Looking back at my blog it has been 5 months since I last posted any training updates. The sporadic blog updates at the time talked about work travel, masters degree study, and general barriers primarily to having time to blog about training but also to doing training to the extent I would like to.
Having not raced for some time I decided to enter what is my favourite racing distance, 5000m, at the inaugural Devon Indoor Rowing Championships (http://fitnessmatters.me.uk/devon-indoor-rowing-championships/), that took place last weekend. Luckily the race coincided with a period of about 6 weeks without any work travel leading up to it. I did have a week on holiday in France during that period, but the erg came with me to allow daily training.
Time pressures still meant that training time would be limited, but I decided to base my training for this 6 week period on the 5k Pete Plan (https://thepeteplan.wordpress.com/5k-training/). So regular sessions of 500m to 1k reps with short rest periods, interspersed with longer reps of 1500m to 2k with slightly longer rest periods (between 3 and 5mins). I started the 6 weeks with it being a tough workout to just push under 18mins for a straight 5k (1:48 pace). I did a couple of 5k time trials during the middle of the period to gauge progress, managing 17:39 then 17:33, and set my sights on break 17:20 at the race. In truth, having not gone quicker than 17:33 in the run up to racing I was not confident of being too far under 17:30. However, for my final prep session I did a 5 x 1k / 1min rest session (slightly cut down from the 6 reps of the 5k PP session as it was only a couple of days before race day), and managed to row all reps under 1:43 pace. This meant sub 17:20 was on.
So the race plan was simple – 7 hard strokes, 10 strokes easing off the power to settle to race pace, then plug away at 1:44s letting the average pace slowly creep up towards 1:44.0. Then when within sight of the line sprint to see if I can take a few more seconds off. I hit the start well, peaking just under 1:20 pace on the 4th or 5th stroke, before easing back slowly to race pace. The splits tell the story:
1:41.1, 1:44.5, 1:44.5, 1:44.2, 1:44.7, 1:44.2, 1:44.3, 1:44.3, 1:44.0, 1:37.8
Final result = 17:13.6 / 1:43.3 / 29
A fair reflection of the training I’d done, and although 40 seconds from my all time pb for the distance, I’m happy with the time in my current state of fitness. The Devon IRC looks set to be back again next year, so I would recommend anyone who is able to going to race. The venue was great, and the organisation really good.