Mooseman is in 6 days. While it's a "B" race, in my mind, it's the most important one of the season after Nationals. The only other Olympic distance race I will do is Black Fly, and that's 1) only 5 weeks before Nationals, and 2) the second race in three consecutive weeks. The way Mooseman falls on the calendar, I can do a bit of a taper. I need some rest in my training anyway, and there's lots of time to build back up.
This race is a bit different with a 27 mi bike. And last year, due to thick fog, the swim was only about .6 mi. So for a swimmer-turned-triathlete, it didn't set up very well for me. My friendly rivalry with Scott M. will be renewed. As a biker-turned-triathlete who isn't exactly Michael Phelps, last year's race set up perfectly for him, beating me by 3 1/2 minutes (that was the only time all season). He passed me around mile 8 on the bike. At Nationals, with a "where-the-hell-did-you-pull-that-out-of" bike, I left T2 about 2 minutes ahead of him. So assuming the swim is the right distance, I'd like to hold him off until at least mile 18. That means I'll need to run him down, which is possible given our respective run training, but not likely based on our history.
To taper, I took the edge off of my training this week, but still did about 90% of the time. Pretty much every Saturday for the last five weeks, I've either had a race or put in a fairly intense brick. This week I turned my track workout into a tempo run on Tuesday and laid off the brick yesterday. I made the bike much easier. The first 1/2 mi of the run was a relaxed race pace, but it was still 3:05. Then after the next 1/2 mi easy, I held a tempo pace for a mile. Funny thing is, my comfortable running is down to about a 7:10 pace. I guess that's a good sign when I can feel relaxed running at that speed.
This week I'll cut back on the total time, putting in just 6 hours in five days. My long run goes from 10 to 7, and track intervals are replaced with an easy 4. The bike also gets cut back. I won't change the swimming too much. I really need to work on my race pace in the pool. In a set of 100s on 1:25, I'm working to hold just 1:15. But then on Friday, the group's sprint day, I put in a :58 100. That gap between :58 and 1:15 is way too much.
I've been exchanging emails with my college swimming coach. He's the BEST at formulating a taper. He's coaching a 49 year old for the Mooseman 1/2 IM. If you're at the race and see a stocky guy, about 5' 6" covered in Tufts paraphenalia, say hi. He's the best. Anyway, the following notes are for his guy, but they're basically the same rules we had as swimmers.
1. You cannot cram training ... and you cannot cram rest.
2. The longer you have been training = the longer your taper period should be. Nothing fast or long 8 days out of the event.
3. Avoid placing any subjective analysis/evaluation on 'how you feel' from day to day. The less time one spends dwelling on the past the better off they are for having improved results in the future.
4. Maintain weight ... hydrate often ... review your race strategies 2-3 weeks from the event (clothing...transitions...food/water...tires filled..etc. etc.) .. have chain in low (easy) gear before your ride... and then avoid 'thinking' about the event 5-6 days prior to the competition. Trust 'the wisdom of the body'... it knows best and in a subtle way is getting you ready naturally and unconsciously.