This always happens. I get about 2 weeks out from a race, and if I mention it to anyone who’s familiar with structured training, they’ll say something along the lines of “Oh, you must be in Taper”. Tapering means decreasing the training volume prior to a race to allow your body to be its best for race day but that means you have a high volume of training to come down from...
While I can say I stayed active on vacation, I can’t claim to have kept up a triathlete’s regimen either. Too little swim and bike, and even the running I did was kind of lacking. I took an honest evaluation of where I’m at, and having done 10 km and 12.5 km recently, I’m pretty happy with my run shape. I haven’t swum recently, but there were no real problems there on 2.4 and 2.6 km training sessions, so I think a 1.5 km sanity check swim where I swim the entire distance straight through, preferably in open water will do.
That left the bike. I said I was going to increase bike performance by increasing bike training volume and intensity. While I think I increased the proportion of bike training in my overall schedule, I didn't exactly set the world of fire with the bike this pre-season. Luckily, I was able to get out for a ride this Saturday.
The first half felt really good. I kept looking down and seeing cadence over 90 RPM, and I felt like my moving average speed was 30 km/h or more (if you account for stopping at stop signs or traffic lights, average speed goes way down). I was using 360 degrees of my pedal stroke to generate power (at least it felt that way – spinning as opposed to mashing down on the pedals).
Avg Moving Speed
Avg Bike Cadence
Max Bike Cadence
I did notice that all that tended to go away as my resolve and concentration waned in the latter half of the ride. From the stats it looks like I was able to correct the backslide in intensity. I wanted to fuel this training ride at the last minute but didn’t want to use up my gels, so I gave a Clif Shot Blok (courtesy of Darwinian Fail from the FitfluentialTO tweet-up) a try. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to take one or more, usually it’s a gel every 45 minutes or so. After checking the website FAQ, it looks like I'd have been better off taking the whole pack of 3 blocks. Whoops.
Anyway the goal was to hit 40km or 90 minutes of riding whatever came first, and I’m happy that distance was achieved first (though not by much). I still need a sanity check brick workout to test out my legs coming off the bike. This sort of sanity check “untaper” training isn't recommended if you’re at a new distance; I’m getting away with it (so far) because I’m sticking pretty close to my general conditioning and even I’m not stupid enough to try and build up in the last two weeks...
Sunday's ride was in sharp contrast to Saturday's... we went for our first bike trip as a family. Only the Lightning Kid wasn't propelling himself. Shark Boy and my wife both tried out new bikes. I was expecting to go slow, but I still wasn't prepared for how slow, I honestly couldn't go slow enough and balance the bike at the same time, and with the Lightning Kid in the Chariot getting impatient and squawking at the frequent stops (when he should have been napping), it was more of a mental exercise in patience than a workout of any kind. That's OK though, we do these things almost as a proof of concept, to keep up good active habits as a family and the speed will only increase from here.
Do you observe the taper?
Labels: cycling, endurance training, family