Recovery/light volume weeks and tapering are often quite tough for me. However, I've learned from past experiences just how strong the body can get during these times. With rest and recovery comes time for the body to breath and absorb all the training. When I really struggle with the desire to keep up the volume I think back to prior race experiences... first on the list: 2008 Buffalo Springs. One on one with a large SUV the week before. 20mph head first. I was left in the vertical position on the couch with a headache, major knee and shoulder ache....maybe I should rephrase... I was left on the couch with an entire body ache. I tried swimming, but it looked more like floating. I went from the best shape of my life to my worst in one split second. All considered I had a great race. I did nothing all week, and somehow mental strength pulled me through. Lesson learned. Taper is necessary!
How do you know when you're body's had enough and it is time to rest, recovery and absorb the hour and miles of training? Sleep becomes interrupted and restless? Your legs scream for you to stop on even the smallest of hills? Feel like you could take a nap at any time, anywhere (I sadly am a really bad napper, but that doesn't stop me from wishing it was bedtime!)? Overly irritable or ornery? You're coach says enough is enough? Check, check, check, check, sadly I am my own coach, but I do think enough is enough. This past week has been an emotional roller coaster! I know it is largely because of the stresses of my life right now, but it is also a result of the volume of training I've put in the past few weeks. Great speed work, good number of lengthy rides and runs, solid interval work, and holding true to my 20k a week goal in the pool.
So, I'm not really questioning the necessity of some down time! My body is demanding it. It's easier to accept seeing as though only 2 weeks remain until the opening of my half ironman season.
Yesterday I repeated my traditional 2 weeks out swim, bike, run training workout. Together with my awesome training partners we repeated the exact same workout we did one year ago. 2 weeks before Cali70.3 and once again we hit Del Dios for some race pace intervals.
I wish I could say it was fun...but it wasn't. I got out of the pool and had zero interest in riding (wait, make that negative interest!). My calf and paronial tendon issue was worsening and now even hurt in the pool. It was cloudy and cold. I wanted to sleep. Instead, I got on the bike and started VERY easy. I wouldn't let myself bring the iPod...it was just me, myself, and I trying to mentally work myself into the workout. Sadly, my mental energy didn't change. I just didn't want to be out there. So that is where my friends came in. They kept me in the workout, and kept me honest with the planned intervals. The run wasn't any better. I felt heavy, and my stride was ridiculously short. But I suffered through...again thanks to my friends that pulled me through. And after it was straight to ice, muscle stim, ice again, foam roller, stim, and the stick...oh and a much needed nap.
I wasn't sure if I'd be able to run today. But I did. Easy to start out, then drop down to race pace. Calf felt ok as the run went on, and I finished with a solid sub-race pace for the second half of the last long run. Off to the pool to finish the last 4k of the 20k week...and....
IT'S TAPER TIME!
Ahhhhhh. I'm ready for this one. I know my body and mind are ready too! There's 2 large blocks of ice in the freezer...step one: ice bath. Yuck...hate it...but so necessary! Eeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkk, here we go. Ice bath, compression socks and tights, and food. AND I think the final 5 miles of my run this morning just might have earned me golden spoon!)