Very Much Welcoming Taper Time

This time last year I had just completed my last long run of 20+ miles before Bournemouth marathon. I was a bit tired after that but I felt good all the way to the end and was more than ready to just carry on and complete the race itself there and then.

Today I completed my last long training session before the New Forest Middle Distance Triathlon in two weeks time. It consisted of a 62 mile bike ride (my longest bike to date) followed by a 3 mile run. The last 15 miles of the bike hurt and I was definitely ready to get off and run.

My legs were feeling heavy, I was tired and this in turn made me very grumpy. I snapped at one of my biggest mentors through all this, for which I did apologise, but thankfully he knows me well enough (almost too well sometimes) to know to just leave me to it and I’ll work my way out of it.

All of those aches and feelings disappeared as soon as I was off the bike and into the run to soon be replaced with a set of different ones. I felt reassuringly fresh energy wise but my calves were burning. I stopped about three times to stretch and loosen them off and after about two miles they settled but then I wasn’t able to feel my feet!

I can say with some certainty that this is the hardest training I have ever done. I have enjoyed (almost) every minute of it but boy it has been tough both physically and mentally. I never once doubted my ability to complete a marathon but this is a whole different ball game. I have had more than a few wobbles along the way but I’ve done it.

I hated tapering for the marathon, I just wanted to get on and do the race. Right now I feel I could sleep for the next two weeks and still be tired! It has been a huge learning curve from having never ridden a bike properly less than a year ago to doing my first sprint triathlon four months ago and now about to tackle a half-iron distance event.

Would I recommend this approach? Depends on the person. It is probably not the most common way of becoming an established triathlete, most people do a few sprints, move to (or even stay at) the Olympic distance and then maybe consider the jump to middle distance a year or two later.

My theory was that I was already covering the Olympic distance in training by the time I had done the Sprint. Yes, I could have worked on improving my time and confidence at these distances but I know I am happiest going long. A 15-mile run feels short to me now so I knew doing a triathlon that would in total take just over the time to run this mileage wouldn’t challenge me.

If I am honest it has been much harder than I had expected it to be and I know come race day I am going to be almost uncontrollable with nerves but I also know this will just make the achievement of completing it even more rewarding.

My next post will be about the race itself but in the meantime I know I owe the majority of what I have achieved so far to two amazing people. Yes, I know I’ve done the work but it has been so much easier with their support. They know who they are, as do probably most of the people who will read this. They can be the most irritating two individuals (imagine a couple of older brothers) but they have always known how to pick me up when things haven’t been going too well and how to bring me back to reality when I get too carried away. They have questioned my training plans, often annoyingly with a better outcome, because they understand my ability and capability at any given time.

This kind of support is priceless when doing this kind of training and I really wouldn’t be ready for this event if it wasn’t for them. Thanks guys 😊

The countdown now begins. All the hard work is done, it’s just a case of recovering enough and staying injury free to get to the start line confident that I will do all my hard work justice and, above all, enjoy it.