When Plan A is stupid – you need a new plan

To kick off this series of write ups, lets talk about my original taper plan – and move on to the revised taper plan.  The original taper for Ironman this year is the result of feeling flat last yearat both IMWI and IMFL. 

Prior to both races – particularly IMWI I had some incredible workouts.  One of which was a 112 mile ride that saw me smoke the first 90 minutes at 250 watts, than dial it back to finish with an average of 232 for the day, than running for 60 minutes without breaking a sweat – I backed that performance up again a few times over the next few weeks with ride like 228 watts, 230 watts – etc – all while running well off them.  My mean maximal power profile in WKO+ was an impressive sight.  If I didn’t drop a 5:10 in Madison, it was going to have to be truly horrendous conditions, but than nobody would be dropping a 5:10.

Race day came – and I struggled to put out my result of ~215 watts.  At the time I simply chalked it up to allergy medications making me dopey – yet when IMFL rolled around, I was in for another simliar performance.  I didn’t have any jaw dropping rides leading up, but all signs were pointing to good things.

Having foot surgery in December gave me a lot of time to think about my season and my taper.   I came to the conclusion that rather than allergies – which although they contributed to performance issues at IMWI – the likely culpret was simply allowing to much fitness to fade during taper.

Looking at some races, I noticed that in both 2008 and 2009 I had some fantastic results 10 days or so after a traincation.  So I forumlated a plan that would continue my training capped off with a solid IM paced effort a week before the race – and than a major drop taper the last week.  Perfection!  I was going to share the plan – workout, by workout – but as I started doing so – I realized I don’t want to look like that much of an idiot.

Needless to say – it would have left me fried. Basically a no taper – taper.  A 2 hour run 12 days out, a 4 hour ride 7 days out, 2×20′ 10 days out.  Basically 700 or so cycling TSS this week, 650 next week – with the only difference being cutting the “long” ride back an hour or so.  Finally dropping into an easy week.  The only thing going for this plan was that it had me at about +10 TSB for both cycling and running on race day.

As I alluded to on Monday – Pigman made me realize I appear to be showing all the signs of being awfully tired – and my training log confirmed that.  Hours, intensity, average (not great) power numbers on key workouts.

As a result – I dialed my plan back to what I’ve done in the past – which happens to be straight out of Going Long.  Two or three key workouts this week, two or three next – and than race.

So what does that mean in reality:

  • Monday (8/23): Off – it’s my birthday and I’ll pigout if I want to
  • Tuesday
    • AM: Long, but stupid easy swim – 8×300
    • PM: Embarrasingly easy bike + run
  • Wednesday
    • AM: Easyish OWS swim
    • PM: Long run – Run @ IM effort/pace until it feels that any further will be bad – 2 hours max
  • Thursday
    • AM: Easy 3k Swim
    • PM: Noodle on the Trainer for 60 minutes and watch TV, run after
  • Friday
    • AM: Sleep
    • PM: 48 mile bike + 45 minute run – do as BT #1 in Going Long – scratch it if it’s not happening
  • Saturday
    • Easy swim + noodle bike
  • Sunday
    • 4 hour bike + 60 minute run
  • Monday (8/30): Off
  • Tuesday
    • AM: Broken Ironman Swim for time
    • PM: 1:15 max E-Pace run
  • Wednesday
    • AM: Off
    • PM: See last tuesday PM
  • Thursday
    • BT #3 in going Long
  • Friday
    • Repeast Wednesday
  • Saturday
    • Repeat Last Saturday
  • Sunday
    • BT #4 (2 hour Bike + 30 minute run – IM effort+)

Race Week – Unchanged from what I’ve done all 7 times before.

Following the revised plan I show up on race day with a significantly higher cycling TSB +21, a bit higher running TSB +14, but a CTL that is a fair bit lower in both sports (as compared to Plan A)

I think that’s all I’m going to cover today.  Next time, I’ll dig into some of the evidence I’ve dug out of training logs that reinforce my decision to revise my taper.

That evidence will lead into an anlysis of some good races and some bad races – and what my current thinking is on why they turned out that way.

1 Comment

  1. Dude…
    Let me tell you something you already know.

    The #1 most important thing about a taper is that you have a plan and believe in the plan.
    I can’t tell you the number of people in EC that questioned Prior’s coaching and taper when I was there. Yet for decades before he coached EC swimming to freakish tapers.
    Under him I dropped 20-40 seconds in the 500 come taper time. In the 200 I would drop from a 1:55ish to 1:44. Too bad the jackass always put me in the 200 fly instead. 🙁

    But a lot of my buddies that did the work…who questioned him and doubted their tapers fell flat. It’s a mental game.

    Soon you will realize just as I did…there is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.
    -Morpheus

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