2015 Head Racing Training Plan

I am planning to enter 3 or 4 head races this fall.

  • Textile River Regatta: Sunday, October 4, 6K race in Lowell
  • Quinsigmond Snake Race, October 10th or 11th, 4.5K race (Tentative)
  • Head of the Charles, October 17th or 18th, 5K race in Boston (Tentative)
  • Merrimack Chase: Saturday, November 6

Priority:

  1. HOCR
  2. Textile
  3. Merrimack
  4. Snake Race

If I don’t get an entry for the HOCR, then the Textile is my key event, so I need to plan to peak for the beginning of October and then maintain from then to the beginning of November.

The plan is focused on improving performance over a 5K to 6K race.  I have time for 6 sessions a week.  I seem to best with a polarized plan, so I am planning to do 3 lower intensity endurance sessions per week.  One hard distance piece a week (basically head race distance).  One set of long intervals (Like a WP L2 type session).

So far, this looks like the Pete Plan or the Wolverine Plan.  The difference is that I plan to substitute the short intervals (L1s in WP language) with another session focused on improving lactate clearance and tolerance.  I’m thinking that this would be an interval based session at about head race pace and rate, with short rests.  The intent here is to accumulate fatigue (and lactate) as the session goes on.  Examples of this type of workout on the erg are things like the 15×3’/1′ rest or 8x1K/2′ rest.

I like the cyclical nature of the Pete Plan, so I am planning a 4 week cycle after which the workouts repeat so I can try to measure progress.

Because of where I row, I have to limit the distance covered in each interval.  I have just about 3000 meters of river that can be rowed at full pressure.  Any turn is basically going to cost about 1 minute of rest time, so I would like to try to work within that constraint.  The one exception is that on weekend days, I can row on Lake Quinsigamond in a club boat, so that is why my hard distance days will be on weekends.

The plan is obviously going to be impacted by travel and life, but I figure having a plan and changing is better than having no plan at all.

I welcome feedback and suggestions for changes.

Date Weekday Workout Type Planned Workout
7/19/15 Sun Cross Training (Bike)
7/20/15 Mon Steady State UT1 Rate Ladder 4 x (1000 @ 18, 1000 @ 20, 500 @ 22, 250 @ 24) / 2′ rest
7/21/15 Tue Long Intervals 4 x 2500 / 5′ rest r24
7/22/15 Wed Steady State 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR)
7/23/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 4 x (3 x 3′ on / 1′ paddle) / 2′ rest
7/24/15 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 Square Blades / Slow Roll Up / r20 2 minutes each, repeated
7/25/15 Sat Hard Distance 5.5K r26
7/26/15 Sun Rest
7/27/15 Mon Cross Training (Bike) Vacation Week
7/28/15 Tue Cross training (Run)
7/29/15 Wed Cross Training (Bike)
7/30/15 Thu Cross training (Run)
7/31/15 Fri Cross Training (Bike)
8/1/15 Sat rest
8/2/15 Sun Hard Distance 5.5K r26
8/3/15 Mon Steady State UT1 Rate Ladder 4 x (1000 @ 18, 1000 @ 20, 500 @ 22, 250 @ 24) / 2′ rest
8/4/15 Tue Long Intervals 5 x 1500 / 5′ rest r26
8/5/15 Wed Steady State 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR)
8/6/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 8 x 1000 / 2′ rest
8/7/15 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 Bungee Row first half, Steady state r20 second half
8/8/15 Sat Hard Distance 5.5K r26
8/9/15 Sun Rest
8/10/15 Mon Steady State UT1 Rate Ladder 4 x (1000 @ 18, 1000 @ 20, 500 @ 22, 250 @ 24) / 2′ rest
8/11/15 Tue Long Intervals 3000 / 2500 / 2000 5′ rest
8/12/15 Wed Steady State 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR)
8/13/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 4 x (5 x 2′ on / 30″ paddle) / 2′ rest
8/14/15 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 Square Blades / Slow Roll Up / r20 2 minutes each, repeated
8/15/15 Sat Hard Distance 5.5K r26
8/16/15 Sun Rest
8/17/15 Mon Steady State UT1 Rate Ladder 4 x (1000 @ 18, 1000 @ 20, 500 @ 22, 250 @ 24) / 2′ rest
8/18/15 Tue Long Intervals 5 x 2000 / 5′ rest r28
8/19/15 Wed Steady State 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR)
8/20/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 5 x 20@32/10 off / 5 x 20@34/15 off / 5 x 20@36/20 off, 8′ between sets
8/21/15 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 Bungee Row first half, Steady state r20 second half
8/22/15 Sat Hard Distance 5.5K r28
8/23/15 Sun Rest
8/24/15 Mon Steady State UT1 Rate Ladder 4 x (1000 @ 18, 1000 @ 20, 500 @ 22, 250 @ 24) / 2′ rest
8/25/15 Tue Long Intervals 4 x 2500 / 5′ rest r24
8/26/15 Wed Steady State 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR)
8/27/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 4 x (3 x 3′ on / 1′ paddle) / 2′ rest
8/28/15 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 Square Blades / Slow Roll Up / r20 2 minutes each, repeated
8/29/15 Sat Hard Distance 5.5K r28
8/30/15 Sun Rest
8/31/15 Mon Steady State UT1 Rate Ladder 4 x (1000 @ 18, 1000 @ 20, 500 @ 22, 250 @ 24) / 2′ rest
9/1/15 Tue Long Intervals 5 x 1500 / 5′ rest r26
9/2/15 Wed Steady State 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR)
9/3/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 8 x 1000 / 2′ rest
9/4/15 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 Bungee Row first half, Steady state r20 second half
9/5/15 Sat Hard Distance 5.5K r28
9/6/15 Sun Rest
9/7/15 Mon Steady State UT1 Rate Ladder 4 x (1000 @ 18, 1000 @ 20, 500 @ 22, 250 @ 24) / 2′ rest
9/8/15 Tue Long Intervals 3000 / 2500 / 2000 5′ rest
9/9/15 Wed Steady State 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR)
9/10/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 4 x (5 x 2′ on / 30″ paddle) / 2′ rest
9/11/15 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 Square Blades / Slow Roll Up / r20 2 minutes each, repeated
9/12/15 Sat Hard Distance 5.5K r30
9/13/15 Sun Rest
9/14/15 Mon Steady State UT1 Rate Ladder 4 x (1000 @ 18, 1000 @ 20, 500 @ 22, 250 @ 24) / 2′ rest
9/15/15 Tue Long Intervals 5 x 2000 / 5′ rest r28
9/16/15 Wed Steady State 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR)
9/17/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 5 x 20@32/10 off / 5 x 20@34/15 off / 5 x 20@36/20 off, 8′ between sets
9/18/15 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 Bungee Row first half, Steady state r20 second half
9/19/15 Sat Hard Distance 5.5K r30
9/20/15 Sun Rest
9/21/15 Mon Steady State UT1 Rate Ladder 4 x (1000 @ 18, 1000 @ 20, 500 @ 22, 250 @ 24) / 2′ rest
9/22/15 Tue Long Intervals 4 x 2500 / 5′ rest r24
9/23/15 Wed Steady State 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR)
9/24/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 4 x (3 x 3′ on / 1′ paddle) / 2′ rest
9/25/15 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 Square Blades / Slow Roll Up / r20 2 minutes each, repeated
9/26/15 Sat Hard Distance 5.5K r30
9/27/15 Sun Rest
9/28/15 Mon Steady State UT1 Rate Ladder 4 x (1000 @ 18, 1000 @ 20, 500 @ 22, 250 @ 24) / 2′ rest
9/29/15 Tue Long Intervals 5 x 1500 / 5′ rest r26
9/30/15 Wed Steady State 4 x 500 taper
10/1/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 3 x 500 taper
10/2/15 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 2 x 500 taper
10/3/15 Sat warm up only warm up only
10/4/15 Sun Textile
10/5/15 Mon rest
10/6/15 Tue Long Intervals 3000 / 2500 / 2000 5′ rest
10/7/15 Wed Steady State 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR)
10/8/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 4 x (5 x 2′ on / 30″ paddle) / 2′ rest
10/9/15 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 Square Blades / Slow Roll Up / r20 2 minutes each, repeated
10/10/15 Sat warm up only warm up only
10/11/15 Sun Snake Race
10/12/15 Mon rest
10/13/15 Tue Long Intervals 4 x 500 taper
10/14/15 Wed Steady State 3 x 500 taper
10/15/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 2 x 500 taper
10/16/15 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 warm up only
10/17/15 Sat HOCR
10/18/15 Sun HOCR
10/19/15 Mon Steady State UT1 Rate Ladder 4 x (1000 @ 18, 1000 @ 20, 500 @ 22, 250 @ 24) / 2′ rest
10/20/15 Tue Long Intervals 5 x 2000 / 5′ rest r28
10/21/15 Wed Steady State 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR)
10/22/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 5 x 20@32/10 off / 5 x 20@34/15 off / 5 x 20@36/20 off, 8′ between sets
10/23/15 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 Bungee Row first half, Steady state r20 second half
10/24/15 Sat Hard Distance 5.5K r30
10/25/15 Sun Rest
10/26/15 Mon Steady State UT1 Rate Ladder 4 x (1000 @ 18, 1000 @ 20, 500 @ 22, 250 @ 24) / 2′ rest
10/27/15 Tue Long Intervals 4 x 2500 / 5′ rest r24
10/28/15 Wed Steady State 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR)
10/29/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 4 x (3 x 3′ on / 1′ paddle) / 2′ rest
10/30/15 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 Square Blades / Slow Roll Up / r20 2 minutes each, repeated
10/31/15 Sat Hard Distance 5.5K r30
11/1/15 Sun Rest
11/2/15 Mon Steady State UT1 Rate Ladder 4 x (1000 @ 18, 1000 @ 20, 500 @ 22, 250 @ 24) / 2′ rest
11/3/15 Tue Long Intervals 5 x 1500 / 5′ rest r26
11/4/15 Wed Steady State 3 x 500 taper
11/5/15 Thu Short Rest Intervals 2 x 500 taper
11/6/15 Fri Warmup up only warm up only
11/7/15 Sat Merrimack Chase

Workouts

Over time, I’ve found some good workouts for different purposes.  Here is a partial list

Endurance Workouts:  The intent of these workouts is to build aerobic fitness, improve CV capacity and increase the rate at which lactate is processed in muscles.  The primary energy source is fat metabolism.

  • 4 x 20′ / 1′ r (18 to 20 SPM) – This is my bread and butter session on the erg.  The intent of the 1′ rests is to allow you to rehydrate and stretch.  I typically do this session with a HR monitor and aim for a pace that keeps my HR between 70% and 80% of my HRR.
  • Wolverine Plan L4 workouts:  These can be done in a number of formats, but I usually do either 2 x (4 x 10′)/2’r or 4 x (2 x 10′)/1’r.  Instead of using my 2K pace as a target for the paces, I usually go slower so that my HR only goes above 80% HRR at the end of the highest stroke rate intervals.
  • Half Marathons:  These are good every once in a while.  My pace  and rate in these is usually the same as a 4×20′, but because there are no rests, my HR will end up a little higher at the end.

Threshold Workouts:  The intent of these workouts is to improve lactate processing and tolerance.  Generally, HR in these workouts will rise consistently and end up at or around 90% HRR by the end.

  • Continuous Rows:  These are basically middle distance time trials.  5K, 6K, 30 minute, 10K, 60 minute.  Generally free rate, although sometimes I will do them with a rate cap of 24spm.
  • Pushes:  These are continuous rows that are rowed with a strong negative split.  The primary one that I do is a 10K push.  For this workout you setup the PM for a 10K distance and 1000m splits.  You start at pace about 8 seconds slower than you current 10K best pace.  So, if you can do a 10K time trial at a 1:52 pace, then you would start this workout at 2:00.  Then after 1000m, you speed up by a second to a 1:59 pace.  The PM display can show you the pace for your current split.  You just keep speeding up after each 1K section.  The last 2K is pretty intense.  You can do this with other distances or even based on time (like 30 minutes with 3 minute splits).  The good thing about this workout is that it keeps you engaged trying to hit the paces exactly.
  • Short rest intervals:  These have about the same training effect as the continuous pieces but allow you to row a bit faster, and are more engaging mentally.
    The main style of these workouts that I do is:

    • 15 x 3′ / 1′ rest.  This workout is done at about your 6K pace, maybe a second or two slower.  I try to negative split this workout by noting the number of meters I do in the first rep and trying to increase that by 1 or 2 meters in each successive rep.

Long Interval Workouts:  These workouts are the essential to preparing for both 2K racing, and also for head races and middle distance time trials.  Generally they are done at around the same pace as a 5K or 6K time trial.  Faster for the shorter intervals, slower for the longer ones.  I have found that the best way to control the intensity of these workouts is to row to specific stroke rates in each interval.  For the most intense sessions, do them as free rate and let nature take it’s course.  Interval rests are designed to be between 0.5 and 1.0 times as long as the interval work period and should be long enough for your heart rate to get back below into the UT2 zone (<70% HRR).  I generally do active rests, paddling at about 2:30 pace (2K + 50 ish), but I stop rowing long enough for a sip of water and to wipe my hands and face.  These session should drive HR at or above 90% HRR in the last couple of intervals.

  • The classics:  These are from the Wolverine Plan and also in the Pete Plan
    • 4 x 2K / 5′ rest
    • 5×1500 / 5′ rest
    • “The Waterfall” – 3K / 2.5K / 2K / 5′ rest.  A fun variation of this one is to keep going to 1.5K / 1K / 500 for sprinty finale.
  • Other ideas
    • 8 to 10 x 1000 / 3’r  Need to be careful about pacing the first few reps on this one.  It’s easy to go too fast as first.
    • Time based versions of these (4 x 8′, 5 x 6′, etc).  I am doing more of these when I do erg sessions during OTW season.  Since my pace is about 20 to 25 seconds slower in my boat than on the erg, if I want to emulate a 4x2K OTW session on an indoor rower, I will do it as 4×8′ or even 4×9′.

Short Interval Workouts: These workouts are the primary tool to improve 2K racing times.  They are generally done at about 2K race pace and rate.  Interval rests are between 1x and 2x work time.   I do active rests again at about 2:30 pace, and I also stop for water or a wipe down every couple of reps.  I try to get my HR down below UT2 (<65% HRR) by the end of the rests, but that might not be possible by the last few reps.

  • The classics:  From the Wolverine Plan (and used also by the Pete Plan)
    • 8×500 / 3’30” rest – pace is a bit faster than 2K race pace
    • 4 x 1000 / 5′ rest – pace is a second or two slower than 2K race pace
    • “The Pyramid” (250/500/750/1000/750/500/250) / 1’30” rest for each 250m in the prior rep – pace on this one is 2K race pace going up and speed up coming back down
  • Other ideas:
    • 6 x 750 / 4′ rest
    • Time based versions (8 x 2′, 6 x 3′, 4 x 4′, etc)

Very Short Interval Workouts:  Since On the Water Master Sprint racing is done over a 1K distance, I have found that additional sprint training is useful.  It might help with 2K training a bit, but is most necessary for short races.

  • 16 x 250 / 2′ rest
  • 3 x ( 6 x 1′ / 1′ rest) / 5′ rest
  • 5 x 20 strokes @ 32 /10 stroke paddle, 5 x 20 strokes @ 34 / 15 stroke paddle, 5 x 20 strokes @ 36 / 20 stroke paddle, 5′ rest between sets  ( from RowsAndAll: Sprint training.  That workout is 30″ instead of 20 strokes for each work interval)