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.