Saturday, February 14, 2009

Taper Tactics & a few final words of encouragement!

Dear Athletes

Well the Rottnest Channel Swim is almost upon us - this time next week it will all be over and we'll be wondering what to do with ourselves!!! Actually, at this specific time next week I hope we'll all be over at the Quokka Arms Hotel (or whatever it's new name is?) sharing a beer or 3 and discussing how the day went!


We've already begun our taper down into the event and many of you have been commenting on how good you are starting to feel now that some of the training load has been reduced. However, it is also totally normal to feel a little flat and lethargic at this stage too! This is where this week comes in! In this final week of taper (which happens to coincide with the Half Ironman Group's 2nd recovery week), we will be knocking off even more duration, but importantly maintaining a sense of intensity. This helps to lift you out of your lethargic state. Friday's swim was a classic example of this - fast 200m intervals but with 10-15s MORE rest than I'd normally give you over this distance. It was still a tough set, but not massively tough like some of our Fresh & Fruity Friday's have been recently. You all responded well to this session. 

So here's a quick look at what I'll be recommending this week, especially for the DUO and SOLO swimmers:

SUNDAY 15th = REST DAY or participation in the Sprint Relays at CCGS

MONDAY 16th = A light swim in your own time today (or the 9.30am Time-4-Me session), doing no more than 2.5km focusing on drills and feeling good. Don't start going crazy this week with a massive carbo loading mission. Just stay hydrated, eat a little more at each meal and have some light snacks through the day as normal and try to avoid feeling hungry or sugar-low at any point this week.

TUESDAY 17th = Early am squad session. Focus will be on form and technique with a couple of short intervals of 50m in there too. Not too hard though!! Strictly only one session today, even for those who have been doing doubles or triples!

WEDNESDAY 18th = Same as Monday, but incorporate 5 x 200m intervals with 30s recovery at an intensity of 6.5 out of 10 (so that you have no problems holding a consistent pace). Again, the Time-4-Me session at 9.30am might be an option for you.

THURSDAY 19th = REST DAY. Everything about today should be E-A-S-Y. Chances are you might not sleep overly well tomorrow night and with the early Saturday morning start you need to be getting to bed early on Thursday night in a relaxed state to maximize on your sleep reserves. Use today to tie together any loose-ends with respect your crew, nutrition etc, BUT remember "chill out and don't have a cow man!" as Bart Simpson would say! Spend 30 minutes visualizing the race and what it will feel like, how good and smooth your stroke will feel and how you're going to have a great day. Read through our pointers at on two occasions today to help you stay positive. Really well worth a read!

FRIDAY 20th = Early am squad session. This will be light and easy for everyone concerned. Don't expect a big session, even if you're not racing (you still need an easier session this week after the last few biggies!). ALWAYS have a water bottle with you today...oh yeah, and drink from it! I'd recommend alternating one bottle of water with one bottle of sports drink, finishing each one in ~ 90 minutes. Don't be pedantic about this though - you don't need to be!

SATURDAY 21st = Get up a good 3 hours before your start time to give you plenty of time to get ready. Have a light snack or cereal immediately so as to top up your liver glycogen stores which deplete over night giving you the hungry sensation you probably feel. Have a proper breakfast but DON'T stuff yourself. Eat until you are 80% full is what I'd normally suggest (incidentally, this is why the Japanese live so long apparently - never stuffing themselves full, which leaves you bloated, lethargic and potentially sickly starting the event). Avoid doubling-up on the carbs with breakfast and a sports drink at the same time. Have your breakie with "normal" liquids (preferably water) and then start sipping the sports drink after you've given your breakfast ~30 to 40 minutes to start digesting. Relax, keep cool and stay positive. 

Now go out there and do your best - after all, no-one can ask anymore of you, yourself included!

See you out there!


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