Ironman Louisville is October 11th…which is now just under four weeks away. Bib numbers have been issued (I’m # 582) and it’s starting to get real! So what am I going to do over the next four weeks to assure that I am as ready as possible for the race?
- Hold off on the taper – While I’ve already knocked out my last long run and long bike ride, I still have two more weeks of tough workouts to go before I start to back off. These next two weeks will consist of the same high-intensity interval type workouts that I’ve done over the last 32 weeks. Then with two weeks to go, I will start to cut back on the length of each workout, while still maintaining intensity. Then the week before the race will be a time for my body to rest and recover. Starting a taper too early is just as damaging as starting one too late! If you train in groups, be careful not to let someone else dictate your pace or distance over the next few weeks. Train how you need to, not how someone else thinks you should.
- Listen to my body – I’m going to stick with the active recovery techniques that have allowed me to journey through another race season injury free. Time with the foam roller and massage stick will continue, as will adequate warm-ups and cool-downs with each workout. If I feel tired, I will make it a point to try and sneak in an extra 30-45 minutes of sleep each night over the next few weeks. I will drink my Chinese herbal tea and will be hyper-sensitive to any weird pains I have and address them accordingly.
- Stay mentally strong– Social media is already starting to ramp up with Ironman chatter. If you are not careful, you can become consumed with the race over the next few weeks. I made the mistake of tracking a friend of mine that was racing Ironman Wisconsin on Sunday and I found my mind racing with thoughts of my race as I tried to go to sleep that night. Race week will be full of nervous preparation and lost sleep, don’t let it start this far out. I may even remove myself from the 2015 Ironman Louisville Facebook Group for the next three weeks just to keep my mind focused on things OTHER than the race. Family life and work will continue, and must take priority in my thoughts.
- Watch what I eat – I’m already pretty diligent about my diet, but over the next four weeks, I need to be very careful about what I eat. The last thing I need at this point is to eat something that causes stomach or GI distress and leaves me unable to train or depleted in any way. I will also remove my occasional caffeine and sugar sources from my diet. Adding in some foods that are naturally anti-inflammatory is also a good idea. So I’ll eat some extra blueberries, spinach, broccoli, and ask my wonderful chef/wife to include some dishes with garlic and ginger as well. I want to be burning as clean of a fuel as possible leading up to the race…so no mystery meat or new foods for me! I will also continue to take a Digestive Enzyme supplement and take a swig or two of Apple Cider Vinegar every night to help promote digestion.
- Study the athlete guide – I have downloaded and printed the 2015 IMLOU Athlete Guide and will start reading through it over the next few days. Even though this is my third time participating in this race, reading the guide will easy my mind and help remove any questions that I may have about how the race will go and what has changed this year. There are lots of rumors online about changes, so instead of wondering what is true and what is not, I will go straight to the source. Keep in mind they they have updated this twice now since it was first published, so check back prior to race day to get the latest version.
- Stay hydrated – I drink lots of water on a normal basis, but since I don’t want to go in to race day in even a slightly dehydrated state, I will make sure to always have a water bottle with me over the next few weeks. I don’t plan on using salt tablets or electrolyte pills on race day, so in the week leading up to the race, I will make sure to top off my stores by adding a little sea salt to my food and drinking some extra coconut water.
- Change my batteries – I rely on my heart rate monitor and bike power meter heavily in a race as long as Ironman. The day before IMLOU 2011, as dropped my bike off in transition, I noticed that my bike computer was dead. This left me scrambling on race morning to switch out the battery, reset all of the settings and verify that it was working. This was an added stress that I didn’t need on race day! So even if they appear to be working fine, I will go ahead an put new batteries in all of my devices in the next few days. This will give me time to make sure that they are working properly and will be one less thing I have to worry about.
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