Lunch hour

The Pete Plan blog

Archive for October, 2008

BIRC Splits and New York

Posted by thepeteplan on October 30, 2008

BIRC 2k splits:

6:17.4 = 1:33.2, 1:34.2, 1:35.0, 1:34.9

I really must have had an off day as I wasn’t even on for pb pace in the first 500m. I think though, as others commented, that the start sequence took a fair bit of time out of the first 500m this year, as the pace I pulled would certainly have been under a 1:33 average for the first 500m.

New York:

Following BIRC I flew out to New York on Tuesday afternoon (now Thursday morning here) to stay with Jamie P and his wife. Our first New York training session was yesterday afternoon in Jamie’s work gym in the Rockefeller plaza:

60mins = approx 16400m / 1:49.9 / 25spm

This was a pretty tiring row with a little jetlag from the day before, dehydration from flying, and 3 hours of walking around Manhattan before.

The sun is shining this morning (unlike a lot of yesterday) as I look out of the apartment window south down the Hudson river, but I’m sure it is still cold out. I feel sorry for the people running the New York marathon on Sunday (I think we are going to watch) as I’d not want to be out in shorts and t-shirt in this cold. Saying that, if I was going to run 26miles it would need to be cold the amount I can sweat, not that I will ever run 26miles.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

BIRC – 6:17.4

Posted by thepeteplan on October 27, 2008

Yesterday was the British Indoor Rowing Championships, the day that the past 8 months of training has been focussed towards. My race was right at the end of the day, 1645, and with the clocks changing on Saturday night too this is very late in the day for me. I didn’t sleep well on Saturday night, but woke feeling pretty good. We watched some of the live results and webcast coming in during the morning, then set off towards Birmingham around 11am. The journey was around 130miles in the end I think, but no bad traffic to contend with. A few hours of socialising, then it was time to get changed and begin warming up.

The air is always very dry in the NIA, people comment on it every year. There is really nothing you can do about it, and everyone is in the same conditions. I felt good in the warm up, and so the plan was to try to keep the average split around 1:33.0 (my pb pace) and see how I felt towards the later stages as to whether I could push under for a pb. The seedings for the race had me in 3rd position behind Gareth Archer (a recent England rugby player) and my team mate Stuart Williams. The 4th seed was the Russian Suvorov who I had beaten by about 5 seconds last year.

The announcements were not good in the arena, and the start sequence began on the monitor before I’d picked the handle up, but I picked up and we were off. Usual drills of 5 hard strokes, 5 settling strokes, then into race pace of 1:33’s. I expected some people would go off harder than they could sustain, so no surprise to see myself in 8th position during the first 500m. The big race screen was behind the competitors so the only information I knew of the others in the race was the monitor information that gave me the leader, and the guys immediately in front and behind me. At the 500m point I was somewhere around 1:33 average, and still around 7th or 8th position. I expected to see people start to drop back in pace soon, but was surprised to see Stu in the position ahead of me, lots of people going for a fly and die strategy I thought. The splits aren’t up on the site yet so I can’t be sure, but I think I reached half way at around 1:33.4 average, still in 7th or 8th place, and still with Stu one place ahead. I was surprised not to be in a higher position, the pace was ok, I could still bring it back from there, but it was starting to feel a lot harder than it needed to at this point.

This is the stage of the race where seeing the big screen could have helped. Coming into the second half in 7th with Stu just in front, I had no idea how far ahead the 5 ahead of Stu were. I think it was a combination of the mental blow of expecting to be in 3rd / 4th at this stage of the race but being in 7th, and it just not quite being there physically, but my pace started to suffer during the second half. We all have days in training where it feel great, days were it feels awful, and days where it’s just somewhere between. This was one of those somewhere between days. Unfortunately I couldn’t help but start to watch the positions rather than race my own race. I was up to 5th coming to the later stages, and 6th wasn’t far behindĀ – I wasn’t going to lose another position. I pulled a bit harder during the final 250m to make sure I stayed in 5th, and did just that getting 5th by 1second. It felt hard, much harder than the 1:33.0 paced mile 3 weeks ago in Newark. My throat and lungs were sore from the dry air, and my legs were tired. I felt pretty flat, not the time I wanted, and not the position I expected. I could see on my monitor that Stu had not 4th just ahead of me with 6:10.8, so I knew the medals would have been beyond me, even if I had stayed a bit stronger in the final 500m to go a couple of seconds quicker. I didn’t realise at that point quite how close Stu had come to the medals though, both bronze and silver. The final positions and times were:

1. Gareth Archer 5:54.3

2. Craig Morgan 6:10.4

3. Ben Sullivan 6:10.6

4. Stuart Williams 6:10.8

5. Pete Marston 6:17.4

6. Howard Dawson 6:18.4

I could go through the what ifs. Physically on the right day I could have gone fast enough to get in the medals, but yesterday wasn’t that day. A combination of the conditions, nerves, and it just not being one of the “zone” days. I think the preparation was good though, with one thing lacking – this was my first sub 6:20 2k for quite some time, perhaps even since BIRC last year. I should have done a fast 2k in the gym perhaps. However, it is one place higher than last year, and 2.3seconds faster time. 6seconds quicker and I’d have been very happy with the time, and still in 5th position. 6 seconds. It doesn’t sound a lot does it?

And what of the other Pete Plan Coaching athletes competing at BIRC?

David Crawford = 6:25.2 / 9th in 35-39hwt – less than a second from his recent pb

Emma O’Hara = 7:15.4 / 3rd in 30-34hwt – a pb by 5 seconds

Mike Wrenn = 7:19.8 / 3rd in 65-69hwt

Iain Greenwood = 7:14.9 / 12th in 40-44lwt

Jef Hutchby = 6:48.0 / 5th in 45-49lwt, a pb by 4seconds from his very recent 2k pb, first sub7 at BIRC

Andy Osborn = 6:52.6 / 11th in mens 50-54hwt

Those that I haven’t put down how far from a pb, or how much of a pb it was, it is because I don’t have the information to hand. Some great achievements all around though. Of few of the others who couldn’t make it to BIRC have, and are, doing 2k tests as well. Darin Dodd set a new 2k pb at home on Sunday, other results still to come in.

All in all, not overly happy with my race yesterday. It wasn’t the day to set a new pb unfortunately, though I know I am physically ready to do that. Tomorrow I fly out to New York for a week. Who knows, perhaps I might have a go at a 2k while I’m there, otherwise there are plenty more races coming up, and plenty of other opportunities. Well done to all the other competitors at BIRC, so truely brilliant and inspiring performances.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The final week

Posted by thepeteplan on October 22, 2008

The final week before the big competition is all about final sharpening, mental preparation and confidence. The temptation is to train too much, too hard and too fast.

Monday 20th October:

20 x 100m / 80sec rest. 2k warm up @ 1:50 / 25, then drag to 150:

1:20.3, 1:20.8, 1:21.0, 1:19.9, 1:19.9
1:20.1, 1:19.9, 1:20.2, 1:20.5, 1:20.4
1:19.8, 1:20.3, 1:19.6, 1:19.4, 1:19.8
1:18.9, 1:19.3, 1:20.0, 1:19.9, 1:19.6

Total 2k = 5:20.1 / 1:20.0 / 50
active rest = 3470m

It is all about the training effect from that session. Flat out acceleration each rep, long rest to keep the CV effort fairly low. This type of session really pays when it comes to the final sprint in a 2k, and I believe can make as much as a couple of seconds difference to the 2k time just in that final 200m sprint.

Wednesday 22nd:

4 x 1200m / 4min rest
Target = 1:39.9 for 3, fast for the last

3:59.7 / 1:39.8 / 30
3:59.7 / 1:39.8 / 30
3:59.4 / 1:39.7 / 31
3:41.7 / 1:32.3 / 36

Totals: 4800m = 15:40.4 / 1:37.9 / 31

I think just about a perfectly executed session for my final hard session before the race. The pace is the same as I generally do for middle distance reps, but the duration of the reps a little shorter (normally 5+ minutes). But like last week I decided to hit the final rep hard and see what I could do. Last week the final rep was a 1k at 1:32.6, so I expected with a 1200m to be slightly slower. But I went out hard, pulled hard through the middle, and finished pulling hard. It doesn’t get better than that, 1:32.3 for a standalone 1200m feeling like that would be a good confidence booster, doing it after 3600m at just under 1:40 pace is great.

So what is the plan going to be for BIRC? Obviously 1:32.3 would be perfect if I could hold that for the full 2k, a sub 6:10 would be good enough to retire on. I am absolutely on form to pb now (6:11.8) and so that has to be the aim. BIRC is generally not the ideal place for fast times, but I always perform better in competition than the gym. So the plan will be for a cruise pace of 1:33, following 5 hard strokes at the beginning. I will try to keep the average close to 1:33.0 (pb pace) if I can, but I won’t panic if I see a few 1:34’s. I will keep the stroke rate high throughout, probably aiming for 35spm. I can take up to a second off the average in the last 500m if I need to, but if all goes to plan that won’t be necessary.

Ok = sub 6:16, happy = sub 6:11.8, extremely happy = sub 6:10. I will pace the race to be on pb if there is no sprint finish left, and so sub 6:10 if there is a good sprint finish in there still.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The lesser of two evils

Posted by thepeteplan on October 17, 2008

Which is more painful to watch for a long time, the performance monitor on your erg, or a projection screen with powerpoint slide after powerpoint slide? The lack of blog entries this week has been due to me being on a course from Tuesday to Thursday, 8 hours each day of powerpoint lectures plus an hour drive at each end of the day, not conducive to training, never mind blogging about training. But what training have I done since my last blogged session on October 7th?

Thursday 9th:

1000, 1500, 1000, 1500, 1000 / 4min rest; Target = 1:39 for 1k’s, 1:40 for 1500’s

1000m = 3:17.8 / 1:38.9 / 31
1500m = 4:59.6 / 1:39.8 / 30
1000m = 3:17.7 / 1:38.8 / 31
1500m = 4:59.1 / 1:39.7 / 31
1000m = 3:05.2 / 1:32.6 / 36

Totals = 19:39.4 / 1:38.2 / 31 / 6000m

There is no typo on the final 1000m there, I was in the zone that day.

Monday 13th:

1k warm up = 1:50.4

10 x 25sec / 95sec rest:
152m / 1:21.9 / r43-45 = all 10 reps the same metres and pace
1526m of work intervals, 2571m of active rest

A high intensity interval session (taken from the HIIT page on this blog). The pace turned out to be the same across all reps, though the PM actually listed it as 1:22.2 in the memory as it simply calculates what 152m in 25seconds equates to, but they were all 1:21.9 at the end of the rep. A good solid session, and the training effect I was after.

Wednesday 15th:

2k = 1:40.0 / 31

5 x 400m / 1min rest:
1:13.7 / 1:32.1 / 37
1:13.9 / 1:32.3 / 35
1:13.9 / 1:32.3 / 36
1:13.8 / 1:32.2 / 36
1:13.9 / 1:32.3 / 36

Total: 2k = 6:09.2 / 1:32.3 / 36

A fairly short session with no real plan to it. The session should have been 4 x 1500m, but it was late evening after the course all day, and the drive back to work. I managed to snap the elastic on my c-breeze, and as I was tired anyway I ditched the planned session.

Friday 17th:

5 x 750m / 3min rest (target = 1:34.0)
2:20.8 / 1:33.8 / 34
2:20.8 / 1:33.8 / 34
2:20.8 / 1:33.8 / 34
2:20.9 / 1:33.9 / 34
2:20.8 / 1:33.8 / 34

11:44.1 / 1:33.8 / 34

Last time I did this session I targetted too fast a pace (sub 1:33) and slowed badly in the last couple of reps. This time I thought about it more, and how the session should relate to 2k pace, hence picking a target 1sec slower than my 2k pb pace. It was a tough session, tougher than it looks from the even splits.

British Indoor Rowing Championships:

Basically a week of training left before BIRC. The last two weeks haven’t been ideal only training every couple of days, but I have done enough of the hard sessions that I won’t have lost anything by missing the steady distance sessions (I hope). Next week is a slight taper, but still 3 solid sessions to go (hopefully with a bit of steady distance between). My race is at 1645, which isn’t too bad. At least it means I don’t have to make an early start to get to Birmingham, but it means I’ll be back fairly late. The racing timetable isn’t ideal with the adult races split by the kids races in the middle of the day. So I won’t be there early enough to watch most of the people I coach, which is a real shame. But I have to do what’s best for my own race, and sitting around the NIA all day isn’t best. So I will turn up about 3pm, warm up sometime just after 4pm, and then see what I can produce in the race. 6th last year, perhaps a place or 3 higher this year?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Two solid interval sessions

Posted by thepeteplan on October 9, 2008


8 x 500m / 3:30 rest:

1:31.7 / 37
1:31.6 / 37
1:31.5 / 37
1:31.5 / 37
1:31.6 / 37
1:32.1 / 37
1:32.3 / 37
1:33.3 / 37

12:15.5 / 1:31.9 / 37

Overall this wasn’t a great session. I only did a 500m warm up, and the rate was too high from the start. It was a big struggle from half way and it would have been easy to quit before the end.


By contrast today’s interval session went very differently.

1000m, 1500m, 1000m, 1500m, 1000m / 4min rest, targets 1:39 for the 1k’s, 1:40’s for the 1500’s.

1000m = 3:17.8 / 1:38.9 / 31
1500m = 4:59.6 / 1:39.8 / 30
1000m = 3:17.7 / 1:38.8 / 31
1500m = 4:59.1 / 1:39.7 / 31
1000m = 3:05.2 / 1:32.6 / 36

Totals = 19:39.4 / 1:38.2 / 31 / 6000m

Where did the final 1000m come from? I felt good through the session and decided I wanted to nail the final rep, but never expected it to be that fast. When I’m going well on these type of interval sessions I can usually do the final rep at about 1:37.5, today I felt good enough that I thought closer to 1:36 might be possible. I went out hard, and just kept pulling and feeling strong, taking the row 20 strokes at a time. I need to thank Jamie P for something he said to me a couple of weeks ago that has had a big impact in these sessions. Jamie told me that on the long rows he thinks of nothing but the session he’s doing, and the next stroke he is taking. I have taken that philosophy into some of the recent sessions and just concentrate on each rep as 20strokes at a time, and all I care about is getting the 20stroke segment I’m on done on target. Generally I always get to the end of a 20stroke segment knowing that I can do another 20strokes on target, it is only 20 strokes after all.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

The week ahead

Posted by thepeteplan on October 5, 2008

As someone commented to me at Newark yesterday that they were following our PP08 training in preparation for BIRC, and were a bit lost when I didn’t blog what I was doing for a week, I will try to post a quick summary of what I will be doing each week from now to BIRC. Though if I’m not actually coaching you then it’s the risk you take I’m afraid. šŸ˜‰

Monday: 8 x 500m / 3:30 rest

Wednesday: 1k, 1500m, 1k, 1500m, 1k / 4min rest – 1500’s as the pace of normal 4 x 1500 sessions, 1k’s a second or two faster pace – I may swap in another go at the CTC (500,1k,2k,1k,500 / 2R) if I feel good though, although I did say I didn’t think I could do it any faster. The CTC is a brilliant training session though.

Friday: 2500m – first 2k 5seconds slower than current maximal 2k pace, last 500 flat out.

Steady distance pieces on the between days. We will put in one of two pure sprint sessions over the final 2 weks then, though I will make those optional with alternatives, because some people won’t want to risk injury for the small added benefit they will give us.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Newark mile race

Posted by thepeteplan on October 4, 2008

Today was my 8th year competing at the Nottingham IRC, and this year was probably about the highest overall standard I’ve seen there I think. I coxed Olly Smith during his race, a perfectly paced 1:31.4 average I think – very, very impressive. Graham Benton was on the erg next to him and finished when Olly was only about half way I think, 1:24.9 was reasonably impressive from GB too. Watching Olly’s race helped with my motivation, and got the adrenelin pumping a bit.

My race was a bit of a bizarre feeling. I had Tony Larkman on the left, and knew he would be well ahead of me. The others in the race were seeded far enough behind me that second should be in the bag. So the plan was to do 5 hard strokes, settle to 1:33’s and 1:34’s, then finish faster to get the average down in the 1:32’s. Tony had been unwell this week, and after the start settled to rate 36spm, I couldn’t help but rate in with him. After the start I just stuck on 1:33 / 35-36. It felt really good, I just counted it down in 20’s and was quickly though to 1000m to go. I was very much in the zone, didn’t know what was going on around me, and it didn’t feel hard. A couple more 20’s and I was down to 600m to go, and still feeling good. My average as on 1:33.2 I think at this point. The way I was feeling I should have pushed on to get the average right down into the 1:32’s by the end, but with a clear second place and the strange “out of body” feeling of watching myself row, I couldn’t help but just stick to the 1:33’s. Another couple of 20’s counted down, and then I pulled it faster in the final 200m to get the average down to 1:33.0.

Finish time was 4:59.3, a 1:33.0 average split. I felt good, not breathing too hard, no real sprint at the end, legs not too tired. Ok, so when I got on the warm up machine for a short cool down I found that I was pretty tired really, but not 100% effort level. So the time wasn’t quite as fast as I would have liked, but the pace is equal to my (over 4 years old) 2k pb pace, the time 2 seconds faster than Evesham, it was the most consistently paced race (of mile / 2k) I have ever done, and it didn’t feel maximal. I could have sprinted the end, but I knew I was under 5mins, and couldn’t affect the finish position, so didn’t. But it was weird the feeling of being “in the zone” where I could just row pretty much even pace start to finish and never doubt I would hold it.

Good enough for a silver to Tony, and the gold in the GP series in the 30+. Next stop BIRC in 3 weeks time. 391m further, not as nice racing conditions, but I am sure I will get a birc pb, hopefully close to if not under my all time race pb, and all depends on who turns up on the position.

Other pp’ers racing seemed to do well, pb for lwt Jef, only 2sec off the British record for Emma, and about 2.5sec under her 2k pb split, bit faster for Andy Oz, and all around some very good performances.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Two tough interval sessions

Posted by thepeteplan on October 2, 2008

I’m afraid that is all the training I’ve done this week. I guess you could call it an unintentional pre race taper, but I don’t think maximal interval sessions are necessarily the right formula for a taper week.


Standard Pete Plan speed intervals session. The rest intervalsĀ are 1min30 per 250m metres of preceeding rep250m = 46.4 / 1:32.8 / 35
500m = 1:32.9 / 35
750m = 2:19.3 / 1:32.8 / 35
1k = 3:06.8 / 1:33.4 / 35
750m = 2:19.1 / 1:32.7 / 35
500m = 1:32.6 / 37
250m = 42.8 / 1:25.6 / 43

Totals: 4000m = 12:19.7 / 1:32.4 / 36


The new CTC challenge for October is 500m, 1k, 2k, 1k, 500m / 2min rest between each rep. I decided to go for it on my first attempt rather than having a cautious attempt, due to upcoming racing this month. My tactic was to try to go at a pace that would be pretty much maximal by the 2k so that the final 1k was all about holding on as best I could, and that is pretty much how it worked out:

500m = 1:37.7 / 33
1k = 1:37.7 / 3:15.4 / 33
2k = 1:38.7 / 6:34.6 / 32
1k = 1:39.7 / 3:19.4 / 32
500m = 1:36.2 / 34

Totals = 16:23.3 / 1:38.3

That was a hard, hard session. It wasn’t helped by doing it in a different gym on a pretty old model C, or by not having much sleep last night, but whatever the preparation, I don’t think the execution could have been much, if any, faster. Hopefully I will decide during the month that it will be fast enough.

Newark 1609m (1mile) race:

Saturday is the Nottinghamshire IRC 1mile race. This is the only race I have done in every year I have been competing in indoor rowing, so this will be, I think, my 8th year of doing this race. The strange thing about that statistic is that I lived in Newark from the age of 15 up until 8 years ago. Therefore no training tomorrow to be rested for Saturday. That’s the plan anyway…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »