The week leading up to Burning River was the second and final week of my taper, and it was really the first time that I have done the taper as prescribed by my training log (mostly…). I can handle a high volume of training, so I think the taper always hits me harder than it might if I didn’t err on the side of high-mileage training. With my tri-ultra training combination this cycle (I did a lot of cross-training and only ran 3-4 days per week), I didn’t think the training drop-off would be as steep, but I still just did a two-week taper to maintain my sanity. Any more than two weeks, and I start to lose fitness. The downside of a two week taper is that the distance drops significantly (50% in week one and 75% in week two), which is a recipe for feeling heavy, sluggish, and blah. I keep the intensity high, which helps with the taper ughs a bit and keeps my metabolism going, but I still go into race day feeling a bit like a hippo.
I also tried something different with my fueling this time. I usually subscribe to the idea that carb loading before an ultra is mostly useless, since the races will clearly burn through any stored carbs long before the race is done. This time, I decided to eat two very large meals on Friday (the second right before bed) instead of breakfast before the race, because I had to wake up at two AM. This meant I was uncomfortably full Friday and even going into the race Saturday AM. You’ll have to wait for the race recap to hear how that worked out.
Compounding the normal pre-race stress and taper fun, I also started a new job on Monday. Super exciting and I love my job, but that is a lot of stress too, which is not always the best way to spend the week before a big race. Since I am teaching, I spend a lot of time on my feet, another thing that is not advisable before a race. Basically, there were more than a few things that were less than ideal for a taper week (plus trying something new), so I was little worried about how it all would turn out.
In retrospect, however, I think it was fine. I always worry way more than I need to before a race. And it usually turns out just fine.
Monday: 6 miles, 8:34 pace.
Wednesday: 6 miles, 9:11 pace
Thursday: Rest (start drive to Ohio)
Friday: 4 miles, 9:30 pace
Saturday-Sunday: Burning River!
Total: 116 miles (give or take a few)
Recap coming soon!
This week, I have big plans to do exactly nothing. I might make it to the pool, but most likely will stick to yoga and walking. I couldn’t do more than that even if I wanted to.