Lunch hour

The Pete Plan blog

New gym – racing starts

Posted by thepeteplan on November 12, 2008

I went to do my first session in our new gym tonight, fitness first in Fleet (Hampshire). We were members there up to January this year, so not completely new to me. They only have 4 ergs, and they’re spaced out around the edges of the cardio equipment. Two are side on to a wall in front of all the treadmills and cross trainers, and it’s too hot there for anything much. The other two are behind the rest of the cardio kit, and in a reasonably airey space. So I picked one of those, and checked the drag on 10 – it was 150. Bad, but not the worst I’ve seen. Fitted my c-breeze, and then the most I could get was 126 though! I guess you get more of a drop off on a very dusty machine.

45mins = 12299m / 1:49.8 / 26
(splits: 1:51.9, 1:50.9, 1:49.2, 1:48.7, 1:47.1)

Finished off with another set of 50 erg sit-ups (Jamie’s) and 10 Waddell’s.

The gym staff said they would get the ergs cleaned this week, we will see. Since we last were members at this gym they have gone from swipe cards with your photo on to blank white ones. When we keep them in the car, how do we know who’s is who’s? I guess we will deface them with a permanent marker.

Racing starts:

On the concept2 training forum the old contentious subject of racing starts has come up again. As most people seem to believe strongly one way or the other on this subjects, with the learned physiologists tending to side with the opposite view to me, I will refrain from commenting (for now at least) on there. Basically the debate is whether you should do a few fast strokes when beginning a 2k race before settling to race pace, or whether you should only hit race pace at the start. The physiology debate is that you have an energy system known as atp-cp, or a-lactate (without lactic acid, effectively) which is good for about 10seconds of maximal effort before lactate production begins. This energy system will be used up during hard aerobic exercise, so won’t be available at the end still, so it’s not something you can “save” for the end.  The debate is whether utilising this energy at the beginning of a maximal 2k effort is actually counter productive later in the race.

I believe it is beneficial to do 5 fast strokes at the beginning of a 2k. You have to generate momentum in the fly wheel anyway, and so you have to generate a greater force than for the sustained pace through the middle of the piece. You also want to generate this fast initial pace by using a high stroke rate, not a particularly high peak power. It is also psychologially beneficial to not have to “catch up” the average pace later in the piece. The real key though is making sure you don’t go past 10seconds otherwise lactic acid will start accumulating faster, and that will spell disaster later in the piece. The other benefit for me in this approach is getting into a higher rate rhythm from the start. If I start out at “race pace” I tend not to hit a high enough rate to sustain it. If you watch most of the fastest 2k races, they all go off hard for the first few strokes before settling to race pace.

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