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The Pete Plan blog

Archive for April, 2008

Rowing, cycling, running

Posted by thepeteplan on April 30, 2008

I made a comment on a health and fitness forum at work that I thought I could run a half marathon in under 1hr45, without any specific running training. The context of the comment isn’t too important, but someone replied with “no you can’t, prove it”. I’m not going to just go out and run a half marathon to prove a point, so to do one I will do some running training on the side to actually run a reasonably fast half marathon. A further challenge was to run a half marathon closer to a colleagues pb (1hr22) than he can row a half marathon slower than my pb (1hr15). I’m writing about this now in order to put into context when some of my erg times are a bit slower due to the additional running training, rather than just doing it quietly on the side.

Erg training:

10k = 35:49.8 / 1:47.4 / 26

2k splits:

1:49.8 / 26

1:48.8 / 26

1:47.9 / 27

1:46.8 / 27

1:44.0 / 28

Running training:

My initial aim with the running is to run once every 3 days on average, on top of the normal rowing schedule. So far I have done the same running route 3 times:

24th April = 39min 40sec

27th April = 38min 25sec

30th April = 39min 05sec

Tonight’s run was a little slower than Sunday’s due to the rain, and the “bogginess” of the cross country half of the route I’m running. The route is somewhere between 9 and 10km, but at this stage I’m not too bothered exactly as long as the general trend is getting faster (or at least easier). After a few more runs I will add an extra lap of the cross country element that will add another 15 to 20mins to the run.

Bike training:

I also did my first session on the turbo trainer last night for a few weeks:

30mins = 11.7miles / 268watts average / 23.4mph average

I need to incorporate some bike training into the routine too as I would like to take part in one or two of the rowathlon series races this year. To make this easier I’m going to buy a new bike sometime in the next couple of weeks so I can cycle to and from work on a regular basis, and make at least some of the training more time efficient.

Posted in Cycling, Running, Steady distance | 2 Comments »

Steady distance training

Posted by thepeteplan on April 29, 2008

My current work schedule isn’t allowing me to get to the gym at lunchtime most days, leaving training to straight after work before going home. I don’t enjoy this as much, and because I’ve trained at lunchtime for so long my nutrition schedule fits in with that. Rather than training between 1115 and 1215 then eating lunch, I’m having to eat lunch at 1330 and train at 1630 – not ideal, or at least I’m not used to it. I think for the remainder of the time the trial is on at work I might experiment some days with training before work, leaving me the option then of a further session in the evening either on rowpro, or the turbo trainer.


45mins = 12077m / 1:51.7 / 23

9mins splits: 1:52.1, 1:51.8, 1:51.7, 1:51.9, 1:51.3 (all 23spm)

I have neglected doing any weights since before the marathon so just stuck in one quick exercise before going home:

Bench press: 50kg, 3 sets of 12

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Longer distance intervals hurt

Posted by thepeteplan on April 28, 2008

Today’s longer distance interval session is one I had trialled on 14th April. I thought at the time I’d had a great session then, and today confirmed that. I knew I wasn’t feeling up to beating my paces from 2 weeks ago today, so started off 1second slower pace for the first interval, but still found it very tough going through the middle.


5k = 17:38.3 / 1:45.8 / 28

5min rest

4k = 13:59.7 / 1:44.9 / 29

4min rest

3k = 10:33.5 / 1:45.5 / 29

3min rest

2k = 6:59.2 / 1:44.8 / 29

2min rest

1k = 3:25.4 / 1:42.7 / 30

Totals: 15k = 52:36.1 / 1:45.2 / 29

Two weeks ago I started the session 1sec faster pace on the 5k, and successfully stepped down in pace by 1second each rep. Part of the reason I couldn’t match that today was physical – I’ve been doing a high volume of training in the past two weeks. A big part of it was mental though because I knew how hard I had pushed on the session before, and how I couldn’t have gone any faster. Still a solid session with a good amount of distance at a pretty fast pace though.

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Rowpro 60min

Posted by thepeteplan on April 26, 2008

The great thing about rowpro is that you can get together and train with friends anywhere in the world, as well as the added motivation of them seeing every split you pull throughout the training piece you row together. This morning I set up a 60min session on rowpro and was joined by two other people, one in Yorkshire, the other in the Netherlands.


60mins = 16221m / 1:50.9 / 24

Pacing was approximately 10min segments of 1:54, 1:53, 1:52, 1:51, 1:50, 1:49. I haven’t yet got around to setting the split lengths I want in rowpro though, and the PM4 defaulted to recording 3min splits. I was pretty much exactly on target for the first 50mins, and probably a bit faster than target for the final 10mins.

A good high volume first week completed now, with 5 weeks of phase 1 remaining before we each attempt either a 60min or half marathon test piece.

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When the weather turns

Posted by thepeteplan on April 25, 2008

One of the worst things about a sport that is (generally) done inside is that once the weather warms up a little training can get quite uncomfortable. Physiologically it is harder when the temperature is higher, but also psychologically it feels harder when the gym is stuffy and you’re sweating earlier in a training piece. The weather is just starting to get to that point some days now, and unfortunately I train in a gym without air conditioning.


4k = 14:58.6 / 1:52.3 / 25

4min rest

1500m = 5:03.1 / 1:41.0 / 30

4min rest

1500m = 5:03.0 / 1:41.0 / 30

4min rest

4k = 14:57.2 / 1:52.1 / 25

This is the type of session we are doing to keep some rowing in our programme at around 5k pace, and on average this format of session will be done once per week with intervals at 2k pace one week, and 5k pace the following week.

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“Brick” session

Posted by thepeteplan on April 24, 2008

Have you ever wondered why triathletes call a session where you train on the bike, and then immediately go for a run, a “brick” session? Not quite the same format, but I decided tonight to do a 10k row then go straight out on the roads for a 10k run.


10k = 36:43.8 / 1:50.1 / 25

Steady 1:52’s to 7500m, then the last 5 x 500m splits were 1:50.6, 1:47.6, 1:45.5, 1:42.9, 1:37.2.

Quick change of clothes and glass of water than out on the road for a run time of 39:40. The first and last 10mins are on road, and the middle 20mins around a cross country course mostly on compacted, winding, trails.

This perhaps gave me an insight into why triathletes call this format of session a brick session, as my legs felt like bricks for the first 15mins. I thought I was running slowly to this point until I caught up with a group of 3 runners, and quickly passed them. I’ve run this route a few times before, and only once before broken 40mins. This is a good sign as I haven’t run in a few months, and have never run regularly at all.

Why the run? Well today was supposed to be an interval session, but work commitments meant I couldn’t get to the gym during the day, so training was left to the evening. I had a look on rowpro and joined the 10k with AndersB and SteveV, and decided to do a run afterwards. But why did I choose to run? I made a comment on a sporting discussion board at work that I thought I could run a sub 1hr45 half marathon just off the back of rowing training. Someone said “no you can’t, prove it”. Of course to go and run a half marathon with no running training at all at 87kg would be asking for an injury, or at least a week of walking funny. So instead I took up someone else’s challenge to try to run a HM closer to his HM running pb (1hr22) than he can get to my HM pb on the erg (just under 1hr15). Therefore I need to do a few training runs before attempting this, and at the same time to try to prove the point to the first challenger by going a good bit under 1hr45 with a little running training. The comment wasn’t purely ego driven, we were discussing the merits of cross training for a guy looking to run a HM under 2hrs, as he keeps getting injuries from running. My point was that I thought you could get fit enough to run a HM with other (low impact) training, and just run occasionally to get your legs used to the impact, without so much injury potential. Time will tell whether I was right…


Jamie asked a question on yesterday’s entry do I carry any fatigue from one session to the next, when rowing twice a day. It’s all relative, but yes, more so than normal. I did the second session yesterday as a 2k warm up and 1k on rowpro. “Just” a 3:09 for the 1k, but it certainly felt fatigued. I think that doing this high volume for just a couple of weeks at the beginning of this stage of training will benefit me in the later stages of the phase though.

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Negative split distance

Posted by thepeteplan on April 23, 2008

The plan for today’s session was simple – a 12k increasing pace by 1sec each 2k. Even with a day off on Sunday I have done 80k in the past 4 days, double my normal daily average. Therefore my legs are feeling a little bit tired, so I picked a slightly slower starting pace than I might if fresh.


12k = 43:45.9 / 1:49.4 / 26

2k splits:

1:51.9 / 25

1:50.9 / 25

1:49.9 / 26

1:48.9 / 26

1:47.9 / 27

1:46.8 / 28

So that’s 92k in 5 days so far (including the day off) – I will be ready for my rest day by Sunday. The day is not over yet though, I’m doing a short rowpro session later on to row a 1k with a guy who is doing a challenge of 40 x 1k pieces in 40 days, all done at below his 2k pace (1:40). It doesn’t sound too hard when you first view it, but 1k at your best 2k pace is pretty fatiguing, and to do it 40days in a row will get tough. I hope I will be able to row along with him again later in the challenge. My plan is to row the 1k at my 2k pb pace also (1:33.0) so he knows someone else is suffering alongside him.

Speaking of rowpro, I paid the $99 to get the full version for the simple reason that otherwise I only show up in the race listings as “evaluation user”. It seems like a good motivation tool so will be worth it, but I could have used another 2 weeks on the evaluation version if I wanted to. Once I’ve used it a few more times I will write a review of it on the “pimp my erg” blog page.

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Phase 1 – Endurance

Posted by thepeteplan on April 22, 2008

Phase 1 of my 2008 training programme is focussed on the HM, and as such doing a higher than normal volume of training will be beneficial for me. I don’t plan on doing this volume of training too often though.


Lunchtime – 1130am

60mins = 16071m / 1:52.0 / 24spm

Evening – 7pm

10k = 35:33.4 / 1:46.7 / 27spm

The lunchtime row was my planned row for the day, but I have also downloaded an evaluation copy of rowpro to try out so set up a 10k row on there tonight. We had a full line-up of 8 rowers, but unfortunately only 6 were there at start time, and 5 actually started. It was motivational rowing against others, especially as I was completely level with one of the other rowers for the first 6k or so. He was relentless on the pace though, so I couldn’t keep up in the final 4k without putting in an effort level greater than I’d want to recover from before tomorrow’s session!


I added this link to the Sprint page, which I found on YouTube earlier this evening. The MAD Team 100k world record relay from January 2004:

Posted in Steady distance | 3 Comments »

PP08 starts here

Posted by thepeteplan on April 21, 2008

The page titled “Pete’s Training” details my training plan and goals for the next 6 months leading up to BIRC on October 26th 2008. Following the successful marathon on Saturday it is now time to begin on that periodised training programme with phase 1, a 6 week training phase aiming at a half marathon test piece.


The first session on the plan for this week is the session I tried out last week.

4k = 14:56.1 / 1:52.0 / 25

2min rest

4 x 500m / 2min rest:

1:33.9 / 34

1:33.9 / 35

1:33.8 / 35

1:33.8 / 35

2min rest

4k = 14:55.9 / 1:51.9 / 25

We will be using two sessions on a similar format to this, as discussed previously, to keep some training at around 2k pace and 5k pace in our training routines. With 10k total distance it’s still a good endurance session, and not a problem to fit in your lunchhour.


Tomorrow evening I will be having my first go on rowpro, a piece of software allowing you to connect your concept2 rowing machine to your computer and row against other people around the world. We’ll be doing a 10k tomorrow evening at 7pm UK time (6pm GMT), so join in if you’re able. I have just taken the 20 day free trial currently, and if I think it’s good I will purchase the software before the end of the trial period to carry on with it.

Following PP08:

This final comment is prompted by an email from one of the people I’m coaching on PP08 about how freely he can blog his training, and whether it would then enable other people to follow it for free. I have no problem at all if people want to use the information I, or anyone else following my training routines, blog to follow the same training programme. The added benefit people get who pay me for coaching is realistic targets for every session to ensure they get the training effect I desire from the session, and to make sure that from the plan as a whole they are training at the correct level for them personally. The programmes even for people following PP08 vary depending on people’s other commitments, motivations and personal goals. So follow at your own risk in terms of overtraining and pacing the session at the correct level, but if you wish to do so then there is no problem at all. As we finish each stage of PP08 the full details will be available on this blog anyway.

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The Marathon

Posted by thepeteplan on April 19, 2008

An early start this morning, up at 6.45am and on the road by 8am. I’d loaded the car last night so that I was ready to go. The journey up was fine, and I was there not long after 9am. I got my erg and fan set up, and my drinks lined up alongside. After numerous visits to the bathroom it was time to set off. The two paces I had in my mind were 1:53.6 of my personal best, and 1:52.9 to beat for top position in the world rankings for this season.


42195m = 2h 37m 57.6s / 1:52.3 / 26spm


5k = 1:52.3 / 25

10k = 1:52.4 / 25

15k = 1:52.4 / 25

20k = 1:52.5 / 26

25k = 1:52.3 / 26

30k = 1:52.3 / 26

35k = 1:52.3 / 26

40k = 1:52.4 / 27

42.195k = 1:50.3 / 28

I took drink stops at 35k, 30k, 25k, 20k, 15k, 10k and 6k to go, alternating between water and poweraid – just two mouthfuls each time. It was nice and cool in the sports hall, and I was close to an open door, so that was adequate for hydration purposes. It looks very controlled from the splits, and it was pretty much. I rowed 1:52’s, and the drink stops pushed the average pace the few tenths slower. There were various aches and pains during the row though starting with my abs quite early on for some reason, and in trying to relieve this I had quite a bad ache in my back by the end. My legs felt pretty fresh throughout, no issue aerobically, and no significant glute pain.

All in all quite a successful row. For the final 2k I just kept the projected time just under 2h 38m – I could have pushed it harder but for a few seconds off the time I didn’t think it was worth the injury potential pushing it to the limit in the final stages would bring.

Hopefully I won’t do another one for at least another 3.5 years!

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