Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Finding Another Gear

Ahhhh. Taper Week. Time to chill out and relax and let the body recover.

Except when it comes to the pool. Maybe Jen thought that today's swim workout was a 'taper workout' (she did say something about 'short and sweet'??), but a main set of 10x200's doesn't sound a whole lot like tapering to me. Only in Jen's world is 10x200's a 'short and sweet' main set. ;)

I didn't mind though. I've been feeling stellar in the pool lately and I like working hard in there so I was game to push it today. In fact, my goal was to really go for it at the end of the set- see what I had in me, ya know?

Marit wrote a post the other day about a masters swim workout where the guy leading the lane blew himself out in the beginning of the workout and then wasn't able to finish at the end. That was interesting to me because I don't think that's every really happened to me in the water? I can almost *always* go faster at the end, pretty much no matter what the set was. So that got me thinking... Am I not working hard enough early on and that's why I always have something left at the end? What if I pushed it hard in the beginning? Would I still be able to find another gear at the end?

Today's workout was the perfect opportunity to test it. 10x200's, descend in sets of 2. Rather than starting off easy, I started off at a solid but smooth effort that yielded 3:05's (in a wavy long course meters pool with no lane lines). Goal for the next two was to drop it down by 2 seconds and hit 3:03, which I did for the third one, 4th one was 3:02. There was some effort involved in that but nothing crazy yet.

#5 and #6 I figured I'd start to work, expecting times around 3:01... but hit 2:59 on #5 and then 2:58 on #6. Hmmm... maybe a little too fast considering I still had 4 more and needed to get faster. Not sure that I'd be able to do that?

#7 and #8 I worked it. I was definitely getting tired but still feeling strong. Hit 2:58 for each of those and thought it was possible that 2:58 was going to be my limit today. Hopefully I'd be able to hang on for two more and not get slower.

#9 and #10. I knew that even to hit 2:58 when I was this tired I was really going to have to push it into overdrive. So I took off on #9 hard and just willed myself to hang on. 2:56. Nice. I could have been done with the workout right there and felt very proud of my effort, but did I have one more in me? Could I hit 2:56 again on the tenth one? Let's see... I went for it, pushed past the part where my body went numb, and came in at 2:55. Nice!

What I think is interesting, and is really the topic of this post, is how it is possible to find another gear when you want/need to. I know a lot of you out there have this ability on the run. I have not developed that yet. I definitely have it on the swim, and on the bike as well... when I want another gear, I can usually find one. Even when I'm whooped tired. But when I'm running, and I feel like I'm going as hard as I can, finding another gear is nearly impossible for me.

This is clearly something I need to work on. I think finding another gear on the run is something you learn at the track. Maybe possible to do on the road, but I bet it starts at the track. Anyway, since I'm currently 8 weeks away from Ironman, finding another gear on the run probably isn't going to be my top priority right now. But once IM is over, and I am able to recover, I think I'm really going to set out looking for that extra running gear. It's gotta be there somewhere. I'll start looking at the track.


Kate Parker said...

Interesting post....I had never really thought of it that way.
Opposite of you, I have no other gear in the pool. Fast, slow, then dying...but on the run and bike they are sometimes there (sometimes).

Good luck this weekend!!

Lizzie said...

My brother has been visiting with us for the past two weeks and my training (just running) has really fallen by the wayside. And now he's left, I really have absolutely no motivation whatsoever to do anything (except mope!). But I will be at said track tomorrow - and hopefully finding my extra gear!! :)

Your swims are incredible!!

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

What a FANTASTIC workout!!! I had to laugh at your swim.... 10 X 200... Mine was 20 X 100. Ha ha :)

The extra gear thing is interesting - I sometimes wonder if its more mental than physical...? You're right though: our bodies CAN and DO respond! I don't always feel like I have it in the pool...but I grew up running and stuff, and feel that I'm able to switch gears more easily on the run than in the pool. But - fatigue, stress, and residual work can tire out the best of the best...

Nice job again on your set! WOO HOO!!

Regina said...

while I am no where near where you are in training (I'm not going for an IM), I understand exactly what you are saying. I find that other gear in the swim and the bike, but I cannot find it in my run. I have been thinking about the track as well.

good luck in the last 8 weeks before the race.

N.D. said...

That is a HARD workout!! 3 200s would have been short and sweet. Good luck with everything this weekend. I need to get into another gear. Good analogy.

IronMatron said...

I have trouble with pushing it into another gear on the bike. Swim too--. I can switch gears all over the place on the run--but I can't always sustain that gear for as long as I need to...
Have a great race!!!

Rebecca DeWire said...

Your pool workouts are always so impressive to me! You just really seem to enjoy suffering in the pool and working hard.

It is interesting to think about gears. I really only have 1 gear in the water, but have a lot when it comes to running. Perhaps it has to do with what you grew up doing like Marit mentioned.

Ange said...

I wrote a post about this a while ago too....I can do it on the run and in the pool but struggle on the bike. Funny how that is for everyone.
You WILL find it on the run too....just one day it happens.
I hope we can meet in Kona!!

Angela said...

I don't have very many any of the sports. Well I say that, but not wanting to disappoint coaches has always gotten more out of me. I need people to motivate me. I need some big smelly rough looking man standing over me "more more more."

Jennifer Harrison said...

HA! Love it. YES YES....various gears in all 3 sports. That was what I was explaining to Angela K in the lake tonight - I had to use a running (5k effort) analogy for her to understand what I meant by REALLY suffering in the lake. For you....just the opposite, I could say 200 M pace for the run intervals and then you would understand! LOL :)))) rest up!

MamaFeather said...

Such a great feeling to find new gears! Good luck this weekend - can't wait to see how it goes.

As for me - off to the 'start line' today....I've lost the induction battle.

Fingers crossed for us both!!!

X-Country2 said...

Great post! Good luck this weekend and safe travels.

Angela and David Kidd said...

We are exact opposites. I can always count on that extra gear on the run. This morning as I was desperately chasing a friend around the track, in the last 200 of my 800 I found it in me to dig deep to try and catch him and I thought "why can't I do this in the pool?" Jen said it's a comfort zone thing. She's probably right. I don't know how to get out of my comfort zone in the water.

And I'd kill for your times on those 200s. Amazing.