The Hero Taper
by Gordo Byrn
Last month, Marilyn shared different taper strategies that you could use to get yourself race ready. Now that I’m optimizing my life, ahead of my athletic performance, I want to share the strategy that I used for Leadville.
In a nutshell, I took my 3-year-old daughter on the road for seven days and placed race day in the middle of the trip. My wife thought I had lost my mind!
Many athletes use sport and work as a socially-acceptable way to spend time away from the kids.
When I was younger, much of the attraction of big training was a willingness to do things that seemed too difficult for others. In considering race week, I realized that my training volume was going to be way down. I figured that building my relationship with my daughter and being a hero with my wife was a good investment.
The key organizational challenge was finding a sitter for registration and race day. I also requested that the sitter bring her boyfriend -- for childcare backup and to ensure she was having fun during her downtime.
For bonus points, I started the week with a quick trip to visit family. My daughter and I stayed in a unit with a kitchen. We limited our family interaction to one event per day and slept a lot.
Here’s how it broke down:
During my trainer sessions, I sat my daughter behind me with an iPad and headphones. The longest she lasted without talking was 13 minutes! However, I was able to get a quick main set done each workout.
To sum up:
While my sleep wasn’t great for the last two days pre-race, I had a ton of rest banked from earlier in the week. Being with my daughter gave my lack of sleep a purpose.
I had a strong race result and everyone (Wife, Daughter, Dad) is fully supportive of using the same plan next year.
Consider what you want. Ultimately, I want a world-class marriage, kids that are attracted to sport and freedom to attend high-volume training camps.
The capacity to think long-term, and delay gratification, doesn’t come naturally. The Hero Taper makes a clear statement to your family about where your priorities lie and can buy you goodwill for next year.
Gordo is the founder of Endurance Corner. You can find his personal blog here.