23 In ironman wisconsin/ triathlon

feel, focus and… taper!

At Ironman Canada last August, coach gave me strict instructions to swim sans watch. I was a bit reluctant – because data or it didn’t happen! – but in the end, left my 910 in transition. Turns out, it was some of the best race day advice (heck, it’s some of the best training advice). There were no mid-stroke peeks at my pace, no fretting over my overall time. Just complete in-the-moment swim bliss, feeling each stroke and my body as I glided through clean, crisp Alta Lake. When I exited the water, I ran by the clock, completely oblivious; I was midway through the run before I knew my swim time.

Ironman Canada also taught me the importance of knowing what it feels like to bike mountains. Though power was fairly new to me, my Quarq failed on race day, so I went by what I’d always done on the bike: How it felt. The rhythm of each pedal stroke while climbing the Sea-to-Sky Highway and bombing back down. The pure joy of just riding my bike; the spectacular scenery was a bonus. 


As triathletes, we get so caught up in all the data – and, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love seeing my average watts while biking or knowing that I nailed 25 100s in the pool. But, in the midst of all that data – the watts, the heart rate, the pace per meter or mile – we forget the most fundamental aspect of swimbikerun: How it feels. 

This entire Ironman Wisconsin training cycle, aside from focusing on all the watts and the run pace – because I can’t be completely oblivious! – I’ve been listening to my body closely and checking in… how does my previously stress fractured heel feel? where’s my HR? my notoriously tight right hip and hammie? how does that gear feel up this hill (OMG… the IMWI hills… they’re punchy)? what do 8-minute miles feel like? 9:00? bilateral breathing?


And, yesterday, during the last big training day before taper, one more little reminder to remember how it feels. My Quarq malfunctioned an hour into the ride (the magnet fell out after I dropped my chain), rendering me powerless. A few pedal mashing miles later, I caught up to Nick, who reassured me the hay was in the barn and reminded me that I was on my bike… smile. After that, I thoroughly enjoyed the hot and humid ride – but, fingers crossed my Quarq works on race day (it better!).

Speaking of… just TWO WEEKS out! Not quite sure how that happened, but overall, I feel good and fit – thank you, body! – and couldn’t be more excited to race. 

So, bring on taper! It’s time to soak up the months of training, rest a lot (7a sleep-ins!), quiet the mind and focus


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    08/25/2014 at 2:29 pm

    TWO WEEKS!!! It’s coming & YOU ARE READY!!! :-)

  • Reply
    08/25/2014 at 2:37 pm

    I’m SO excited for you!

  • Reply
    08/25/2014 at 2:50 pm

    So exciting! You sound like you’re in a great frame of mind for race day. Enjoy the extra sleep ’til then – will be rooting for ya!!

  • Reply
    Danielle @ I Eat Therefore I Run
    08/25/2014 at 2:59 pm

    Great post Erin! And great message: be in the moment, zone in on the task at hand. Can’t wait for your triathlon, I’m so excited for you!

  • Reply
    08/25/2014 at 5:57 pm

    So exciting – so soon!! I loved running into you last Friday as we both were race training!!

  • Reply
    08/25/2014 at 6:16 pm

    My quarq failed at MOO in 2012, it was super cold out that night and who knows, so i hear ya:) best of all is that you know how it feels!!! You are going to have a great day. I really know you are ready and i am not just saying that!!! Enjoy the down time!!! and glad Nick is there to keep you calm, it helps!

  • Reply
    08/25/2014 at 7:17 pm

    Congrats on reaching the taper!! I love going off of feel for the body and really focusing on how everything feels while training, racing, resting, etc. I can’t wait to see you in 2 short weeks :)

  • Reply
    08/25/2014 at 10:18 pm

    The count down is on!! Happy taper! See you soon!!

  • Reply
    Leslie @ TriathleteTreats
    08/25/2014 at 11:03 pm

    YES!!!! You are ready!!! Focus is a great key word!! Keep it light the next 2 weeks! It is all about soaking up the training that you have been doing for 8 months!! Sleep and eat well!! Enjoy taper!!

  • Reply
    08/26/2014 at 9:32 am

    I love the emphasis on focus and also on ‘feel’ – and being aware of what’s going on with your body. Enjoy the taper and get lots of rest these next two weeks!

  • Reply
    08/26/2014 at 10:56 pm

    Enjoy the taper! Super excited for you and IMWI – can’t wait to follow you on race day!

  • Reply
    08/27/2014 at 6:48 am

    Yay! So excited for you!

  • Reply
    Change of Pace
    08/28/2014 at 11:26 am

    Yay taper after such a long, hard period of training!
    i think going without data is so beneficial sometimes. It really gets you out of your head. You know your body, you’ve put in the hours, and it knows what to do!
    Since I’m training just for fun, I haven’t used my Garmin to run in basically a year (with the exception of holidays- I like to see where I ran later!), and I have nothing on my bike other than my regular watch. My battery died on my tacx trainer so I have zero data, and I haven’t replaced it. It’s been liberating!
    Cannot wait until your race, lady :)

  • Reply
    08/30/2014 at 7:03 pm

    I can’t wait to see what you do next weekend…because I know you are going to kill it!!

  • Reply
    Kristen @ Glitter and Dust
    08/30/2014 at 7:55 pm

    Erin, I honestly could not agree with you more about going at a swim-bike-run pace that feels “good” and is not based solely on numbers. When I did my first half IM I was obsessed with following the plan and sticking to my numbers, for good reason. When I did my last half IM, I just gave it all I could and went by how I felt (which worked wonders for me). I know data is important and gives us an objective idea of where we are at, but feel is important too. I am SO excited for your Ironman. I have a feeling you are going to rise to the top and really shine out there on the course. You have been so supportive and encouraging in others’ journeys, including mine. I can’t wait to cheer you on come race day! ☺

  • Reply
    Luv What You Do
    09/01/2014 at 8:25 pm

    Beautiful post!
    I always try to swim bike run ‘naked’ every few weeks to remind myself about the feeling instead of relaying on my watch dictate how I fee about my workout. Enjoy your taper!

  • Reply
    09/04/2014 at 10:22 am

    You are so right! I def get caught up in the pace/speed/data craziness. Good post. I hope you are enjoying taper! I’ve got a couple more weeks until mine. I’m counting down the days. Best of luck at IMWI!

  • Reply
    09/04/2014 at 8:41 pm

    Wow, it’s almost time. You don’t need it but best of luck anyway.

  • Reply
    09/05/2014 at 6:06 am

    You are going to kill it! So excited for you :)

  • Reply
    Sara Hoffman
    09/05/2014 at 5:57 pm

    You are going to rock your IM!! Good luck this weekend!!

  • Reply
    Kristin (@SweatCourage)
    09/06/2014 at 1:46 pm

    You are so ready Erin!!! Good luck out there, you know what to do:)

  • Reply
    More Support
    09/13/2014 at 5:08 pm

    More Support

    feel, focus and… taper! – sweet sweat life

  • Reply
    infographic // ironman wisconsin training stats - sweet sweat life
    03/26/2015 at 3:52 pm

    […] getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, a couple TTs, one 70.3, drinking all the Osmo, feel + focus, a couple Wisco training weekends, and a happy ass thanks to Coeur Sports’ magical […]

  • your thoughts…

    %d bloggers like this: