Friday, 18 January 2013

5km Challenge update: Week1 (Help me Rowers!)

So, for those that care (which will be few, if any) I've done my first week of ergo sessions, as part of the 5km challenge I've got going on with Jay and a few others. As I mentioned before I only wanted to do three sessions a week, and even squeezing one in last week, with adequate rest, I can see that it will require quite a lot of discipline to hit every session.

I managed to find a pretty simple training plan online for free called the Pete Plan blog which is 3 sessions a week for 12 weeks. As an idea its posted in below but do check out his plan! Hopefully I will be able to adhere to it pretty stringently and let you know if it works. FYI I have donated to his PayPal, even though I am a scroungy student at heart. :-) That said, the donation is not entirely selfless - being the scrounger that I am, now I've chipped in some cash - I feel like I need to make it worthwhile.

The Pete Plan Lite 2007! Thanks!
So I logged my 5km baseline test on Wednesday the 9th and using the momentum of the novelty of the challenge ahead, I got straight into my first session on the Friday. I did a full body weights session on the Thursday. I did a long 3 hour run on Sat. I'm hoping that this longer running will be the only endurance session I need each week. As much as I love a challenge, I'd much prefer to run for 3 hours than grind out 10k+ on an ergo. There are limits to my stupidity. Monday and Wednesday this week were weights and I did another ergo on Tuesday and today. I took a rest day on Thursday as after the weights, I was quite tired, woke up really groggy even after 10.5 hours sleep and my HRV IThlete score was way down. I'll do a post about how I track recovery later.

Training so far...

As an idea the programme works in 3 week cycles. As you can see, for each session (1 short, 1 medium and 1 longer interval session each week) the reps get longer each week over 3 weeks then reset. The aim is to hit a split, and maintain it for the 3 weeks. The next three weeks, you reduce the split, and repeat. Simples.

Having managed my 5km piece with an average 1.55.1 per 500m I decided to aim for anything under 1.54.0 for the first week's set of sessions. That said on reading in a bit more detail about the sessions, I don't think that the different sessions necessarily need to be the same split. So for example in Week 1, I'm not sure the 2km intervals are necessarily supposed to hit the same splits as the 500m intervals. If anyone has any advice on this it would be much appreciated. That said, I've done them all on sub 1.54 and today I did manage 3 x 2km with the 3 min rest under that too, so I feel confident I can continue to hit at least 1.54 for the sessions in weeks 2 and 3. Any rowers out there. What should I do the two shorter interval sets on, or just keep it the same?

Hopefully I can take 1 second off each 3 week cycle. But am aware of the greatly diminishing law of returns. Is this wildly optimistic? If (BIG IF) I can hold that for 5km, I'll end up with an 18.30 split which I think is reasonable. Time will tell? If I'm under 75kg by then any idea what a good time would be? Rowers out there?

Going forward the plan is to do the sessions Mon, Wed and Fri. With 3x full body weights sessions spread across the week, and a long run at the weekend. I also fully intend to keep up my POWERbreathe sessions - 30 breaths twice a day until week 8. Then I'll shift to some functional work specifically for rowing. I can already feel it helping! We will see how it goes!

So a few of you out there have hinted at taking up the challenge yourselves, which is nice to hear. Jay has been keeping his training top secret thus far. I however am aiming to mercilessly crush him with relentless consistency ;-). I want him to see me coming!

Here are the session readouts, just to prove I'm doing it. I always do a 500m warm up and 500m cool down (easy), with rollering and stretching (plus some glute activation work pre set.) I did miss the first and last split on my 8 x 500s which is annoying, as it was more due to rowing related retardedness than an inability to hit the splits!

8 x 500m - 1 min rest
4 x 1200m - 4 min rest
3 x 2000m - 3 min rest

I'd love to hear how you are all getting on! Any help or advice is welcome!


  1. Hi Andy,
    If you read the session descriptions at the top of this page:
    It says the following:
    "The 3 x 2k without any explanation would look very similar to the 4min rest rep sessions, and you would pace it accordingly. That is not the idea behind this session, however. This session is a focussed 2k piece, with a fixed warm up and warm down. As such the first and last 2k of the session should be done at the pace of your slower steady distance pieces. The middle 2k is then essentially a sub maximal 2k test."
    Read the rest on the link there, but this is the key. For (indoor) rowers the 2k is the key distance, and as such it is always worth doing the odd 2k trial throughout your training year, even if focused on the 5k as you are. If you look at the full 5k plan (at 6 sessions per week) you'll see that this session also features through that.
    So from the pace of your other sessions you should perhaps be looking at more like a 2:05 to 2:10 pace for the first 2k, then perhaps closer to 1:50 for the middle rep, and back to 2:05 or so for the final rep. The other sessions you're approaching fine. A good way to know how much you have in hand, and so how much quicker you can go next time, is to do a "fast last" rep on each of those sessions. So go at target pace for all except the last rep, and do that as fast as you can (at a constant pace, with good technique, etc).


  2. Thanks Pete, that is really helpful. I'll keep the updates coming. The 3 x 2k as I did was quite demanding, although satisfying to finish!