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The Pete Plan blog

Negative split distance

Posted by thepeteplan on April 16, 2008

I am three days away from my second ever erg marathon. My choice for this week was between training fairly hard so that marathon pace will feel fairly easy (slow) on Saturday, or training at around marathon pace to be as fresh as possible on Saturday. As I think the mental side of rowing for that duration is going to be the toughest I decided that aiming to make the planned pace feel as slow as possible was the key.

As such I decided to do a fairly tough 10k this morning aiming to negative split it as follows:

4k @ 1:46, 3k @ 1:45, 2k @ 1:44, 1k @ 1:43, which would give a final average of 1:45.0, and so the aim would be to just break 35mins.


10k = 34:59.6 / 1:44.9 / 27

1k splits (so that I know how close to planned target paces I was):

1:45.9 / 27

1:45.9 / 27

1:45.9 / 27

1:45.9 / 27

1:45.0 / 27

1:44.9 / 28

1:45.0 / 28

1:44.3 / 28

1:44.3 / 28

1:42.4 / 29

Unsurprisingly the toughest part was between 3k and 1k to go with the second increase in pace. The first 4k at 1:46 felt comfortable and relaxed, then increasing to 1:45’s from there required a slight increase in rate, and the effort level was noticably higher. Dropping to 1:44’s from 3k to go is tough though, and so I settled for just seeing more 1:44’s than 1:45’s, which was fine. Then with 1k to go you’re in sight of the line so the final increase in pace is ok.

This is a good way to row a solid distance piece because the exact targets for each 1k mean you can mentally break the distance up in your head, rather than trying to simply hit the same pace start to finish. I like, on hard distance pieces, to get faster over the later stages, even if the early part was constant paced. I think to do this always in training builds good habits, and you naturally when want to speed up when racing and you’re in sight of the line.

Marathon thoughts:

As I said before, my target for the marathon is simply to get a pb, ie under 1:53.6 pace. I have considered whether I could go a good bit faster than this, 1:51 perhaps, but I’m not sure what that would actually gain. I might be able to maintain it, I might not. As rowing over about 15k in one go is something I so rarely do I don’t think the absolute time is so relevant compared to the strength gained from simply erging for that long. I hugely admire people who are willing to do marathons on the erg when it takes them 3.5 or even 4 hours. I couldn’t imagine sitting on the erg for another hour longer than I will be. I’ll be keeping in mind on Saturday that there are a number of other athletes in south Wales at the time rowing 100km each over a 24hour period, that’s hardcore (or crazy perhaps).


3 Responses to “Negative split distance”

  1. shirleygkn said

    We might have to keep in mind that others are doing 100k Pete – could make the marathon appear to be a ‘short’ piece…!!
    Good luck on your pb attempt. I hope to do the same.

  2. george said

    Good effort Pete, will be cheering you on and admiring your determination to kick off your ‘attack’ on your PB’s with the marathon.


  3. atomiqsix said

    as usual with long ones, it’s all in the head, flat pace for FM would be boring for you, maybe try negative splits to keep it interesting, just a thought, good luck anyway…

    ps in terms of gains from marathon, I think you’re right phsysicalwise, that’s not much to be gained for any distance you’re interested to improve, however mentally it should make anything between 2k and 10k feel like short sprint session.


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