Bristol IRC 2013
Posted by thepeteplan on October 20, 2013
The final week of training last week before my first race of the season went well. The week began with a repeat of the 4 x 800m session I’d lt done in week 2 of this phase of training. Now in week 5 I expected to make a reasonable improvement on the paces I’d achieved 5 weeks before, and it went right on plan.
4 x 800m / 3:30 rest:
2:34.0 / 1:36.2 / 34
2:33.9 / 1:36.1 / 33
2:33.4 / 1:35.8 / 33
2:32.0 / 1:35.0 / 34
3200m = 10:13.4 / 1:35.8 / 33
Wednesday was then billed as the final harder metres before the race, and planned as a 4 x 1250m / 4min rest session. Unfortunately time constraints that evening meant I had to cut the session short by 1 rep, so went for a higher quality third rep to compensate.
3 x 1250m / 4min rest:
4:18.3 / 1:43.3 / 29
4:17.7 / 1:43.0 / 30
4:06.3 / 1:38.5 / 32
3750m = 12:42.3 / 1:41.6 / 30
I did do a couple of steady rows around these, on the Tuesday and Saturday, but I tend not to blog these as they aren’t that interesting. For completeness I will try to at least include the bare details of even the steady sessions from here to BIRC, even if only for my own record. Thursday and Friday were then complete rest days from the erg before race day on Saturday.
Race 1: 2k – 1145am:
My first race was scheduled for 1145am. I therefore wanted to start my warm up at 1120am to allow for 15 minutes of warm up completing 10mins before race start time. The venue had an equal number of warm up machines to race machines, but that was as far as it went. Of the 8 or so warm up machines only one or two appeared to have working monitors, and one of those had a maximum drag of 103 at damper level 10. So the warm up had to simply be 15 or so minutes with no real idea of what drag I was rowing on, what pace I was doing, or what stroke rate I was doing it at. But I warmed up, did a few bursts at a faster unknown pace, at a higher unknown stroke rate, and was sweating nicely 10mins before race start.
Onto the race machine then, and I adjusted the footplates and set the drag (to 130) and did a few strokes to get used to the machine. My pre race plan was to do 6 or 7 hard strokes, then settle onto a mid race pace of 1:37 / 1:38, with an aim of letting the average pace drift up to around 1:37.0, hold it there, then pull it down with a fast finish. My pre race target time was 6:26. So into the race and I got a good start, but the average pace seemed to take a long time to bring down. I was a bit behind where I expected to be because of it, but just accepted it and stuck to my plan of pulling 1:37 / 1:38 throughout the middle of the race. From memory the highest my average split got to was 1:37.3 at about 750m to go. I was still feeling pretty good at that point, so it was time to treat it like the last rep of an interval session. I gradually tried to nudge the pace down, and pushed hard in the last 200m to try to make my ultimate target. I timed it a little badly in that I was still rowing strongly and well under my average pace at the end, and I missed out on the time I really wanted by 0.6seconds. Final time: 2k = 6:26.5, 4th place in the 30-39 hwt.
So what do you really do when you’re racing three times in a day, and have a three hour break between the first two? Well, I had packed a healthy lunch to bring with me, but a few of us really wanted a break from the venue to recharge before the 1k and 500m races later in the afternoon. So my nutritious refuelling meal between the 2k and 1k races consisted of a large slice of pepperoni pizza and a 7-up from Costco up the road. Not really the diet of an athlete I guess, but then I have never pretended to have that!
Race 2: 1k – 3pm:
The second race up was the 1k. I knew roughly what I could do having done a hard 1k for the CTC challenge last month at 3:04.0, and having just rowed a 1:36.5 paced 2k that would predict a 1:31.5 paced 1k when fresh. So low 1:32s seemed about the place to pitch it for, with a plan of 7 or 8 hard strokes this time, then settle to 1:33s and some 1:34s, then try to speed up again towards the end. I warmed up on the same monitorless erg, doing the same unknown paces and rates for something like 8 to 10 minutes this time. Yes, I would always tell people that warm up duration should be proportional to the intensity of the race distance, so a faster and shorter race needs more warm up. But after a hard 2k you don’t really feel like doing a lot of warm up.
Into the race and what seemed like another pretty good start, but another slow to catch up average pace. But I stuck to plan, went off hard for a few strokes, settled to mid race pace, and then actually felt good coming into the final 400m. I finished strongly again, so again should have gone just a bit harder a bit earlier, but finished with a good time under the circumstances. Final time, 1k = 3:04.2, 4th place 30-39 hwt.
Race 3: 500m – 4.10pm:
Another hour break, another monitorless warm up. This one was even shorter, perhaps 5 to 6 minutes, but I convinced myself that my muscles were still warm from the 1k race an hour before. I had done nothing fast in preparation for a 500m race, so really had no good idea what I should be able to achieve. Taking a 1:32 pace from the 1k in comparison to pb times would equate to about a 1:24.6 for 500m when fresh (a differential of 7.4 seconds in pace, the same as between my pbs at the respective distances). But my plan was to simply go off hard, try to hold the pace at 1:25, and try to finish with a time under 1:25.0.
Off the start and I took a few strokes to get down to 1:16s, then bled the pace off to 1:25s. I just kept the pressure on, stayed relaxed, and counted the strokes out in my head as the distance ticked down. I felt fairly good still with 200m to go, and the sub 1:25 target was on, so I pushed with every stroke until the monitor said there were no metres remaining. Final time, 500m = 1:24.6, 4th place, 30-39 hwt.
Either I recover well between races, or I didn’t push it quite hard enough in either the 2k or 1k races. All three races were pretty much the times my training would have predicted I could do as a single one off race, but I guess with the fairly lengthy times between, and being fairly good at recovering from hard efforts, I shouldn’t have expected too much drop off race to race. The 2k I am happy with, and now have something to build on through to Newark then BIRC. The 1k and 500m efforts were just good confirmation that I am in fairly good all around shape, and not lacking specifically at either end of the spectrum (fitness or pace), but just need to keep working across the board.
4 more weeks of training now before the next race in Newark on 16th November.