Lunch hour

The Pete Plan blog

HTFU – the MvB method

Posted by thepeteplan on February 3, 2010

I like to read and learn from the way other people train, and if something seems interesting I like to try it out for myself. As I’ve mentioned before, most of my final prep for Boston this year is all about the mental side, and getting myself into a position where I’m confident to push out 1:35’s for the duration of the 2k. Mike van Beuren is a former Crash B hammer winner, and current US Masters sculling champion. Mike blogs his training on the UK concept2 site, and he always has a good methodology behind it. When he posted an interval session on 28th January he had a different pacing method to my usual, so I thought it was interesting enough to try out.

The “Pete Plan” method of pacing intervals is to do the first n-1 intervals at your target pace (generally the average pace from last time you did the session), with the final rep pretty much flat out. The MvB method on his 1min reps was to do the first n-2 reps at your target pace, then the n-1 (second to last) flat out, with the final rep a lesson in holding on following the big lactic acid flood from the penultimate rep. The 8 x 500m session seemed like a good one to try this out on.

8 x 500m / 3:30 rest:
1:32.7 / 34
1:32.6 / 34
1:32.5 / 34
1:32.5 / 34
1:32.5 / 34
1:32.5 / 34
1:31.6 / 35
1:34.8 / 32

12:21.7 / 4000m /1:32.7 / 33

The first 6 were on target pace (which began as 1:32.5 to 1:32.9). This pace was right on the edge anyway I think, as shown by the fact that the “flat out” rep on number 7 wasn’t too much faster. That 0.9second increase in pace (which is of course worth nearly 4seconds over a 2k, so not insignificant) was enough to get the desired effect of “I really don’t want to row any more as my quads are ready to explode”. My personal target was then to complete the final 500m at the pace I want to row the 2k in Boston, thereby proving to myself that even with the feeling of not being able to do another stroke, I can still get through 500m on pace. It was not an enjoyable experience, but it is a good mental exercise in Harden The F*** Up.

8 Responses to “HTFU – the MvB method”

  1. Badocter said

    You mention that Mike used this approach on 1 minute reps. At what breakpoints in rep length and rep/int ratio does he change his approach. For instance, I can’t imagine doing this for a 4x1k. I think the last two reps of your speed pyramid would lend themselves well to this approach – probably the 250m could be finished at near the same pace as the 500m before it.

    It is no doubt mentally diffcult to push the penultimate rep to max if you have fermenting in the back of your mind that you still have to do another rep.

  2. phil said

    Nice work Pete. Always good to show the quads who’s boss! Your prep for Boston seems to be right on track – keep it up and don’t get hurt in the next few days.


  3. thepeteplan said

    William – I think this approach would work ok on longer intervals as long as you don’t go absolute max on the penultimate rep, though I personally don’t think I would use it on anything but 750m and below.

    Phil – the plan is to remain healthy for the next 10days!

  4. Mike said


    looking good for the crash B’s. Am interested by the 3:30rest. This seems like quite a lot given the time to row 500m. This week I did 8x500m, 1min rest (first 6 on target at 1:37.4, last 2 at 1:45) following a 2k 2 weeks ago at 1:41.1 pace. This took me close to the feeling at the end of a 2k, as the continuous lack of time for full recovery built up.

    I’d be interested to know whether you heart rate returns to normal between these intervals and why you opt for this length of rest?

  5. Jeff Brock said

    Speaking of staying healthy — I was on track to try to break 6:30 (barely did last year) again and some low rating workouts I was doing (at the encouragement of some of the Brown U. crew guys here at my university) seem to have given me a pretty sore rib — worried about a stress fracture if I push it, and worried about whether I’ll make it even under 6:50!! Anyone have any experience with this?



  6. thepeteplan said

    Mike – the session you did would suggest you can go much quicker over 2k than 1:41 pace. Many people in the concept2 training community use 6 x 500m with 1min rest as a 2k pace prediction workout. Personally I think this session is more like a second quicker than 2k pace though. So discounting your slower final 2 reps your session would suggest you can row a 2k at least at 1:38.5 pace, if not a bit faster.

    Jeff – how are you rowing the low rate workouts? I assume you’re not increasing the drag at all, as I don’t think that’s a good thing to do. How do you think this caused the sore rib? Just from increased force through your core, or were you hitting the handle against your ribs at all?

    • Jeff Brock said

      Hey — thanks for the response!

      I think the main culprit was that I was taking the coaching I was getting to emphasize the leg-drive, explode at the catch, get the force curve vertical, etc., a little too seriously — but I was rowing at around 115 drag factor, 20-22 spm, and doing pieces that increase in intensity of about 8-12 minutes in duration — usually ending about 26 or 28.. (this was as part of a rowing group at my rowing club — I normally try to maintain a fixed pace/rating/intensity level over each interval in a piece when I row at home on my own). I may have hit my ribs with the handle, but the pain is on the side/back. I think I was just pulling *really* abruptly at the catch to try to flatten out the force curve and I tugged the rib a little too hard. But I’ve heard when you go from dull ache to stress fracture it’s pretty much curtains for 4-6 weeks.

      I’ve tried dropping the drag factor all the way down and rowing at at least 30spm — works over longer pieces like 5000m or so, but for shorter intervals it’s hard to get into my target pace without re-irritating it. I may just have to lay off…

      Thanks for anything you can suggest!!


  7. Greg Forbes said

    HTFU, that is priceless. That will become my new motto to aspire to. After reading the MvB 8 x 500 w/o, I may only get there if I age backwards. BTW, best of luck to all in Boston.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: