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Archive for August 1st, 2014

5k training

Posted by thepeteplan on August 1, 2014

Following on from Monday, where I took a step back into hard interval training, I decided firmly to train for the next 8 weeks with the sole focus of a fast 5k time trial at the end. The target for the time trial is 16:59.9 (or quicker), and I plan to achieve that by doing 2 hard interval sessions each week, one fairly hard single distance (or time) piece, plus steady distance work. So basically I will be training along the same lines as the 5k Pete Plan (, although with a slightly different format of sessions.

Week 1 started with the 5 x 1250m / 3:30 rest session on Monday, as blogged in the last entry. The rest of the week has then been:

Tuesday 29th:

30mins = 8002m / 1:52.4 / 24

Wednesday 30th:

10 x 600m / 1min rest = 19:56.3 / 1:39.6 / 31 (last rep 1:38.9 / 33)

Thursday 31st = Rest

Friday 1st:

5k = 17:17.9 / 1:43.7 / 30

500m splits:
1:45.7 / 29
1:45.6 / 29
1:45.6 / 29
1:45.5 / 29
1:45.6 / 29
1:45.5 / 30
1:43.3 / 30
1:42.9 / 30
1:41.8 / 31
1:36.5 / 34

Essentially this is how I believe a 5k time trial should always be rowed, as a 3k then 2k. The first 3k a little sub maximally to allow for a fast final 2k. The idea here in week 1 was just to put down a reasonable benchmark time. So I estimated what I thought my current maximum ability was on a 5k (1:43.5), added 2 seconds to the split (1:45.5), and set that as a “do not exceed” pace for the first 3km of the time trial. I ended up then with an average split just 0.2 seconds off my estimated maximum current ability for the 5k. Is this absolutely optimal pacing? No. I believe optimal pacing on a 5k is to have the first 3k about 1second slower than the final average split. But going that bit slower will allow you to get closer to your potential than going a second too quick in the first 3k. After all, erg performance is as much about mental strategy and belief as it is about physical ability and tolerance. By feeling like you’re holding back and rowing within yourself for 60% of the distance you’re like a fenced off race horse just wanting to sprint off.

This 2seconds differential between current max ability and starting pace for the first 3k is a good way to row a 5k if you’re not mentally conditioned to rowing hard sustained distance above your anaerobic threshold. After a few weeks of conditioning (physical and mental) then I will edge towards the 1sec differential between current ability and first 3k pace. But I will always maintain this 3k / 2k split for a 5k time trial, as I have used very effectively over the years of erg racing and training.


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