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Archive for January, 2011

2k, 1k, 500m

Posted by thepeteplan on January 31, 2011

With a little under 3 weeks to go to Boston now the session for today was a 2k, 1k, 500m again, as 2 weeks ago. For the people who raced at Manchester yesterday that replaced this session.

I only did the last session a week ago as I’d had a few days off with a bad chest and missed the designated day, so had my target to beat the paces from then (1:37.4, 1:38.4, 1:33.8 respectively).

The aim for this one was to flat pace the 2k at 1:37 with a little push towards the end. 1k again trying to match the pace of the 1k, and 500m faster. It went better this time.

2k = 6:26.7 / 1:36.6 / 30
500m splits:
1:37.1 / 31
1:37.1 / 30
1:36.8 / 31
1:35.7 / 31

The 2k felt good. Quite why the first 3 splits came out like that I’m not sure, as I kept the average pace on 1:37.0 throughout. A little push then in the final 500m without increasing the rate. Again a fairly long rest then before the 1k, about 7mins.

1k = 3:13.4 / 1:36.7 / 31
500m splits:
1:37.1 / 31
1:36.4 / 31

The 1k felt comfortably tough. A little annoying that I didn’t push the last few strokes to beat the pace of the 2k though, but I just aimed to pace it the same way – flat at 1:37 with a little push at the end without increasing rate. A shorter rest before the 500m, about 4mins.

500m = 1:32.4 / 35
250m splits:
1:34.8 / 34
1:29.8 / 37

Why does 500m feel so short, even after a good paced 2k and 1k? Yet 500m left in a 2k feels like a long way still. I actually did a bit of a sprint for the last 200m here, the rest was flat paced at 1:35. Just a bit of extra rate in the 500m and this pace felt fine.

A 2k is so much more straight forward when you go into it with an exact plan and effectively treat it like an interval session with targets throughout. The 2k at the start of this is almost identical time to my 2k in Cardiff in December, which I went into with no real plan, started far too hard, went far too slow in the middle, and basically rowed really badly. It’s looking good for Boston as long as I decide on a realistic plan prior to the race, and go into it with the same intentions as this 2k to row the plan.


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English National Championships

Posted by thepeteplan on January 31, 2011

7 people in the BIRC to Boston training group that I have been coaching took part in the English national championships yesterday. Still 3 weeks prior to the end of the 12 week training programme, the results were impressive. 3 gold medals, 1 silver medal, 1 bronze medal, 1 British Record, a number of personal best times, and 5 of the 6 who raced at the British Championships just 10 weeks ago improved on their times, some by a big margin.

Rod Chinn – 6:48.7, 2nd 50-59H (6:51.1 at BIRC)
Carol Woodward – 7:39.9, 1st 50-59L (7:46.7 at BIRC)
Jef Hutchby – 6:55.9, 4th 40-49L (6:56.7 at BIRC)
Alan McGlaughlin – 6:57.7, 22nd 40-49H (7:07.3 at BIRC)
Peter Tullett – 7:05.2, 3rd 50-59L (7:07.0 at BIRC)
Jen Howse – 7:21.4, 1st 30-39H (no BIRC race)
Joanna Allsebrook – 8:02.9, 1st 40-49L (8:02.8 at BIRC)

Well done to all of them for putting in very good race times, and to the 3 new English champions, and Carol for setting a new British Record. It’s looking good with 3 weeks to go before the World Championships.

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10k challenge series

Posted by thepeteplan on January 31, 2011

As January comes to an end I couldn’t leave my poor effort at the 10k challenge series of 35:58 as my best effort from Thursday. I accepted that in the middle of 2k focussed training I just may not be in shape (mentally perhaps rather than physically) to still row under 35mins, so yesterday I went to the gym with the intention of simply beating the time from Thursday. The pacing plan was simply to set off at the average pace from the previous effort (effectively 1:48.0) for the first 4k, then slowly negative split from there. It went nicely to plan:

10k = 35:34.4 / 1:46.7 / 27
2k splits:
1:47.5 / 27
1:47.4 / 27
1:47.0 / 27
1:46.8 / 27
1:44.7 / 28

I could have pushed the end harder, but with a core 2k session to do today I didn’t want to overly fatigue myself for a few more seconds off the time.

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CTC: 2mins = 682m / 1:27.9

Posted by thepeteplan on January 29, 2011

A nice short session today just to get a score on the board for the cross team challenge. 2500m of warm up, then into the 2mins.

2mins = 682m / 1:27.9 / 38
20sec splits:
1:26.2 / 42
1:28.4 / 39
1:28.4 / 36
1:28.4 / 39
1:28.4 / 39
1:26.9 / 36

It was deliberately rowed to look so controlled, though it was not rowed as a max flat out effort either. It is a strange “distance” to row being a fair way past 500m, so not really a sprint at all. I paced it as I would a 1k instead, with 10 hard strokes, 50 cruising strokes, and finished off with 20 hard strokes. I wonder how much faster I could go if I tried a 2min piece at a max effort / higher rate? I don’t have any plans to find out at this stage – it would be faster, but I don’t think a lot faster.

The reason for the nice short session today was to warm up well for a good stretching session, which hopefully will help my hip recovery quickly.

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Good days and bad days

Posted by thepeteplan on January 28, 2011

For the past three seasons I have taken part in the Concept2 challenge series, since it was first introduced. A monthly event running throughout the season from September through to May it’s a good way to motivate more people into healthy competition on the erg. The challenge for January is a 10000m row, and I had this planned for Thursday this week. So I took a rest day on Wednesday to be fresh for the row, and went into it with a target of 1:45 pace for a sub 35 time. Three things went wrong in the preparation, however, that set me up for a bad row. The first was that I just assumed I could match the 10k time I did on 15th December (34:50.7), despite my training having focussed solely on the 2k since then. The second was not taking into account that the row in December was done in a very cool and airy gym in Brighton, and the gym was stuffy and hot yesterday. The third was ignoring a hip pain I’d had since the day before. These three factors together meant that I wasn’t in physical or mental shape to row a straight 1:45 paced 10k yesterday, and I should have started out easier and built the pace during it. If I did this I may well have got pretty close to the original target. As it was I stuck to the target, and only gave in to the realisation that the pace was not achieveable 2500m into the row. As many of you will know, once you get this far into a hard distance row, especially when the pace is actually physically unsustainable on the day (by however small margin), you have to slow down a lot to actually make it somewhat comfortable. It went like this:

0-2000m = 1:45.1 / 29
I rated up slightly as I seem to have done something to a muscle in my side / hip area and it seemed to feel more comfortable. But it didn’t really feel comfortable and I knew by 2k that there was no way I was going to maintain this pace through the 10k.
2000-4000m = 1:46.8 / 27
I tried to find a sustainable pace that I could finish the 10k at. I didn’t want to stop and risk putting Craig (who I was rowing the 10k with) off his row. The temperature in the gym meant that it just felt generally hard now.
4000-6000m = 1:49.6 / 26
I pretty much just dropped to a cruisey pace from here and decided to go for a reasonable sub 36 rather than a fast sub 35.
6000-8000m = 1:50.8 / 26
Just getting through the distance and letting the average creep up to 1:48.
8000-10000m = 1:47.1 / 28

10000m = 35:58.3 / 1:47.9 / 27

I’m glad I finished the distance in a reasonable time, but I think had I begun at 1:47/1:48 pace I would have actually come in within 20seconds of the original target, rather than barely 60seconds inside it.

Whatever the issue was with my hip it felt worse this morning. But I am pretty sure it’s not muscular, more of a nerve issue as it feels more like a dead leg feeling. I decided to go to the gym for a bit of rehab exercise, but decided to start a tentative erg session first. Whether this workout turns out to be kill or cure the next 24 hours will tell. To justify going slower than targets for the next core session for the BIRC to Boston week I decided to do the final 2 core sessions of the week back to back with just a short 5min break between them! First the details of the workout:

4 x 1350m / 5min rest:
4:43.0 / 1:44.8 / 27
4:41.6 / 1:44.2 / 28
4:39.8 / 1:43.6 / 29
4:31.2 / 1:40.4 / 30

Totals = 5400m / 18:35.7 / 1:43.3 / 28

5mins rest then straight into:

25 x 100m / 1min rest:
17.0 / 1:25.0 / 39 = all reps 1-14
16.9 / 1:24.5 / 39 = all reps 15-19
16.8 / 1:24.0 / 39 = rep 20
16.7 / 1:23.5 / 40 = rep 21
16.6 / 1:23.0 / 40 = rep 22
16.5 / 1:22.5 / 44 = rep 23
16.3 / 1:21.5 / 44 = rep 24
15.8 / 1:19.0 / 46 = rep 25

2500m = 7:01.3 / 1:24.2 / 39

My hip certainly doesn’t feel any worse for that workout, and if anything feels a little better. The 1350’s felt good just gently negative splitting through them. It’s amazing how easy 1:45’s feel when you don’t have 10k set on the monitor. The 100m reps felt pretty comfortable at this rate and pace. It’s not a aerobically tough workout, more of a specific power session – better than weights in my opinion as you can’t get more specific than doing the exact movement of the erg stroke, but with high power. This workout should be thought of more like weight training sets than a true erg interval session. They may look very neatly paced, but this is quite simple to do when you’re operating a little below max, and it takes a 0.5 difference in average pace to change the time by 0.1 seconds on a 100m sprint. The performance monitor then delivers the results back as the time, and the pace derived from that time, ie in 0.5 increments.

Fingers crossed that it was a wise choice to workout today rather than rest.

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8 x 500m / 3:30 rest

Posted by thepeteplan on January 25, 2011

The first 2k paced work we did on the B2B training plan was an 8 x 500m / 2:30 session back in Week 5. At that point of the training, having completed 4 weeks of 5k focussed work, I made the decision that going any longer than 2min30 on the rest period would have little or no effect on the pace the athletes could achieve, and would only serve to make the workout 7 minutes longer. With 4 weeks of speed work now in our legs extended to the standard (Pete Plan standard anyway) 3min30 rest will hopefully allow a little more emphasis on the quality of the reps, and towards the end of the set the extra rest will be needed. I completed that first 8 x 500m set on 26th December, almost exactly 1 month ago, and averaged 1:34.3 pace, with a fastest (last) rep at 1:33.8. My target for today was a significant jump forward at 1:33.0.

8 x 500m / 3:30:
1:33.0 / 34
1:33.0 / 33
1:32.9 / 34
1:32.9 / 34
1:32.9 / 34
1:32.9 / 34
1:32.9 / 34
1:32.2 / 34

Totals: 4k = 12:22.7 / 1:32.8 / 33

Quite clearly a 34 average, but recorded as the PM gave it to me. It was the right intensity – hard work, but never in doubt of completing the next rep on target.

When I did do this set at 2k-3 pace, way back in the old days when I was quite fast, the intensity was so much higher than I seem to be able to tolerate on intervals now. On this sort of set by rep 6 I would not be able to stand up, if I tried my legs would buckle under me. I’d have to do a “Larry flop” following reps 6, 7 and 8, and lay on my back next to the erg sucking in as much oxygen as possible, legs screaming with lactic acid. 2k’s used to feel pretty straight forward compared to the brutal-ness of sets like this. I just don’t know how I did intervals at that sort of intensity level week in, week out and completed them. If I tried to do it now I wouldn’t be able to keep pace in the second half of the set.

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2k, 1k, 500m & steady distance

Posted by thepeteplan on January 24, 2011

The first core session of Week 8 of the BIRC to Boston plan (last week) was a 2k, 1k, 500m session. I really wanted to be doing regular 2k’s throughout the B2B plan to work up to the fastest one in Boston, so this was a session I really didn’t want to miss out on. There was a well attended 2k time trial set up on rowpro for Sunday afternoon, so I put up a 1k and 500m following it, and entered the 2k there. Rowpro makes these a bit more like race conditions having to start on time, and with external timing. The last 2k I did was the rate capped 28spm effort on 4th Jan in which I managed 6:32.1. In the weeks since then I suffered from jetlag after returning from Seattle, which turned out to be the beginning of some sort of chest infection that took me out of training at the beginning of last week. With that in mind I wanted to target an incremental improvement on that 2k, so targetted just under 6:30 with a rate cap of 30spm.

2k = 6:29.5 / 1:37.4 / 30
500m splits:
1:37.4 / 31
1:37.6 / 30
1:37.6 / 30
1:36.9 / 30

I was happy with the 2k, both in terms of consistency, and in how it felt physically. Yes this is about 10seconds slower than I would like to do in Boston, but it was controlled and some way off max. The 1k was scheduled for about 7mins later, but I managed to false start leaving us to a second attempt.

1k = 3:16.9 / 1:38.4 / 31
500m splits:
1:38.3 / 32
1:38.6 / 30

I just didn’t seem to get into the 1k at all. After the false start I delayed too long on the second start and was playing catch up for the first 300m to get the average down to 1:38, and didn’t want to then put the effort in to get it down further so cruised a little from there.

500m = 1:33.8 / 35

500m is never hard to do after longer pieces. Why does the last 500m of a 2k seem like such a long way when a single 500m piece at the end of a session like this is never an issue?

After playing catch up to get the core sessions of Week 8 complete I didn’t a nice steady day today before carrying on with Week 9 tomorrow:

2 x 20mins / 2min rest:

10452m / 1:54.8 / 22 (the two reps were 5225 and 5226m respectively, which I agree does not quite add up to the total)

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16 x 250m – Recovered from illness

Posted by thepeteplan on January 21, 2011

It was time to get back on the programme today and complete the first core session of the week that I have been up to doing. The most important core session this week, scheduled for last Monday, was just too hard to attempt today though I plan on fitting that one in on Sunday afternoon to finish the training week. Today’s session, scheduled for today in the programme, was 16 x 250m / 2min rest. These sessions are all about the training effect – repeated efforts at well under target 2k pace. I firmly believe that doing some work at much faster than the pace you want to row 2k at can be bother physically and mentally beneficial. If I was 100% I would have aimed to do all reps under 1:30 pace today. As I wasn’t sure how my lungs would react to the first hard metres of the week I decided to ease into the workout tentatively however.

16 x 250m / 2min rest:
1:32.8 / 34
1:32.6 / 34
1:31.4 / 35
1:30.8 / 36
1:30.4 / 34
1:30.0 / 35
1:29.8 / 35
1:29.8 / 36
1:29.8 / 35
1:29.8 / 36
1:29.6 / 36
1:29.6 / 36
1:29.4 / 38
1:29.4 / 38
1:29.4 / 38
1:27.8 / 38

Totals = 12:00.9 / 1:30.1 / 35

It was good to be able to do some hard metres again. Aerobically this was pretty easy due to the long rest, but that’s a good thing in the recovery from an illness affecting your chest.

When I send out the penultimate 2 weeks of the BIRC to Boston training to our group of athletes in the next 24 hours they will be given a choice of where to progress from this session in the final 4 weeks. Not a collective decision, but rather two options that each person can choose between. I won’t spoil their surprise here, but it will be interesting who chooses Stream 1 and who chooses Stream 2. I predict that at least one person in the group will attempt both workouts next week, even though I will advise them not to.

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Back on it

Posted by thepeteplan on January 20, 2011

4 complete rest days seemed enough, and I felt a lot better this morning than I have felt for the past few days. A slow and steady 30 minute row on rowpro seemed like the best way to ease back into training.

30mins = 7719m / 1:56.6 / 23

5min splits: 1:58.9, 1:58.2, 1:57.3, 1:56.2, 1:56.3, 1:53.0

This felt ok, but I can tell I’m not 100% recovered yet so need to be careful not to push it too hard for a day or two yet. The real test will be if I feel better or worse tomorrow morning from training today…..

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Illness and coaching

Posted by thepeteplan on January 20, 2011

It is very unusual for me to take time of training when I feel under the weather, but then it is even more unusual for me to have an illness affecting my chest. If someone asked me for advice on whether to train or not I would generally advise them to follow the rule of “above the neck, ok to train – below the neck, rest”. I should therefore follow my own advice. So far I have had 4 complete rest days with no training since last Saturday, and like many of you it drives me crazy after a couple of days without training.

Team GB coach:

I have been given the role of coach for the British Team travelling to the World Indoor Rowing Championships next month. This is a great opportunity to bring some team spirit back to the team that has been lacking the past few years.

Pete Plan Coaching future:

The BIRC to Boston training group seems to have been a very successful method of adding value to the training of all of the athletes in the group. By training as a team they have been able to both gain motivation, and learn from the experiences of a fairly large group of other athletes. I am planning on running another training group with a different focus following the conclusion of the B2B group with the Crash B’s in a little over 4 weeks time, and my current thinking is to have a 5k focus for a 12 week period, hopefully coinciding with the 3rd annual Farnborough 5k competition.

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