The Cross Team Challenge for December takes a bit of prior planning due to the rules. The basic session format is fairly simple – 10 x 300m / 2min rest, however it comes with a clever rule that each rep must be at least 10 watts greater power than the previous rep otherwise you get a 2.5second penalty on the overall time. Therefore there is a choice between picking the right starting pace such that you can get the 10 watt+ increases in power each rep and incur no penalties, or to plan on “tactical penalties” by deliberately stepping back the pace once or more during the 10 reps.
I planned to do this session once, and only once, and so wanted to think carefully about the best tactics prior to doing it. The number 1 tactic was to not take any penalties you don’t mean to take, and so know exactly how much you need to step up by on each rep. My plan was then to try to negative split through all 10 reps, but reserving the option of taking a penalty at one point if I knew that the constant negative split could not be held. I picked a starting pace of 1:30.0 just because it is a nice round number.
My pre row calculations showed me that I needed to step up the pace by 0.7seconds on the first 2 reps, and 0.6 thereafter to maintain the 10watt increases in power – I found it much simpler to work this out before rather than try to row the session on the unfamiliar watts reading. The session was executed like this:
1:30.0 / 36 / 480watts
1:29.3 / 35 / 491w
1:28.6 / 35 / 502w
1:28.0 / 38 / 514w
1:27.3 / 38 / 525w
1:26.5 / 38 / 541w
1:29.3 / 37 / 491w (+2.5 penalty)
1:28.5 / 37 / 505w
1:27.8 / 37 / 517w
1:26.6 / 39 / 538w
Total = 8:49.2 / 1:28.2 / 37
CTC time = 8:49.2 + 2.5sec penalty = 8:51.7
So just the one penalty on rep 7 when it became apparent that I would not be able to keep the increases in pace right to the end. Unfortunately I came to this realisation about 150m into rep 7 with an average pace at 1:25.7 or so, but that did allow me a relative cruise for the rest of that rep.
It is a strange session overall. My legs were pretty fried by the end (I rated quite low for this type of session, for me), but CV wise it’s not overly tough with the generous rest periods. An interesting exercise, and good to get some fast paced work in as a reintroduction to sub 2k paced work. Unfortunately the one core session I have left to complete this week on the B2B plan is an 8 x 500m….