Tuesday, 26 March 2013

5km challenge: Weeks 7-10

Despite a blogging break, I've not not stopped rowing....well not entirely. On reflection things had gone well during the first 6 weeks, but trouble was ahead. I heard from Jeremy that his row had been postponed to next year, somewhat removing a large part of the rationale for the challenge. Nonetheless, we decided to carry on. Jay continues to take more of a cross-training approach (i.e. rowing irregularly and mostly working out with his PT, and myself, following the Pete Plan and actually rowing- boring as it may be!!)

The Pete Plan for weeks 7-10

Week 7 (w/c 25th Feb)

For this block (weeks 7, 8, 9) I had decided to head out for all reps sub 1.51/500m. In week 7 I managed to hit all the reps just fine. The change I had made to my approach from earlier in the programme was to just get the session done, and not really go for the kill in every workout. So whereas before on the last rep of each session I had gone for a near max effort, I just went for a bit more control. As such, my 3 x 2km (with the middle 2km a sub maximal effort and the other two on 1.59/500m) wasn't the fastest it could have been, but it left more in the tank for the next weeks workout.

I also did my usual 2 weight sessions (full body 5 x 5 workouts) and ran for about 50 mins on Thursday and for 90 mins on Saturday. Although it didn't feel like it, I was only just past half way, and didn't want to compromise further sessions, either in the programme, or my other training.  Especially since it was starting to feel like the 1 second drop in splits each 3 weeks was getting a little tougher.  To look at my programme as a whole, it has quite a lot of intensity in it, and so this is why I am probably starting to find it difficult. That said, I've been keeping a close eye on my recovery with both restwise and Ithlete, and just about holding things together! I am always ready to take a rest day as required to keep things on the straight and narrow. Below is a summary of week 7 sessions.

Week 8 (w/c 4th March)

Again I got through this week ok. Hitting all the sessions. With an ultra coming up on the 23rd March, I wanted to start to get a bit more regularity in my running, and so ran easy for 50 mins not letting my HR go above 150 the morning before 8 x 750 and 4 x 1500m sessions. On the weekend I ran with lotte for 3 hours 20. Also did the usual 2 sessions at the gym (Tues and Fri), which goes roughly as follows:

5 sets of 5 repetitions with approx 1 min rest between sets. The aim is to lift a weight with good form, as heavy as you can manage for 5 reps. If you successfully complete all 5 sets, the next session, you add weight. The links aren't necessarily the best form so please get some instruction from someone who knows what they are doing, but just to give you an example (no idea why most of these guys can't afford t-shirts!)

Standing arnold press (25kg) 

Dumbell bent over row (60kg)
Axle-Deadlift (115kg)
Swiss ball dumbell chest press (35kg)
Safety bar squat (75kg)
Ab-work - various

Week 9 (w/c 11th March) & 10 (w/c 18th March)

These two weeks for me were Jury duty!!! Although I had a relatively interesting case, the times I had to be in court were pretty unpredictable, being sent home early one day, then staying in most of the day the next. As can be seen from my timetable for March, from the 11th onwards, the workouts were starting to look sparse. In fact these two weeks, I only managed 2 of my 3 sessions!

I still managed a couple of runs, my long run (2.5 hours) at the weekend and a gym session. Worse still in week 9 I missed my first intervals of the entire programme. On tuesday, I was doing the 6 x 1km with 1 min rest (a toughie if ever there was one) and on the penultimate rep, I just lost it. My mind faltered for a few strokes, and with the fatigue from the session up to that point, there was no bringing it back. So for that rep and the final one, I called it a day and coasted in on 1.59/500m. I went for a short 2 mile easy run after.  I went for the 5500m straight hard effort row as my other workout on Friday and just completed it by feel, not absolutely killing myself in order to try to claw back some recovery for my ultra the following week. This worked well and I kept my hr down to peak at 177 (about 185 is about as hard as I seem to have gone on any of the intervals). 

Week 10 was the week of the ultra. In the end, with the terrible conditions in general lotte and I bailed after 1 lap of the revised route, and so only ran 13 miles. Still this took 3 hours. So although my conservative 2 of only 3 sessions approach wasn't necessary. However, on the upside,  this means I can hit the final 2 weeks of the programme with wreckless abandon!! 

Although I did miss the intervals and an entire session in week 9, week 10 signalled a new 'block' with the splits decreasing once again. I decided to aim for 1.50.5 (only taking 0.5s off the previous split) and just seeing how it went. During the first session, I did feel like I needed to really get my head back into it, so went full bore the last rep. I really feel like these shorter harder efforts really suit me. Either way, I easily managed the 1.50.5 target, coming in on sub 1.50 on all reps.  

As a 'key' session in the programme, (and knowing I was only going to get time to really do 2 sessions before the race in this week) I went with the 3 x 2km session again as opposed to the 4 x 1500m. This went pretty well as I came in on 7.15 for the middle rep with I reckon another 10% to give across the rep easily.

So I am now into week 11 and I've decided to stick with sub 1.50s for the final two weeks. Next up I've got my nemesis - the 6 x 1km with 1 min rest - I WILL COMPLETE YOU! I'm going to sink everything into this, and hopefully that will really give me the confidence to go for it for the remaining sessions.

I am still yet to decide upon a strategy for my final 5km attempt. If any rowers have any insight into this, it would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully I will get together with Jay to attempt it, and we can do some filming. At the moment I want to at least set out for a 1.52.5 or 1.52.0 split for the piece, and will happily go down in a blaze of glory should it start to fall apart! ;-)

The sessions so far have given me a lot more to think about in terms of my mental approach to training, which hopefully I can go into a little more in my final blog. The next two weeks, rowing is my focus, and I am going to take it easy on the weights (just 1 session a week) and easy intensity running.

Wish me luck. Neale - you are GOING DOWN!!!!

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