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Archive for September, 2009

Grimsby mile

Posted by thepeteplan on September 28, 2009

I didn’t mention it in my blog before as I didn’t want to make pre race excuses, or let Jason or Graham know I might not be as fast as I should, but I’ve had a bit of a cold all week. When I did the 4mins early in the week, and the day I did the 4 x 500 with Andy I really felt them in my lungs. I felt better today, but not perfect, so just thought I’d go with the race plan and see how it felt.

Plan was 5 or 6 hard strokes then settle to 1:33’s pulling it down at the end hopefully for a sub 1:32 average and a pb. This was always going to be a tough ask after “only” doing 1:31.9 for the 4mins.

Start went well, settled to 1:32’s and 1:33’s, and at a low for me spm of 32/33. I tried very hard to convince myself it was a personal TT not a race, and I got in that frame of mind which really helped. The slowest the average got to I think was 1:32.8, which was as slow as I wanted to allow myself (as I’d hit 1:32.4 at one point in the 4mins, so allowed 0.5 leeway from that due to the extra distance). Once I hit that I started pulling 1:32’s again, and really wanted to get the average under 1:32.5 (6:10 pace) as a marker before BIRC.

Final time was 4:57.2 / 1:32.4 and probably 33spm average (might only be 32).

Considering the way I’ve felt this week really happy with the time, and the way it felt. The consistency of pace through the row was probably the best I’ve done for a mile or 2k as well, as my pb for the mile (1:32.0, I think 4:56.2 ish) came off a big sprint to the finish, as did my 2k pb.

Key sessions for mental prep:

A few sessions in the past couple of weeks have been crucial to build up the mental strength to go at this pace for the mile. In reality had I rowed for the win yesterday, which would have required only a 1:34.8 pace, it would have hurt just about as much, without being happy with the time. So I have built from doing the half mile reps session 2 weeks ago. The first 3 reps of that were all at 1:32.0 pace, and were 2min28 each (plus a few tenths). That session alone gave me the confidence for the 4mins at the beginning of the week. No matter how I felt physically, and how much my brain tried to tell me to slow down, I knew that I could get to 2min28 at pace and not be at maximal effort, because I’d done that plus two more after a short break the week before. Once I’d got 2:28 into the piece there was only 1:32 to go, and despite the average pace slipping off to 1:32.4 I knew I could row that last 90seconds harder and get the 1:31.9 I wanted.

The mile then was another 304m on from that 1305m effort for 4mins. As I’d hit 1:31.9 for the 4mins, with that 1:32.4 slowest average, I knew that anything a little slower than that at the 4min point had to leave enough in reserve for the final 300m, again no matter what my brain was telling me. I didn’t even think about the last minute, I just thought about getting through the first 4mins within half a second of the pace I’d done earlier in the week, which I did with 1:32.8 at a minute to go. I can always row the last minute, so it was ok from there to push the pace and get the 1:32.4 average at the end. Not quite the pb I hoped for, but still under 6:10 pace for 2k, with another 391m to go. With 8 weeks or so to BIRC, and plenty of physical and mental prep left to do, the key is going to be to do the right sessions again in the final 2 weeks before BIRC to give me these mental points along the way to 2000m that I know I can get through.


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Pre Grimsby speed session

Posted by thepeteplan on September 25, 2009

Yesterday was the final speed session before Grimsby this weekend:

3k warm up = 1:52.0 / 24

4 x 500m / 2min rest:
1:31.9 / 34
1:31.9 / 34
1:31.9 / 33
1:31.1 / 35

Totals = 6:06.9 / 1:31.7 / 34

In an ideal world I would like to break 1:32 average for the mile on Sunday, as that would be a pb. I won’t row the majority of the row quite as fast as this though, plan will be a fast start, much of the middle at 1:33 with the occasional 1:34, then pushing hard to the finish. Trying to get in the frame of mind to treat it as a time trial not a race. Worst case I want to be under 2k pb average of 1:33.0 with BIRC in mind, but I really don’t think that should be a problem with the 4mins at 1:31.9 earlier this week.

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4min C2 challenge

Posted by thepeteplan on September 23, 2009

4mins = 1305m / 1:31.9 / 35
1min splits:
1:31.4 / 36
1:32.5 / 35
1:32.8 / 34
1:30.6 / 35

My mile pb pace is 1:32.0, so that was the aim for today. I knew I had enough to get there with a minute to go, so did just enough to knock the average down to 1:31.9. So 304m left to go for the mile from here, or about 55seconds. Sunday will tell how much difference that extra 304m makes.

I’ve had a sore throat for the past 2 days, and thought I might be coming down with a cold. This was part of the reason I wanted to get a good 4min score in just in case I have further symptoms before the mile race at the weekend that stop me racing 100%. I actually don’t think it is a cold, but actually an irritation from ivy in my garden. I had to cut down a large amount of it ready for a new shed I had installed yesterday, and it always irritates by skins, and makes me cough. If it is that I guess that I need to wear a mask next time I cut it as well as gloves!

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3 x 20mins

Posted by thepeteplan on September 19, 2009

I thought I’d do the session again this morning that I did with Al and Andy on Wednesday, but rather than do them all at 20spm do 20, 22 and 24 for the 3 reps.

3 x 20mins / 3min rest:
5237m / 1:54.5 / 20
5359m / 1:51.9 / 22
5478m / 1:49.5 / 24

Total = 16074m / 1:51.9 / 22

A good few Saturday morning metres. I didn’t find this any harder than the 3 reps at 20spm on Wednesday (only a 1:55.9 average pace), though that is mainly because I was tired on Wednesday from the half mile reps on Tuesday, whereas yesterday was a fairly easy session. This is a good way to get the endurance work in, and I think this session (and perhaps the 19min rate pyramids) might feature more in my training rather than steady 10k’s, because I’m more likely to do more metres this way.

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Cross training and a fast 500m

Posted by thepeteplan on September 18, 2009

Thursday was a cross training today consisting of treadmill, stepper and cross trainer. I made the 20mins on the treadmill pass a little quicker by doing an interval session of sorts. 5mins at 12kph, then alternate minutes of increasing pace, and 12kph as the steady / recovery minute. Increasing pace on the harder minutes from 13kph to 16kph in 0.5 intervals, so 7 harder minutes. 15mins on the stepper and 10mins on the cross trainer to finish off.

Today was 500m day. Three of us doing them together, with the other two pretty certain of pb’s for the distance, I was happy to settle for a fast effort as I’ve done no sprint training, have a strong 500m pb, and simply didn’t think I could beat it currently.

I went first and just put the drag up to 140, with a plan of 5 hard strokes then settle to around 1:22 – 1:23.

500m = 1:22.6 / 43
100m splits:
1:20.5 / 49
1:22.0 / 44
1:23.5 / 39
1:23.0 / 43
1:24.0 / 43

This felt good! I think I underestimated my current form even over short distance as this is a fast time for me at a fairly low rate, and fairly low drag. I’m not sure if I could quite pb at the moment (1:20.6), but I think I could get within a second if I pushed it a bit harder at a slightly higher rate.

Andy went second and managed a 0.6second pb to get a 1:28.0, despite tying up quite badly in the final 150m. Al was a different matter, looked certain of a pb for the first 300m when he lost his headphones onto the rail and had to stop momentarily for Andy to retrieve them, then get back up to pace again from 1:50’s! Despite this he still did a 1:18.9, so it would have been an amazing time without the stop, perhaps low 1:17’s.

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Half mile reps

Posted by thepeteplan on September 15, 2009

The plan for tonight was 3 quality half mile reps with a 5min rest between. Aim for pace was planned mile pace for Grimsby. We decided to go off Andy’s 5min rest, so I set 5:10 to be roughly the same. Why do you do stupid things when your brain is starved of oxygen though?

Plan: 3 x 805m with 5min10 rest @ 1:32.0

805m = 2:28.2 / 1:32.0 / 35
805m = 2:28.2 / 1:32.0 / 34
805m = 2:28.2 / 1:32.0 / 34
805m = 2:34.8 / 1:36.1 / 32
805m = 2:37.6 / 1:37.8 / 32

12:36.9 / 4025m / 1:34.0 / 33

Now if I was sent someone’s results when I’d set them a 3 x 805m session like that I could kind of understand the 4th rep. You’ve done the planned session on target and you want to know what is left in reserve. But the 5th rep? On the 4th I decided that I’d finish off with a slightly easier rep by doing 5 hard strokes then settling to 1:35’s and see what was there in the second half. What I actually did was sprint 5 strokes to hit 1:18 pace, then went to the pressure I thought felt like 1:35’s, which turned out to be 1:39’s. I guess I was more tired than I thought. 5th rep I really don’t know why. Cruised at 1:40’s for the first half then just picked it up slowly, and it felt much nicer than rep 4.

Was it a greater training effect doing the 4th and 5th rep and seeing what was left when I was pretty exhausted all over, or would it have been more sensible to stop at 3? The first 3 were right on target, so it was a successful session. Was the 4th rep slower than it could have been because mentally the session was over?

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19min rate pyramids

Posted by thepeteplan on September 14, 2009

I was training all last week with two other rowers due to us all taking part in a physiology trial during the day at work, this week is the same. Today is was Al’s suggestion of session, and his choice was 2 x 19minute rate pyramids, split as 4,3,2,1,2,3,4 mins at 20,22,24,26,24,22,20 spm for each one. I learnt last week not to even attempt to keep up with someone 6inches taller than you, and 15seconds quicker over 2k – you don’t keep up for long when you do try.

Set 1:
4mins = 1:51.3 / 20
3mins = 1:48.9 / 22
2mins = 1:47.1 / 24
1mins = 1:45.6 / 25
2mins = 1:47.7 / 24
3mins = 1:48.9 / 22
4mins = 1:49.1 / 20

19mins = 5230m / 1:48.9 / 22

Set 2:
4mins = 1:50.9 / 20
3mins = 1:48.5 / 22
2mins = 1:46.9 / 24
1mins = 1:44.8 / 26
2mins = 1:47.3 / 25
3mins = 1:48.6 / 22
4mins = 1:49.1 / 20

19mins = 5244m / 1:48.6 / 22

I hit rerow for the second set and used the pace boat to try to beat each section on the way through the 19mins (they were set up as a variable interval session with no rest between in order to get the splits for each section).

Solid enough set. I’d have done a third, I think, but neither Al or Andy seemed up for it, or they thought I was joking. I probably would have regretted it after had I begun a third no doubt.

We have an “interesting” interval session on the cards for tomorrow.

Both sets felt pretty good. I don’t do much low rate training (as regular readers will know), so I perhaps don’t push as hard at these rates as people who regularly do it will do. I think the splits are good enough at the rates though, compared to the rate and pace I row at for 5k and 2k, for example.

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Challenge Series – 4mins

Posted by thepeteplan on September 13, 2009

The challenge series is back on, so I thought I’d put an initial score on the board for the first round this morning in the gym.

2k warm up = 1:53.8 / 22

4mins = 1278m / 1:33.8 / 32
1:34.3 / 32
1:34.0 / 33
1:34.0 / 32
1:32.8 / 34

Fairly comfortable, for less than an hour after waking up.

Then 15mins on the stepper, and some bench press, clean and press and barbell rows (just light weights, as I’ve not done weights in a long time).

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2k @ 22spm

Posted by thepeteplan on September 12, 2009

I did a 2k @ 20spm last weekend (6:52.8 / 1:43.2 / 20), so decided that a good quick session before dinner today would be the next in the sequence. Aim on these sessions is to try to get roughly a 2sec better pace as I go up the rate by 2spm.

2k = 6:45.1 / 1:41.2 / 22
500m splits:
1:41.5 / 22
1:40.8 / 23
1:41.1 / 23
1:41.8 / 22

I was counting 22 strokes each minute, so I’m pretty sure I was within a stroke of two of being exactly 22spm for the distance, despite two of the splits coming out at 23 on the PM4.

Next up with be 2k @ 24spm, aiming for around 6:38. After that I might go for an intermediate target that I gave to a couple of other people to do 1500m @ 24spm as on the 2k @ 24, then free rate for the final 500m, and see what time that gives, before going for a 26spm 2k.

I am trying not to extend the stroke on these to get more pace, so just using a normal stroke, which makes me more confident of keeping up the pace increases for a few more steps. I don’t expect to keep the 2sec pace increase with every 2spm increase all the way up, but would be nice to do something along the lines of:

Done: 20spm = 1:43.2
Done: 22spm = 1:41.2
Target: 24spm = 1:39.2 (6:38)
Target: 26spm = 1:37.5 (6:30)
Target: 28spm = 1:36.5 (6:26)
Target: 30spm = 1:35.5 (6:22)

With those targets down on paper I can then look back and see how I do each step, and whether I might be able to exceed any of them, or revise them slower.

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Thursday and Friday

Posted by thepeteplan on September 11, 2009


2 x 20mins / 3min rest:

20mins = 5363m / 1:51.8 / 22

20mins = 5687m / 1:45.5 / 26

Second rep stepped it up from 24spm in the first 5mins, to 25 for the next, 26 from 10 to 5 to go, and higher for the last 5mins. Good solid 20mins.


20mins = 5374m / 1:51.6 / 24

4 x 500m / 90sec rest:
1:30.0 / 36
1:30.0 / 36
1:31.6 / 35
1:31.7 / 35

2k = 6:03.2 / 1:30.8 / 35

Always a risk when training with someone a good bit faster than you that you want to try your luck and see if you can keep up on this type of session. I couldn’t. Where I started to get slower, he started to get faster. Solid race prep session for Grimsby mile which is on 27th Sept though.

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