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Taper Time and thoughts on recovery.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Taper time for my triathlon starts after my swim event tomorrow. I am doing the 2.25 mile swim at Teal Lake. We are swimming the length of it. This is going to be quite an event, lots of fun i'll post about it tomorrow afternoon after I get the water out of my ears ;-)

I'm going over the athlete guide now just before I have to leave for work. Lots of details.

Lots of pics and junk that makes it slow loading but in case you wanted to know the stuff I need to know and the schedule of events etc.... it's all here for your savage amusement and viewing pleasure.

I do not feel very good.

This is all part of the process and I felt this way before my first marathon and other firsts it's just that this is on a grander scale. I do not feel excitement. I feel a sense of dread and anxiety. I feel totally outclassed, outgunned, and like I am about to have my rear-end handed to me on a silver platter.

Yup this is taper time... where the mind will run me crazy with what if's, run through multiple scenarios, try to overthink everything. The wondering, the second guessing, the "WTH were you thinking" stuff... It's all part of the process. Past experience as shown me that I will wake up post race morning wondering what all the fuss was about admiring my new bling and usually two days later I am surfing for another event next year.... that's all I will be doing the day after since walking will probably require some serious concentration.

As I mentally review my training process, I will would call it haphazard at best. My irregular life interfering with something that requires regular commitment but I have no regrets. I have done my very best. Neither do I regret my decisions to not train on days that I could have. I can beat myself up pretty bad when I'm out there and unfortunately, as cool as it is for us fluffy dudes to do something epic, it also exacts a high price. Our weight makes us take a bigger beating therefore we need more recovery time....the alternative is to watch from the sidelines while nursing a painful injury.

A word about recovery. This will sound counter-intuitive but hear me out. This is where "listening to your body" is NOT advisable. I have learned that the absense of noticable pain is NOT an indicator of being ready to continue training. I hear that phrase being bantered about like an overused cliche by folks that probably don't understand the first thing about it. The term is vague at best and relies on the individuals interpretation of what they are feeling.

What it boils down to is absense of pain = good to go.

Let me give an analogy.

Have you ever used some sort of glue to bond something together or made some sort of repair that required a cure time? I have, many times, especially at work. I also cannot tell you the number of times I have seen a repair fail because it FELT ready. They picked it up, tested it, it felt fully cured and because of the demand for that piece to be ready, was hurredly pushed out the door to shut the requester up and get them off the departments back.... that is until it failed shortly after operational stress was placed upon it out in the field.

Haste makes waste.

Just because I FEEL ok, because I dont FEEL pain in my day to day activites does NOT equate to readiness to go out and give it another good tug out on the bike or run. The muscles and the deeper tissues may be recovered enough to not interfere with normal activity but are not ready to operate under training stress.

I have had it happen to me more times than I care to admit to. In the past, I would feel fine, invincible, 10ft tall and bulletproof for the first 2 miles.... the problem is that there is always a mile 3 for those who are too stubborn to quit while they are ahead.

In the past, I have been one of those numbnuts that would push until the "check engine light" would come on and then not worry about it because my "engine" is still running.

Not this time.

I have learned my lesson... no such thing as too much rest. It's one thing to be new and ignorant, it's quite another to be stupid. Ignorance of recovery is cured by education, stupid is cured by pain. I have been stupid more times that I can think of and paid the price.

The best race strategy I have ever implemented for events where I dont feel as confident as I should is to NOT fall into panic training where you really kick it into gear. Rather, to cautiously maintain what I have and go into the event as well rested and deeply recovered as possible.

A recovered body can be pushed to perform. A stressed body will be pushed until it fails.

I choose to rest and recover. I pledge to keep it light duty.

When race day comes, what ever "A" game I have will be brought to the field.

This is my pledge to you.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Living the lifestyle happens when you push through the pain of having fitness be a regular part of life. Great work!
    1091 days ago
    I am reading and listening about the recovery part. I also think no pain, keep going. But you make a good point and I will keep it in mind. I am training for my first half marathon and I am really trying to stick with the training plan.
    1096 days ago
  • v LINDAKAY228
    You've already completed the swim as I read this, since I'm a little behind. All the things going through your head are now behind you and you are feeling awesome about what you did. Now make sure you follow the recovery you said you were going to do and remember your advice LOL! Love the pics in the link you sent. Looks like an awesome event!
    1096 days ago
    1096 days ago
    Hope the swim went well!!
    1096 days ago
    Best wishes for your tapering and the race day.

    Don't worry - it's not allowed!

    You'll be fine.
    1097 days ago
    I know you will bring your "A" game, and that it will be all you need! You are strong and you are prepared. I am cheering all the way! Hope the swim was good and FUN!!!

    1097 days ago
    I don't like the head games that go along with doing something big, but since we're human, I guess it just goes along with the territory. Practice deep breathing & some positive affirmations or whatever makes you feel comfortable & confident.

    You know your body best regarding recovery, so do what's best for YOU.

    Your friends KNOW you can pull this off. Just keep that in mind. We're rooting for you!! emoticon
    1097 days ago
    I hope your race goes well today! Sounds like you are much wiser about your body! Keep up your hard work!! Can't wait to hear how it went for ya!
    1097 days ago
    What a smart way to consider this issue. Thank you for something very important for me to think about.

    Best of success to you n the swim!
    1097 days ago
    Great message that I needed to hear. Thank you for posting. Balance is key!
    1097 days ago
    You're doing great!
    1097 days ago
  • v _JODI404
    I know those mind games are hard to "shut up"... but try to realize that they are not "real". What you are worrying about or anxious about is not something that is actually occurring. It is an invention of your thoughts that may not ever happen. We can cause ourselves so much stress over things we invent in our mind and then allow endless time spent with worry and upset.

    Allowing your body to rest and be fully recovered is always a good choice! I've been injured before, and now I will baby my wrists for example and the beginning of any new pain. I'd rather take one week off then deal with pain for 3 long months again. Better safe than sorry.

    Good luck with your swim! Look forward to your report!

    I loved this: " Ignorance of recovery is cured by education, stupid is cured by pain."
    1097 days ago
    Taper is the hardest time for me. I have a Haf in Dublin (yes, Ireand) on 5 August. Today would have normally been my long run. But I kept it short, about half what I normally run on Fridays. Next week, even less.

    And it drives me nuts.
    1097 days ago
    Yeah, that's the problem with rest and recovery. I find out how much I need by not taking it. :( Sometimes the lesson has to be repeated several times. :(

    On the event front, maybe they should get a bike helmet designed as a cheese head for promotional purposes?
    1097 days ago
  • v LEWILL1982
    Love your insights and analogies. I'm taking tips and learning from you as I train for my events later in the summer. Thank you so much for sharing!
    1098 days ago
    It sounds like you're really in tune with your body. That's more than half the race taken care of right there, because of your mental attitude!!! It sounds like a winners attitude to me!!! Go get them, and have fun. Please tell us all about it, when you recover.

    I went to your link, and oh my gosh, I was looking at what you had to do, and it still wasn't finished loading. Now that's a whole new marathon!!! Good luck!!!

    Be blessed,

    - Nancy Jean -
    1098 days ago
    I am soooo listening... as this is MY taper leading up to THIS Sunday's baby tri for me. I have those SAME thoughts of second guessing, beating up on my training, etc. So... rest days today and tomorrow... coiled Spring Sunday morning. I hope.

    I'm thinking I might just toss the bike in the back of the car, say "so long" to work and come see you across YOUR finish line... two weeks to go! Unless something really weird happens... should be a possible.
    1098 days ago
  • v JUNEAU2010
    I'd never heard about the glue analogy to fitness, but it sure makes sense!

    As you have done with your training, you will do your best tomorrow!

    Savor the experience!
    1098 days ago
  • v 4CYNDI
    Love your thoughts. I too am guilty of no pain = good to go thinking. Thank you for putting this concept into perspective. You will do great on race day because you are being smart this time and doing things to the best of your ability and then letting your body rest so you can give it your best.

    Have fun and don't let those thoughts (I call them gerbils, because they just keep gnawing away) get too loud.
    1098 days ago
  • v LINDAK25
    You can do this!
    1098 days ago
    Relax and breath deep through those voices. You will do great.
    1098 days ago
    Those voices? Well, you just need to tell them to HUSH UP. You are ready! You are going to do this! You will be successful! You are going to have an awesome time!
    1098 days ago
    I remember one half marathon where the hill to the package pickup location seemed awfully long and steep. I felt like NO WAY was I ready for race, but the next day, when the gun went off, of course I WAS and had my best time ever.

    You are ready, and you know it! Enjoy and enjoy!
    1098 days ago
  • v DALID414
    Is it odd my first click was on Race Tattoos? emoticon I SO wouldn't rush to get those off lol
    1098 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1098 days ago
    Good for you for giving yourself the recovery time. As someone who has been injured as a runner I know how frustrating that can be. You have learned from the past and are taking those lessons into this event. I understand the feeling of dread and anxiety. This is something new and once you've conquered it you will feel so accomplished. Great job training for this event and I know you will succeed! emoticon
    1098 days ago
    Great insight Robert! Can't wait to hear all about your race!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1098 days ago
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