There are some real challenges with tapering. First--it messes with your mind not to be training as you've done for so long. I've been freaking out thinking about how I didn't train right for this or that. I want to squeeze in that last break through workout that'll magically cover what I forgot. As an endurance athlete, you, strangely, derive a bit of self-worth from how much you flog yourself during training (at least I do). But, if you ease up on the throttle, you start to worry you're losing it. It's such a strange mental struggle. Logically, I know I'm doing the right thing by letting my body recover, but my programming isn't on the same page. I really go stir crazy if I don't put in a long ride over a couple of weeks. It eats me up.
Second--my weight has been shooting up. I still eat like I'm full on training, but I'm not. So, I've been packing in the pounds. I can already see some of you rolling your eyes--"A little more weight will do him some good." I'm not so much a weight freak like some of my other collegues. But, here's were the issue comes into play. A little more weight during a 26 mile run can wreak havoc on an already injured leg, or be the source of a new injury. More weight is actully welcome on the swim; it adds a degree of buyancy. I'm indifferent to more weight on the bike--that is if the course is flat, which IMAZ is relatively flat. But, additional weight on the run can be a deal breaker. There's a bit of a chain reaction that takes place during such an event as an IronMan. The swim doesn't have too much affect other than initiating a bit of fatigue. The 100 mile bike ride is where the chain reaction really begins. Long miles, pushing a big gear, lots of fatigue all add up to a slightly modified running gait. Throw in a bit of additional weight on an altered gait, and you got an injury waiting to happen.
Sadly, I love to eat! Last night my wife made steak with a special cheese sauce pasta. Gosh, it was so good! I ate alot. Even after I was done, I kept eating. I knew I should stop, but the food was so good. After dinner a found myself on the couch with my belt and button undone watching TV. Thank goodness there wasn't any chocolate cake around, I would have eaten that too! At work I find myself eating all day. I have cut out the Coke and chocolate. I've made an effort to eat more fruit. But I love to eat! It's no fair.