Pro Ironman Taper Triathlon Taper For 2013 Ironman Arizona

The Ironman Taper: Keeping the fire going,
while recovering is always a delicate balancing act
In this post I will precisely outline my Ironman triathlon taper for the 2013 Ironman Arizona race. No two tapers are the same for me, but the key to the Ironman Arizona taper was that it also coincided with the end of the season. That meant there would be no races afterwards to worry about. This resulted in an adjustment to my taper to include more work just below, at, or above race pace, than I typically do. It didn't differ in any meaningful way from the taper I outline before the taper began. I have not included warm-up, or cool-down efforts, just mainsets. I always warm-up and cool-down at a very easy pace. In addition, all race pace efforts were also done at a race pace cadence which for me is about 95. Here is the that taper:

Thur (Day 10): Bike 1:38:25, 35.18 miles, 254 NP, 211 AP. Mainset as 2x longer intervals at, or just above race pace, in this case 16 mins at 283 watts, 20 min at 290 watts, then some work above goal race pace, 4:17 at 347 watts. The times were just a function of the limitations of the road I was riding on. Then 4x1 min, at or just above threshold, with 90 seconds recovery between efforts.

Fri (Day 9): 6k swim with 4000 time trial as mainset. Easy 30 mile bike to and from pool, 177 watts, 1:52:43, peak 1 min 264 watts.

Sat (Day 8): 10 mile run, midday in scorching heat and sun on varied terrain at race pace for most of it. Miles were, 7:00, 6:53, 6:43, 6:49, 6:49, 6:25, 6:49, 6:55, 6:44, cool-down.

Sun (Day 7): Swim 5K in the pool with wetsuit on. Mainset 4x(400 @ race pace, 50 kick, 50 easy), 4x400 on 6 with paddles, long interval to allow body to cool down from wetsuit, sunny and warm. Goal was to get familiar with wetsuit swimming again as it had been nearly two months since my last wetsuit swim. Bike to and from pool, 30 miles, 1:56:03, 185 watts. 5x intervals, 1-3 mins in length, at race pace.

Mon (Day 6): Run 7.19 miles, 53:20, mainset 7x 1/2 mile intervals at or slightly faster than race pace (6:23-6:43), with ~1:15 recovery between intervals. 4 strides working up to threshold pace at end of stride.

Tue (Day 5): Commute to PT, 15 miles, mainset 3x10 minutes near race pace with 2:30 rest between, 260 watts, 257 watts, and 269 watts. Commute to pool easy 5 miles, Swim 4K with mainset as 10x200 on the 2:45 in 232, 231, 229, 229, 228, 227, 226, 225, 224, 222. Easy commute home in dark. 35 miles total, 2:11:36.

Wed (Day 4): Run 5.48 miles, 41:08, mainset as 4x 1/2 mile, at, or slightly faster than race pace (6:27 - 6:46) with 90 seconds recovery. 2 strides working toward half-IM pace.

Thur (Day 3): Commute to the pool, 15 miles easy, swim 45 minutes with the mainset as 4x200, 8x100 descending on the 1:30. Wall times were 237, 234, 231, 229, 116, 115, 114, 113, 112, 111, 111, 111, 111. Bike home with 3x 1-2 min intervals at race pace, 10 mins near, but below race pace (252 watts), 5:30 near, but below race pace (243 watts).

Fri (Day 2): Rest Day with travel & pro meeting, visit Atomic and 2XU at the expo.

Sat (Day 1): 20 minute swim in Tempe Town Lake with a few efforts bridging up to other swimmers, then resting for 15-45 seconds, and then bridging quickly to the next group of swimmers and so on. After completing one lap, hopped out, and hopped back in to do another half lap or so. Biked 27 minutes, ~9 miles, with 3x3 at race pace, the rest was easy spin.

Sun (Race Day): 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run


  1. Great race man! Do you swim in yards or meters?

  2. It is nice to see what a pro is doing workout wise, even for tapers. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Happy to share Chad, that is one benefit of being self-coached. I'm free to share exactly what I am doing and happy to do so. Best of luck in your training :)



  3. This is short-course yards and more less to show nature of my descending nature in tapers. I don't flip turn on purpose and I find it gives me an extra challenge when swimming with others where I will lose anywhere from .5 seconds to a full second depending on how skilled they are. For reference Lewis Elliott did 60x100 on the 1:15 coming in around 1:08 as a key session for IMAZ. I would likely be able to do 10, but who came out first?