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Archive for the ‘Fast distance’ Category

60min Season’s best (and some cycling)

Posted by thepeteplan on May 24, 2008

With one week to go before the end of phase 1 of Pete Plan 2008, and the half marathon test, today was a hard 60min piece. My aim was to row the majority at my half marathon pb pace, and speed up towards the end if I could to give me confidence of rowing the extra 15mins next weekend for a pb.

I did the row at 1030am this morning on rowpro, joined by two others:

60mins = 16941m / 1:46.3 / 28

10min splits:
1:46.6 / 29
1:46.4 / 28
1:46.5 / 27
1:46.4 / 28
1:46.4 / 27
1:45.2 / 28

This is certainly a season’s best for the 60mins, and I think probably my best for 2 to 3 years. Perhaps I should have pushed just a little harder to break 17k, but that wasn’t the objective today. I rowed exactly to plan keeping just under 1:46.6 for the first 50mins, then speeded up in the final 10mins to finish a good margin under target. With 4k (about 15mins) to go to complete a half marathon it is certainly on for the pb next weekend, but it won’t be easy!

This afternoon I then took the opportunity of the only dry day this weekend to go on a training ride on my bike. Out and back to Basingstoke on the country roads through Fleet, Elvetham, Winchfield, Hook, 21miles on the way there, 19.5miles on the way back. With the wind mostly behind me on the way there I got some good speed up on the flat, and into the big ring. Even with 3 map stops along the way I averaged over 17mph for a 1min11 total time. On the way back I was joined by a fellow erging cyclist for the journey, but I was pretty tired by then, and the wind was against us, so it was slower going taking 1hr25 to get back. A great ride though, and a nice mixture of some small hills, some fast country lanes, a few miles of fast A road, and not too much traffic.

I am ready for my rest day tomorrow now! And glad of the three day weekend.

Posted in Cycling, Fast distance | 1 Comment »

Neg split 60

Posted by thepeteplan on May 17, 2008

I often forget that I’m following a set training plan with a group of athletes when it comes to the day’s training. I set targets for all the people I coach over the weekend for the following week but, perhaps mistakenly, I never commit my own targets for the week to paper. I should start doing that. Luckily I remembered this morning to check my spreadsheet for what session I’d set other people, and that session was a negative splitted 60mins. The targets I’d given the others was split into 20min segments at half marathon +3 pace, half marathon +1 pace, and half marathon -1 pace. That makes it a tough hour physically, and a seriously tough hour mentally having to increase pace in steps like that.

With the 5k and 10k session yesterday I wasn’t fully recovered for today, so I just went into the session aiming to get as close to the targets as possible. I set it up on rowpro so that with other people rowing too I wouldn’t be tempted to stop.


60mins = 16573m / 1:48.6 / 27

10min splits:

1:50.1 / 27

1:49.8 / 26

1:48.8 / 26

1:47.9 / 27

1:47.8 / 27

1:47.3 / 27

As I said, I wasn’t feeling fully recovered for today’s session. That’s part of the reason for putting a hard distance session on a Saturday though – if you can do it after a hard week of training that fresh and rested you can do better when it comes to a test. Also doing it negative splitted you can go faster by sitting at the same average pace from the start. These are 2 vital factors because I’ll need to be averaging 2sec faster pace than this in 2 weeks time to pb the half marathon, and that will be 15mins longer on the erg.

After the first 20mins at 1:50 I decided to step down in pace 1sec / 10min rather than 2sec per 20min. Then into the second half I revised this simply to beating the last 10min split for the last 20min. It was pretty tough, but an enjoyable row, or at least it felt like a solid accomplishment when I finished.

Tomorrow is a day off, and a planned long cycle ride down to the south coast. Unfortunately I can’t get the wireless bike computer to work on my new bike – I think the battery in the transmitter is dead, so I’ll need to get a new one to try before taking it back to the shop. Fingers crossed that’s all it is. Also fingers crossed it isn’t raining tomorrow.

Posted in Fast distance | 1 Comment »

Racing instinct

Posted by thepeteplan on May 16, 2008

I didn’t think I would get a chance to train during the working day today, and wasn’t really looking forward to doing today’s planned session at home this evening. A 45min window opened up in the middle of the day though, just enough time to fit in a 5k CTC row.

Session 1: 1.30pm

5k = 16:55.6 / 1:41.5 / 29

500m splits:

1:40.6 (32) 1:41.4 (31) 1:41.8 (30) 1:41.9 (29) 1:42.0 (29)

1:42.3 (29) 1:42.5 (29) 1:42.7 (29) 1:42.1 (28.) 1:38.4 (30)

The desire to push hard left me at the half way point unfortunately, as evident from the splits, but still a solid row, and an improvement for the CTC.

Session 2: 6pm

Getting the 5k out of the way at lunchtime allowed me the opportunity to enter the Friday evening 10k handicap row on rowpro. As before the start time was a 40min baseline with everyone handicapped on when they start from that. Last time I rowed off a 3min44 handicap, this time I took a 4min20 handicap. It was a great race tonight, and a very close finish – I just managed to take the lead within the final 50m of the race, and was pulling 1:30’s to do so.

10k = 39:37.4 – 4:20 = 35:17.4

1k splits:

3:56.8 (due to handicap)

1:47.0 / 27

1:47.0 / 26

1:47.0 / 26

1:47.0 / 26

1:46.8 / 26

1:46.6 / 26

1:46.6 / 26

1:45.3 / 27

1:38.6 / 30

The pacing plan was 1:47’s, so absolutely spot on for the first half, and then gradual negative splits for the second half. As the entry titles says, this was due to the racing instinct that I just can’t leave behind. I was constantly watching the distance I was behind the leader, and how much it was reducing by every 100m. Then in the final 100m I was determined to pull fast enough to take the lead, but the other rower was obviously pretty determined to win too, so his 1:42’s meant I had to pull 1:30’s to catch him in time. It felt great. The second half of this row I just felt so strong and in control, a brilliant feeling. This is a great sign with the HM test just 2 weeks away, as I need to be rowing this pace for 21k then.


To compliment the GT-R road bike we have on a turbo trainer at home I have now got an “outdoor” road bike. It’s awesome, and I will post a picture tomorrow. My first ride out on it will be on Sunday when I’ll be doing a leisurely ride down to the south coast – something like 50miles away I think. We will worry about getting back after we get there. I bought the bike boxed and built it myself last night, so hopefully I didn’t leave anything vital off….

Posted in Cycling, Fast distance | Leave a Comment »

Training update

Posted by thepeteplan on May 9, 2008

Due to the heat the past few days I’ve chosen to train in the evening at home rather than at lunchtime in the gym, and so haven’t got around to posting the training I’ve been doing here.


Wednesday was a rowpro session with a group of people I’ve not rowed with before. It was quite late at night (8.55pm start time), and I made the mistake of rowing it in the garden. Not only did I get bitten by mosquitos a fair amount, but it was also too dark to see the monitor after the first 10mins of the row. Still, with rowpro you can see what you’re doing on the laptop screen luckily.

30mins = 8234m / 1:49.3


On Thursday evening I had two friends round for the evening for a training session and then a barbeque. I had a go at a new session which is their team challenge for this month. I also put on my sunnto heart rate monitor for the first time in a few years to see what sort of heart rate level I would get on this type of interval session. The suunto chest strap is read by the PM4 monitor, so gives me the HR while rowing the piece, but then the end HRs at the end of each rep when I recall the splits.

4k, 2k, 1k, 500m / 2min rest between each

4k = 13:45.9 / 1:43.2 / 30 (end HR = 161)

2k = 6:48.0 / 1:42.0 / 30 (end HR = 165)

1k = 3:18.8 / 1:39.4 / 33 (end HR = 168.)

500m = 1:32.5 / 37 (end HR = 168.)

I don’t quite understand the level my heart rate was getting to. Either there is some physiological reason my HR was so low, or there is some technical reason the information isn’t being read correctly. The last time I did a treadmill VO2 max test I reached a max heart rate of 197, and the few times I’ve used a HRM for very intense intervals I’ve seen well above 190 on the erg too. Either it’s possible that the longer distance training I’ve been doing has made my heart very efficient at these sort of paces (though the 500m is under 2k pace), or has simply stopped me being able, physically, to raise my heart rate so much. More likely though it’s some technical problem.


Tonight was another rowpro session, but a new one for me. A handicapped 10k with people starting at different intervals depending on their expected 10k times. I was the last to start with a 3min44sec handicap, with 7 people having started before me from 3min44 to 1min before. I rowed a bit harder than I planned to, and caught the last of the 7 people inside the final 500m of the race. The racing instinct is hard to leave behind, and it’s very easy on rowpro to go faster than you really mean to.

10k = 39:06 – 3:44 = 35:22

Posted in Distance intervals, Fast distance, Steady distance | 2 Comments »

Rowpro alternate pacing

Posted by thepeteplan on May 3, 2008

The final session of week 2 of my current half marathon training phase was a 60min piece split into 10min segments of alternating pace. Roughly the alternate 10mins were at around pb hour / HM pace, and about 4 to 6 seconds slower, starting with the slower 10min piece. After having rowed 19k yesterday evening I went a little slower than I should really have done in the easier paced 10min segments, and roughly went for 1:52.5 / 1:46.5 in the alternating segments. Normally I would have an exact pacing plan and stick to it rigidly, but I did this on rowpro this morning, and don’t know yet whether you can set your desired split lengths on rowpro. If you know how, please reply to this and tell me, thanks.


60mins = 16454m / 1:49.3 / 26

I thought this would be a really quite tough row, but in reality it felt good start to finish. The harder 10min segments are the pace I’ll need to do a half marathon at in 4 weeks time in order to pb, so it really shouldn’t feel too hard.

The first 2 weeks are now complete of “Pete Plan 2008 Phase 1”. In that 2 week period I have rowed 170k, which was preceeded by the marathon. So 170k in 13days (13k per day) or 212k in 15days (14.1k per day), which is significantly more than my standard volume of around 8.6k per day (10k on each of 6 training days). On top of this I’ve done 30k of running and a 30min bike turbo session. Hopefully this volume increase will pay off when it comes to the half marathon test in 4 weeks time.

Posted in Fast distance | 1 Comment »

Keep on pulling

Posted by thepeteplan on March 28, 2008

Another extended warm up today in the heat chamber, and back to the leg pressing. 1hour40mins of continous leg pressing marked the half way point in the trial, so only 5 sessions of this to go. I wasn’t sure until I sat on the erg in the gym quite what I was going to do today. The week’s interval sessions are already done, so I really needed a distance piece, but after the mental test of the long duration leg pressing I didn’t know if I could mentally handle a long steady erg afterwards. However, I set 10k and decided to make it mentally “easier” by going a little faster. I’m sure it made sense to me at the time.


10k = 35:10.9 / 1:45.5 / 28

2k splits:

1:44.9 / 28

1:45.1 / 28

1:45.2 / 28

1:46.9 / 27

1:45.5 / 28

It felt good until I hit a wall with about 4k to go. Stopping was never a consideration, I just had to slow down.

Following that just enough energy for one weights exercise:

Clean and press = 40kg, 3 sets of 8 reps


Only just over a week to the Basingstoke IRC where I plan to race both the 2500m and the 300m races in the 30+ category. I don’t really have a good idea yet what pace I will go at for the 2.5k, and it will be hard to do any good predictor sessions next week with the heat trials every other day. The 300m will just be pretty much flat out, and I would like to break 1:20 pace for that.

Posted in Fast distance | 1 Comment »

In your own little world

Posted by thepeteplan on March 21, 2008

When you are training hard on the erg it’s like you’re in your own little world. Things go on around you in the gym, but it is all just a little blurry outside of your erging bubble. I forget sometimes that there are sometimes 30+ other people in my little gym when I’m mid session. However, on a bank holiday weekend there is no-one. I arrived there at 11am and the lights and music were off, not a single person to be seen, perfect. On with the lights, on with the music, and on with the c-breeze:


Not one to give a session to people without being willing to do it myself, today I did a 30min rate 20 piece, as I had put that in Shirley’s programme for this week.


30r20 = 8319m / 1:48.1 / 20

5min splits:

1:47.9, 1:48.1, 1:48.2, 1:48.3, 1:48.6, 1:47.9 (all 20spm)


Clean and press = 40kg, 3 sets of 8

Chin ups = 3 sets of 3

Seated cable row = 49kg (max), 3 sets of 10

I haven’t done a 30r20 for quite some time. It’s one of those sessions that when it’s been a CTC challenge before I can do 20spm rowing to get better at it, and am then able to row it in the low 1:46’s, but I find it has a negative impact on my free rate distance rowing then. If I do more low rate rowing I simply get better at low rate rowing, hence not doing much of it. I do think that having some restricted rate, high power, sessions in your overall plan can be beneficial though, just not too much.

The clean and press I felt very quick and powerful on today, so will either add one more set, or a few more reps to each set, next time.

A day out tomorrow means probably no training (unless I am awake early enough for a quick cycle), which just means I will move my rest day and do a session Sunday instead.

Posted in Fast distance | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

The mind is willing

Posted by thepeteplan on March 14, 2008

A busy morning meant that my gym session had to wait until after I had eaten lunch, which is never ideal. Today was one of those days where my mind was willing to test my body, and so I decided on 10k as my hard distance piece for this week, and set out looking for a pb to beat my long standing 34:22.2.


0-2k = 1:42.9 / 30spm

2-4k = 1:43.6 / 29spm

4-6k = 1:47.1 / 26spm

6-7k ~ 1:47 / 26spm

Stopped at 7k with the average split just hitting 1:45.0. The mind was willing, but physically it wasn’t there today. I was struggling after only 3k or so, and thought that by backing off a bit after 4k I might be able to recover a little and push on in the second half. It wasn’t to be, and discretion being the better part of valour, I decided it was better to save it for another day than to push on over the final 3k just to get a time within 30seconds or so of a pb.

When I set my 10k pb it actually took 2 or 3 attempts where I held my target pace through to between 7 and 8k before blowing badly and not even being able to finish. Then one day I got to that point and was still going, and once past the 30min point the end is in sight.

Stroke rates:

A question was asked on the concept2 training forum about the benefits of low verses high stroke ratings in training:

This is always a contentious issue whenever it is discussed because there are many people sitting firmly on one side or the other of this issue. Both sides will strongly contend that their training method is superior, and quite rightly so. Belief in your chosen training method is very important, and so I believe it is vital to either know the reasoning behind the way you train, or have a high amount of confidence in the person who prescribed the training (and preferably both).

I have always been on the side of higher rate training, or at least in not buying into the virtues of a large amount of low rate training. Low rate training in itself can be a useful exercise, but done to excess I believe can be damaging, at least to your 2k ability. The number 1 priority in erg training, or in any fitness training, is structure. If you follow a structured training method you will improve. What that structure consists of is less important, but will still dictate the amount by which you can improve.

If you are training primarily to row a fast erg 2k then most coaches and athletes would agree that an optimal stroke rating for almost anyone will be in the range 30-34spm. There are exceptions of course, but that’s a good range to aim for. Therefore your training has to allow you to row at your optimum (fastest) pace you can hold over 2k within that stroke rate range. If your best time comes below that range then your training isn’t quite right, in my opinion.

I will add to this my thoughts on the structure of the Pete Plan, and why I think this is optimal for 2k performance for people only able to train for around 5 or less hours per week, in a later blog entry.

Posted in Fast distance | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

45mph… in the living room…

Posted by thepeteplan on March 7, 2008

It’s Friday, so hard distance day on the Pete Plan. Work pressures today meant that I could only manage a short gym session at lunchtime, so a faster CTC time was an obvious choice for today.

Training – lunchtime:

3k warm up = 1:53 / 24

CTC 1609m = 5:05.4 / 1:34.9 / 34

400m splits = 1:33.3, 1:35.6, 1:36.6, 1:34.2

500m cool down


Bench press = 60kg, 3 sets of 8

Cable row = 48.75kg, 3 sets of 10 (max weight available)

Training – evening:

A short ride on the turbo tonight. Yes, this is the first time I’ve mentioned training on a bike turbo trainer in the blog, because it’s the first time I’ve used it since starting the blog.

25mins / 22.7mph / 239watts average — 45.0mph / 523watts max


I’m sure everyone else has a bike in their living room? It’s a GT series 5 on a Tacx flow, very nice to ride.

A very enjoyable short ride after not using it for a couple of weeks. A few bursts at high speed, hence the high maximum. I’m pretty happy with the CTC time at lunchtime too for the effort. A fairly comfortable row through the middle, and under 6:20 pace with enough left to have done the final 400m if it was set.

Posted in Cycling, Fast distance | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »