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I'm just an average age-grouper / weekend warrior blogging about Ironman Triathlon Training and this complex puzzle of juggling life, having fun and reporting on my various feats of strength and endurance adventures!

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The Natural: Eduardo della Maggiora’s Rapid Rise in Triathlon

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While sitting beneath a mosquito tent in Africa, Eduardo della Maggiora was surfing YouTube on his laptop when he came across a link that would change his life forever. “It was an hour-long edit of the NBC IRONMAN special, and I thought to myself, that is what I want to do.”

The famous NBC IRONMAN broadcast has launched thousands of IRONMAN journeys throughout the years, but one could argue few of them have been as meteoric as that of 37-year-old Maggiora, who in a little less than three years has qualified for two 70.3 World Championships, raced Kona, finished third overall at IRONMAN Florida and gone sub-9-hours at the IRONMAN distance—all with relatively little swimming, biking or running experience.

This year will mark Maggiora’s second time in Kona, but his first attempt since leaving his corporate job in Chile and moving to Boulder, Colo. to train full-time under the direction of former professional triathlete Michael Lovato. “I’m taking the next few years to really discover where my limit is, both mentally and physically,” explains Maggiora.

Maggiora has one of those annoying tendencies to succeed that most of us can only dream about. Born in Chile, he was a tennis star growing up, eventually deciding to step away from the international tennis circuit to focus on his industrial engineering studies at Pontificia Universidad Católica.

He ended up in the New York finance world for nearly a decade before returning to Chile, cofounding a boutique investment group, and devoting much of his life to charity work, specifically for the environment, micro-lending and education.

It was during one of many philanthropic trips to Africa that he first saw that IRONMAN YouTube video, and, in a strange coincidence, received an email offering to let him sign up for the 2015 IRONMAN Pucon 70.3. The race was six months away. He had never done a triathlon. He barely knew how to swim. He immediately registered.

Once he returned to Santiago, Maggiora began to pour over all the triathlon books and materials he could find. “I’ve read somewhere along the lines of 180 books on endurance training and triathlon,” says Maggiora. “What can I say, I’m an engineer. I like numbers.”

He finished IRONMAN 70.3 Pucon in January of 2015, and soon after heard about the Kona Lottery (2015 was the last year of its existence). Thinking he’d never actually get a slot, he put his name in—and got a slot for the 2015 IRONMAN World Championship. It would be his fourth triathlon ever.

A month prior to Kona he won his age group at IRONMAN 70.3 Ecuador, and qualified for 70.3 Worlds in Mooloolaba (where he would finish second in his age group). “I started to realize that maybe I was kind of good at this,” laughs Maggiora.

In 2016, he clocked an 8:58:22 at IRONMAN Florida, finishing third overall, winning his age group and earning his slot for the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship. “At that point I started to wonder what my limit was,” says Maggiora. “I sat down with my business partners and they supported my decision to leave the company for a while to pursue triathlon fully.”

Maggiora got married in March of 2017, and by May he and his new wife were moving into their rented apartment in Boulder, just steps from the pool where he spends most mornings swimming thousands of meters under the direction of Lovato. “Eduardo is 100 percent committed to the process,” says Lovato. “I thrive on coaching athletes who want to work hard and truly commit to the goals that we set, and it was clear from our very first conversation that Eduardo would be that type of athlete.”

Going from working full time to training full time has been adjustment for Maggiora, but he’s enjoying the process. “I’m so impressed by how the body adapts and recovers,” he says. “But I realize that I’m on this ascending curve with my results that will eventually flatten out—however I think after this first year of training load my real success will come next year. After that, who knows, I am just here to enjoy the journey and see how far I can push myself.”

A TrainingPeaks user since the beginning of his triathlon career, Maggiora has relied heavily on data to help prepare him for each race. “I’m a big PMC guy,” he explains. “I do an analysis on past races and my form before each one, and I aim to recreate those numbers before each race.” Maggiora pays particularly close attention to his CTL, both combined and singularly across swim, bike and run, in order to gauge his progress toward every race.

“I think having a coach like Michael, who is such a knowledgeable TrainingPeaks user has made a huge difference in my training,” says Maggiora. “I track my form to see my fatigue levels, and if I see that those numbers are too negative for several days—I send a note to him and we adjust accordingly. It makes it so easy to stay on top of it.”

Maggiora sends long notes to Michael after each of his key sessions, which during his final few weeks of building toward Kona will become especially important. “I’ll be doing three six-hour rides over the course of one week, and my notes to Michael will be so important in terms of whether or not we add a swim session if I’m feeling good, or back off somewhere else to allow me the recovery I need.”

He’s also found success using Best Bike Split, not only to help him plan his race strategy, but also to help him dial in his aerodynamics. “After IRONMAN Florida, I looked at my race plan and saw that despite the fact I was pushing ‘X’ watts for ‘X’ amount of time, my overall bike time wasn’t that great,” he explains. “So I brought my BBS race report to a bike-fitter and he was able to improve my position and aerodynamics—all using BBS—and it’s made such a huge difference in my performance.”

Maggiora raced the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga (finishing 2nd in his age group), and before the race he and Lovato worked out a power plan using BBS in order to navigate the course’s tough hills with just the right amount of effort. “Without BBS, I would have burned out or underperformed on that course’s big climb. Because I knew the range I should be staying in, I was able to climb with confidence and still come off the bike able to run a 1:19.”

Lovato believes that Maggiora has it in him to finish top-five in his age group, and their training in the final weeks heading into Kona is with that goal firmly planted in both of their minds. “Numbers-wise, I’d like to see him break nine hours and run a low-three-hour marathon to do that,” explains Lovato. “But as long as he’s happy with his performance, I’ll be happy. It’s really more about his expectations rather than mine.”

When Maggiora lines up on the starting line in Kona this year, he is optimistic his huge increases in training will pay off, but the engineer in him is realistic about the statistics. “Given that it’s my third IRONMAN ever and the competition is pretty tight, I think a podium finish would be amazing,” says Maggiora. “But I’m more excited for how this entire year of training plays into next season. I just want to see where my limit is and I’m enjoying have the opportunity to live here in Boulder and give it my all for as long as I can.”

Tune into our FaceBook Live with Eduardo della Maggiora and his coach, former pro triathlete Michael Lovato on Tuesday, October 10 at 3 p.m. (HST).

The post The Natural: Eduardo della Maggiora’s Rapid Rise in Triathlon appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

The Indefatigable Jen Rulon

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When 45-year-old Jen Rulon of San Antonio, Texas, crosses the finish line in Kona this year, it will be the culmination of 15 years of hard work, a close call, a massive career change and a deal she made with her grandfather back in 1989.

A 12-time IRONMAN finisher, Rulon has had her sights dead-set on Kona ever since she watched the famous “Iron War” on NBC in 1989, where legends Dave Scott and Mark Allen duked it out side-by-side for 139 of the 140.3 miles of the race (Allen would edge-out Scott, crossing the line less than a minute ahead of him).

“I told my family right then and there that I would do that race by the time I was 30,” says Rulon. “And my grandfather, who was a huge inspiration in my life, told me that if I did he would come watch me.”

While her grandfather passed away in 2001, Rulon knows that he will be right there with her as she races in Kona for the first time.

After her couch declaration, it would be a few more years before she finally dipped her toe into triathlon, finishing her first sprint race in 1992 in her home state of Wisconsin. “I had a mountain bike, a bucket to wash off my feet after the swim—the whole nine yards,” laughs Rulon.

Throughout her twenties, Rulon competed in sprints and Olympic-distance triathlons, but it wasn’t until she realized she was almost 30 years old that she knew it was time to finally try for an IRONMAN, finishing her first at IRONMAN Wisconsin in a respectable time of 12:58.

In 2004 she hired coach and former pro triathlete Brandon Marsh, and became more dialed-in with her training, using TrainingPeaks and developing some more power and speed. That year she competed in IRONMAN Brazil, finishing eighth in her age group—however Kona slots only rolled down to seventh. “When I missed my spot by one place—and only 84 seconds—I was just gut-wrenched,” she says. “However, not making it to Kona actually changed my life in ways I never could have imagined.”

When she returned to Texas, where she was working as an animal trainer at SeaWorld, she took stock of her life, her career and her goals. She had been a USAT-certified coach for several years at that point, but it had always been a side-job. “I realized how much I loved coaching and so I decided I wanted to continue to be a part of other people’s successes.” She quit her job and returned to school, receiving her Masters in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Using her new depth of sports science knowledge and TrainingPeaks, Rulon has been able to not only coach several athletes to success, but also to hone in on her own training goals.

“I hired Brandon for a reason, I trust him and his plan and his process,” says Rulon. “And with TrainingPeaks, he can help keep me accountable to that plan.”

Rulon says that as a coach, she believes the key to seeing success with TrainingPeaks is by utilizing the comments section. “Those extra few minutes of writing down how you felt during a key session—it’s huge not only toward my success with my coach but with my own athletes’ success and progress.”

“You know, I never felt athletic growing up, even though I did several sports in high school,” says Rulon. “For me it’s been a fantastic gift to be able to learn how to use my body and show others all they can do, and that’s why I love this sport so much and want to continue to give back to it.”

As wife to a fellow IRONMAN and multiple Kona finisher (their honeymoon was at IRONMAN Western Australia in 2005), the Rulon household is understandably giddy with excitement as this year both Rulon and her husband, Chris, will be racing.

It’s especially exciting for them as they both got their slots at 2017’s last eligible race—IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant.

After spending a lot of time improving her marathon pace with Marsh using run progressions in the hot Texas heat, Rulon felt it all pay off in Tremblant as she flew off the bike feeling fantastic. “I remember I saw Chris when I was just starting my first lap of the run, and I was smiling and just feeling great and he ran up to me and just said, ‘Jen. It’s time to do what you came her to do.’”

Rulon would finish in 10:59:31, good enough for third in her age group—and most importantly that Kona slot she’d be dreaming about since 1989.

While the Tremblant slot didn’t leave much time for a recovery before Kona training began again, Rulon isn’t putting any stress on herself for the race. “I put all my eggs in one basket to get that slot,” says Rulon. “So I’m realistic. There are definitely women in my age group who are way faster than me, but that’s okay. I couldn’t be more stoked and excited to be able to race after all these years.”

To help her improve her marathon time, Rulon did a 90-minute run progression set like this one, which you can export directly to your compatible device by clicking below:

Download Jen’s Workout

Tune in to our FaceBook Live with Jen Rulon in Kona on Wednesday, October 11 at 10:30 a.m. (HST).

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Heather Jackson: A New Coach, New Outlook and Big Kona Goals

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By all accounts, pro triathlete Heather Jackson is poised to become the first American woman to win the IRONMAN World Championship since 1996. Her third-place finish last year sent a message to her female competitors that she was one to watch at this year’s race.

The Princeton hockey team captain and former Team USA track cyclist is known for her fierce competitiveness, huge smile and punk-rock look. Indeed, she and her husband, Sean “Wattie” Watkins, have segued her edgy style into a highly successful clothing brand and racing team, Wattie Ink.

After her fifth-place finish in 2015, Jackson amicably parted ways with her coach of three years, Cliff English, and began training under the guidance of fellow pro (and fellow Wattie Ink teammate), Joe Gambles. The fresh take on her training proved to be a smart move—she went on to crush the IRONMAN Lake Placid female course record in 2016 in a time of 9:09:42 and followed it up with her bronze-medal performance in Kona in a time of 9:11:32.

Like any other athlete, professional or not, Jackson admits that moving on from one coach to another wasn’t a decision she took lightly. “After my fifth-place finish in Kona in 2015 I just really struggled to get motivated after the off-season,” she says. “It just came down to needing something new—new stimulation. But the consistency of being with the same coach and being able to mimic things that worked was hard to let go of, I mean, I was seeing year-after-year progression, but I just realized that I had potential in Kona—it came down to a serious need to improve my swim and my marathon.”

While back in her training base of Bend, Ore., Jackson started swimming with Gambles while he was in town for a week rehabbing from a running injury. “He immediately gave me 10 things to work on, different drills and it just kind of started as a swim program at first,” she says. “But after the 2016 Oceanside 70.3 we just decided to make it official—it just felt right.”

Watkins admitted that trusting in Gambles at first was kind of an unknown as he was a professional athlete, not necessarily a coach. “But he’s just so smart and he works with sports-specific coaches back in Australia and that’s been hugely helpful for Heather to get that specific instruction for both her swim and her run.”

Watkins was immediately impressed with the confidence Gambles instilled in Jackson. “Take for example, Kona. I mean, that hour before the start can be a pretty tense time,” he says. “And I watched as Joe would come up to Heather and just say all the right things and he kept her calm. I just sat back and was like, ‘This guy is a great coach.’”

Gambles, known for his speed on the run, has a casual confidence to him that both Jackson and Watkins agree has been a huge influence on her believing in her racing abilities more than ever before. “When I tell him I was able to stay with the lead girls in a swim, he’ll just turn to me and say ‘Yes Heather. You should always be up there with those girls. Why are you surprised?’ and I’ll be like ‘Oh! Okay, you’re right!’”

Having a coach who is often doing the same race as Jackson, and at the pro level, has been an entirely new experience and rewarding in many ways. “It’s helpful to be able to explain how I struggled through a certain section of a race course and have my coach totally understand because he was riding it too,” she says.

In addition to helping Jackson with her swim and run, Gambles also introduced her to the world of bike power and other important training metrics. “I had never really ridden with a power meter,” admits Jackson. “And it’s been interesting. I don’t obsess over the numbers, but I like that it’s something to look at to gauge how I’m hitting my efforts. And Joe looks at all of it and really dials into my heart rate and power and everything else.”

Jackson has also started tracking metrics like Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and SpO2 (oxygen saturation levels) using the Masimo MightySat Pulse Oximeter, which uploads directly to her TrainingPeaks account. “It’s just another confidence booster,” explains Jackson. “It lets you know if that fatigue you feel is really there, so you can rest when you need it or even just understand why some of your workout stats were lower than you wanted them to be. And it gives Joe another metric to look at so he can get the full picture of my training.”

While in 2016 Jackson raced IRONMAN Lake Placid in late July, this year she raced IRONMAN Boulder in early June, giving her extra time to recover and then rebuild for the Big Island. “When I raced Placid, I really wanted to win,” she explains. “I mean, I grew up playing hockey there and it meant a lot to really do well. But this year, everything I do and every race I go to, it’s all with Kona on the horizon. Everything I do this year is with October in mind.”

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Avoiding Mental Sabotage Part 6: How to Conquer Your Fear of Failure

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In part six of our continuing series on race-day mental skills, we help you identify and overcome the fear of failure so you can perform freely and reach your full performance potential.

An athlete’s fear of failure is a major barrier to success. Fear of failure is a source of stress or anxiety that undermines peak performance. Fear of failure is also common among athletes who are perfectionists, and for those who are highly motivated to compete at the highest level (this is why it is a particular problem for Type-A endurance athletes).

Your pre-race worry, anxiety or tension can come from several sources depending on your unique disposition. Most athlete performance worries stem from thinking too much about outcomes, results, making mistakes during the race, or where you think you SHOULD finish.

We find that fear of failure presents several mental toughness issues, such as low self-confidence, anxiety, tension, a lack of trust, worrying about making mistakes and even a genuine fear of letting others down.

For some athletes, fear of failure may be a motivator to work harder. However, it often turns into tension, anxiety and being overtrained for races. Ultimately a fear of failure prevents athletes from performing with absolute confidence and freedom.

Types of Fear of Failure:

Fear of the enormity of the event.
Fear of embarrassment.
Fear of letting others down, such as training partners, coaches, friends or family.
Fear of not performing up to one’s potential.
Fear of not meeting other’s expectations.

Fear of failure is a complex issue in sports psychology, simply because every athlete experiences it in different ways. However, it does cause most athletes to focus on avoiding challenges.

When you are focused on what you don’t want to happen during an event or race, it’s nearly impossible to perform with high confidence, trust and composure.

Common Signs You Have Fear of Failure

You focus too much on results or outcomes and thus, you have a hard time focusing in the moment (e.g. slowing down when you think the other competitor is too far ahead of you).
You become impatient if you don’t perform well in events and want improvements during training to happen faster.
You often feel like your self-esteem is threatened when you do not perform up to given expectations (e.g., you believe your value as a person is directly related to how well you perform).
You care too much about what others think and make assumptions that are not true in reality (e.g. you think being an IRONMAN competitor gives you a special status).
You tighten up, freeze, or become tense in events and can’t perform freely (e.g. your fear of the swim overwhelms you and the result is you are tight and restricted).
You try too hard to be on the podium and thus are distracted by the end results (e.g. instead of being focused in the moment, you are instead wondering if you will place on the podium).

To confront your fear, you want to first uncover the irrational beliefs that sabotage your success and replace those beliefs with an improved or new perspective.

Noted psychologist Dr. Albert Ellis sayes that a belief or idea is irrational if:

It distorts reality.
It is illogical.
It prevents you from reaching your ultimate goals.
It leads to unhealthy emotions.
It leads to self-defeating behavior.

A new perspective about sport does not simply happen overnight. It takes time to change old habits or beliefs you’ve probably maintained for years now. Just like learning a new skill, it takes time to change old beliefs or habits of thinking into new ones.

The next step is to adopt new beliefs that will help you perform with more freedom and trust. Have a systematic approach to deal with the fear:

Tap into what you fear is about.
Rationalize. How does this fear help you?
How can you take a better approach to racing?

For example, a fear of failure is closely linked to the need for social approval. Thus, your self-esteem is in jeopardy when you believe, “My success in sports equals my success as a person.”

What’s the irrational belief here? It’s obviously thinking that your self-worth comes from your achievement in sports. A new perspective is: “I’m much more than how well I perform. I’m a valuable person no matter if I succeed or fail in sports.”

The reality is no matter how well you perform in sport, you’re still the same person that people in your life continue to appreciate. The people close to you won’t change their opinions of who you are as a person!

Summary

The fear of failure will keep you trapped in a web of anxiety and tentative performance if you ignore the root cause and don’t resolve it. In addition, you have to face the fear head on.

This means evaluating how rational or irrational the source of your fear really is. For example, do you really know for a fact that others will not respect you if you don’t perform well?

The final and most important step for overcoming your fears is to change your perspective or beliefs. Create a new perspective that will help you to focus on striving for success instead of avoiding failure.

Ellis observed that practically all people have a tendency to harbor irrational beliefs. He believed that unhelpful or irrational thinking often create unhealthy emotions and negative, self-defeating behaviors. He then taught people to change their irrational beliefs into realistic and helpful ones, which he calls developing a more rational philosophy.

Use your mind as an asset rather than a burden to your performance in triathlon.

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Dave Scott’s Perfect IRONMAN World Championship Taper

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Over the years I’ve seen many athletes not achieve their full potential in races because they failed to execute a proper IRONMAN taper.

I’ve witnessed triathletes who have not backed off enough and were tired and flat at the event; I’ve also seen those who have dialed back their training far too much, and dulled the fitness that they had taken months to hone.

Follow my prescription as we countdown to race day in Kona, and you’ll arrive at the starting line with that perfect mix of expansive aerobic capability and sharp, high-intensity output that will propel you to an optimal performance.

While this is written with the IRONMAN World Championship in mind, it will work for any IRONMAN you may be racing. Tapering is an art form, so above all else, listen to your own body.

22 Days to 10 Days Before The Race

1. Maintain your schedule. Maintain the same number of training days per week and follow your typical schedule. If you normally run on Tuesdays, then continue to do it! Don’t alter things.

2. Long training days. Your training is nearly complete, and so you should resist “cramming in” your final long workouts too close to the event. If you’re planning a long run, schedule your last one 18 to 22 days before the race. Your last long bike should take place 14 to 21 days from race day. Your long swim: Nine to 10 days prior.

3. Maintain “race-like intensity,” but reduce the segment length of repeats. There is a great physiological return on reducing your sub-threshold and threshold training to between 90 second to 3.5 minutes per repeat.

These shorter segments—even with complete recovery—will not leave you whipped after the workout. By resisting the temptation to lengthen the repeats, you’ll maintain the adaptive stress of the session and enhance your day-to-day recovery.

An example set is:  3 x 3.5 min + 3 x 90 sec + 3 x 2.5 min + 3 x 90 sec.  The rest interval between repeats should be long enough to maintain the desired intensity throughout the workout.

4. Notice improved performance. One characteristic of a proper taper is that you’ll begin to feel a bit fresher during and after the workouts, while experiencing a 2 percent to 5 percent increase in performance (either by comparing tangible measurements or Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)).

For example, all of your training sessions might feel easier with a concurrent increase in speed, watts or simultaneous reduction in heart rate.

Simply, you should begin to feel like you’re flowing at less effort. This sensation is a positive affirmation that your training has been effective and you’re on track for a good race.

Additionally, niggling stiffness or sore spots should subside.  Acute soreness means you need to rest more or consider a combination of modalities to expedite the recovery  (see #8 below).

5. Reduce overall training time. A reduction in total training time should start during this taper block. Looking at weekly training volumes, my suggestion is not to reduce the volumes by a fixed percentage.

The problem with this math is that the athletes who train 11 to 14 hours per week (i.e. most age-group athletes with full-time jobs and families) cannot compare themselves with those training 30-35 hours weekly (i.e. professional athletes and elite age group athletes).

The following are my percentage reductions based on your hours per week:

For those logging 11 to 14 hours per week, reduce your volume by about 15 percent.
If you’re typically training 15 to 22 hours, bring the volume down by 20 percent.
If you’re at 23 to 30 hours, then reduce that by 25 percent.
If you’re training more than 30 hours, then reduce that by 30 percent.

These percentage reductions should be reflected in all disciplines, and particularly in your run workouts.  The eccentric load of the run slows the recovery process.  Also be sure to look at your personal strengths and weaknesses and reduce accordingly.

6. Maintain your mobility, stretching and strength training. Eliminate the heavy lifts or explosive plyometrics, and reduce the weight and number of reps, but maintain your typical routine.

Take the exercises to fatigue but never to failure. If you’re on a minimal strength program, continue at least twice per week emphasizing core, gluteal, rotator and back strength, plus maintain joint mobility with foam rolling and stretching.

7. Watch your weight. Your goal is to neither gain weight nor hit your optimum race weight during this time block.

Eat nutrient-dense foods with healthy fats and protein at all meals. Cut back on simple carbohydrates.

Don’t alter your macronutrient balance. This is not the time to adjust your diet strategy! If you’re madly driven to lose weight during the final 10 days, then keep this weight loss to no more 0.5 percent of your body weight.

8. Continue your bodywork. Maintain treatments with your physical therapist, massage therapist, acupuncturist or yoga routines. These are all good, but don’t try something new during this period!

Nine Days and Counting to Race Day

1. Keep to your schedule. Maintain the same regimen and order of your training, both in terms of days per week and disciplines per day.

2. Reduce your “long” distances. Your longest run should fall on day nine or day 8 before the race, and it should be 35 to 50 percent shorter than the last long run at the start of your taper.

For example if you entered the taper with runs at 17 miles, then this long run should now be reduced to 8.5 to 11 miles.

Your long bike should be similarly reduced, and your long swim workout reduced by 15 percent.

3. Maintain intensity. Intensity should be maintained up to three days before the race.

However, I want you to further reduce the set length. Rather than looking at percentages, it’s easier to maintain “race-like “ intensities in all three.

This includes muscular overload, recovery between sets and breathing rates during exertion and recovery.  The key is short sets of between four and 12 minutes, and short segments of 30 to 90 seconds.

The single most important factor in implementing a proper taper—and this includes for Kona— is not to perform only aerobic workouts; it’s vital that you keep up your intensity but dramatically shorten the sets. This is when you’re “priming your engine.”

Lastly, maintain the steady-state aerobic work, particularly on the bike. This allows you to finish these sessions with elevated endorphins, which will help to maintain calmness during this period.

I always had to feel my endorphin buzz or I’d go crazy leading up to the race; I’d workout just enough to take off the edge and allow myself to sleep.

4. Sleep. Get more if you can, and start shifting your bedtime hours or minutes a bit earlier so that the night before the race it’s “lights out” at about 8:30 p.m.

5. Dinner. Begin shifting your dinnertime so that—on the last two nights before the event—you’re comfortable with finishing dinner by 6 p.m. This will give you a 10-hour stomach transit time before your early wake-up call on race morning.

6. Maintain strength training. Right up through Wednesday of race week – several days before the start, keep to your routines. Reduce the weight and just do one or two sets of all exercises. Maintain stretching and your foam rolling routines.

7. Dial down the alcohol. Eat right and reduce your alcohol consumption. If you like a glass of wine or beer with the evening meal, have no more than two per day.

8. Watch your weight. Don’t overeat due to nervousness.

Five to Four Days Before the Race

1. Shorten the workouts, but maintain intensity. Maintain session intensity at the same levels you’ve been training. Breathe hard, make your muscles work and remind yourself of the physical cues that allow you to flow.

A set of 6 x 2.5 minutes on the bike at race pace would be perfect!
A run at 8 x 30 to 45 seconds at your IRONMAN 70.3 pace would be just right.
For your swim, 12 x 75 meters at race pace.
Add a steady-state aerobic block onto the end of each session to complete the workout.

2. Strength training. Conduct your final strength session on either the fifth or fourth day before the race.

3. Bodywork. Relax with a massage, PT or yoga.

4. Verbal cues for the race. Write down the key phrases that allow you to sense the easiness when you’re racing in each discipline. Consider these to be your mantras or cues.

Swim – relaxed arms, wiggle your fingers in the recovery, firm catch.
Bike – perfect circles with a softness yet solid stroke at the bottom. Long through the lower torso and draw the belly in to engage the core. Look at your leg muscles while they’re pumping down the Queen K and see yourself on your last great ride at home.
Run – light but firm hold on ground contact. No wobbling from side to side. Maintain a relaxed face, head, neck, etc.

5. Practice visualization. Visualize a mental roadmap of the course. For all three disciplines, know the turns, the tough spots and how YOU are going to break-up the course.

Day Three and Counting

1. Workouts. You can still work hard in your sessions but keep them very short and allow them to leave you a bit antsy to test yourself.

2. Go Easy. Get out of the mid-day sun. Exercise in the morning. Try to swim on the racecourse, if possible.

3. Don’t Overdo the Hydration! Stay hydrated but DON’T over drink water or electrolyte drinks. Keep your feet elevated, minimize your time at the expo and walking around downtown, no matter how tempting it may be to relieve race nerves.

4. Think through your race strategy. Anticipate the inevitable tough patches you’ll experience during the race, and think about how you’ll work through them.

Accept that you must be spontaneous on the racecourse and visualize how you’ll adapt. There is only one potential barrier: mental surrender. Don’t do it

Day Before the Race

Do all three disciplines and get a light sweat on the bike. Mix up your strokes on the swim. It’s okay to make a handful of efforts at almost race pace, but don’t overdo it! Wake up your legs for 30 seconds and know that tomorrow the snap will be there.

Race Day!

You’ve made it. You’ve put in all the hard work, while still allowing your body to rest and prepare for a hard but worthwhile race day. Good luck!

The post Dave Scott’s Perfect IRONMAN World Championship Taper appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

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