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Archive for the ‘Steady distance’ Category

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 »

Steady distance

Posted by thepeteplan on May 2, 2008

On the programme today was a 45 to 60min steady distance row. My work schedule meant that getting to the gym during the day wasn’t possible, so rather than go after work I decided to wait and see who was on rowpro when I got home from work.


2k warm up = 2:02 / 21

10k = 36:16.9 / 1:48.8 / 26

7k = 25:54.1 / 1:51.0 / 25

The 10k was steady paced for 8k at 1:50.0, then heavily negative splitted over the last 2k. The 7k was about 35mins later after dinner, and just very gradually negative splitted the whole way. A pretty solid 17k of rowing (19k including the warm up), which is good.

60mins scheduled on rowpro for 10am tomorrow.

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Rowing, cycling, running

Posted by thepeteplan on April 30, 2008

I made a comment on a health and fitness forum at work that I thought I could run a half marathon in under 1hr45, without any specific running training. The context of the comment isn’t too important, but someone replied with “no you can’t, prove it”. I’m not going to just go out and run a half marathon to prove a point, so to do one I will do some running training on the side to actually run a reasonably fast half marathon. A further challenge was to run a half marathon closer to a colleagues pb (1hr22) than he can row a half marathon slower than my pb (1hr15). I’m writing about this now in order to put into context when some of my erg times are a bit slower due to the additional running training, rather than just doing it quietly on the side.

Erg training:

10k = 35:49.8 / 1:47.4 / 26

2k splits:

1:49.8 / 26

1:48.8 / 26

1:47.9 / 27

1:46.8 / 27

1:44.0 / 28

Running training:

My initial aim with the running is to run once every 3 days on average, on top of the normal rowing schedule. So far I have done the same running route 3 times:

24th April = 39min 40sec

27th April = 38min 25sec

30th April = 39min 05sec

Tonight’s run was a little slower than Sunday’s due to the rain, and the “bogginess” of the cross country half of the route I’m running. The route is somewhere between 9 and 10km, but at this stage I’m not too bothered exactly as long as the general trend is getting faster (or at least easier). After a few more runs I will add an extra lap of the cross country element that will add another 15 to 20mins to the run.

Bike training:

I also did my first session on the turbo trainer last night for a few weeks:

30mins = 11.7miles / 268watts average / 23.4mph average

I need to incorporate some bike training into the routine too as I would like to take part in one or two of the rowathlon series races this year. To make this easier I’m going to buy a new bike sometime in the next couple of weeks so I can cycle to and from work on a regular basis, and make at least some of the training more time efficient.

Posted in Cycling, Running, Steady distance | 2 Comments »

Phase 1 – Endurance

Posted by thepeteplan on April 22, 2008

Phase 1 of my 2008 training programme is focussed on the HM, and as such doing a higher than normal volume of training will be beneficial for me. I don’t plan on doing this volume of training too often though.


Lunchtime – 1130am

60mins = 16071m / 1:52.0 / 24spm

Evening – 7pm

10k = 35:33.4 / 1:46.7 / 27spm

The lunchtime row was my planned row for the day, but I have also downloaded an evaluation copy of rowpro to try out so set up a 10k row on there tonight. We had a full line-up of 8 rowers, but unfortunately only 6 were there at start time, and 5 actually started. It was motivational rowing against others, especially as I was completely level with one of the other rowers for the first 6k or so. He was relentless on the pace though, so I couldn’t keep up in the final 4k without putting in an effort level greater than I’d want to recover from before tomorrow’s session!


I added this link to the Sprint page, which I found on YouTube earlier this evening. The MAD Team 100k world record relay from January 2004:

Posted in Steady distance | 3 Comments »

Marathon preparation

Posted by thepeteplan on April 12, 2008

As I have decided to row a marathon next weekend I don’t want it to be completely uncharted territory having not rowed over 10k in at least a couple of months. So I decided last night that if I wake early enough this morning I would row a half marathon at planned marathon pace (about 1:53.5) to at least give my body some idea what to expect.

Unfortunately various factor conspired against me doing a half marathon this morning. I woke early enough at 6.45am, and the sky was blue (vital as the only place I’m going to row a HM on my own is out on the patio). I put the TV on to see the weather, and rain showers are forecast for later this morning, so I had to start early. Recall that I usually do all my training in the gym at work at this point. So I got the erg out of the garage and onto the patio. Tried to turn the monitor on and nothing. Rowed a few strokes and the monitor would come on faintly, but go off as soon as I stopped. Dead batteries obviously. But the PM4 has a rechargable battery pack, and although you can put normal batteries in it’s place I didn’t have any.

I went to the trouble shooting page to see what I could do, and found out you can charge the monitor with the USB. I’m not an internet rower so have never taken the USB out of the packet, but managed to find it, then set up the laptop and USB cable on the patio with the erg. Finally at 7.50am I set 21097m on the monitor…


21097m = 78:38.1 / 1:51.8 / 25


4300m: 1:52.8 / 25

8600m: 1:52.3 / 25

12900m: 1:51.5 / 25

17200m: 1:51.2 / 26

21097m: 1:50.9 / 26

I know I’m carrying a fair bit of fatigue from a week of hard training including 3 long sessions in the heat chamber, but I have to say I’m not looking forward to the marathon now. The pace wasn’t difficult at all, but my glutes, hamstrings and quads felt sore and weak from start to finish. Ok, they actually felt better at the finish than the start once they had a little warmth in them (it was cold outside). There will definitely be a complete rest day on Friday before the marathon next Saturday!

Posted in Steady distance | 5 Comments »

2008 goals

Posted by thepeteplan on April 10, 2008

Today’s training:

10k = 35:45.8 / 1:47.2 / 26

2k splits = 1:47.6, 1:47.5, 1:47.4, 1:47.2, 1:46.5 (all 26spm)

Clean and press: 40kg, 3 sets of 8

2008 goals:

Tomorrow is the final day of the exercise in heat trial, and so training can get back to normal from next week. Therefore it is time to set my goals for the rest of 2008, timescales for them, and how I plan to achieve them. Many of my personal best times were set towards the end of 2003 and in 2004, and at 30 years old I am certainly not past my physical best, I’m not there yet. Therefore I plan on revising a number of my pbs over the coming year.


I rowed my one and only erg marathon in November 2004 in a time of 2 hours 39mins 43.2 seconds, a split time of 1:53.6 at 26spm. I will row my second marathon on Saturday 19th April 2008. My aim will be to beat my previous time. I haven’t done any specific training to achieve this, I haven’t even rowed over 10k in a single day for well over a month. But I know I can do this, and mental belief is a large part of achieving a goal.

Half marathon & 60mins:

My half marathon personal best time is 74mins 58.7seconds, a split time of 1:46.6, and my 60min pb is 17116m, a split time of 1:45.2. The next stage after the marathon will be aiming at beating these two pbs, but the 60mins especially is a much tougher target than the marathon or half marathon. I won’t keep going endlessly until I achieve these two goals, I will put a time limit on this stage to get the best time I can, and then move on. The exact time scales I will work out over the next few days, but this stage will last around 6 weeks.

10k & 30mins:

My 10k personal best is 34:22.2, a split time of 1:43.1, and my 30mins pb is 8750m or 1:42.8 pace.  The next stage will be to move onto training to beat these two times. Following the 6 week or so working up to the half marathon and 60mins I don’t think this stage will be as difficult, but again this will be a 4 to 6 week stage.

6k & 5k:

My 6k pb is 20:04.1, a 1:40.3 split time, and my 5k pb is 16:33.6, a 1:39.4 split time. The next phase will focus on these two distances, following a slightly abbreviated version of the 5k training plan on the blog. My main aim in this stage will be to try and break 20mins for the 6k. This stage will be somewhere between 6 and 8 weeks in length.

2k, 1k & 500m:

Depending on the timing against races like BIRC, I will then move onto 2k training, incorporting some of the sprint intervals on the sprint / HIIT page on the blog. If there is sufficient time before BIRC I will aim to set pb’s at 1k and 500m first using the sprint training, otherwise leave those to after BIRC. My 1k pb is 2:56.0, a split time of 1:28.0. My 500m pb is 1:20.6. My 2k pb is 6:11.8, or a 1:33.0 split time.

Achieving the goals:

As I said in relation to the marathon goal next weekend, mental belief that you can achieve the goals is a very large part of doing so. Without mental belief that your training will enable you to achieve your targets you set yourself up to fail them. If you do not currently have that belief in your training method, consider seriously using a different method.

Some of my coaching group have very similar aims to me and as such some of us will be following a broadly similar periodisation of our training over the year, and hopefully aiming to start and finish each phase within the same week. The paces will obviously be different, and some of the sessions will be different, but by doing core sessions the same each week it will help us to motivate each other.

By the time I sit down to complete the marathon next weekend I will put down on paper timescales for each of these phases of training over the year, and have determined exactly who in my coaching group will be along for the ride.

Posted in Goals, Steady distance | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Steady distance work

Posted by thepeteplan on April 2, 2008

Due to having another date with the heat chamber tomorrow, today could only be a steady distance day on the erg.


10k = 37:21.0 / 1:52.0 / 24

2k splits: 1:52.7, 1:52.2, 1:51.9, 1:51.9, 1:51.4 (all at 24spm)


Other than myself, 4 of the athletes I’m coaching are taking part in the Basingstoke races on Saturday. Of these four, three of them will be competing in their first erg race. They probably don’t realise yet the boost in motivation racing will give their training, no matter how well they actually perform on the day. Even after 7 years of erg racing, an erg venue race always boosts my training motivation both in the run up to it, and following the race.

After the race:

I haven’t decided just yet the direction to take my training following this Saturday’s race. I plan to attend one of the big erg races again next winter – BIRC, the Euros in Rome, or the Worlds in Boston. Before that I would like to set a few pbs though, and so at some stage will follow the 12 week 5k training programme I have on the blog to lead to a 5k test, and will attempt 10k and half marathon (and perhaps even marathon) pbs either before or after that. Watch this space for the direction I take my training.

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The mental side of erging

Posted by thepeteplan on March 18, 2008

A steady distance day on the Pete Plan today, but as I have the heat trial again tomorrow it means that today has to just be a little bit easier, and therefore I keep the duration down just a little. Is this absolutely necessary, or is it an excuse because I find the easy distance sessions mentally more taxing than the hard intervals? I will discuss the mental side of erging in a little more detail after giving the details of my training today. 


8k = 29:50.1 / 1:51.8 / 24

2k splits = 1:52.3, 1:52.0, 1:52.0, 1:51.0 (all 24spm)


Benchpress = 60kg, 3 sets of 8

Reverse grip bench press = 40kg, 3 sets of 8

Clean and press = 40kg, 3 sets of 8

A nice comfortable 8k, and a small amount of weight training to fill in the remaining time. It will be interesting the effect the extra training has on my weight if I’m able to keep up my normal training load on top of the heat trial. This morning I weighed in at probably about my lightest ever erging weight, 194.5lbs. When I train in this sort of volume I’m hungry all the time as well, so eating at least as many extra calories as those I’m burning from the extra exercise.

Mental erging:

The psychological side of erg performance is vital if you want to achieve close to your potential. The trouble is, it isn’t a “one approach fits all” aspect. Most people fit into two categories – those who find it mentally tough to push themselves hard in the interval training, and those who find it mentally tough to do the long steady distance work. There are a few people who don’t find an issue with either aspect of training, and probably quite a sizeable group who are just plain lazy, and don’t like to do anything too tough. I definitely fit in the second category. I don’t mind pushing myself to the limit week after week in the interval training, or hard distance pieces, but when it comes to slower distance work I find it a mental grind from start to finish.

When giving coaching advice to people it’s important both to know which group they fit in, and to consider the overall psychological aspects of erg training to make sure they are mentally ready to race as well as physically. I believe this is a problem with training too scientifically on the erg that it stops you from pushing on further and harder when you feel you are at the limit. Without this doing this occasionally in training, you won’t know how to do it when it comes to racing. Two mental aspects that I incorporate into all of my training, and that of the people I advise, are never slowing down on distance pieces, and always doing the last rep of interval training faster than the preceeding reps. After a while it just becomes natural, and you can’t help speeding up when you get in sight of the line.

Posted in Steady distance | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

The effect of temperature

Posted by thepeteplan on March 13, 2008

This week I have begun a 5 week trial I am taking part in at work assessing cooling garments for military aircrew. This involves doing exercise in a heat chamber for 1 to 2 hours with various temperature readings, heart rate, ECG, and other physiological measurements taken. This will obviously have an effect on my erg training in two ways – I am not allowed to do hard training the day before each session in the chamber, and on the day of a heat session I’m going to be fatigued for training.

Wednesday’s training:

Wednesday’s heat chamber visit consisted of 60mins of continous leg pressing. Not a very heavy weight (obvious if you can do it continuously for 60mins), but at 45 degrees C still fairly fatiguing.

1 hour after finishing it was off to the gym for Pete Plan week 3 distance intervals, with a slower target so I might be able to complete the session:

3k = 10:23.6 / 1:43.9 / 30

2.5k = 8:39.0 / 1:43.8 / 30

2k = 6:52.4 / 1:43.1 / 30

Average = 22:55.0 / 1:43.6 / 30

It felt equally tough all the way though, just general fatigue from the activites earlier.

Thursday’s training:

The day after an interval session means steady distance. I decided to take it really easy today, but in the end gradual negative splits made it a reasonable overall pace anyway.

10k = 37:12.4 / 1:51.6 / 24

2k split = 1:53.9, 1:52.6, 1:51.4, 1:50.7, 1:49.1

Then time just for one quick weights exercise:

Bench press – 60kg, 3 sets of 8

I was due to have my second heat chamber experience tomorrow, but that has been put back so hard distance work can go ahead as normal.

Blog updates:

There was a comment on one of my recent entries that the 5k training section is not currently a lot of use without any explanation of how to follow each plan. It’s really a balancing act when trying to run a coaching business as well as a blog as a useful resource. Too much information and noone will need coaching advice, not enough and the information isn’t worthwhile as a resource. So I will make that a priority to add some explanation to the 5k training page to at least give information on the idea behind each session, and how I intended them to fit in together.

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Something better than nothing

Posted by thepeteplan on March 11, 2008

I had to do a short and fairly comfortable session today due to some “exercise in heat” experiments I’m taking part in at work. The day before each trial I can’t do hard training, and tomorrow is the first of 10 trial days (2 each week for the next 5 weeks).


8k = 29:31.7 / 1:50.7 / 24

2k splits = 1:51.1, 1:50.9, 1:50.8, 1:50.1 (all 24spm)


Clean and press – 50kg = 3 sets of 6

Bicep curls – 18kg dumbbells = 3 sets of 6

Still some good training. I will have to wait and see tomorrow how strenuous the exercise is (each session is 100mins of exercise in a chamber at 45 degrees C, low humidity, wearing lots of clothing) as to what training I can do in the evening after. With only 2 sessions a week I can move my hard sessions to deconflict completely if I need to.

This was the heaviest I’ve gone so far on the clean and press, felt powerful and fast today though, perhaps because of the shorter erg session before.

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