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The Pete Plan blog

Archive for December, 2008

A pain in the finger

Posted by thepeteplan on December 27, 2008

Training today:

36mins = 10010m / 1:47.9 / 26

This was going to be a longer steady distance row but I was getting cramping in the tendon of my left ring finger from early in the row, and although moving my grip around and stretching out my left hand occasionally stopped it getting any worse, I thought cutting the row short was best for today. I had been working in the garden for a couple of hours before going to the gym cutting and laying patio stones, so I might have aggravated it doing something there.

Answers to recent comments:

Shirley comments on my entry a few days ago that you can often tell before a session whether it will go well or not, and I completely agree. I think the main problem on more intense sessions is that if you’re not feeling 100% before the session it is all too easy to cut the warm up short either in duration or intensity – so yes, I do think the warm up was slightly too slow. It would have been plenty if I was feeling better, but I think more warm up is needed when you’re not feeling ideal.


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Challenge series 5k

Posted by thepeteplan on December 24, 2008

Aim: 1:41’s steady until in sight of the line to break 16:50 for the challenge series 5k.

5k = 16:46.9 / 1:40.6 / 30
500m splits:
1:40.9 / 32
1:41.0 / 30
1:41.0 / 31
1:41.0 / 31
1:41.0 / 30
1:41.1 / 30
1:41.1 / 30
1:41.1 / 30
1:40.8 / 30
1:37.8 / 32

I can still take a second off the pace of this on the right day, but I’ll leave it up to my closest rivals in the challenge series whether I need to do that.

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As usual….

Posted by thepeteplan on December 23, 2008

As usual I don’t follow what I would advise other people both in terms of session choice, and the execution of the session once you’ve chosen it. Today was only a short day at work, and so my gym session was fairly early in the morning (as I still split my work day in half with the gym session, even though the work day was just 4 hours long). I decided to do a short session, and the next in my progression to 2k. Last week was 1250m, and this week I chose to move on to 1300m (as I wasn’t feel great, so didn’t want a full 100m jump in distance). Even in the warm up my legs didn’t have their usual zip, which should have been the sign that this was the wrong choice of session today.

4k w/u = 1:54.3 / 23

Despite this I set 1300m with the plan of each 200m split being at 1:32.5 pace or under, the execution however went like this:

1300m – target 200m splits all at or below 1:32.5:
1:30.7 / 38
1:32.2 / 36
1:33.0 / 35
2:31.7 / 22
1:52.7 / 27
1:46.0 / 28
1:44.5 / 26

Clearly not to plan at all, and to be honest there was no physical reason why I stopped rowing after 580m. Just to prove that to myself I set 1300m again on the clock when I finished, and this time set off with a plan of simply finishing in a reasonable pace whatever. Attempt 2 went like this:

1:31.7 / 38
1:32.5 / 36
1:32.7 / 34
1:33.2 / 35
1:34.2 / 33
1:33.7 / 34
1:30.5 / 37

1300m = 4:01.2 / 1:32.7 / 35

As a single piece on its own the second one is ok. It is 1300m at under 2k pb pace, which is the overall target in this progression. It wasn’t well paced with the stroke rate and pace varying a bit too much, a sign of not being on the ball today (though stroke rate averages for 200m splits should be taken with a pinch of salt, as the timing of the first or last stroke makes a couple of strokes difference), but the overall result is ok. It didn’t feel flat out, even after doing 600m at pace just a few minutes before.

Next time I do this session I will have to decide between doing 1300m again for a better pace, or progressing on to 1350 or 1400m. I’ll let how I feel on the day dictate that.

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40mins this time….

Posted by thepeteplan on December 22, 2008

Another negative split piece today:

40:41.8 / 11013m / 1:50.8 / 25
10:00 = 1:54.4 / 24
20:00 = 1:51.8 / 25
30:00 = 1:50.1 / 26
40:00 = 1:47.8 / 26
40:41 = 1:44.5 / 26

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m trying to keep these pieces to a minimum of 10k, and while I keep doing the occasional 60min row 10k still comes fairly quickly, which is good.

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Neg split hour

Posted by thepeteplan on December 21, 2008

60mins = 16325m / 1:50.3 / 25
10min splits:
1:53.2 / 24
1:51.7 / 24
1:50.9 / 25
1:49.8 / 25
1:49.0 / 26
1:47.1 / 26

This was the first proper steady distance row I’ve done in probably 10 days, so it was good to get a reasonable distance in.

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Tabata to rescue the session?

Posted by thepeteplan on December 20, 2008

1k warm up = 1:53.7 / 24

2500m = 1:41.0 / 30
500m splits = 1:37.7, 1:41.0, 1:41.0, 1:42.1, 1:42.9

2500m = 1:51.3 / 23 (155drag)

25 erg sit ups

Tabata intervals (8 x 20sec / 10sec rest):
1:26.2 / 42
1:28.4 / 39
1:29.2 / 39
1:29.2 / 39
1:29.2 / 39
1:30.9 / 36
1:29.2 / 39
1:30.0 / 39

2min40 = 901m / 1:28.7 / 39

I warmed up a little, then thought I’d try a 5k really attacking the start before crusing the middle. Strangely enough that doesn’t feel nearly as controlled as doing steady 1:41’s. Then I thought I’d try out a bit of max drag rowing, which turned out to be only 155 with the c-breeze on, but 1:51’s were easy – it felt very sluggish with such a slow drive though. It was a bit of a nothing session at that point, so to resurrect something from it I thought I would try out the tabata intervals. 901m at a slower pace than my 1k pb! Either the 10sec ‘rest’ is actually detrimental to the pace you can do, or you should keep rowing through the rest period (though that would be detrimental to the effects of the session I think), or the preceeding 6k of rowing was more than just a gentle warm up….

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Bad days

Posted by thepeteplan on December 19, 2008

Generally when you’ve been training for a long time you know how a session will go before you begin by how you feel both mentally and physically. Today was one of those days that I didn’t feel mentally up for the task at hand, and also didn’t have a long time in which to train. So I opted for a 95% effort 5k, aiming for 1:41 splits for the first 3500m or so, then if I felt good speeding up a little to the end. This is how it went:

500m splits:

1:41.0 / 29
1:41.0 / 29
1:41.0 / 29
1:41.0 / 29
1:41.0 / 29
1:41.0 / 29
1:41.0 / 29
Handle down

Generally in harder middle distance pieces I get to a decision point – a point where I either get faster, slower, or on rare occasions stop. For some reason at this point going faster often feels easier than staying at the same pace. Today my mind wasn’t in it though, so despite rowing a perfect first 3500m with every 500m exactly on target, I just stopped right there.

I also often find 90-95% effort pieces the hardest of the lot. If you’re going all out for a pb, 100% effort, you get to a point where you can’t go faster, there is no real thinking time. Lower effort and the physical load is such that it’s not a big problem to keep going (unless you get bored), but the inbetween level where the physical effort is hard, but there is enough time to think about it, that’s when it’s toughest. I think this is the band a lot of erg trainers and racers operate in generally thinking that it is there 100% level. So my advice is, go a bit faster, it’s easier. 😉

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Building to the 2k

Posted by thepeteplan on December 18, 2008

Although I did the last piece in the progression to the 2k on Monday this week, constraints today meant that the best session was to do the next in the series. Monday was 1150m, so today went like this:

4k warm up = 1:53.7 / 24

1250m = 3:49.4 / 1:31.7 / 36
200m = 1:29.7 / 40
400m = 1:31.7 / 38
600m = 1:32.2 / 36
800m = 1:32.5 / 36
1000m = 1:32.2 / 36
1200m = 1:32.2 / 36
1250m = 1:31.0 / 33

To recap on the plan for these pieces – they are not flat out test pieces, but targetted pace in a progression to the Crash B’s world indoor rowing championship 2k piece in February. The idea is to push myself out of the habit of cruising 2k races sub maximally, and so by keeping the pressure on throughout the piece, and only increasing the distance by 100m each week, it always seems manageable. The idea is also to condition myself to a cruising rate of 36spm through the middle of the 2k. So for this piece, and onwards, the plan is always to set 200m splits and keep each one at or below 1:32.5, the pace needed for a 6:10 for 2k.

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C2 challenge 5k

Posted by thepeteplan on December 17, 2008

I had a first go at the C2 challenge 5k on 3rd Dec simply going at 1:42’s then gently negative splitting. I didn’t look at the time before going to the gym this morning, which turned out looking back now to be 16:52.4 (1:41.2 / 30).

I didn’t have time for a long session at 11am today due to work stuff, so decided a 5k would be a good choice of session. Not knowing what time I’d done last time I decided to go for a fast start, then 1:40.x to 2k to go and negative split from there. It turned out like this:

500m splits:
1:38.4 / 33
1:40.4 / 32
1:40.5 / 32
1:40.6 / 32
1:40.5 / 32
1:41.0 / 31
1:43.3 / 30
1:44.9 / 29
1:43.8 / 29
1:40.3 / 31

5k = 16:53.7 / 1:41.3 / 31

I deliberately tried to keep the rate high to keep it light and have plenty left for the end. I went through 2k on 1:39.9, and through half way at 1:40.0. My mind wasn’t in the hard push from 2k out today unfortunately, so I eased right off from 2k to go instead – pretty reasonable time considering that. Plenty of time for another go, and I’m sure I’ll at least get under 16:40. When I set my pb the last 500m was 1:34, so I was only on for about a 16:39 till 500m to go.

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Easy distance, heart rate and a grudge match

Posted by thepeteplan on December 16, 2008


46:35.7 / 12506m / 1:51.7 / 24

Grudge match:

The day I set my 2k pb, in January 2004, a documentary series was filmed at the race featuring the “world number 1” Nik Fleming, and the “new boy” Graham Benton. There is a 7min clip on youtube of the show here:

I remember it well, including the fake medal ceremony after the real ones had finished. I’m the guy on the erg to Nik’s left, boat 7 when they show the big screen. I’m surprised how fresh I still look after rowing my second fastest ever 2k (that’s another story, the faster one).

Heart rate training:

As most people know, I don’t train by heart rate at all. I occasionally put my heart rate monitor on if I row at home just to see what it is, but I would never judge my training pace by heart rate. I don’t have an issue with people training by heart rate though, as long as they know why they’re training in a particular heart rate band, and that heart rate band is appropriate for the benefit they want from the workout. I think the majority of people who train by heart rate in the sport of indoor rowing  just pick a random heart rate though and pick a name for it, like UT2 or UT2, when physiologically it has no real relation to these bands. If you have regular testing to know where your anaerobic threshold is, and know what level of lactic acid you have in your blood at different heart rate to accurately know where UT2 ends and UT1 begins, great. If you don’t, what’s the point? What if you’ve got fitter since you last were tested, or worse still you’ve never been tested? What if the 150 hr you use as the transition between UT2 and UT1 is actually now only producing 1.5mmol of lactic acid and so you’re training far slower than you need to? What if your fitness has dropped, and so has your AT, and that exact 172 hr you think is your AT is actually 168, and by sticking to a limit of 171 for your long distance pieces you are getting the wrong training benefit, and compromising your recovery?

Even if you have the HR bands absolutely correct from testing, how do you then use them? Do you get up to the limit as quickly as possible then slow down to keep the HR the same? Do you pick a pace that should get you to the top end of your band by the end?

I also think that a lot of the advocates of HR training comes from a background in other sports, sports where the events are generally a lot longer, and training and racing by HR can be vital to how well you perform. For a power endurance sport when the main event lasts between 6 and 8 mins this is very different to a 3 hour cycling race, or an ironman triathlon.

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