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Archive for April, 2012

750m reps

Posted by thepeteplan on April 29, 2012

I’m still following along a few weeks behind my coached group, and currently just beginning Week 3 of the Pete Plan 5k training group. It is a fair jump in rep duration from week 2 to week 3, moving from 600m to 750m reps, while the total session distance also moves back to 7500m from the 7200m of week 2. But by this stage we’re becoming more acclimatised to the intensity of the work, and so you’re actually able to get into a bit more of a rhythm on the longer reps.

10 x 750m / 1:40 rest:
2:32.2 / 1:41.4 / 30
2:32.0 / 1:41.3 / 30
2:32.2 / 1:41.4 / 30
2:32.1 / 1:41.4 / 30
2:32.1 / 1:41.4 / 30
2:32.1 / 1:41.4 / 30
2:32.1 / 1:41.4 / 30
2:31.9 / 1:41.2 / 30
2:31.1 / 1:40.7 / 30
2:27.4 / 1:38.2 / 32

7500m = 25:15.1 / 1:41.0 / 30

It is another one of those sessions that you really have to take one rep at a time. Operating above your anaerobic threshold for a longer and longer duration each rep it never feels comfortable, and in the early reps it seems like a long way to go. But take it one at a time and all you have to consider is “can I do the next 750m on the pace target?”, if the target is accurate the answer will never be a definite no.


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Reaching peak performance

Posted by thepeteplan on April 28, 2012

This morning:

10k = 37:56.7 / 1:53.8 / 23

It is usually a good sign when my steady distance work feels good. Often these rows are the toughest in the week mentally. I never warm up for a steady distance row, and as such it is usually a struggle for the first 7 or 8mins until I get reasonably warmed up. Today I just locked on to 1:54 pace from the start and felt good.

After work yesterday it was out to the garage early evening for a 5 x 1250m interval session. Target pace just under 1:43 with a fast last.

5 x 1250m / 3min rest:
4:17.3 / 1:42.9 / 28
4:17.2 / 1:42.8 / 29
4:16.8 / 1:42.7 / 29
4:14.9 / 1:41.9 / 30
4:10.0 / 1:40.0 / 30

6250m / 21:16.2 / 1:42.0 / 29

After 3 reps I was thinking this is quite tough. Then I reminded myself that my 30min pb pace is 1:42.6, and I wasn’t even going that quickly for a session that would be not much over 2/3rds that duration with 12mins of rest in it. I have come to realise lately just how hard I used to train day in, day out, week in, week out, and how fast I actually was. When I see the calibre of people on the racing circuit now who are doing between 6:13 and 6:19 there are some really strong and fit althletes who I view as being very fast and talented. When I was consistently racing 2k between 6:11 and 6:15 I didn’t think of myself as particularly fast because there were a number of people racing then who were way faster than me (Benton, Fleming, Larkman etc), and quite a few around the same pace (Insje, Parker, O’Grady etc).

It takes a special combination of factors to be truely fast for your potential. I feel like I’m training pretty hard, and that I’ve been training reasonably consistently in terms of us amateur athletes. But having been training and performing at a fair bit higher level in the past I think I have a good perception of what training hard really is, and what racing fast really is. It just takes a long time, a lot of dedication, the right life style factors to allow it, and of course a good dose of genetics to determine where your potential can actually take you. Take any one of those factors away and you’re not going to get to that top level (for your personally). Nothing wrong with that, but it is worth keeping in mind.

Thursday was a neg split moderate 10k in the garage after work. I like training in the garage in the evening, very basic, not very well lit, no sound aside from the flywheel and my breathing, reasonably cold.

10k = 37:28.5 / 1:52.4 / 24
2k splits:
1:55.1 / 23
1:53.8 / 23
1:52.7 / 24
1:51.8 / 25
1:48.6 / 27

The overall consistency in the training is also starting to pay off on the scales, 3lbs lighter this morning than I’ve seen on the scales in the past year, and this all helps to feel quicker on the erg. That means I am currently 7lbs lighter than I was at the world indoor rowing champs in Boston in February.

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12 x 600m / 1:20 rest

Posted by thepeteplan on April 22, 2012

12 x 600m / 1:20 rest:
1:40.9 / 30
1:40.9 / 30
1:40.7 / 30
1:40.5 / 30
1:40.4 / 30
1:40.3 / 30
1:40.1 / 30
1:39.9 / 31
1:39.7 / 31
1:39.5 / 31
1:39.1 / 31
1:36.2 / 33

7200m = 23:58.3 / 1:39.8 / 30

I started off a bit quicker than the 15 x 500m last week. On that session I started off aiming for sub 1:42, this time sub 1:41 from the off. I wanted a sub 1:40 average today though, and was counting time above each rep to know how much I needed to make up in the last few reps to get there. Good solid session.

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Friday and Saturday

Posted by thepeteplan on April 21, 2012


I thought I’d combine a first go at the 1min CTC with a steady distance session this afternoon, so did 5k – 1min CTC – 5k.

5k = 19:25.9 / 1:56.5 / 22

1min = 360m / 1:23.3 / 42

5k = 18:51.1 / 1:53.1 / 24

First 5k just a warm up starting at 2:00 and gradually speeding up. The 1min CTC was at 144 drag and flat paced, finishing with a 1:23 last stroke. Not too hard and I can go a good bit faster if I can rate up higher.

Second 5k started around 1:57 and again gradually speeded up. Enjoyable session overall.

Other training:
I’ve been out running 3 times in the past couple of weeks, and plan to keep running once or twice a week.

I also started the 100 press up challenge about 10 days ago, so part way through week 2 now.


This morning was week 2, day 2 of the 100 press ups challenge. Having done nothing but moderate erging for quite some time I started off pretty much useless at doing press ups with a max test of just 16 reps. Today was the fifth press up session so far, and I did 5 sets of 14, 16, 12, 12, 5 – still pretty rubbish, but getting better! The first 4 sets are set numbers, and set 5 is supposed to be max. Some days I can’t do many on the final set (like today!), but the odd time I seem to have lots left. With short rests when the muscles are gone, they’re gone!

A day out, then this evening in the garage:

30mins = 8235m / 1:49.2 / 25
5min splits:
1:49.6 / 25
1:49.7 / 25
1:49.7 / 25
1:49.6 / 26
1:49.7 / 26
1:47.2 / 26

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Back to the programme

Posted by thepeteplan on April 17, 2012

It’s time to get back on the plan now. The 5k training group started 3 weeks ago, so I am starting 3 weeks behind the majority of them, but better late than never.

Week 1, core session 1.

15 x 500m / 1min rest:
1:41.6 / 29
1:41.5 / 29
1:41.5 / 29
1:41.4 / 29
1:41.2 / 30
1:40.8 / 30
1:40.7 / 30
1:40.7 / 30
1:40.6 / 30
1:39.9 / 31
1:40.6 / 30
1:40.7 / 30
1:39.8 / 30
1:38.6 / 31
1:34.1 / 34

Total = 7500m / 25:04.0 / 1:40.2 / 30

Initially I decided on a target of just under 1:42 for 5 then judge it from there. Then I decided on sub 1:41 for the next 5. I over cooked number 10 a little, and didn’t have the confidence to try to stay sub 1:40 from there. 2 reps to go and the voice in my head said “I bet you can’t get the overall average sub 1:40”. I didn’t really have a good idea how fast I’d need to go in order to get that, but was pretty sure the voice was right, I couldn’t. But I was willing to give it a go. As it turns out I think I would have needed to be 1:31 or just under on the last rep. Had I known that I doubt I would have gone as fast as I did though!

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Basingstoke IRC

Posted by thepeteplan on April 15, 2012

I decided after BIRC not to race again until September / October so that I could spend the spring and summer getting fit and losing some weight. But the Basingstoke IRC is local to me, and an event I really should be supporting. Plus there is the choice of doing a unique event there, the rowing bleep test. This event is like a good training session anyway, and mentally there is no thinking about what pace to go at.

The event is effectively a 1min on / 1min off interval session, but what makes it similar to the traditional running bleep test is that the target for each 1min rep gets faster. It’s always a tough decision for the race organiser where to start in terms of pace, and how far to go down each time. You want to have enough levels so that even the slowest people in a race get a good few levels to row, end fast enough that the top people in the race can’t complete every level without making it last for over an hour(!), and have small enough increments of pace towards the end that hopefully you discriminate between the fastest people.

The decision was made to start at 2:00 pace, and do 2sec increments down to 1:30 pace, then 1sec after that (for our fastest heat). So down to 1:30 pace the reps went:

2:00, 1:58, 1:56, 1:54, 1:52, 1:50, 1:48, 1:46, 1:44, 1:42, 1:40, 1:38, 1:36, 1:34, 1:32, 1:30

So by this point we have all rowed 16 reps of 1min, and keeping in mind that on current form my 2k pace is somewhere between 1:36 and 1:37 pace, I’m operating a good way under 2k pace by now. It seems too slow to start, but I like it to gradually warm up and not have to think about warming up before the race starts. When the level target is 1:30 this means that you can row anywhere down to 1:30.9 and you’re still in, but 1:31.0 or slower and you’re out, no second chances.

I was glad of the 1sec pace increments from this point on, but know I didn’t have that many left in me with the increasing pace. I made the 1:29 level ok, but was working hard by now. Most people had dropped out by here, and there were just 4 left in. I got through the 1:28 level ok, but was being as accurate as I could with the pacing by this point, so up around 1:28.7 or so to conserve anything I had left. I knew I didn’t have it in me to complete the 1:27 level, but didn’t know of the 4 of us who else might drop out on the next level. If two people stop on the same level then the fastest average pace on the final level decides positions. So I still rowed the 1:27 level, albeit at 1:38 pace. This was enough for 3rd overall. Two guys went on to complete the 1:27 level, one of which didn’t get up again for the 1:26. Warren Matthews bravely still made the 1:26 target even though he’d already got the win, great work.

An enjoyable day, but now back to the training.

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Beyond BIRC

Posted by thepeteplan on April 13, 2012

I seem to have neglected posting in my blog for about a month again, and I’m sure I would train better if I was reporting what I was doing more regularly. I last posted in the run up to the British Indoor Rowing championships, where my aim was to beat the time I’d done in Boston (world champs) in February, and to be recovered from the rib / intercostal injury that had been affecting me for weeks before. In Boston I had rowed a 6:29, and therefore the plan at BIRC was to row a steady 1:37 / 1:38 pace for 1500m, then speed up in the final 500m – the best method to ensure (if I was fit enough) I would beat the 6:29 from Boston.

The race went like this:

2k = 6:27.4 / 1:36.8 / 32
500m split:

My plan following BIRC was simple – don’t race over the summer at all and concentrate on getting fit again and getting back to my preferred racing weight. A year of working away from home, long commutes and many nights in hotels is not conducive to good training unless you are very disciplined, unfortunately I was not. It is a gradual process that you don’t really notice though when you’ve been training at a fairly high level / standard. Less training and of less quality means that the fitness level slowly drops, and the scales slowly rise.

So where was I, and where am I aiming to get to? A week to 10 days before Boston I rowed a 6:25 for 2k, but in doing so reaggravated the rib injury that I thought was about gone, hence the 6:29 in Boston. At that point I was at the heaviest weight that I think I have ever been in my life, 16st or 224lbs (a little over 100kg!!). At BIRC I rowed the 6:27, then injury free, at 15st 11lbs, or 221lbs, where I have stalled since. Where I want to be back to is 14st or 196lbs, and I know that will aid my pace on the erg a lot (and the training to get back there will help too!). So 25lbs to lose through better diet and consistent training.

I will aim to report back here at least weekly both on the training I’ve been doing, and with a current weigh in. Still, if I can row 6:25 to 6:27 when fat and unfit, it has to be a good sign?

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