I didn’t mention it in my blog before as I didn’t want to make pre race excuses, or let Jason or Graham know I might not be as fast as I should, but I’ve had a bit of a cold all week. When I did the 4mins early in the week, and the day I did the 4 x 500 with Andy I really felt them in my lungs. I felt better today, but not perfect, so just thought I’d go with the race plan and see how it felt.
Plan was 5 or 6 hard strokes then settle to 1:33′s pulling it down at the end hopefully for a sub 1:32 average and a pb. This was always going to be a tough ask after “only” doing 1:31.9 for the 4mins.
Start went well, settled to 1:32′s and 1:33′s, and at a low for me spm of 32/33. I tried very hard to convince myself it was a personal TT not a race, and I got in that frame of mind which really helped. The slowest the average got to I think was 1:32.8, which was as slow as I wanted to allow myself (as I’d hit 1:32.4 at one point in the 4mins, so allowed 0.5 leeway from that due to the extra distance). Once I hit that I started pulling 1:32′s again, and really wanted to get the average under 1:32.5 (6:10 pace) as a marker before BIRC.
Final time was 4:57.2 / 1:32.4 and probably 33spm average (might only be 32).
Considering the way I’ve felt this week really happy with the time, and the way it felt. The consistency of pace through the row was probably the best I’ve done for a mile or 2k as well, as my pb for the mile (1:32.0, I think 4:56.2 ish) came off a big sprint to the finish, as did my 2k pb.
Key sessions for mental prep:
A few sessions in the past couple of weeks have been crucial to build up the mental strength to go at this pace for the mile. In reality had I rowed for the win yesterday, which would have required only a 1:34.8 pace, it would have hurt just about as much, without being happy with the time. So I have built from doing the half mile reps session 2 weeks ago. The first 3 reps of that were all at 1:32.0 pace, and were 2min28 each (plus a few tenths). That session alone gave me the confidence for the 4mins at the beginning of the week. No matter how I felt physically, and how much my brain tried to tell me to slow down, I knew that I could get to 2min28 at pace and not be at maximal effort, because I’d done that plus two more after a short break the week before. Once I’d got 2:28 into the piece there was only 1:32 to go, and despite the average pace slipping off to 1:32.4 I knew I could row that last 90seconds harder and get the 1:31.9 I wanted.
The mile then was another 304m on from that 1305m effort for 4mins. As I’d hit 1:31.9 for the 4mins, with that 1:32.4 slowest average, I knew that anything a little slower than that at the 4min point had to leave enough in reserve for the final 300m, again no matter what my brain was telling me. I didn’t even think about the last minute, I just thought about getting through the first 4mins within half a second of the pace I’d done earlier in the week, which I did with 1:32.8 at a minute to go. I can always row the last minute, so it was ok from there to push the pace and get the 1:32.4 average at the end. Not quite the pb I hoped for, but still under 6:10 pace for 2k, with another 391m to go. With 8 weeks or so to BIRC, and plenty of physical and mental prep left to do, the key is going to be to do the right sessions again in the final 2 weeks before BIRC to give me these mental points along the way to 2000m that I know I can get through.