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The Pete Plan blog

Archive for June, 2010

Training with Zach

Posted by thepeteplan on June 26, 2010

I went down to the Pocock rowing center in Seattle today to do a training session with Zach Ellison, a US National Team sculler who I know through the Concept2 UK forum. All I knew about the session before I turned up this afternoon was that is was a combination erg and weights session, Zach left it as a surprise what we were actually doing.

The workout consisted of a 10min warm up on the erg, a circuit routine of 15 exercises done back to back, some power erg work, then finally finishing off with some dyno supersets. It was a tough workout overall, and I think I’ll know about it tomorrow morning. The full workout details were:

10min erg warm up (low to mid 1:50’s), then the 15 exercise circuit:

400m erg r22 (done flat out at this rate)

21 reps deadlift

21 burpees

21 sit ups

300m erg r24 (flat out)

18 thrusters (pretty much power clean and press)

18 push ups

200m r26 (flat out)

15 dead lifts

15 dumbbell swings (kind of a dynamic dumbbell clean)

15 box jumps

150m erg r24 (flat out)

12 reps deadlift

12 push press (I can’t remember the difference between this and the thrusters…)

12 each leg explosive step ups

Then back to the erg for:

10 sets of 10reps of max power strokes at r26 with 20strokes easy between. These were around 1:35 to 1:38 in general.

Then finally onto the dyno for 2 sets of 10 then 4 sets of 20 supersetting the leg push and arm pull exercises, all reps max effort.

All in all the entire workout was somewhere around 90mins long, and pretty intense all the way through. We both certainly did a good bit of sweating! It was a great experience to get a little insight into the training routines of professional national team rowers. This was session 3 of 4 today for Zach, having already done a water workout then an erg workout this morning. A big volume of training requiring a big volume of calories taken in I’m sure, and the sort of commitment to training that many of us would find it hard to commit to I’m sure, even if we had the natural ability either to training that much, or achieve the level of results that warrant that level of training.

Another learning experience on the sceptacism of over training in erg only athletes who train for under an hour a day….


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Steady 60mins

Posted by thepeteplan on June 22, 2010

60mins = 16087m / 1:51.8 / 24
10min splits:
1:52.3 / 24
1:51.8 / 24
1:51.7 / 24
1:51.8 / 24
1:51.9 / 24
1:51.5 / 24

The final training session before I head off for 10days in Seattle tomorrow. Training will continue while I’m away, but I will just fit in quality sessions as and when I have chance to train – relaxation is more of a priority.

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40mins and Seattle

Posted by thepeteplan on June 21, 2010

I only did an easy 40mins today on the erg:

40mins = 10500m / 1:54.9 / 21

10min splits:

1:57.2 / 20, 1:56.9 / 20, 1:53.8 / 22, 1:51.5 / 24

 This was due to doing too much on my “day off” yesterday. I decided to start with a short run on the treadmill at the gym. When I’ve not run for a fair time, which is the case at the moment, I know it can give me bad DOMS the next day so I was sensible and just did a pretty slow 5k (23mins or so). That was fine, but then finished up my short session at the gym with some swiss ball squats, again something I’ve not done for ages. I should do these more often, they are such a great quad and core session. Standing on the swiss ball is a great core exercise anyway, but squatting on it really fires every muscle in your upper legs and core to stay balanced. I then cooled down with about 15mins of lengths in the pool.

The DOMS have been pretty bad all day in my quads, partly in my hamstrings, and throughout my abs, obliques and lower back – therefore definitely a great core exercise. I’ve never felt DOMS in my obliques like this before, and it’s definitely my weakest area, so I will do more of those.

I’m off work now for 2 weeks and heading out to Seattle on Wednesday for 10days. It looks like I might be able to get in some training with Zach Ellison on Friday. Zach is currently training in Seattle at the Pocock rowing center on their elite program (I believe), and is striving to represent the US at the Olympics. He’s recently done a 5:56 for 2k, and is currently in better form than that. It would be great to be able to meet Zach and better still do a bit of training together. Other than that I have a guest pass sorted out for the local Y gym so will be able to train whenever I get the time and desire, so I don’t plan on losing any fitness during my break.

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2k time again….

Posted by thepeteplan on June 19, 2010

It is just over a week since I did a 2k in the gym with the aim to do them fairly regularly in training, slightly faster each time, and make the 2000m single distance just another training piece. On Friday 11th I did a 6:27.0 with a fairly constant 1:37.5 pace pushing a bit faster in the final 500m. The aim today was to go a little harder at the start, still cruise through the middle at 1:37.5 (6:30 pace for 2k), and then push a bit harder than last time in the final 500m.

Warm up: 2000m = 7:25.5 / 1:51.3 / 23

2000m = 6:25.3 / 1:36.3 / 31
500m splits:
1:36.3 / 31
1:37.4 / 31
1:37.1 / 30
1:34.5 / 33

Cool down: 2000m = 8:00.1 / 2:00.0 / 21

The note I wrote in my paper training diary is “Need to warm up more next time!!”, which as I push the pace on these more is definitely going to be needed. It’s amazing how alien it can feel going just a bit faster than the paces you’ve been training at (eg lots of middle distance interval work at 1:40 pace), and really goes to show that you get what you train for – or rather you don’t get what you don’t train for. Without doing any speed work you can’t expect to be able to row a fast 2k – or again conversely if you can row a pretty good 2k with no speed work then you can expect to take a fair bit off the time when you do some proper speed work to transition to 2k training.

What I’d like to do is carry on doing regular 2k’s hopefully peaking with a sub 6:20 before I start any speed work in the run up to BIRC. With a proper warm up on the right day I’m sure I have a sub 6:20 in me now as although I can’t say this 6:25 felt easy, it felt more like the penultimate rep of an  interval session type effort.

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Recovery 10k

Posted by thepeteplan on June 18, 2010

10k = 38:36.7 / 1:55.8 / 21

A nice easy recovery row after the fun of the 5min reps yesterday. I needed it.

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CTC – the result

Posted by thepeteplan on June 17, 2010

With 6 days to go until I go on holiday I decided today would be my final attempt at this month’s CTC challenge. With a 1:41.5 pace to improve on I would never normally go for such a big jump in pace on an interval session, but I had Jason Hewitt’s 7499m / 1:40.0 as my target to beat. The only way to attempt this was to take it one rep at a time and go for 1500m exactly on reps 1 to 4, then 1501m+ on the final rep. I didn’t have the confidence I could beat Jason’s score, but this lack of confidence isn’t the same killer in an interval session as it is in a single piece as you can just take it one rep at a time.

The scores:

4 x 5mins / 2min rest:

1500m / 1:40.0 / 31

1500m / 1:40.0 / 30

1500m / 1:40.0 / 30

1500m / 1:40.0 / 30

1504m / 1:39.7 / 30

Total: 7508m / 1:39.8 / 30

It seems odd to me as well that the average on the PM3 credited me with 4m more than the total of the rep metres. I know the two don’t always add up as the average takes into account tenths of metres on the reps (I assume?) too, but 4m seems a big difference. Before I enter a score into the CTC site I will take a consensus on whether I should enter 7508m as the total the PM3 gave me (I took a photo of the monitor too), or 7504m as the total of the reps – any opinions?

This session was tough! I deliberately rated up a little on my last attempt as I knew it was the only way I could sustain this pace with the short rests. Rep 1 felt hard, but the first rep always does (I warmed up for 5mins before). Rep 2 was a little better, but still tough. Through rep 3 I wasn’t confident of being able to complete the session at pace, but I knew I could complete that rep on target, and that’s all that mattered at the time. Rep 4 felt pretty much red lined and maximal, I really didn’t think I’d be able to get rep 5 on target. The first 4 reps I paced constantly at 1:40 from start to finish. The final rep I paced differently because I really didn’t have the confidence I could get it on target. I started with 5 harder strokes, then settled to 1:41’s and a few 1:42’s, and got to 2mins to go on 1:41.0. I slowly neg split from there watching the projected metres creep from 1490 up to 1496 and finally seeing 1500 as I increased pace. With a harder last 20seconds, knowing I had made my target, I finished with the 1504m. I unstrapped my feet, and lay on the floor by the erg for a couple of minutes trying to get my breathing back under control.

I have no plans to do this again!

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Cross Team Challenge

Posted by thepeteplan on June 17, 2010

Generally I am methodical in setting myself a target pace for an interval session, even when it is a challenge session that I want to do as fast as possible. This month’s Cross Team Challenge ( is a 5 x 5mins / 2min rest interval session. A standard interval session I have done a lot in the past is the Pete Plan 5 x 5mins / 5min rest. When in pretty good shape I tend to pace that session at 1:39.9 for the first 4 reps, and then have a little left over to go faster in the final rep. In comparison to this my current score of 1:41.5 for the CTC challenge, with only 40% of the rest period, is a reasonable score.

With less than a week before I go away on holiday I don’t have many days left to better this, and a close rival of mine, Jason Hewitt, has set the bar high with a 1:40.0 average for 7499m, meaning an improvement of 111m over the 5 reps to beat him. This is a really tough ask, and not a jump I would normally attempt of 1.5seconds in pace across an interval session. The one thing I have in my favour is that I did the same session but with 4 reps in October last year, and managed all reps at 1:39.8, so I do have form to get through to the final rep.

The problem is, I don’t really believe I can achieve all 5 reps at an average pace under 1:40. If this was a single piece challenge that lack of self belief would mean there was no real way I could achieve it. Interval training (or racing I guess in this case) is a little different. I can take it one rep at a time, for the first 4 aiming for 1:39.9 / 1:40.0, and just concentrate on that one rep forgetting the rest of the session. If I try and fail I will know I put myself in the best position to achieve it if it is physically possible. If I don’t try I will just never know.

So today’s session will be 5 x 5mins / 2min rest, and I will be taking it one rep at a time aiming for 1500m on each, and a 1501m+ final rep. Whether I achieve it or not it won’t be fun, and it will hurt. Wish me luck.

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60mins = 16647m (1:48.1)

Posted by thepeteplan on June 15, 2010

With a day off work today it was a good opportunity for another 60min row, but this time pushing it a bit harder by negative splitting through the hour.

60mins = 16647m / 1:48.1 / 26
10min splits:
1:49.8 / 25
1:49.2 / 25
1:48.8 / 26
1:48.1 / 26
1:47.4 / 27
1:45.2 / 27

It felt good to be increasing pace throughout the hour, with a solid finishing average pace. Despite this obviously being somewhat sub maximal, there is still a long way to go before I’m back to my very best over this sort of distance, as the last 10mins today was at my 60min pb pace! Perhaps another aim for the summer should be to get the hard hour row back over 17k again.

Yesterday I didn’t have a lot of time or motivation for training, so went for a moderately hard 5k as a nice short, sharp session:

5k, aim 1:43.0 steady for 3500m then neg split a little.

5k = 17:07.9 / 1:42.7 / 28
500m splits:
1:43.0 / 28
1:43.0 / 28
1:43.0 / 28
1:43.0 / 28
1:42.9 / 28
1:43.0 / 28
1:43.0 / 28
1:42.8 / 28
1:42.7 / 28
1:41.6 / 28

A solid enough time when motivation was low, but I did expect to go faster over the final 1500m. I find that for hard middle distance pieces your head really has to be in the right place though, as without that you just don’t want to push it to the next level.

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60mins – 16432m (1:49.5)

Posted by thepeteplan on June 12, 2010

I said I was going to aim to do a couple of longer “steady” rows each week over the summer, so that’s exactly what I did this morning.

60mins = 16432m / 1:49.5 / 25
10min splits:
1:50.1 / 24
1:50.1 / 24
1:50.2 / 24
1:50.2 / 25
1:50.1 / 25
1:46.4 / 27

A steady “moderate” pace for the first 52mins or so, then a push to the finish as I felt good. Cooled down with about 8 lengths of the swimming pool.

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2k – it has to be done (occasionally)

Posted by thepeteplan on June 11, 2010

Most erg athletes avoid doing a 2k test whenever possible. Many water rowers avoid the erg in general whenever possible. Yet we’re all tested, to some extent, by our 2k times. If I want to get back to my best times over 2000m during the next racing season then I need to get myself used to rowing 2k again, and I need to start a long way out from the racing season. Today was that start.

I set the session up as a 3 x 2k with a short rest between so that I have a set warm up and cool down piece for consistency (I set the 2k pieces individually so I could get splits, it wasn’t set as an interval session). For the fast 2k I aimed to do 5 hard strokes, then flat pace it at 6:30 pace (1:37.5) until about 200m to go then speed up to the end.

2k = 7:27.2 / 1:51.8 / 24 (w/u)

2k = 6:27.0 / 1:36.7 / 30
500m splits:
1:36.9 / 31
1:37.5 / 30
1:37.3 / 30
1:35.4 / 31

2k = 7:42.1 / 1:55.5 / 22

It went right to plan. 6:30 pace is sub-maximal enough that it’s not a mental struggle to hold the pace constant before a short sprint finish. This is a good marker in the sand to work gradually faster from over the next few months.

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