somewhere in the Azores, I knocked it out and can now enjoy the rest of my day (currently cooking Corn Beef Brisket, just popped some Irish Soda Breads into the oven, and the potatoes are next…).
Tuesday: Das run. On das track. It will be an easy track workout with the primary set being 6×800 @ 2:54′ (5:48/mile). Or a touch faster than race pace for Saturday. Prior to the main set they’ll be the usual 1600 warm up, an 800 Z3 (roughly 6:15-6:30 pace) and some drills, and then post main set they’ll be some more drills and then my most favorite 4×200’s @ 33s (or 4:24/mile). Now, those 33’s aren’t terribly hard by themselves, but after a tough workout they’re much more fun. Sorta like someone kicking you in the jewels…over and over. Overall shouldn’t be too bad tomorrow though – much better than the normal Tuesday workout of treadmill hell.
Wednesday: Swim & Bike. A fairly normal Wednesday again. I’ll swim about 3,200 yards, again continuing to focus on technique at this point in the season (well, that happens all season). And then my bike ride will be a 56 minute trainer ride virtually all in Z2. It’s got a 10 minute warm-up, then 10 minutes of slow cadence drills, followed by 5 minutes of one-legged drills, then 21 minutes of high cadence stuff (100rpm-125rpm) before 5 mins more of Z2 before a 5 minute cool down. All in all, a pretty easy day.
Thursday: Day off. A rarity indeed. But, we found this pre-race combination works really well for me. That is – taking the day off two days prior. The logic is that you definitely don’t want to take the day before the race off, as the body won’t be in peak condition and your first 15-20 minutes of the race will seem more difficult. So by taking the day off two days prior you get the same benefit, and then you can use the day before to just bring everything back up to speed. Try it sometime…take off a day, and then go try and run hard the next day – notice how it takes the first 15-20 minutes to get your body feeling in a groove again?
Friday: Run pyramid. This is the tune-up day. This kicks my body back into gear for the race the next morning. It does so by getting my aerobic engine back on track, and ensures my legs are all good. Run :10 Z2, :05 Z3, :03 Z4a, :02 Z4b, :05 CD – so in short, just a quick 25 minute run, but it will be fairly fast – especially that Z4B – that will likely be @ a 5:20-5:30/mile pace. This is because I’ll have been tapering, in addition to this being a shorter workout. But that’s all cool – since I’m focusing on HR, not times.
Saturday: Run like hell. According to the little chart on my fridge it’s gonna hurt. A…l.o.t.