It's taper week! That means all the heavy training, the weeks of work are O-V-E-R, over. This week is about recovery — the muscles repair and grow strong. By Saturday, the body should be rested, powerful, and ready to POW! SWIM! BIKE! RUN!

But that doesn't mean no training is going on this week.

This week is about restful movement, no more than a little every day — taking a walk, gliding slowly up and down the pool, cycling a few blocks to doublecheck and tweak the tightness on the power grips straps.

This week is about transition practice: how to change from a swimmer to a cyclist, then from a cyclist to a runner. Again, as a new triathlete and someone who thought this was impossible a year ago, am I really concerned about my transition speed? No, not really. But if I feel clumsy and unprepared in transition, I'll be distracted, which isn't fun. This week is about maximizing the fun.

This week is about sleep and nutrition and hydration. Treating my body like a priceless piece of machinery that has been entrusted to me. That's part of training, too.

This week is about making the final, tiniest tweaks to equipment. That doesn't mean trying out new bike shoes! It means putting my bike up on the stand, cleaning the frame, cleaning the rims, checking the tires, the bottle cage bolts, what have you.

This week is about preparation: about packing the bag, making sure race day food is in the house, making sure clothes are clean and ready to go, so the day before, I don't have to think about anything or worry about last minute stuff. So Saturday, all I have to do is wake up, eat something, and get in the car.

Taper week isn't just about physically tapering. It's about mentally tapering so that by Saturday the mind is in a relaxed, ready state. It's about reducing the odds that I'll feel unprepared, worried, or stressed on Saturday.

You only get one First Triathlon. Here's hoping that every moment of it is crystal clear, fully lived, and fully enjoyed!