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500m reps from the 5k plan

Posted by thepeteplan on December 30, 2017

29th Dec: 10km = 37:27.2 / 1:52.3 / 25

30th Dec and time to try out some reps with a short term aim of getting my 5km time back under 17:30. In the 5km plan (tab above) the aim for the short reps is to go through 12 x 500m, 10 x 600m, 8 x 750m and 6 x 1k as a progression at roughly the same pace goal prior to a 5km time trial. The progression is repeated for as many cycles as needed to get the 6 x 1k to the target pace before going for the 5km TT. So for this initial session the target was for all reps to be under 1:45.0 as a feeler session to see where I am.

30th Dec: 12 x 500m / 1min rest:
First 4 reps: 1:44.0 / 29, 1:43.9 / 29, 1:44.0 / 29, 1:43.9 / 29
Middle 4 reps: 1:43.7 / 30, 1:43.6 / 30, 1:43.4 / 30, 1:43.2 / 30
Last 4 reps: 1:42.9 / 30, 1:42.9 / 30, 1:41.8 / 31, 1:37.0 / 34
Overall: 6km = 20:34.3 / 1:42.8 / 30

Of course 500m reps are a fair bit easier in reality than the 6 x 1k reps that finish this progression, but over the course of the 4 weeks it takes you to get to that point you can gain a fair bit both physically, and especially mentally, to cope as the reps increase in length. When I move to the 10 x 600s next time I am confident that with the same all reps under 1:45.0 target I will have no issues achieving that.


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Time for a race comeback?

Posted by thepeteplan on December 29, 2017

I am currently on winter vacation at my in-laws house. Our winter vacation is usually a good time to get consistent training in without things like a day job getting in the way. A jetlagged toddler seems to make this a little harder though.

Vacation training so far has consisted of:
20th Dec: 10km = 37:46.2 / 1:53.3 / 25
21st Dec: 10km = 37:44.7 / 1:53.2 / 25
22nd Dec: 8 x 1250m / 1:30 rest = 10km / 36:01.1 / 1:48.0 / 28
23rd Dec: 6334m = 1:53.7 / 24
24th Dec: 8 x 1000m / 1min rest = 8km / 28:43.6 / 1:47.7 / 28
25th Dec: Rest
26th Dec: 10km = 36:58.2 / 1:50.9 / 26
27th Dec: 500m, 2:20rest, 750m, 2:30 rest, 1km = 1:39.0 / 33, 1:38.9 / 34, 1:38.7 / 34
28th Dec: Rest

Training volume lately has been pretty light, hence starting off with some fairly steady 10km rows, as 10km is more than I have done on a single row in some months. The interval sessions on 22nd and 24th Dec will tell the story well of how relatively slow I am at the moment.

As for the title of this (first in a long time) blog – time for a race comeback. I have entered the “Just Row Manchester” event that is happening on 29th April 2018 in the masters middle weight category. This means age 40+ (which I now am, unfortunately) and under 90kg (which I am currently not, unfortunately). Both the format of the event and the introduction of a middle weight category are motivational – I need the target both in terms of a fixed goal to train for, and a weight target to hit to keep me on track with food intake!

The event consists of 3 races during a 1 hour period. The first is an interval set (of which my Dec 27th row above is basically what it consists of, just announced). The second race is a sprint, and the final race is a longer distance piece. It is tactical in terms of how to pace either of the three events, especially as your position is the most important thing across each race. So what I might not be able to make up in absolute pace over the next 4 months I can hopefully compensate for a little in terms of tactics and race experience to optimise what I can do with the fitness level I arrive at on race day.

As the events start on the hour, with the sprint then at 25mins and the longer distance at 35mins I can take an educated guess that the sprint will be a max of 500m, and the longer distance a max of 6km. All will be announced in January though so training can really focus on optimising performance over the three events. Who knows, maybe I will even keep this blog updated more regularly?

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August CTC

Posted by thepeteplan on August 26, 2016

Aug16 CTC

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Baby Cora

Posted by thepeteplan on July 4, 2016

As it has been around 10 months since my last blog post, some people might be wondering where I’ve disappeared to, whether I’m still training, and generally what I’m up to. Most people probably don’t care….

Well, this little lady is the reason I’ve been quiet, for the past few month anyway:


A little over 3 months old now (in this photo she was 4 weeks old), Cora is taking up a lot of our time outside of work!

I am still training, albeit not to the same volume or absolute pace, but enough to maintain some level of fitness. I will try to keep this blog more up to date, if nothing else to give me the motivation to keep training more regularly!


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Devon IRC 5k

Posted by thepeteplan on September 22, 2015

Looking back at my blog it has been 5 months since I last posted any training updates. The sporadic blog updates at the time talked about work travel, masters degree study, and general barriers primarily to having time to blog about training but also to doing training to the extent I would like to.

Having not raced for some time I decided to enter what is my favourite racing distance, 5000m, at the inaugural Devon Indoor Rowing Championships (, that took place last weekend. Luckily the race coincided with a period of about 6 weeks without any work travel leading up to it. I did have a week on holiday in France during that period, but the erg came with me to allow daily training.

Time pressures still meant that training time would be limited, but I decided to base my training for this 6 week period on the 5k Pete Plan ( So regular sessions of 500m to 1k reps with short rest periods, interspersed with longer reps of 1500m to 2k with slightly longer rest periods (between 3 and 5mins). I started the 6 weeks with it being a tough workout to just push under 18mins for a straight 5k (1:48 pace). I did a couple of 5k time trials during the middle of the period to gauge progress, managing 17:39 then 17:33, and set my sights on break 17:20 at the race. In truth, having not gone quicker than 17:33 in the run up to racing I was not confident of being too far under 17:30. However, for my final prep session I did a 5 x 1k / 1min rest session (slightly cut down from the 6 reps of the 5k PP session as it was only a couple of days before race day), and managed to row all reps under 1:43 pace. This meant sub 17:20 was on.

So the race plan was simple – 7 hard strokes, 10 strokes easing off the power to settle to race pace, then plug away at 1:44s letting the average pace slowly creep up towards 1:44.0. Then when within sight of the line sprint to see if I can take a few more seconds off. I hit the start well, peaking just under 1:20 pace on the 4th or 5th stroke, before easing back slowly to race pace. The splits tell the story:

1:41.1, 1:44.5, 1:44.5, 1:44.2, 1:44.7, 1:44.2, 1:44.3, 1:44.3, 1:44.0, 1:37.8

Final result = 17:13.6 / 1:43.3 / 29

A fair reflection of the training I’d done, and although 40 seconds from my all time pb for the distance, I’m happy with the time in my current state of fitness. The Devon IRC looks set to be back again next year, so I would recommend anyone who is able to going to race. The venue was great, and the organisation really good.

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Future Olympic champion?

Posted by thepeteplan on June 21, 2015

Take a look at this voting page for the up and coming star in sport:

Tom Schramko is a fellow rower and extremely talented erger. A vote for him will help him win this contest, and he will get sponsored to go to the U23 world championships. This could be a vital step in helping him become a future Olympic Champion. Take just a few second to vote for Tom and help him win this contest!



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LiveRowing app

Posted by thepeteplan on May 27, 2015

I used to be a regular RowPro user, but it’s been perhaps two years now since I last used the software to row online (I never used it to simply track data on a row). It was partly a laptop windows update stopping RowPro working that I never rectified, but mostly that my training is split between my garage and the gym. It’s not really practical to take your laptop to the gym with you, and even then most gyms don’t have open wifi connections, or power nearby if you need to plug in. My garage is at the bottom of the garden, so the connection isn’t good enough to use RowPro down there. So when an old friend of mine emailed me earlier this week to tell me he and his team have developed a mobile phone app that lets you race live online just using your mobile phone it sounds like a great concept.

For the lone gym or home rower training in isolation day after day it could be a great motivational tool, so well worth taking a look at. The website will be better to tell you all about it than me trying to describe the design features, so take a look and see what you think:

It is also getting some good press already, so looks likely to be a success:

One of the guys behind the app, Zach Ellison, I had the fortune to train with a few years back at the US high performance sculling center in Seattle, while he was training with the US Olympic squad aiming for the 2012 Olympics.

Take a look at the website, have a go with the app when you’re able to, and feedback to let me know what you think of it. Initially it’s going to be launched as an app only for Apple phones, so I’ll have to wait for the android version myself. I’m really keen to hear what all the ergers make of the app until then.

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Danish interval training

Posted by thepeteplan on April 12, 2015

I posted about, and followed, the “Danish method” of interval training a number of years ago. The basic principle was given to me by Tim Male (coach, lwt erg British record holder, ex-international rower) as double the target distance, and roughly 1:1 work to rest ratio. I used this rough formula to slightly adapt the 5k Pete Plan sessions to move from a 6k total session distance to 7.5k, and increase the rest intervals between the reps slightly from flat 1min rests to 1min30 per 500m.

The first session in the progression is therefore 15 x 500m / 90sec rest. As with the 5k sessions I like to use these progressions to acclimatise to a target 5k pace rather than necessarily being a flat out reps sessions. So rather than aim to go as fast as possible across all reps, at whatever stroke rate gives me the best possible pace, instead I take a target 5k pace and work up the progressions week on week aiming to hit the same target. So I have set a target 5k of 16:59, giving a target pace of 1:41.9. The idea is then week on week to decrease the number of reps that the 7500m is split into (ie increase the length of the reps) and keep to the target pace of 1:41.9. The one caveat I give to this pacing though, which I have told to a number of people I coach over the years, is if you get to half way through a session like this and are completely confident you can go quicker then its ok to negative split from there. This is especially true on a session with this many reps, as after 8 reps you’ve acclimatised nicely to the demands of the pace target, so you should know if you have lots in reserve. The purpose of the session, after all, is to give confidence that you had enough in reserve to be able to achieve the next session in the ladder. So I need enough confidence from the 500m reps this week to go into the 600m reps next week, then the 750s the week after and so on until I reach a straight 5k.

It is a long time since I had done this session, so I wasn’t at all confident that the 1:41.9 pace target would be a walk in the park. So I needed to follow my own guidance and stick to the target past half way (so 8 reps) at a comfortable 5k rate (29-30spm for me) and then assess from there. The other aspect that put doubts in my mind was major jetlag having just arrived home from Seattle yesterday afternoon – that 8 hour time difference takes a while to get over!

Back to my familiar garage training area and into the session, I was pleased with how much I found in reserve in the second half of the session.

15x500_12Apr15-1 15x500_12Apr15-2

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Seattle training camp

Posted by thepeteplan on April 8, 2015

It has been a little over 2 months since my last blog update. As I said in the last entry at the end of January my time has been dominated by work travel over the past couple of months. Australia and South Africa ticked off two new continents I had never visited before, but each trip had a busy work schedule that didn’t allow time for training whilst away. The odd week break isn’t a huge deal, I get more affected by the travel and time changes, and this requires some time for recovery. I’m now on a week’s R&R in Seattle, which doubles as a bit of a training camp. Having just arrived back home from South Africa 4 days before flying here it has been a push to get back into reasonable training form.

The “good thing” about jetlag, especially when you’re 8 hours behind your own time zone, is that you end up getting up really early. This gives a good opportunity to get your training done first thing in the morning. I’m not a big fan of training straight out of bed, but it is effective time management in this situation. It just gets progressively harder as your body adapts to the time change.

I started off with a couple of fairly comfortable 10km rows on days 1 and 2. Then a couple of interval sessions on days 3 and 4, before a schedule enforced rest day yesterday. Onto a harder 30min piece this morning as a good intensity all the way.

A couple more training days here before heading back home at the end of the week, then just 4 days at home before the next work trip!

Friday 3rd: 10k = 37:13.9 / 1:51.6 / 25

Saturday 4th: 10k = 37:19.4 / 1:51.9 / 24

Sunday 5th:
4k = 14:31.6 / 1:48.9 / 27
4min rest
3k = 10:47.6 / 1:47.9 / 27
3min rest
2k = 7:06.2 / 1:46.5 / 28
2min rest
1k = 3:17.9 / 1:38.9 / 32

Totals = 10km / 35:43.4 / 1:47.1 / 28

Monday 6th:
1250m = 4:00.1 / 1:36.0 / 34
5min rest
500m = 1:35.0 / 35
3min rest
250m = 44.4 / 1:28.8 / 39

Tuesday 7th: REST

Wednesday 8th: 30mins = 8334m / 1:47.9 / 27

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The best way to come back after time off….

Posted by thepeteplan on January 31, 2015

… is not to take time off in the first place.

That is the advice I have always given people over the years when asked how best to get back into training after a break. It is easy to give the advice, but like most things it’s a case of do as I say, not as I do.

My last entry on 10th January was a few days after I had arrived home from 2 weeks in Seattle for Christmas and New Year. Jetlag was bad, but I had trained well throughout my 2 weeks away. I was home for just over a week then had to go back to the US for work on Monday 19th, and didn’t arrive home again until last Wednesday, 28th January. During my 10 days away I took in 5 states – Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, DC and Texas, stayed in 4 different hotels, and didn’t see a single erg anywhere I went.

I started the trip off well and went to the hotel gym on my first morning – when you wake up at 4am it is pretty much the only place open after all. Aside from that a few bodyweight type exercises in my hotel room to get the blood pumping a little, a single swim (or more like float around) in the hotel pool in DC, and a good amount of walking was all I did.

Back into it again this week with the first two 30min sessions:

Friday 30th: 30mins = 8260m / 1:48.9 / 26

Saturday 31st: 30mins = 8090m / 1:51.2 / 24

Lots of work travel on the agenda over the next couple of months, with the next stop being Australia. Perhaps I will have more luck (dedication) finding an erg there?

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