I’ve gradually come to enjoy and look forward to tapering more and more since working with Jamie. I think it’s a real sign of how hard you’ve worked during the previous training block and throughout the whole lead up to a race when you are hanging out for the taper, like you’ve done just about everything you can to get in the best shape possible and your mind and body have given all they have.
I’m nearing the end of my first week of this taper and it has been the most relaxed I’ve been a week out from a race. I rarely ever skip sessions on my plan but I must admit that I think I’ve skipped, or not done all that was planned, twice this week already since I have been enjoying resting and getting some more sleep (plus the fact that it has been crazy hot in Brisbane making any run after 8am virtually impossible).
The training block I just finished since my last blog was hard. I totalled almost 370km over the three weeks and about 33 hours of running all up. A small change that Jamie made to my usual weekly schedule for this block was to switch my hills and speed sessions around meaning I would do my hill sessions earlier in the week and my speed sessions later in the week.
I always found my hill sessions harder, both physically and mentally than my speed sessions, mostly due to the fact that they usually involved more reps and were shorter efforts meaning the lactic acid hit pretty quickly. Being earlier in the week meant that I could hit the session with a little less physical and mental fatigue than I usually would on a Thursday or Friday.
The goal for this past block was specificity, matching training to the course at Noosa Ultra-Trail as best as possible. In reality, this meant big kilometres, short and sharp hill repeats and long, flat interval sessions. The last week of this training block was as follows:
Monday – 60min strength session followed by a 35min shakeout run afterwards
Tuesday – 75min hill session including 3x4x200m hill repeats
Wednesday – 90min aerobic Z2 run
Thursday – a rest day before a big three days
Friday – 100min interval session including 2x16min threshold efforts, 2x5min sub-threshold
efforts and 1x400m all-out effort to finish
Saturday – 2-hour aerobic run
Sunday – 4.5-hour trail run
Image: Performance Management Chart from Training Peaks. Bobby's running progress
As I mentioned earlier, I was very happy when I finished my Sunday run and had officially hit my taper. I’m confident that I have done as much as I could have since the new year to set me up for Noosa next week so I’m really excited to see how it goes on the day.
I made a small comment a couple of weeks ago online about how my strength session on a Monday morning at Run Vault HQ has become a non-negotiable each week for me. I wholly believe that the fact that I’ve been able to stay 99% injury-free for the past year (hopefully I don’t jinx myself) can be attributed to being consistent with my strength training and having my running loads throughout each week managed by Jamie and Run Vault Performance. The best thing I’ve learnt is to not be a hero, you can’t run at all if you’re injured!
Now, to Noosa next week. I can honestly say that Jamie and I haven’t discussed a plan or a strategy as of yet, but I don’t think it will be anything too complicated. I have never really gone into previous races with much strategy beyond not going out too hard.
I much prefer to keep them simple and just run to feel. So much can happen over the course of an ultra so trying to stick to a pace or a position just doesn’t work.
But I’ll see if coach Jamie has a masterplan during our weekly catch up on Monday.
So, before the race next weekend (25th March), I have a few more runs to keep the legs ticking over and plenty of carbs to eat! I’ve had a great lead up to Noosa so I’m hoping that everything goes well for me on the day and we’ll see how it all unfolds.
Keep an eye out for a race report coming at the end of the month!