Earlier this spring we selected three up-and-coming athletes to support this year through our Feed the Dream sponsorship program. Ted Treise, a burgeoning age group triathlete from Minnesota, is here to share some of his tricks for tapering - something he self-deprecatingly says he's no good at, but his recent 6th place overall finish at Eagleman 70.3 suggests otherwise...
Take it away, Ted!
If I were to do a self-assessed pros & cons list of my tri skills, tapering would lead the cons column in bold, a font size or two bigger, and underlined. I hate the taper. It’s a perfect storm for the monkey mind to dart into 10,000 different directions fueled by the extra energy that comes with reduced training stress and the excitement/ pre-race jitters. Examples of typical monkey mind paths include but are not limited to:
Needing ABC super-part for my bike yesterday.
Self-diagnosis of chronic disease via WebMD.
Self-diagnosis of newly torn XYZ injury.
New diet trend to start following yesterday.
Radical adjustment of bike fit.
(Insert irrational action here)…
It’s a long, awesome, adventure to race day, but here is an insight into my war chest when battling the beast that is tapering.
Ted's Taper Tricks
Share a meal/drink with a non-tri dork. The incoming weekend is bound to be filled with talk about watts, nutrition, split paces, tire psi, etc…. I live and bleed triathlon but breaking up the tri talk with some conversation diversity always fills the soul for me.
Get a massage. Ever watch a pro’s lead up video to a big event? Aside from a segment of Pat Lemieux making oatmeal for the Nth time , they almost always include a trip to the physio, seen here here here, & here (Will find more links to embed). I found getting a quick easy massage not only gives the body a chance to loosen, but allows the mind to reset and get ready for the big day.
Read like a monster. Nothing settles the triathlon monkey mind more for me than turning some pages. Double #LifePoints if it’s a smelly used book. Currently, I am enjoying Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. If non-fiction not your speed, Read The Hobbit by JR Token, not only is it a quick read, but you can also be that person at the party who goes “I cannot believe they made 3 movies off such a short book” Great insight, Maltin J
Clean the steed. I don’t care if I’m popping a kickstand in transition next to the rack or riding a bike that’s hot off the 3D press; whatever I am racing on will be spotless. My bike will most likely be improperly cleaned with various under-the-sink household products (Windex, Clorox Wips, etc..) , but hey having a clean bike equal’s free speed.
Write something. One tool I’ve found helpful in the last year for life and triathlon is journaling. For me, this daily writing might be as short as a post-it note or as long as a novel; whatever I’m feeling that morning. I find it focuses the mind by reflecting on what has gone great, what could improve, and how I can apply what I learned for the future. Some days I need a little nudge to get the writing vibes going which usually resulting in using a Moral Letter to Lucilious by Seneca as a prompt.
Maybe your shtick is not writing or borrowing your mom’s cleaning products, but for me getting out and doing something I love other than triathlon is what keeps life fun. For you that non-tri thing could be anything like painting, playing with model trains, or learning to play Free Bird on guitar. Whatever it is, I hope you enjoy it. Come race morning you’ll be refreshed and ready to kill it. Pat probably didn’t make you oatmeal on race morning, but your legs will be massaged, bike will be clean, and you’ll know that Frodo never made an appearance in The Hobbit. (OPS!)
Thanks for your support and cleaning products, mom!