Middle distance, anaerobic threshold, or 5k paced intervals tend to get progressively harder the longer the reps are. Mentally though, the session that is right on (or rather just above) a round number target is always the hardest. Combine the physically hardest and mentally hardest of middle distance interval sessions for me and you get the 4 x 2k.
Throughout the 5k training phase of PP08 (and PP07 last year) we went in a progression from 1350m to 1800m reps, but never made the leap to 2k reps. Why? Because they are just too tough. Well over 6minutes a rep, and for me right above the barrier of 1:40 pace. As a team, the MAD team used this session a few years ago as selection for a team to break the men’s small team marathon record (as the record is done in 2k reps). Doing the session repeatedly trying to get into the team for that record attempt I managed to get down to a 1:40.3 average, but breaking 1:40 for all 4 reps just wouldn’t come. (Being in such a strong rowing team this wasn’t in the top 4, so I didn’t get to row in the men’s marathon team, and had to row a 50k relay instead. At least we set the world record for that!)
So today for the first time in perhaps two years it was time to try to get that illusive target on the 4 x 2k / 4min rest.
4 x 2k / 4min rest:
6:39.7 / 1:39.9 / 30
6:39.8 / 1:39.9 / 30
6:39.8 / 1:39.9 / 30
6:45.4 / 1:41.3 / 30
Totals = 22:44.7 / 1:40.2 / 30 / 8000m
Nearly, but not quite. I’m very happy with the way I rowed the session though. I knew at the half way point of rep 3 that there was little chance I was going to get the final rep on target. In weaker moments that realisation would have been enough to push harder for the next 1k, and call it quits at 3 reps. But you can never quite be sure how much you really have left for that final rep, and the training effect would be better getting the final rep done as well as possible.
I held target only for 500m of the final rep, then it was a struggle to hold onto the pace as much as possible for the remainder. Oh so close, yet oh so far. Still a very good session though.