Lunch hour

The Pete Plan blog

Archive for April, 2009

The inevitable happened…

Posted by thepeteplan on April 30, 2009

6k again this lunchtime:

6k = 20:26.8 / 1:42.2 / 29

1k splits:
1:42.6 / 30
1:42.8 / 29
1:42.9 / 29
1:42.7 / 29
1:42.5 / 30
1:39.8 / 31

6.5seconds improvement over yesterday’s time, and it actually felt pretty good.

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6k (CTC)

Posted by thepeteplan on April 29, 2009

The cross team challenge this month is 6000m.

I have a look at the CTC table mid morning and decided to have another go at the challenge before the end of the month to get ahead of a couple of close rivals. One had done a 1:43.0 average, and the other a 1:42.8 average pace. The plan was simple – row exactly 1:43.0 pace until in sight of the finish line then speed up to pip the 1:42.8 average. It all went very well to plan, or so I thought:

6k = 20:33.3 / 1:42.7 / 29
1k splits:
1:43.0 / 29
1:43.0 / 29
1:43.0 / 29
1:43.0 / 29
1:43.0 / 29
1:41.6 / 30

What I had forgotten to take into account is that the CTC website uses slightly odd arithmetic (or perhaps rather than PM3 does), and so my 1:42.7 average was rounded to 1:42.8, and in fact I missed out on the second guys time I was aiming to beat by just one tenth of a second! That will teach me for trying to beat it with the minimal effort possible! There is still one more day of the month left, so don’t be too surprised if I do a 6k again tomorrow lunchtime!


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Posted by thepeteplan on April 27, 2009

As I am off to the US on Friday for a work conference I want to make the training this week count, just in case I don’t get much (or any) in for the 8 days I’m away. For today’s session I decided to try out a few things with my technique that I picked up from the course yesterday, and from watching Tim on the erg. Therefore I started the session at a low (for me) rate, and gradually increased both rate and pace through the session.

5k = 18:17.1 / 1:49.7 / 21
4k = 14:24.3 / 1:48.0 / 23
3k = 10:39.0 / 1:46.5 / 24
2k = 6:47.1 / 1:41.7 / 26
1k = 3:19.6 / 1:39.8 / 29

Totals: 15k = 53:27.0 / 1:46.9 / 24

The main thing I was concentrating on was the finish of the stroke. I don’t have good hamstring flexibility, and as I discovered yesterday also not very balanced flexibility between left and right, which means I struggle “rocking forwards” at the hips after the finish. It is tough trying to change ingrained technique from many millions of metres. The main thing I was trying to do differently today though was to mimic the upper body movement pattern that Tim, and other top lightweights that I’ve seen on the erg before like Tom Kay, Eskild Ebbesen and Henrik do. In essence, I don’t think I normally (aside from sprinting) finish off the stroke very strongly. I don’t think I use my lats nearly enough. My mimicry today was an effort to begin rectifying that.

All in all a very solid session I think. The first 3 reps (so 12k) felt pretty comfortable, so I decided to push the 2k a bit harder, then the 1k a bit harder still. With a 1k warm up and 1k warm down the session today was 17k, so a good day’s work.

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Back to school

Posted by thepeteplan on April 27, 2009

I have trained since my last blog entry, though no sessions of any great note. Thursday evening was a hard fought 4 x 1350m (4r) session with paces between 1:39.7 and 1:39.9, hard fought only due to poor nutritional timing that meant doing the session soon after dinner. Friday was a steady 10k at around 1:50/24. I took a rest day on Saturday in preparation for a long day on Sunday.

Back to school:

I have been officially doing remote coaching for indoor rowers for around 15months now, and providing some training advice to certain people for quite some time before that. I decided it was about time I sat the official concept2 instructors course! This was partly prompted by wanting to take the crew class instructors course, for which you must have completed the standard instructors course first. As luck would have it I managed to arrange to do the two courses back to back on the same day, which meant a long day at the Tideway Scullers school yesterday. This was only possible as we had a very small group (3 for the instructors course, 2 for the crew class course), were all fairly experienced concept2 users, and had a very experienced instructor.

So it was a 5.30am start from home to arrive in London by 6.30am for the start of the instructors course, then with a short break in the middle it was on to the crew class course in the afternoon to finish a little before 6pm. I had thought of the instructors course as a “tick in the box” activity to add a bit more credibility to my coaching, but thanks to a very experienced rower and coach teaching the course there was a lot to learn that can be applied to both my own training, and that of the people I coach. The crew class course was very good too, and it seems like it will be a great way to promote the benefits of indoor rowing within the gyms I use. All in all a very worthwhile day.

Training this week:

I am flying off to the US for a work conference for a week on Friday, so training time will be almost non-existant, and I don’t know whether the hotel gym will have an erg. To me that means 5 days of good solid training between now and then so that I don’t feel guilty if I do end up with 8 days off the erg.

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Farnborough 5k

Posted by thepeteplan on April 25, 2009

I have created a page to hold all of the details of the Farnborough 5k race which you can find through the Farnborough 5k tab, or here:

Notice that there are now rowpro heats set up for international competitors, and these will only be opened to UK competitors either if the entries reach maximum capacity for the venue (around 100 competitors for the 5k), or after the entry closing date.

Check back on that page for the latest developments with the race, including a sneak peak at some point of the trophies you could win as a category winner in the 5k events.

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10mile Cycling TT

Posted by thepeteplan on April 23, 2009

I mentioned having a go at a 10mile cycling TT last year sometime, where I punctured around 2miles into the TT. My bike has sat in the garage mainly unused since. I heard a couple of days ago that the same cycling club was running a “come and try it” 10mile time trial on the same course last night, so I thought it was about time to have another go. So with 0 miles ridden in the last 6months I got my bike out of the garage on Tuesday evening, fitted the pump I had bought, and filled the saddle bag up with a spare inner tube and tyre levers, put some air in the tyres, and I was all set to do a TT where I could at least replace the tube if I did puncture and ride back to the car.

After arriving at the start of the TT I got my bike sorted, and went for a warm up ride the opposite way down the dual carriageway. I did 4 miles in total, and timed it very badly getting to the start point just as number 11 was setting off (I was number 13) giving me a little under 2mins before my start!

With no cycling training, and no knowledge of how to pace it, I picked 30mins as a bottom marker, and so decided that I wanted to try to keep my speed at or above 20mph. I had a moment of doubt when I approached the turn whether it was the right place to turn, as the garmin GPS on my bike said I had done 4.6miles or so, so I went around the roundabout very tentatively looking down the road further to see if there was another roundabout close by. As I came off the roundabout I was on 4.9miles, so I knew I was right then. It was at this point also that number 15 passed me (14 passed me 6minutes into the race – they set you off every minute), and I decided I wasn’t trying nearly hard enough. The second 5 miles went by so much faster than the first (ok, so I was riding faster, but still…), and before I knew it I passed 7 miles. I then pushed on harder in the final 2 miles hitting my maximum speed at the line, but feeling like I could have carried out a good few more miles now I was getting into it.

This is a graph of speed and HR against distance taken from the Garmin 305 bike computer:


Which hopefully gives a better picture of the ride and how I paced it. I think it is clear from the heart rate that not only did I not push it all that hard, but I actually took it easy at times – 160-165 is the sort of HR I would expect to maintain during most of an erg half marathon, for comparison.

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Training roundup

Posted by thepeteplan on April 20, 2009

A quick roundup of the training I’ve done since the last blog entry:

Friday 17th:

10 x 250m / 0:20 rest:
46.4 / 1:32.8 / 32
46.4 / 1:32.8 / 34
46.4 / 1:32.8 / 34
46.5 / 1:33.0 / 34
46.7 / 1:33.4 / 35 (missed the start)
46.4 / 1:32.8 / 35
46.3 / 1:32.6 / 35
46.4 / 1:32.8 / 35
46.3 / 1:32.6 / 35
45.9 / 1:31.8 / 35

Totals: 2500m = 7:43.5 / 1:32.7 / 34

A strange choice of session you might think. A couple of people on the concept2 (UK) training forums had tried this session, and there was a debate as to how the pace relates to 2k pace. The best way to get an objective answer was to try it myself, so I did. My estimate before trying it was that it would be around 2seconds faster than current 2k pace, and I guessed that my current 2k pace would be around 1:34.5.

Saturday 18th:

5k = 17:21.3 / 1:44.1 / 28
1k splits:
1:46.6 / 28
1:45.6 / 28
1:45.2 / 28
1:44.0 / 28
1:39.4 / 30

A short early morning session on rowpro on Saturday morning (in the garage) as I was going to be away for the weekend.

Sunday 19th:

1k splits from rowpro:
1:41.8 / 31
1:44.1 / 30
1:44.5 / 29
1:45.2 / 29
1:45.6 / 28
1:46.0 / 28
1:46.0 / 28
1:45.9 / 28
1:45.6 / 28
1:44.0 / 29

10k = 34:57.7 / 1:44.9 / 29

I hadn’t pushed hard on a 10k for quite some time, so I decided to go off agressively on this one. I went through 2500m on pb pace (1:43.1) and through half way on about 1:44.0. I decided then (as it was getting tough) to aim for 1:46’s for the second half to get a final time under 35mins, which is pretty much what I did.

Monday 20th:

w/u = 3012m / 11:18.9 / 1:52.5 / 25

1k = 3:03.3 / 1:31.6 / 35
200m splits:
1:29.0 / 39
1:32.7 / 34
1:33.0 / 34
1:32.7 / 34
1:30.7 / 36

1500m w/d

A short lunchtime session today with the next in the progression to 2k, aiming for 1:32.5 as the distance increases. I rowed the first and last 100m faster today in order to also use the time in a challenge, though didn’t want to do the 1k flat out to get the best score possible.

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Farnborough 5k and online entries

Posted by thepeteplan on April 15, 2009

Training first:

I’ve had a cold all weekend so training has been a little sparse, just two sessions to report over the past couple of days:


30mins = 8491m / 1:46.0 / 27spm


10k = 37:24.7 / 1:52.2 / 25spm

Tuesday’s row was done on rowpro in my back garden with 3 others. DC, one of the guys I coach, going for a 30min personal best in London, another guy in UK, and someone in the US. I acted as pace maker for DC and we got him to a strong pb by over 100m – I never like getting beaten by people I coach (well, by anyone really) so I did beat him by 9m. Today’s 10k was done in the gym, more about that below.

Farnborough 5k – online entries:

We have decided to allow online (rowpro) entries for the Farnborough 5k race. At this stage online entries are solely for overseas competitors (ie not people who live in England, Scotland or Wales). If we reach the entry limit for venue racers then I will consider opening up the rowpro entries to anyone.

Online races are fine, I can set them up as complete independent races and have no interaction with them from the venue. Ideally I would like to be able to broadcast the races live as they happen in the venue though, so I have been experimenting with how to do this.  There is no “spectator” view in rowpro, so to watch a race you have to row in it. This means having someone row in each rowpro race in order to see it within the venue. Internet in the gym is then the problem. I have (vodafone) mobile internet which works fine within the venue, but it won’t allow me to connect to the rowpro race server. The hotel has wifi, but it doesn’t work in the gym. Therefore my only option is to find out how to get the mobile internet to allow me to connect to the rowpro race server – if anyone knows how to do this please email me.

Farnborough 5k general:

Entries are coming in for the racing now, and a number of people have already booked to stay in the hotel on the Saturday night. I realise the room rate on the website has changed from £59 to £79 B&B now, so I will try to get a booking code from the hotel to make sure everyone who wants to book into the hotel gets their room for £59. Email me if you’re booking / have booked.

I have bought some great 1st place prizes – different from anything you’ve got at an erg race before. I may post something here about what the prizes are so watch this space. Prizes also for 2nd and 3rd, as well as race certificates for all.

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6k run + press ups

Posted by thepeteplan on April 12, 2009

Yesterday I headed to the gym with my laptop and new mobile internet dongle. I wanted to try out rowpro from the gym to see how easy it is going to be to combine online entries with the venue entries for the 5k races I’m holding in Farnborough on Saturday 30th May. The entry form is available here, by the way:

After about an hour of trying I couldn’t get rowpro to work, I think due to my mobile internet blocking rowpro access to the race server, so I need to sort that out.

I decided then to just get on the treadmill and do a 6k run, which I completed in 27:39 – just going a bit further than the few 5k’s I’ve done. I’m not getting any DOMS from the running now, so the gradual build in pace and distance is working well.

Today I seem to have come down with a cold so I gave the gym a complete miss, and just did the final day of week 1 of the press ups challenge. This time it was 5 sets with 2min rest:

Reps for each set: 11, 15, 9, 9, 16 – All on target with the final set target having been 13+

Hopefully gym in the morning if I feel better.

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6k erg + press ups

Posted by thepeteplan on April 11, 2009

Yesterday was time to have a second go at this month’s 6k cross team challenge (CTC). Instead of going for a small improvement on the 1:43.7 pace I already had on the board for the 6k I went off for a much faster time, then got put off after 2k by a guy on the next erg doing 1min reps with bad technique. It’s amazing how something like that can break your concentration and slow you down.

6k = 20:38.6 / 1:43.2 / 28

1k splits:
1:41.3 / 30
1:42.6 / 29
1:43.4 / 28
1:45.0 / 28
1:44.7 / 28
1:42.2 / 29

Then finished off with 65 Jamie’s and 20 Waddell’s. I had a few minutes spare so decided to do the next session of the 100 press ups challenge

The unfortunate thing is that I forgot to write in my training diary what the second session was, so had to guess. I got it wrong. I knew it was 5 sets with 90sec rest between, but got the reps pretty wrong this time.

Set 1 = 15 reps (target 10, oops)

Set 2 = 12 reps (target 12)

Set 3 = 8 reps (target 8.)

Set 4 = 8 reps (target 8.)

Set 5 = 8 reps (target 12+)

So it was the 5 additional reps on set 1 that caused the loss of at least 4 reps on set 5.

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