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The Pete Plan blog

Archive for June, 2008

A taste of things to come

Posted by thepeteplan on June 30, 2008

As a couple of my coaching group wanted to do a 5k test today, I gave the rest of the PP08 group a 1500m reps session to do. This is a bit of a shock to the system approaching the end of our 10k training phase, but a good feeler session to get an idea of staring paces in the upcoming 5k training phase that will follow on 2 weeks after the 10k test on Saturday.

The session:

4 x 1500m / 5R:
4:59.8 / 1:39.9 / 30
4:59.6 / 1:39.8 / 30
4:59.5 / 1:39.8 / 30
4:59.6 / 1:39.8 / 30

Ave = 19:58.4 / 1:39.8 / 30

I would like to say this was a walk in the park, but it was pretty tough. We’ve gone through the marathon, half marathon, and now nearing the end of the 10k phase – 5k paced work should be tough right now. With a 6 to 7 week phase leading to a 5k test after this the pace for these type of workouts will reduce dramatically though.

I’m still not looking forward to the 10k test on Saturday, but I will give it my best. I have to keep in mind that I’ve done a 30min row right on 10k pb pace earlier this month, and with the training put in since then an extra 4mins should be possible now. My training seems to have lost momentum a little over the past couple of weeks, but due to external pressures on my time getting in the way of training. It will all come good on Saturday, the training is in the bank.

The coaching group:

In the rest of the PP08 group Saturday is looking very promising. A new personal best time is on the cards for just about everyone if they are feeling mentally ready for it on Saturday. David and I will be racing the 10k together. We should be somewhere a little under 2mins apart I think, so I will start 2mins after him and try to chase him down. We are planning on rowing it late morning, so if anyone else wants to do it either at David’s house in Chiswick, or join us on rowpro, let me know – not just the PP08 group. Of the non PP08 athletes, Shane deserves a mention for smashing his 5k pb this morning by about a minute and a half! Shane joined my coaching programme only about 6 weeks ago, and has gone from rowing 30mins at around 2:20 pace then, to his first sub 20mins (so sub 2:00 pace) 5k this morning, remarkable progress, and long may it continue.

In other news:

I have submitted an application form for the vacant position for the third member of “Team QinetiQ”, currently consisting of James Cracknell and Ben Fogle, in the South Pole race. What an awesome event this would be to take part in, but I’m sure competition will be strong for the spot. The initial downselect is due to be done at the end of this week to select 40 people to go through initial testing, so wish me luck! Whether I get through to initial selection or not, as a QinetiQ employee I think it’s a great endeavour for the company to be involved with.


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I’m not fat, I’m big boned!

Posted by thepeteplan on June 28, 2008

I have been away on a course for much of the week, hence the lack of blog updates (and some lack of training to blog about). Last night on returning home from the end of the course the only session set up on rowpro was a 20min, so I decided to enter that.


20mins = 5832m / 1:42.9 / 28

2min splits:
1:42.7, 1:42.7, 1:42.9, 1:43.1, 1:43.1, 1:43.1, 1:42.9, 1:43.1, 1:42.6

Effectively going for the pace I require for the 10k test next Saturday. With still a little over 14mins left to complete 10k at that pace I’m not looking forward to next Saturday! This was at 9pm in the garage after a long week of commuting 80mins each way to a course during the week though, so I’m sure I wasn’t completely 100% ready for it. Still it was a solid pace throughout.

I’m not fat, I’m big boned!

The course I have been away on is an ISAK accredited anthropometry course (ISAK being the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry). Essentially the course teaches how to measure various anthropometry measurements including skin folds, circumferences, breadths, etc. These measurements can then be used to determine body fat percentage, somatotyping, and there is a lot of research information out there on key anthro dimensions for various sports. Also a couple of the bone dimensions can actually determine if you are “big boned”. The course ended with a half day practical exam, measuring a series of people (men and women), and having to get within a small percentage of the measurements taken by the examiners. I passed with 100% on the exam, so all I have to do now is take the full measurements on 20 more people and send those in, and I will then be a fully ISAK certified anthropometrist. A good portion of theory during the course too on statistical analysis of the measurements, and some sports specific uses and applications.

The equipment I will need to buy to do all this myself is expensive, but by charging a small fee to offer this service to coaching clients and others I think it can pay for itself in time. I also know now that bio-electical impedance body fat measure is largely useless, and that if you’re ever had skin fold caliper measurements taken in a gym or elsewhere by a non- certified person you wasted your money, and the results are probably worse than useless. If the skinfold measurements took less than 15mins to take, chances are the person was not trained.

Pete Plan 2008 progress:

We are now 1 week away from the PP08 10k test. As I said above, if the 20min row last night is anything to go by it is going to be a very tough row. Following that the Evesham mile race is the next weekend, and the big cycling weekend in the hills the weekend after that. July will also be a busy month at work, and with being away the next three weekends, going to the Wimbledon mens quarter finals this coming week, and the Farnborough airshow in 2 weeks time, if will be a busy month overall!

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Was that the peak I passed?

Posted by thepeteplan on June 25, 2008

On the completion of last week I told my PP08 coaching group that the 2 x 5k workout was the peak of our 10k preparation sessions, and it was all downhill from there on in to the 10k test on 5th July. On paper today’s workout, before you put the targets alongside it, is easier. The 10k is split into 5 intervals rather than just two, so that has to be easier, right?

The session:

2.5k, 2min rest, 2.5k, 2min rest, 2k, 2min rest, 2k, 2min rest, 1k

The targets as I gave them to the majority of the PP08 group were performance stretching and testing targets of the 2.5k reps just faster than 10k pb pace, then negative splitting the 2k’s by a second a rep, with the 1k faster still. My results were:

2.5k = 8:35.2 / 1:43.0 / 29
2.5k = 8:35.0 / 1:43.0 / 29
2k = 6:49.9 / 1:42.4 / 29
2k = 6:49.9 / 1:42.4 / 29
1k = 3:16.4 / 1:38.2 / 32

Total = 34:06.4 / 1:42.3 / 29

A successful session, but not quite up to the targets I set for most of the other athletes. This is because the targets took many of them to another level, higher than they have operated the past few weeks. I’m at a point where I should do a new personal best for the 10k in 10days time, quite a few of the group are going to destroy their 10k times.

Rowpro beta testing:

The new beta version of rowpro was released this week. I did my first row on it last night with around 10 other athletes in a 2k row. I decided not to try to push it too hard, I don’t really want to know where my 2k limit is after doing almost exclusively longer distance training with Evesham so close. A pretty constant paced 6:27.9 is acceptable for now. This beta version of rowpro gives you the identical information on your erg monitor as you get during venue racing, which is great. The same warm up screen, and the same race information telling you the leader, and the name of the person infront and behind you. A great bonus to internet erg racing, and great experience for anyone coming up to their first erg venue race. If you haven’t tried out rowpro yet, give it a go. You can use it for 20 days on a trial version before commiting to buy it, so what is there to lose?


With the “Tour de ‘arry” only a few weeks away I need to do some cycle training. I manage to get out for a hilly 16miles or so on Monday. When I download the data from the garmin I will blog it, quite a steep hill up, down, up and down again.

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Weekend off

Posted by thepeteplan on June 21, 2008

With 2 weeks left to the PP08 10k test, now seems like a good time for a full weekend off training. Yesterday was a very out of the ordinary training session during this 10k phase, and made a nice change:

Friday’s training:

2 sets of 8 x 250m / 1min rest, with 5mins rest between sets.

Set 1: 8 x 250m / 1R
1:29.8 / 37
1:29.6 / 37
1:29.6 / 38
1:29.0 / 38
1:28.8 / 38
1:28.8 / 38
1:28.8 / 38
1:28.8 / 38

2k = 5:56.6 / 1:29.1 / 27

Set 2: 8 x 250m / 1R
1:29.8 / 38
1:29.6 / 38
1:29.4 / 38
1:29.0 / 38
1:29.0 / 38
1:29.0 / 38
1:29.0 / 38
1:26.0 / 42

2k = 5:55.4 / 1:28.8 / 38

A nice change from the training routine, and will be a help in race preparation with the Evesham “golden mile” race the weekend after our 10k test.

Moving from the 10k test at around 1:43 pace / 34mins20 to a mile race at (hopefully) around 1:33 / 5mins will be quite a change. We will have 6 days between the two, so no real time to do any race preparation. What will be particularly interesting though is how fast I can row a mile off 10k training. If I can do around 1:33 pace (which will be the plan) that will be a great sign for later in the year. After the Evesham race we will progress through the 5k aimed phase 3, and onto the final 2k phase of training. I expect to pick up a couple of seconds on my 2k pace over that period.

The heat chamber trial at work is now over, so training can get fully back on track over this final 2 weeks. Over the past 2 weeks that has been 5 sessions in total of 80mins on the treadmill in the chamber.

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The crest of the hill

Posted by thepeteplan on June 19, 2008


10k = 37:16.8 / 1:51.8 / 23

A busy day at work on Tuesday with only enough time to get to the gym for a short session at lunch, so a only a steady 10k.


The planned session for Wednesday was one I was really unsure about putting into the PP08 programme this week. It was one of those make or break sessions in terms of confidence with less than 3 weeks to our 10k test. With success at this session we reach the crest of the hill, and it’s all downhill to the 10k test on 5th July. It doesn’t get harder than this in our progression of intervals.

2 x 5k / 4min rest:

The target for the first 5k was to go just under my 10k pb split of 1:43.1.

5k = 17:09.7 / 1:43.0 / 29
1k splits:
1:43.0 / 30
1:43.0 / 29
1:43.0 / 29
1:43.0 / 29
1:42.9 / 29

Then the target for the second one was simply faster than the first. I wasn’t confident of going much fast (ok, any faster), so I decided to stick to the same pace until in sight of the end:

5k = 17:06.5 / 1:42.6 / 29
1k splits:
1:42.9 / 31
1:43.0 / 29
1:43.0 / 29
1:43.0 / 29
1:41.4 / 30

I’m happy (and relieved) to say that every member of the PP08 group who did this session this week was successful. Some went harder on the first 5k than target and subsequently found the second 5k very tough, but still came in under target for the pair.


Another busy day at work today, and the final day in the heat chamber on the treadmill tomorrow (which I also did yesterday prior to the 2 x 5k). Therefore tonight I elected just to do a 30min ride on the turbo trainer.

30mins = 250watts average

Tomorrow I may or may not get in the planned session, depending how tough the heat chamber is during the day.

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Poor preparation and indecision

Posted by thepeteplan on June 16, 2008

After spending the middle of the day in the heat chamber at work walking on the treadmill I arrived home from work pretty tired, and fell asleep on the sofa. I drank a can of diet coke to wake me up a little, and decided I wouldn’t train today. So I made a big dinner of pasta and meatballs, and washed it down with a bottle of peroni beer. After eating I remembered a quote of one of my sporting heros though:

“Mentally I feel that if I’m not doing something that my opposition is gaining advantages over me, and I don’t like that feeling.”

I’m not normally good at remembering quotes like this, but it wasn’t spoken too far in the past, so was still in memory. With that I made the (probaby unwise) decision to change and take myself out to the garage and do today’s planned session. I like training in the garage. No distractions, just me against the machine. No music, no tv, no other people, and actually not enough light, but that’s another story (and something I plan to rectify).

So only 20mins after dinner with the meatballs still sitting heavy in my stomach I did a slow 1k warm up and set the monitor for 1k reps with 1min rest:

10 x 1k / 1min rest:
3:24.8 / 1:42.4 / 30
3:24.4 / 1:42.2 / 29
3:24.6 / 1:42.3 / 28
3:24.6 / 1:42.3 / 28
3:24.5 / 1:42.2 / 29
3:24.5 / 1:42.2 / 29
3:25.3 / 1:42.6 / 30
3:25.2 / 1:42.6 / 29
3:25.1 / 1:42.5 / 29
3:23.9 / 1:41.9 / 29

Total: 10k = 34:06.9 / 1:42.3 / 29

After rep 6 I really thought it was a matter of when, not if, I would see my dinner again. Gladly I didn’t. I’m probably better off for having done the session rather than having skipped it, but I’m annoyed with myself for the indecision and having a large meal straight before training, because it made it harder than it should have been.

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The week ahead

Posted by thepeteplan on June 15, 2008


Sunday is normally my rest day, but with a couple of “extra curricular” training sessions on Monday and Wednesday when I might not want to train later in the day I decided it was best to train today, and most likely move my rest day to tomorrow.

6k = 22:00.0 / 1:50.0 / 24

about a 5min break then

7k = 24:55.2 / 1:46.8 / 27

Both done on rowpro so with some company. Amazingly two of us managed to finish on the same indentical time on the 6k. We were both aiming for that time, but to finish to the 0.1second is pretty lucky (or very good skill).

The week ahead:

There are some interesting sessions in the week ahead for the PP08 group, including a 10 x 1k / 1min rest, and a 2 x 5k / 5min rest, as 10k prep sessions. I wonder if anyone will manage to do the second 5k faster than the first, when the first is done at 10k pb pace. Physically of course it will be possible if we’re in form to pb over 10k, but mentally it will be very tough. For me it will mean both 5k’s will need to be under 17:10, and I’ve never done that before. Also a sprint session later in the week for something a little different, and steady distance work in the inbetween days.

My aim for this week is to get at least 4 of the 6 sessions I have set the group done, and do at least two sessions on the bike – preferably outside, but if the weather isn’t good, or time is limited, then on the turbo. I really should be aiming to do all 6 of the sessions, but with the two extra sessions (treadmill in the heat chamber) I just can’t be sure I will train those days too.

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It’s all about the long term

Posted by thepeteplan on June 14, 2008


Just a steady 45mins before lunch today:

45mins = 12055m / 1:52.0 / 23

The past two days I have done my sessions in the garage. Before when I was training at home I’ve been setting the erg up in the garden if the weather is good, or the living room if it’s not. Training in the garage makes set up a lot easier, and the wifi seems to work fine out there (the garage is at the other end of the garden) so rowpro works fine.

Pete Plan 2008 – 8 weeks in:

We are now 8 weeks into the Pete Plan 2008 phased training routine. 8 people began phase 1, and we’ve actually started on phase 2 with 9 people, which is great. If you remember many of us started off by doing a long distance trial the weekend before we embarked on PP08. Back on 19th April 2008 I rowed only my second ever erg marathon in a time of 2h 37m 57.6s (1:52.3). That was the 10th fastest marathon rowed by anyone in the world last season, was the second fastest in my age category in the world, and the fastest in the UK in my age group.

Phase 1 then took us on to Saturday 31st May, and a half marathon test. In this test I rowed a time of 1h 14m 36.5s (1:46.0). So far this season this is the fastest half marathon rowed by anyone in the world. Both of these rows were big personal best times for me, so the first 6 weeks of PP08 were very successful.

In phase 2 we have then moved on to a 5 week phase aiming at a 10k test on Saturday 5th July. With 3 weeks to go the training is going well, and I look set to be well on track to break another pb there. Following this phase we will have a week or two of “something a little different” before beginning phase 3. Around half of the group will be competing at the Evesham golden mile event on 12th July, so it’s a natural time to just take a couple of weeks to have a break for the formal structure of the plan.

Pete Plan Coaching – 6 months in:

Pete Plan Coaching has now been officially in existance for about 6 months, having been launched in January 2008. We currently have 9 people (including myself) following PP08, and a further 11 people following other training programmes. Of these athletes 1 is in New Zealand, 1 in Australia, 2 in USA, and the rest in UK. As you can imagine, this is quite time consuming setting training goals for these 20 athletes, and reviewing their results on a weekly basis. I have also had comments from some of the athletes I coach that they believe they get very good value for money for the level of coaching they get, and that they believe I charge too little, and this is the people following the full individualised coaching. I think their prices are fair though, so I won’t be charging them any more. What I am going to do from this point, however, is withdraw the basic £10 per month coaching for new members. This won’t affect the people following this basic coaching currently, but for new members this level of coaching will no longer be available at this time.

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Have your cake and eat it

Posted by thepeteplan on June 13, 2008

Actually not my cake, but my wife’s birthday cake. I ordered my wife a birthday cake from Costco, great cakes, great value, but they are huge. We had a slice each last night, and I took most of the rest in to work today. However, although a lot of my work colleagues enjoyed a slice of cake, I also eat a slice or three. Therefore this evening I had to train to burn off some of those cake calories.

Rowpro 10k:

There was a 10k session up on rowpro, so I decided to join a few more people for my planned 10k. The plan for this one was a little different – essentially 4k easy, then the final 6k at 10k pb pace. The result was:

10k = 35:31.0 / 1:46.6 / 27

1k splits:
1:53.0 / 26
1:51.9 / 25
1:52.6 / 25
1:51.7 / 24
1:42.8 / 29
1:43.0 / 28
1:43.1 / 29
1:43.0 / 28
1:42.9 / 28
1:41.4 / 28

It took me to 2.5k into the row to work out why it didn’t quite feel right – someone in moving the erg I managed to knock the left footplate down two notches. So I stopped during the third split to move it up to my normal position, and the same as the right foot. It felt much better after that, hence the drop in rate for the 4th split. The jump in pace didn’t feel good for the next 2k, but then as I settled into it I felt good. A big change in pace like this during a session is generally pretty tough to settle in to, so not surprising. A good solid session again anyway, and good to join others on rowpro for it.

30min turbo:

I then did a 30min ride on the turbo as I’ve not used it for a few weeks. 225watts average. I’m going to have to get out on my bike for some longer rides again over the next few weeks as I am planning on a cycling weekend in the hills in July, and the Saturday ride is rumoured be to something like 120miles, with lots of ascent, and with a group of very fast cyclists. I don’t want to be the one to slow them down, or because they are serious cyclists, left behind.

Due to the cake earlier dinner tonight was a protein shake, I think I had enough calories for the day earlier.

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3 weeks to 10k TT

Posted by thepeteplan on June 12, 2008

We’re now down to 3 weeks until the PP08 phase 2 10k test on 5th July. In some ways I wish it was sooner.
Yesterday’s build up session was moving on from the 5 x 2k / 2min rest session of the week before:

4 x 2.5k / 2min rest:

8:33.5 / 1:42.7 / 30
8:33.4 / 1:42.6 / 30
8:33.2 / 1:42.6 / 30
8:29.2 / 1:41.8 / 30

Total 10k = 34:09.3 / 1:42.4

A very solid session, and faster than I am hoping for in the 10k (my aim is to break 34:20). With three weeks to go I just need to keep up the momentum and not peak too soon.

My entry form went in the mail yesterday for the Evesham “golden mile” race the following weekend on 12th July. That will be an interesting race to see how fast I can row such a short distance on the back of solely distance training.

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