OK--we are one week out from IM Austria. Just checked out Macca's lead at IM Germany and thinking Ironmanlive will be displaying our progress at this time next week.
I'm into my taper now. This is a much less pronounced taper than the 17-18 day taper I did for IMFL last year. This week I'll actually do about 14 hours and I'll add another 6-7 before the race in the week ahead. I think this is the correct approach because I think I "over-tapered" for IMFL and also because this is really a training activity for me.
Out of respect for the IM distance, i'm treating this as a "B" race but it really needs to be thought off as a key long brick on my road to IM Canada on 8/24. Ideally, I'll just have 1 off week post IMA and then be able to get three pretty good weeks in before my IMC taper (IMC is 6 weeks after IMC). As a result, my race strategy is as follows:
Swim: I'm going to go as hard as I can. My 4 prior IM swim times have been 77 (IMFL04), 85 (IMWA05), 79 (IMWI06), and 66 (IMFL07). I don't expect to be able to repeat my PR of 66 minutes but I definitely expect to post my second fastest IM swim time. 70 minutes or so would be just fine for this race and if I did that then I think I would be well positioned for a 65-70 minute swim at IMC. Two days ago I swam 1.5 miles in the open water right on a 69 minute pace and it felt pretty easy so hopefully things will go well next week.
Bike: This is where my biggest change in emphasis will occur. Normally I'd plan to go as close to 225 watts as I could for an IM bike. The IMA course is pretty tough with a little over 5100 feet of climbing in it's two laps. This is a very difficult bike ride and at 225 watts my guess is that I would do closer to a 5:30-5:40. But my plan is to ride between 180-200 watts which is what I do frequently in my long training rides. this will probably yield more like a 5:50-6:00 hour ride. I want to get off the bike feeling fairly fresh. I don't want to push at all in this ride. Normally I'd expect a HR of around 152bpm for AN IM ride but I want this ride to be down around 140bpm or even lower--this is a HR 1 or low HR 2 ride for me. It will be tough on my ego to let weaker riders blow past me but that is my strategy and I'll stick to it.
Run: Hopefully as a result of the bike strategy I can actually have a decent IM run. My first objective is to run as easily and smoothly as I can. I won't push it during this run and just take whatever pace my body naturally falls into. It would be great if this is actually lower than my current IM run PR (4:30) but it will be what it has to be. I'll mix running and walking if I have to as the prime objective is to treat this as a training brick. of-course, with my body, the weather will have a huge impact on what my time ends up being. The latest forecast is for a high of 83 degrees which is a little high for my tastes but of-course 7 days out this can change a lot.
So that would yield something like a 12 hour IM which would be just great. However, given my focus I'll be content with something quite a bit slower as well.....