Lunch hour

The Pete Plan blog

Height, weight and stroke rate

Posted by thepeteplan on August 30, 2010

Yesterday’s training session was a lesson in the difference height and weight can make to effective and efficient stroke rates. I tried to recreate an 8 x 500m session a fellow athlete had done the day before, both in terms of pace and stroke rate. The reason for trying to replicate the workout is because the report of the workout sparked a discussion on the use of this particular workout (with 2min rests between the work reps) as a 2k predictor session. One workout that is often described as a 2k predictor workout (in that the pace you can achieve on it is very similar to the pace you will achieve on a 2k test) is 6 x 500m with 1min rest between reps. My argument was that from experience that workout is actually a little faster than 2k pace, and 8 x 500m / 2min rest will be a little faster still. I also suggested that the particular negative split pattern employed on this workout was different to following the workout at a continuous split throughout – essentially that doing the first 2 reps fairly slow meant that they were effectively as extension of the warm up.

As it turned out I couldn’t replicate the full workout:

8 x 500m / 2minR:
1:36.4 / 30 (target 1:36.6 / 30)
1:35.5 / 31 (target 1:35.5 / 31)
1:34.4 / 31 (target 1:34.4 / 31)
1:33.5 / 31 (target 1:33.5 / 31)
1:33.3 / 31 (target 1:33.3 / 31)
1:32.5 / 32 (target 1:32.5 / 32)
280m @ 1:32.1 / 33 (target 1:32.1 / 33)
DNS (target 1:28.5 / 35)

The mistake I made was thinking I could match the rate as well as the pace, despite it being below my 2k rate up to the final 2 reps. And of course attempting the workout the day after a hard 30r20 was not overly wise. The athlete I was trying to replicate has 7inches in height, and about 30kg in weight over me. With that advantage you will be able to rate relatively lower on this type of workout (or any workout really) than someone of similar absolute erg times. I got to half way through rep 7 and aside from rating up considerably at that point I could no longer maintain pace. Even the thought of attempting a 1:28.5 final rep at that point was enough to make me stop completely. Ok, so in reality I paddled to the end of rep 7, began rep 8 aiming for the 1:28.5 anyway and got about 200m in before stopping again, paddled to the end and again attempting the 1:28.5 getting around 250m in this time. The lesson at the end here is two fold – always complete the session to the best of your abilities, and if you do actually stop completely it’s probably best to just leave it for another day and not start and stop 2 more times!

So it was an interesting exercise. The paces on paper do not look overly tough, even the 1:28.5 at the end. But coupled with the stroke rates being fairly low as the pace rises through the middle of the set it just got to the point of being impossible for me to complete on the day.

Today (Monday)’s training was a steady 10k at 1:52.4 / 24, followed by a few lengths of the swimming pool.

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