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The Pete Plan blog

Archive for December, 2008

Progress to 2k

Posted by thepeteplan on December 15, 2008

Not really over-training, but I definitely pushed myself hard on Saturday for the 30min pb. It obivously stressed my “breathing passages” such that my body thought they then needed a lot of lubrication for 24hours after, as it was literally as if I had a really bad cold for 24hours, which is completely gone again today. Whatever the reason, a rest day yesterday was the best course of action.

Today was to be a steady distance piece, and a slow one to make it a proper recovery. I was bored of it by 4k in though, so decided to row to 5k then do the next row in the progression up to 2k. Aim for today was 1150m with each 200m split under 1:32 then a faster final 150m.

5k warm up = 1:54 / 23

1150m = 3:30.4 / 1:31.4 / 37
200m = 1:30.7 / 40
400m = 1:31.7 / 36
600m = 1:31.7 / 36
800m = 1:32.0 / 36
1000m = 1:31.7 / 36
1150m = 1:30.6 / 38

This felt comfortable enough today, and with 10weeks to Boston and 850m further to go that means 100m extra per week with a bit of time to spare, and currently 1.6seconds in hand on the split time for a pb.

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If at first you don’t succeed…

Posted by thepeteplan on December 13, 2008

After attempting to break my 5 year old 30min pb on both Wednesday (stopping at 20mins) and Thursday (finishing, but 39m off the pb) I took a rest day yesterday. Going for a 3rd attempt today could have gone one of two ways – fail to break it again and I’m digging myself a hole – break it and I can leave it alone again and move on with proper training.

I’m much better at racing than time trialling. A lot of the people who watching “that 5k” at the Norfolk IRC in the summer of 2005 say that it is the one race that showed them that erg racing can be exciting. When I get in a close race the effort, the pain, and the splits are no longer relevant, it’s all about winning the race. Time trialling is completely different, and you need a different method of motivation – if you’re time trialling to your limits there will be a period during the piece where your brain will be telling you there is no way you will finish. Expect that, and have a plan to get through it.

On this 30min piece getting to 5k on each of the previous 2 attempts hasn’t been a problem. With the target pace of 1:42.8 that means a first 5k of 17:08, and I know I can do that any time. It is then the time from there to the point when I know I can finish that is the really tough bit, and where I need a plan to make it through.

So this morning I went to the gym for attempt 3, and this is how it went:

5min split:
1:42.4 / 31
1:43.0 / 30
1:43.0 / 30
1:43.0 / 30
1:43.6 / 30
1:41.2 / 31

30mins = 8762m / 1:42.7 / 30

A pb by a massive 12m! What a stupid sport, I break my oldest pb, set in December 2003, 5 years ago, by 12m. Not exactly a lot is it? But at least I can say my 30min pb was set in December 2008 now.

First of all I convinced myself at the 5k point to keep the pressure on to 20mins, and that went ok, but at 10mins to go it still seems a long way, and there is still the temptation to back off the pace. I knew if I backed off too much I’d leave too much to do at the end, so I did alternate minutes at 1:44’s and 1:43’s from there, so 30strokes at 1:44 then 30 @ 1:43 and so on. I did this right down to 3mins to go, and then I knew the pb was on, and knew I didn’t need another “slow” minute at 1:44’s. So I held the 1:43’s through from 3mins to about 1:30 to go, then slowly increased the pressure to the end. A 1:41.2 final 5mins makes it appear I had some in reserve, but as I say, I’m much better at racing than time trialling, so once the line is in sight, and it’s just a race against myself and that old pb, the effort and the pace are no longer relevant, it’s just about winning the race.

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Posted by thepeteplan on December 11, 2008

I accidentally deleted my blog post from today detailing my 30min row, so if you didn’t read it before I’m afraid you will have to make do with just the details.

5min splits:
1:42.5 / 31
1:42.8 / 30
1:43.0 / 30
1:43.8 / 30
1:44.6 / 29
1:43.0 / 30

30mins = 8711m / 1:43.3 / 30

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Do as I say, not as I do.

Posted by thepeteplan on December 10, 2008

After my great 60min row yesterday I was trying to remember the first time I broke 17k in 60mins. It was on 26th December 2003 when I rowed 17035m – that’s right, the day after Christmas. I recalled that I had set my 30min personal best row very soon after that first 17k hour, perhaps even the day after. As luck would have it, I have written training logs right back to 2002 in my cupboard at work, so I pulled out the 2003 training diary and found the 17035m row on Dec 26th, and looked 2 days forwards to find my 30min row, 8750m / 1:42.8 split. This must be destiny, I thought. Very nearly 5 years since I first broke 17k for the hour I’d done it again yesterday, so it must be time to break that 5 year old 30min pb. I didn’t consider the significance this morning, in my haste to break this longstanding pb, of the 1 rest day between the two rows in December 2003.

So off I set to the gym just after 11am this morning with the simple plan of, similar to yesterday’s 60min, setting 5min splits and aiming to keep each one at or under 1:43.0, knowing that the small margin I might be behind with that race plan I could make up in the final few minutes. I did a very short warm up, just 500m (that is 500m more than I did yesterday), set the 30mins, and off I went.

5min splits:
1:42.6 / 30
1:42.8 / 30
1:43.0 / 30
1:43.0 / 30

20mins = 5850m / 1:42.8 / 30

I became acutely aware of the significance of the rest day between the rows in 2003 as I approached the half way point. I was on target, but my legs did not have the same zip they had yesterday. This is no surprise of course, yesterday was a pretty maximal row, and I was exhausted for the rest of the day. Rather than battle on for a few more minutes then try to pull the split back down at the end, which wouldn’t have been pretty, I decided the best plan was to call it a good 20min row, and leave the pb for another day.

I always advise recovery days between hard rows, and the alternate “easy day – hard day” principle. Sometimes it’s not as easy to follow your own advice as to give it out though. This pb is there for the taking on a good day though. I know now how I need to feel going through half way to get through the crucial stage from 15mins to 5mins to go, and then be on for the pb. It would of course be a bad plan to go again tomorrow, but who knows how great I might feel tomorrow after only rowing for 20mins today?

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Somewhere over the rainbow…

Posted by thepeteplan on December 9, 2008

… way up high. Therein lies the key to the hurt box, once in an ergo-high.

If a pot of gold lies at the end of a rainbow, then a box of hurt lies at the end of a 17k hour. So today I decided to go in search of that box.

The mission: row over 17k in 60mins

The plan: 17k in 60mins = 1:45.8, so set 5min splits and make everyone 1:45.8 or faster

The execution:
5min splits:
1:45.8 / 28
1:45.7 / 28
1:45.8 / 28
1:45.8 / 28
1:45.7 / 28
1:45.7 / 28
1:45.8 / 28
1:45.7 / 28
1:45.7 / 28
1:45.5 / 29
1:45.4 / 29
1:43.5 / 30

The result: 60mins = 17056m / 1:45.5 / 28

The comment: Ow.

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The Hurt Box

Posted by thepeteplan on December 8, 2008

Following the Cardiff race I really needed to find a method to push the pace on my 2k’s to the sort of pace I really should be rowing them at. That didn’t stop me first trying to row a 2k again on the Sunday, but we’ll not talk about that one. Immediately following the 2k I decided on my method to work up to a fast 2k in Boston.

Step 1: 750m; plan first 500m @ 1:30, last 250m fast.

Execution: 750m = 2:13.1 / 1:28.7 / 41
250m splits: 1:29.4, 1:30.2, 1:26.8

Step 2: 1000m; plan first 800m @ 1:31, last 200m fast.

Execution: I decided that from this point on I will set 2k on the clock and paddle the remaining distance, therefore:
200m splits on the 2k:
1:29.7 / 42
1:31.0 / 38
1:31.5 / 38
1:31.5 / 38
1:30.2 / 37
2:11.7 / 26
1:57.7 / 27
1:46.2 / 30
1:39.0 / 32
1:38.7 / 32

So I hit 800m at just under 1:31.0 and pushed on for the final 200m before dropping to a paddle. A quick recovery meant that I then increased the pace again towards the end, and ended with a 6:43.0.

So the plan from here is to keep increasing the distance I do at the fast pace, probably stepping up by 100m a time from here.

Part 2 will be to re-find the key to the “hurt box” on some of the middle to long distance pieces, more detail of that later.

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Welsh Champion

Posted by thepeteplan on December 6, 2008

First of all a quick mention of the other Pete Plan coaching athlete’s results from Cardiff:

Andy Osborn – 6:48.7 (3rd 50+hwt) – 5seconds outside pb
Mike Wrenn – 7:13.7 (3rd 60+hwt) – pb by about 6seconds
Jef Hutchby – 6:56.9 (7th open lwt) – about 8 or 9 seconds off pb
Emma O’Hara – 7:12.3 (1st 30+hwt) – pb by about 3 seconds, and fastest woman of the day

Emma and Mike rowed two of the best paced 2k’s I’ve ever seen, constant pace all the way speeding up over the final stages, perfect.

My race:
I started my warm up around 25mins before the race, and did just under 4k to get me well warmed up, sweating well, and feeling good. Downstairs with about 8mins to go to the race, then onto the race machine with about 5mins to go. Then there were computer problems and about a 20min delay to the start while we waited on the race machines. I managed to keep pretty warm, but it was tough to know how much warm up to keep doing as we didn’t know how long the wait would be.

So did I put it on the line and race hard? I didn’t get a great start, and actually saw a 3:47 average split on the first stroke. It took a good few strokes to get the average down to 1:35.0. I was 3 or 4 metres behind at that stage, but always confident of pulling that back. I took the lead just after the 500m point, but with my average split on 1:34.6. The lead was slowly increasing over the next 500m and I was approaching half way still on 1:34.6 average split and feeling really good. I tried to force myself into pushing it by doing 10 higher pressure strokes at half way, but the decision process in my brain when deciding between “the lead is increasing, you feel good, so let’s push now and see how fast we can go” and “you’re going to win, this pace feels nice let’s keep with this” chose the later. The lead kept slowly increasing up to 500m to go, with the average split hitting 1:34.7 at that point. I rowed a little faster and then put in a bit more power in the final 200m to bring the average split down to 1:34.5 and finish with a time of 6:18.0 for a 5second win in the 30+ hwt.

What do I think of the race? I knew before that anything under 6:20 should win it, and that turned out to be the reality. The long delay before the race and then the bad start didn’t help. I felt good throughout though, and the effort level felt right for a 6:18, so that is a positive. But I need to make myself row faster 2k’s, and that means I need to do some faster 2k’s in the gym. I’m a lot fitter than I have been for a long time, and I need to get past the point of 1:35 pace being a “comfortable” pace to go at in a 2k, because I really shouldn’t ever be getting that slow during a 2k at my current fitness level.

Overall a great day out (except the traffic getting out of Cardiff, which was awful), and good to see everyone. A solid win with a good 2k time, and with the confidence that it was comfortable enough that I can aim to row a faster 2k in the gym very soon to keep the improvements coming in the run up to Boston in February.

Men’s 30+ Hwt, 1st Place, 6:18.0 = 1:34.6, 1:34.6, 1:35.0, 1:33.8

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Another 2k approaches

Posted by thepeteplan on December 4, 2008

An enforced lunchtime visit to the pub (for a 2 hour meeting with a customer) meant that training had to be postponed to this evening. As I’m racing in Cardiff on Saturday (2k) yesterday was my last hard session of the week, and today was a “just row”. I don’t much like rowing at 8pm having not yet eaten, but sometimes you just have to get it done.

40:41.4 / 11005m / 1:50.9 / 24

It’s time to grow a pair:
Yesterday in my other blog on the concept2 training forum I talked about how I feel the people on the forum can lose perspective after a bit of time in the sport about how good they really are, and how good even the slower people (in absolute terms) on theĀ forum are. I’m lucky – I’m a 31 year old heavyweight male – I may not be the biggest of heavyweights, but physiologically I’m better suited to erging than a lot of people. So my times are faster than the majority of people, but with perspective I know that there are many people on that forum who, although in absolute terms are slower than me, in reality are much better in their peer group. I thought I’d copy here what I wrote in my blog there today.

Anyway, just because I think that pretty much all of the people who post on that forum are in the top 10% of talent on the erg in the world, and a lot who have been training for a while are more like top 1% doesn’t mean I think you should accept that, or that I think that means what you do in training is just perfect. I also think that many of the people who say they don’t care about rowing fast 2k’s really do care deep down, and would love to row a fast 2k and know how good they really could be against the benchmark test in this sport. Even of those who admit that their focus is rowing a fast 2k many of them either don’t train optimally, or simply have no real idea what their true limits are. I honestly believe that on occasion, rare occasion perhaps, you have to push yourself right to your physical limits in training to have any hope of doing so in competition. If you don’t know how far you can go before it really isn’t physically possible to do any more, how can you possibly know how hard to push in a race. If what you think is 100% effort in the gym is really only 90% of your true maximal effort, you will never get past 90% of the level you could in a 2k race. So at some point, when the time is right, pick a session where you are truely going to find out how hard you can push yourself. Grow a pair. When you really feel you can do no more, set another 500m and row it faster still. Something that frustrates me, rather than annoying me, is seeing people who perhaps even are at the top in their peer group not appearing to actually be close to their physiological potential, or rather even racing to their true potential at that point in time. If you’re going to spend a fair chunk of your time training for a sport, why not use that time to really see how good you can be at that sport? When was the last time you got off the erg and your legs literally buckled under you and you collapsed on the floor? Or when an hour after you finished your interval session the after effects of the session made you throw up your lunch? It’s not for everyone, and you can’t do it all the time, or even often, but just occasionally decide that on that particular day you’re going to row to the limit and see what you can really do.

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CTC 4 x 250m / 1min rest

Posted by thepeteplan on December 2, 2008

I decided to have a go at the new CTC challenge today, 4 x 250m / 1min rest, with the slowest rep counting. I wasn’t really sure how to pace it, whether to go all out from the start to see how much the pace dropped off, and judge better for next time – or try to pick the pace I thought I could maintain.

2k warm up = 1:53 / 25 – not really a long enough warm up for this type of session, but I didn’t have time for longer.

4 x 250m / 1min rest:
41.4 / 1:22.8 / 48
41.8 / 1:23.6 / 44
41.8 / 1:23.6 / 44
41.9 / 1:23.7 / 44 – slowest rep

Average = 2:46.9 / 1:23.4 / 45

I could tell from the first rep that it was a little too fast to maintain, hence the slower second rep. I then tried to just hit the same time for the final 2 reps. Unfortunately mistimed the final stroke of rep 4 and saw the split and time drop by 0.1. I could go marginally faster with a slightly slower first rep, but I’m not really in any sort of sprinting shape at the moment, so I’m not sure I will bother revisiting this one again. It’s too short for a good work out, but too intense and tough to do much meaningful following it.

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One legged Waddell

Posted by thepeteplan on December 1, 2008

Lunchtime session today:

45:47.0 / 12509m / 1:49.8 / 25

50 Jamie’s and then 10 Waddell’s followed by 8 one-legged Waddell’s on either side. I find the one leg ones a lot easier on my left leg than right – perhaps because I did left first, or perhaps because I’m left handed / footed. I’m not sure if there is a benefit in the one leg variety over the two leg, but if it is harder to balance it must work your core muscles differently, if not better.

As I said yesterday, I will be racing a 2k on Saturday at the Welsh championships. I won’t be tapering or doing any specific preparation for the race though.

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