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Archive for December, 2010

Final session of 2010

Posted by thepeteplan on December 31, 2010

The final session of 2010 had to be the final core session of BIRC to Boston Week 5. As the gym is closed tomorrow the first priority was to complete the session, and the second was to get all reps under 1:42 average pace. This is a little slower than I achieved on the 1550’s, but I was feeling low in energy as I entered the gym at 0730 this morning and wanted to ensure that the top priority was achieved.

4 x 1650m / 5min rest:
5:36.4 / 1:41.9 / 29
5:36.1 / 1:41.8 / 29
5:36.1 / 1:41.8 / 29
5:31.6 / 1:40.4 / 30

Totals = 22:20.3 / 6600m / 1:41.5 / 29

A solid enough end to the training week, and a good session completed all 4 days I have been in Seattle so far. I finished this session off with a few weights – cleans, barbell rows and bench press. I’m now ready for the rest of the day today, and tomorrow, to rest and recover ready for some good training to begin 2011 on Sunday.


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A salvage session

Posted by thepeteplan on December 30, 2010

It is good to have a salvage session in your arsenal of erg training pieces. A salvage session is a short hard (generally interval based) session that you can use to salvage a good training effect out a session that otherwise you have failed to meet your training targets for. Generally these sessions are of use when mentally you just haven’t been up to the task at hand and so don’t complete what you set out to complete.

I should say at this point that the particular session I trialled for the first time today was sent to me by someone else with the recommendation to use it as a weekly 2k prep session for around 6 weeks prior to a 2k race. I know he didn’t intend it’s use for this purpose, but today it fit the bill well and was a good way for a first try of a new session.

When I arrived at the gym this morning I was going to do core session 2 for this week, but a 20min wait for an erg meant that I didn’t really have the time (or rather had lost the will) for that tough interval set. So instead I set 5000m on the monitor and set off with the aim of bettering my previous score for this month’s challenge series. Rather than aim for anything particularly fast I simply looked back at the splits from my previous attempt, ordered them from slowest to fastest, and from that aimed to go 1:44 for the first 1k, 1:43 for the next 1k, low 1:42’s up to 2k to go, and so on from there. I made it up to 1500m to go and I just didn’t have the mental resolve to push on faster from there, so stopped with the average split on 1:43.1. Not a good choice of session when you’re not mentally “feeling it”. So time to salvage a good training effect from the session.

The new session is 8 x 250m with 30seconds passive rest between reps. No paddling during the 30sec recovery intervals, and no rolling starts. For this first attempt I aimed for 1:35’s at roughly 2k rate, just to get a judgement of how fast I could do the session.

8 x 250m / 30sec passive rest:
1:34.4, 1:34.6, 1:34.4, 1:34.2, 1:34.2, 1:34.2, 1:34.0, 1:33.2
Totals = 6:16.6 / 2k / 1:34.1 / 32

To use this as a 2k prep session I was recommended to push it down to more like 3seconds under 2k pace, so this is not fast enough. But it is good to do a new session at a pace you know you can get through it at just to get a better objective judgement both for how fast you can attempt the session next time, and how effective you think it might be in terms of training. A good way to salvage a good session for a fairly poor attempt at a fast 5k I think, and I felt like I’d done a good training session afterwards.

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60mins – steady distance

Posted by thepeteplan on December 30, 2010

As I said in the last entry, I am currently training in a gym just outside Seattle while over here on holiday. The gym plays no music, so either you listen to the tv channel you’re watching on your treadmill through headphones, or you use an ipod. On the erg you just get silence (or that strange kind of gym silence – the whiring or treadmill belt and clanking of weights). With nothing to distract you from what you’re doing longer steady distance pieces seem to go on for a lot longer.

60mins = 16077m / 1:51.9 / 24

A steady pace and rate throughout. So far today is a rest day, though it is not quite 6.30am yet, so that could change later.

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B2B – Week 5 – more speed work

Posted by thepeteplan on December 28, 2010

We’re now into Week 5 of the BIRC to Boston training group, and I will be training in Seattle for the duration of week’s 5 and 6 of the plan (or actually in a gym around 10miles outside Seattle). I flew over here yesterday (Monday) afternoon, arriving around 4.30pm local time. What better way to start your 2 week holiday than walking into the gym at 5.40am ready for some 2k paced intervals. It may sound dedicated that I was warmed up and rowing my first rep at pace by 6am on the first day of my holiday, but in reality as we’re 8 hours behind GMT here it was really 2pm on my body clock, and I’d been up for over 2 hours anyway.

The first session of Week 5 is bringing in some longer work at “race pace”, but a fairly short session overall.

1k = 3:09.8 / 1:34.9 / 32
4min rest
750m = 2:22.3 / 1:34.8 / 32
4min rest
500m = 1:34.0 / 33
4min rest
500m = 1:33.7 / 33

2750m = 8:39.8 / 1:34.5 / 32

I really need to make these speed sessions count over the next 8 weeks, they have to be the priority in terms of effort. I don’t expect to get 6 sessions in each week while I’m away, so I will make sure that the quality of each session I do is high.

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8 week to go – speed work begins

Posted by thepeteplan on December 26, 2010

Today marks 8 weeks to go before the world indoor rowing championships in Boston USA. I have booked to go partly because I am coaching a number of athletes who will be competing there as the conclusions of the BIRC to Boston training group, partly to socialise with old friends who I haven’t seen since last year, but also because I enjoy the pressure of racing and the motivation and focus it brings to the training. So despite anything I might say to the contrary over the next 8 weeks, my intention is to train such that I can row 2000m as fast as possible on that one day in 8 weeks time.

Today was the first session since before the British Indoor Rowing championships focussed on the 2k.

8 x 500m / 2:30 rest:
1:35.2 / 32
1:34.9 / 32
1:34.6 / 33
1:34.4 / 33
1:34.2 / 33
1:34.0 / 33
1:33.8 / 33
1:33.8 / 33

4k = 12:34.8 / 1:34.3 / 32

The baseline is set, now 8 weeks left to work hard and put in the hard metres.

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December CTC

Posted by thepeteplan on December 23, 2010

The Cross Team Challenge for December takes a bit of prior planning due to the rules. The basic session format is fairly simple – 10 x 300m / 2min rest, however it comes with a clever rule that each rep must be at least 10 watts greater power than the previous rep otherwise you get a 2.5second penalty on the overall time. Therefore there is a choice between picking the right starting pace such that you can get the 10 watt+ increases in power each rep and incur no penalties, or to plan on “tactical penalties” by deliberately stepping back the pace once or more during the 10 reps.

I planned to do this session once, and only once, and so wanted to think carefully about the best tactics prior to doing it. The number 1 tactic was to not take any penalties you don’t mean to take, and so know exactly how much you need to step up by on each rep. My plan was then to try to negative split through all 10 reps, but reserving the option of taking a penalty at one point if I knew that the constant negative split could not be held. I picked a starting pace of 1:30.0 just because it is a nice round number.

My pre row calculations showed me that I needed to step up the pace by 0.7seconds on the first 2 reps, and 0.6 thereafter to maintain the 10watt increases in power – I found it much simpler to work this out before rather than try to row the session on the unfamiliar watts reading. The session was executed like this:

1:30.0 / 36 / 480watts
1:29.3 / 35 / 491w
1:28.6 / 35 / 502w
1:28.0 / 38 / 514w
1:27.3 / 38 / 525w
1:26.5 / 38 / 541w
1:29.3 / 37 / 491w (+2.5 penalty)
1:28.5 / 37 / 505w
1:27.8 / 37 / 517w
1:26.6 / 39 / 538w

Total = 8:49.2 / 1:28.2 / 37

CTC time = 8:49.2 + 2.5sec penalty = 8:51.7

So just the one penalty on rep 7 when it became apparent that I would not be able to keep the increases in pace right to the end. Unfortunately I came to this realisation about 150m into rep 7 with an average pace at 1:25.7 or so, but that did allow me a relative cruise for the rest of that rep.

It is a strange session overall. My legs were pretty fried by the end (I rated quite low for this type of session, for me), but CV wise it’s not overly tough with the generous rest periods. An interesting exercise, and good to get some fast paced work in as a reintroduction to sub 2k paced work. Unfortunately the one core session I have left to complete this week on the B2B plan is an 8 x 500m….

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2k restricted to 26spm

Posted by thepeteplan on December 21, 2010

Following on from a 2k test at 24spm 2 weeks ago, today’s session was a 2k restricted to 26spm. The target is simple – go faster than you did at 24spm. Mentally this makes the session pretty easy – you have done a certainly pace for 2000m rowing 24 strokes every minute. If you are allowed to take 2 more strokes every minute you can go faster. The time 2 weeks ago was 6:39.7, or 1:39.9 pace. The aim for today was to go roughly 1.5seconds faster pace, but the target in the row itself was simply not to take any stroke slower than 1:40 and none faster than 1:38 until in sight of the line.

2k = 6:33.6 / 1:38.4 / 26
500m splits:
1:38.5 / 26
1:38.9 / 26
1:38.7 / 26
1:37.4 / 26

A well executed session with fairly tired legs from the two pacey sessions yesterday.

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5k test, 5 x 1k reps

Posted by thepeteplan on December 20, 2010

I had today down as a 5k time trial, despite setting it for the rest of the people in the BIRC to Boston training group as the Friday session for this week. I moved it to Monday as it was going to be rowed with a close rival on rowpro, Jason. Unfortunately Jason’s work plans changed last week and he wasn’t able to row the 5k with me, so I went to the gym for it rather than rowpro. The weekend prep wasn’t ideal for a hard Monday morning time trial. Saturday evening was a fairly large consumption of wine with friends over for dinner, so not the best night’s sleep on Saturday night. Sunday was then a write off as far as training, or doing anything much else.

But I hit the gym at 1030 this morning, rowed a 2k warm up, felt pretty good, and so set 5000m on the monitor and set off. The initial plan was to flat pace the first 3k at 1:42.0 and then bring the pace down over the last 2k. Here is how it actually went:

  1. 1:41.1 / 30
  2. 1:41.9 / 29
  3. 1:42.0 / 29
  4. 1:42.0 / 29
  5. 1:42.2 / 29
  6. 1:42.2 / 29
  7. 1:42.9 / 29
  8. 1:45.8 / 27
  9. 1:44.8 / 28
  10. 1:40.9 / 29

5k = 17:04.9 / 1:42.5 / 28

The pace dropped off because I had the over-whelming urge to stop, and the only way I could get past that was to slow down enough to let my brain think it was sustainable. The average pace finally reached 1:42.0, the target for the first 3k, at about 1800m to go. So I was right on target at the 2k to go point, but at that decision point when I should have been speeding up my brain wasn’t willing to go there. I am sure this was a mental weakness not a physical one, and will aim to find time to attempt this again later in the week.

I followed the session a few hours later with some 1k reps with a fairly leisurely 5min rest period (it was someone else’s session on rowpro), with a full house of 16 people to row with.

5 x 1k:
3:24.0 / 1:42.0 / 29
3:23.9 / 1:42.0 / 29
3:23.7 / 1:41.8 / 29
3:23.5 / 1:41.8 / 29
3:10.6 / 1:35.3 / 33

As with the intervals over the past 3 weeks the 1:42’s in the first 4 reps felt a good sustainable pace, evident by the “fast last” final rep.

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4 x 1550m & rowpro 30mins

Posted by thepeteplan on December 17, 2010

Thanks for the comments on Wednesday’s 10k and videos. Stuart – I row everything on 130 drag aside occasionally for easy distance work where I will lower the drag to 125.

Thursday should have been a nice easy distance piece, and when I finally got around to rowing it on rowpro at 8pm I did set the drag to 125 because of it. Perhaps 1:54 or so for an easy piece? That would be under 8k though, so I’d better make it 1:52.5 to break 8k. It was looking like a fast field though so I decided on 10 hard strokes to give me time to assess what everyone else would be doing, then drop back to pace. I did drop back to 1:52’s but the average took a long time to slow down, and when it finally slowed to 1:49.9 I just kept it there. Then the rowpro racing instinct started to kick in, and with Paul Brew up to 40m ahead I nudged the pace up to keep his lead there. Unfortunately some mental calculations meant I couldn’t resist seeing if I could close that 40m lead in the final 5mins and catch Paul. I maybe could have got away with calling it at least a moderate row had I not done that…

30mins = 8369m / 1:47.5 / 26
5min splits:
1:49.9 / 25
1:49.2 / 25
1:48.1 / 26
1:47.9 / 26
1:47.9 / 26
1:42.4 / 28

That brought me to today’s final core session of BIRC to Boston Week 3. I could have legitimately put this session back to tomorrow, but the knock on effects of that could mess up next week so I went with it, despite feeling very tired this morning.

The first two sessions in this particular progression went like this:

1st Dec = 4 x 1350m @ 1:41.8, 1:41.6, 1:41.4, 1:38.4
10th Dec = 4 x 1450m @ 1:41.4, 1:41.3, 1:41.2, 1:38.2

So the aim today was to roughly match the 100m shorter reps from last week:

4 x 1550m / 5min rest:
5:14.3 / 1:41.3 / 29
5:13.8 / 1:41.2 / 30
5:13.9 / 1:41.2 / 30
5:06.5 / 1:38.8 / 30

6200m = 20:48.5 / 1:40.6 / 29

The last rep I think could have matched the last rep from last week but as I felt tired before the session I didn’t want to push too hard at that point. On current form the 5k next week should be comfortably under 17mins as long as I pace it sensibly.

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10k Season best – with video!

Posted by thepeteplan on December 15, 2010

I had a day trip out today to Brighton for a 10k time trial with a friend of mine, Casey. Casey and I had done a 10k time trial together before in my gym some month ago when I just broke 35mins, and Casey was some 30+ seconds behind me. New to the sport he’d been improving rapidly since, and was in form to smash his 35:31 pb. I wanted Casey to believe in himself, and go for sub 35mins rather than settle for “just” getting a pb, and so when we discussed pacing plans I made it clear that I would be targetting sub 35mins, and so if he wanted to beat me that was the least he should be targetting.

With that in mind my pacing plan was for flat 1:45’s, and then a push towards the end with whatever I had left, and to try to win. Here is how it went:

10k = 34:50.7 / 1:44.5 / 28
2k splits:
1:44.9 / 28
1:44.9 / 28
1:45.1 / 28
1:45.1 / 28
1:42.5 / 29

It went to plan, but Casey was on a flyer, and there was never a chance of catching back up at the end with his huge new pb of 34:33, nearly 1min faster than he’s ever gone before! This is the fastest 10k I have done all year, and it felt good. My fitness is picking up all the time, and I’m enjoying the training because of it.

I said with video, so here are a few clips taken during the row. I am in the white vest, Casey on my left:

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