Saving Time During Taper Time

70.3 tapering doesn’t drive me nuts the way marathon tapering does for a few of reasons. First of all, the taper is two weeks instead of three. I think I’d actually do better with a two week taper for the marathon as well, but I’d have to train for another one to prove that, and I’m not that interested in it right now. Ouch.

Also, the taper doesn’t provide much rest for the training program I’ve been using. The workouts let up a little, but not that much until the second week. It’s just a slight drop off for the first week, and I’m so eager to be lazy at this point that it doesn’t feel like enough. I can’t wait until next week when the real drop off happens. At least for the first couple of days anyway, then I’ll start freaking out and thinking my fitness is going to disappear.

The biggest sanity saving factor for triathlon tapers is that you can use up all that extra energy practicing transitions and freaking out over how you are going to pack. Inevitably, this leads to searching the internet, reading blogs, and watching people give transition advice on YouTube.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far: 90% of the people on YouTube have no idea what the hell they are talking about and pack way too much crap.

I saw one video that was touting a 30 second transition. Now, after the guy got his wetsuit off (that doesn’t count for transition time?) there was 34 seconds of edited video showing him transitioning. He didn’t have his shoes in his pedals and spent most of his time on that. I do give them props for using music that sounds like it’s from “The A Team” or “C.H.I.P.S.” though.

And the bags people pack are amazing. I’ll admit to packing two pair of goggles, but that’s about where my excess packing stops. And I eat a lot during one of these events, but I get as much of that as I can from the aid stations. I’ve even cut back on the things I packed for my last race. Not bringing my own post-race beverages this time. No HRM either.

That’s right homie…I’m going for broke on the bike. I’ve decided on a minimum speed I need to hit my time goal, and I’m going to maintain it. If I bonk the run because of it, so be it. Bike is my best opportunity to meet my goal.

Speaking of the bike–a bento box with a couple of GUs, one sports drink bottle and one water bottle are all I bring with me on the bike, and the water is mostly used for, ahem, “flushing”. I’ve seen bikes with gallons of liquid on them and GUs taped all over the frame. I do have one other bottle on my bike, but that’s packed with a spare tube, tire change tools, and CO2.

I plan on picking up a couple of minutes off my last race just by practicing transitions.

T1 should be pretty fast, it’s basically three actions.

  1. Put on helmet
  2. Fasten race belt.
  3. Unrack bike

I’ll be wiping my feet while I’m doing these and will use my water bottle to clean any remaining sand off my feet out on the course before putting them in my shoes. There’s no problem having enough food and liquid to get to the first aid station at 18 miles.

T2 will be take a little longer–six actions, and I’m wearing socks for the run.

  1. Rack bike
  2. Sit down
  3. Remove helmet (while wiping feet)
  4. Put on socks
  5. Put on shoes
  6. Grab visor while standing up

The biggest hiccups I’ve had in my practice transitions so far have been not leaving my shoes wide open enough (on bike and run) to get my feet into them easily.

And I won’t leave you hanging. Here are two videos that are actually helpful from Dave Scott, who knows a little bit about going fast.




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