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Archive for February, 2010

Boston race analysis

Posted by thepeteplan on February 16, 2010

On Saturday 16th January I did the following for the CTC: 1k = 3:08.7 / 1:34.3 / 32

And I said “Due to the training interruptions lately I’m not in great racing shape, so didn’t have any plans for racing any time soon. I am a little tempted to go to Boston still though”.

At that time, 4 weeks before the Crash B’s, I think I would have been in around 6:30 shape for a 2k. Three days later on Tuesday 19th January I set myself a test session, and said “Tonight’s session was planned as a tester. A make or break as to whether to consider going to Boston or not. A simple target of 2 x 1k with a 5 min rest between of sub 1:35.0.” I achieved the following:

2 x 1k / 5min rest:
3:09.9 / 1:34.9 / 33
3:09.9 / 1:34.9 / 32

I made the target by the narrowest margin possible, but made it all the same and entered the race. The mind and the focus was set for 3 weeks of training to see if I could take out that 5min break and put those two 1k’s back to back. The three weeks consisted of a mixture of steady distance work, sessions like the one above with increased distance on the first rep (eg 1200m / 800m), and short sharp interval sessions. The training went well, I made steady and consistent gains during the 3 weeks before travelling to Boston, and I was right about there in 6:20 shape.

I decided on a slightly conservative pacing plan that would be enough to break 6:20 if it was there, but should guarantee a solid time if it wasn’t. The plan was simple, 5 hard strokes before settling down to 1:36 pace to get through the majority of the race a little slower than I had been doing 2k prep work, then try to pull the pace down enough towards the end to get the average under 1:35. It went well, I settled to 1:36’s, saw a few 1:37’s but pulled them back to 1:36’s quickly enough. I felt good going through half way, but was starting to feel it at 1250m gone when I really wanted to pick the pace up. I decided to leave the push to 1:35’s until 600m to go at that point. 600m to go and I tried to see more 1:35’s and succeeded in stopping the drop of the average pace which had hit 1:35.7 at this point. Through to 500m to go and it was feeling tough, but feeling good. Approaching 250m to go and I was in 9th place and still around 1:35.6 / 1:35.7. At this point my mind was focussed on doing better than last year’s 8th place and 6:21.9. 8th place was close enough to catch, and I knew I could get the average down under 1:35.5 to ensure being under 6:22.

At 250m to go I picked the pace up to pretty consistent 1:33’s with an increase in rate, and moved into 8th place knowing I was doing enough to push under 6:22. If I have one regret now it is that I don’t think in my mind I had enough time left to push under 6:20, and I wonder if I’d really pushed the rate up in that last 200m if I could have got off that extra 1.2seconds. I’m not sure I could, as I was pretty tired at the end! I’m really happy with the progress I made in such a short space of time, and with how I executed the plan I set, as well as the result.

1:35.2 / 33
1:36.1 / 32
1:35.7 / 32
1:34.2 / 34

2000m = 6:21.2 / 1:35.3 / 32
(8th, 30-39hwt)

As Jo Andrews was on in the next but one race I walked from my race erg to find her in the warm up area, and went and sat on the floor behind her warm up erg. My lungs were burning, my throat was dry, and my legs were tired. I wasn’t as tired as Jo looked in the last 300m of her race though both from sitting behind her during it, or from seeing a video of the last 200m or so afterwards!

I definitely want to go again next year, and make the decision and the bookings much earlier to focus the training from much further out. For now I want to focus for a while on the 5k and 6k, and I will put my target in writing to focus the training. I will try to attempt to break 20mins for 6k, a sub 1:40 average pace. This would be an all time pb, beating the 20:04 I set a number of years ago.


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30sec reps and off to Boston

Posted by thepeteplan on February 11, 2010

I managed to fit in a last minute late morning session today after not training since Monday. Not ideal preparation with a 17hour working day on Tuesday, and having to be somewhere just after 7am for work this morning. Took the opportunity for a final sharpener workout as I had a small amount of free time.

10 x 30sec / 30sec rest:

4 @ 167m / 1:29.8 / 36
6 @ 168m / 1:29.2 / 36

Totals: 5:00.0 = 1:29.4 / 36

All reps exactly 18 strokes.

Off to the airport in just over an hour, and ready for a fun weekend and a solid 2k on Sunday. I still think I’m right around 6:20 shape, so will pace is accordingly. My current race plan in my head is to do a normal fast start for 5 strokes, then settle by 150m in to 1:35 pace. Then steady pace of 1:35 / 1:36 right through to somewhere between 750m and 500m from the end, aiming to be 1:35.5 at worst at 500m to go, from where I will push on to bring the average down to under 1:35.0 for the sub 6:20. It sounds easy on paper….

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Team GB t-shirt

Posted by thepeteplan on February 10, 2010

The Team GB t-shirt for Crash B’s 2010.

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Final race pace trial

Posted by thepeteplan on February 7, 2010

This session was to be tomorrow, but after a rest day yesterday I figured it was a good one to tick off the list today instead.

3k warm up = 11:15.2 / 1:52.5 / 24

1300m = 4:07.0 / 1:35.0 / 32
6min rest
700m = 2:10.0 / 1:32.8 / 33

Totals: 2k = 6:17.0 / 1:34.2 / 32

This felt much better than the 1200 / 800 last week, and the pace was faster on both reps. No question on the 1300 of sticking to pace, and I was ready to go again before 2mins of the 6min rest. This is a good sign, as anyone who has done a flat out 2k before knows that by the time you get to 1300m you’re pretty knackered, and if you stopped there in a truely flat out attempt you’d not want to do another 700m.

Plan for the rest of the week:
Monday – steady distance around 10k @ 1:50-1:52
Tuesday – rest day as I’m out helicopter flying day and evening, so won’t have time
Wednesday – 30sec on / 30sec off, 16 reps, sub 1:30, 35-36spm
Thursday – short steady if time, but flying to Boston
Friday – warm up and 4 x 500m / 2min rest as race plan
Saturday – rest or paddle and starts
Sunday – race

Looking forward to heading to Boston later in the week, it should be a fun weekend! I’m even starting to look forward to racing the 2k, and feeling good about the pace it will be done at!

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45sec reps – building the intensity

Posted by thepeteplan on February 5, 2010

Response to previous replies: Jeff, make sure to read Tim’s response about your injury in a reply he made to my previous blog entry.

Today’s training:

The aim of today’s session was to deliver more force to the handle, and more power (ie a faster pace) than I want to use in a 2k. Keeping the reps pretty short, and the rest periods fairly long, the session is not overly taxing in terms of lactic acid production or aerobically. I kept the rate only just over my ideal 2k rate to make it a fairly muscularly taxing session though.

3k warm up = 11:20.2 / 1:53.3 / 23

12 x 45sec / 90sec rest:
251m / 1:29.6 / 35
251m / 1:29.6 / 35
251m / 1:29.6 / 35
251m / 1:29.6 / 35
252m / 1:29.2 / 36
251m / 1:29.6 / 35
251m / 1:29.6 / 35
251m / 1:29.6 / 35
251m / 1:29.6 / 36
252m / 1:29.2 / 36
252m / 1:29.2 / 36
260m / 1:26.5 / 39

Totals: 9:00.0 = 3025m / 1:29.2 / 35

A faster final rep as is my usual method in interval training, though just by virtue of doing an extra stroke or two in the time. The idea behind these type of workouts leading up to the race is that when I come to row 1:35 @ 31-32spm as my cruising pace in Boston it will feel light enough, and sustainable enough, to get through the majority of the 2000m, and then pick the pace up towards the end and see how far under 6:20 I can get.

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Steady 10k with 2k push

Posted by thepeteplan on February 4, 2010

Reply to comment from last entry:

Jeff wrote, in summary: “[rib injury was caused by] 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 …… I’ve tried dropping the drag factor all the way down and rowing at at least 30spm”

Perhaps Tim will read this, and the full comment to my last blog entry, and be able to provide a more professional rowing perspective. Although it’s good to have a front loaded force curve, both on the erg and (I believe, I don’t row on the water) on the water, you don’t want to be hitting the catch as hard as you possibly can. You also want to make sure that early in the recovery your upper body position is set ready for the catch and arms fully extended so that the force, although obviously transferred through your core, is being generated by your legs for the first part of the drive. You want to be careful not to be trying to take the strain at the catch on your back or core by bending at the hip flexors or in your core on that initial drive phase. I would suspect, with seeing you on the erg, that it is this upper body positioning that is (slightly) off in the recovery, making you “bend in the middle” as you apply the power at the catch. For example, if you body position is either not correct, or you don’t have a strong enough core, when you push with your legs you will get a stage at the beginning of the drive where the seat starts to go back, and your upper body stays still, thereby bending you further forward – this will greatly increase the load on your core and intercostal muscles. If you’re able, take a side on video of your erging stroke and play it back in slow motion – for the initial drive the seat and handle should stay in the same place relative to each other.

Today’s training:

I decided to do a steady 10k today, but with a push over the final 2k. Here’s how it went:

2k splits on the 10k:
7:19.6 / 1:49.9 / 25
7:19.5 / 1:49.9 / 25
7:19.2 / 1:49.8 / 25
7:18.5 / 1:49.6 / 25
6:46.8 / 1:41.7 / 29

10k = 36:03.7 / 1:48.1 / 25

It felt great mentally to cruise through 8k building yourself up mentally to put in a much faster final 2k.

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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.

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Challenges and Boston

Posted by thepeteplan on February 2, 2010

Thanks for the comment yesterday Phil. I certainly think you’re right on both counts, that a lot of the battle with good times on the 2k in mental, and that I need to be careful not to burn myself out over the next 10 days trying to get the extra second or two off the time.

Today was a steady distance day, but I was feeling tired this afternoon so didn’t feel like doing too much at the gym. I started off with a steady 5k, then put in a time for the facebook challenge. There are 3 challenges I try to put in a time for each month – the concept2 challenge series (2500m this month), the Cross Team Challenge (1min sprint this month), and the facebook challenge (200m this month). I prioritise them in that order as I want to do as well as I can on the challenge series, I always submit a time in the CTC but don’t mind if it’s not the best I can do, and the facebook challenge I don’t always even do.

5000m = 18:37.2 / 1:51.7 / 24

200m = 31.4sec / 1:18.5 / 53

I nudged the drag up from a usual 130 to 143 for the 200m sprint. I could go faster on a higher drag, but as you can see from the rate this is just a flat out sprint for me at this drag. It doesn’t resemble that much of a normal erging stroke but I do believe it’s worth having a good sprint ability when it comes to the final 200m in a 2k.

I then did a 1k paddle and put in an initial time for the CTC too, just stroking it through strongly a bit under 2k pace.

1k = 1:53.0 / 23

1min = 334m / 1:29.8 / 35

So the Crash B’s are now about 12 days away, and I fly in 9 days time. Other than the racing it’s a fun event, and this will be my third time there (2004, 2009, 2010). Lots of friends from around the world including ex-olympians like John and Joan Van Blom. Two people I coach are now going, one in the women’s 30+ hwt and one in the women’s 40+ hwt, if they race on form the former should get a top 10 finish, and the later has a good shot at being in the medals. On the Saturday there is an International competitors lunch put on which is always good fun. It even includes a free bar, which is a bit odd the day before the race, but perhaps a good tactic by the Americans? Then there is of course the night after the race. I may have been twice before, but I don’t remember much about that evening…..

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1200, 800, 500 – race pace practice

Posted by thepeteplan on February 1, 2010

There are still 10 potential training days left before flying to Boston, so a lot of quality metres for me to still put in. Today’s session was set up as a 1200m, 800m, 500m session with the aim of a negative split on the first two to finish in the time I want in Boston (6:19.9). The 500m on the end is to prove to myself that the 1200 and 800 before weren’t maximal because, well, they don’t seem to let you take a 6min break in the middle of your race in Boston for some reason.

3k warm up then:

1200m = 3:49.1 / 1:35.4 / 32
6min rest
800m = 2:30.8 / 1:34.2 / 32
4min rest
500m = 1:33.7 / 33

Exactly 6:19.9 from the first two reps. I worked out in the rest time that I needed 2:30.9 or better to make the target, so made sure the projected time was on 2:30 towards the end of that rep. These type of workouts are more for pacing confidence, I need to do some harder (as in faster pace) intervals to enable me to both be a little more below max in the middle, and have a stronger finish. I am getting close to being confident of breaking 6:20 in Boston, but not quite there yet. I know it is still some way off my pb, but with the training interuptions over the past few months it will still be a very solid time to work off for 2010.

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