“At the end of an extended training regimen I always seem to be just worn out and I begin to doubt my overall fitness.”
I have felt this way too. Some days I feel fatigued, and I think part of this is also mental, because we’re almost there, and a structured training plan takes a mental toll always. Aside from having better days and worse days, I’m fatigued, yes. I’m racing Williamsburg, so roughly 2 weeks out. One last push!
“Are other folks struggling with the last hard/long workouts also or cruising through them?”
Not cruising at all. If I were cruising through workouts I would think I’m not working hard enough, I expect a healthy dosage of suffering. My runs are not getting faster, they may be getting a bit slower actually, and yes, I think part of that is temperature because if I run somewhat rested and with cooler temperatures (rare occasion lately) the numbers are there. There have been days where the long run on Sunday felt sluggish for sure, the last few 10 milers or so at tempo are a challenge with heat + humidity for me. I get them done, then look at my pace and go meh. I am sort of expecting my run to be underwhelming on race day, I just hope it doesn’t look like an episode of The Walking Dead. So as you can see you’re not alone in this self-doubt game, I have it too!
On the bike I have seen improvements lately, I have been paying attention to this part because I want to have a good “buffer” on race day for the run. Been practicing race pace, I find it helpful to choose whatever that may be for you and practice some longer intervals at that pace, as the training plan suggests. The hardest part about this for me is finding where to practice this. For me this next weekend it’s important to go alone, been riding with the DC Tri Club on Saturdays and it’s all fun but the pace there goes from easy at the beginning to hammerfest if you join the front group. Has been great for training, not so good now to nail down constant pacing.
I don’t think this last couple of weeks will bring any extra fitness for me, but I’m focusing more on race execution. Which can be hard, yesterday I had a practice 10k and it is hard to keep yourself motivated to push as if it were a race. Today I’m tired and enjoying the rest day!
Swimming I am at a nice plateau, haven’t made significant speed improvements in the last 1.5 months or so. Maybe some top end speed that I don’t intend to use on race day, but that’s about it. But I’m happy with where I am given the time put into it.
I totally get how you feel. I’ve had to remind myself to trust the training program when not feeling great. I think tapering will cure all of this and we will reach the start line fit, fresh and eager to race!