Head Racing Training Plan – 2016

Edit: Updated with some reflections on current fitness

With the Cromwell Cup behind me, it’s time to take stock and figure out how to best prepare for head racing season.  So here goes.

  • I did not have a good training plan for the spring.  With work demands, and the damaged boat, I ended up winging it.  This took away my ability to measure and adjust.  Even with my travel schedule, I need a plan.  I will have to be flexible, but try to hit the basic quantity of sessions.
  • It’s obvious from the pictures of the race that I am heavier this year than last, probably at least 10 pounds.  I need to start weighing myself and managing my calorie intake again.  I would like to be doing head races at 185 pounds.  This is a challenge with restaurant meals and work related social events, but I think with a weight target in mind, I should be able to get this done.
  • I have seen over and over again that I make good progress when my endurance sessions are longer than 60 minutes and I do not when they are shorter.  I go backward if I try to substitute higher intensity shorter sessions for long ones in the right HR zone.
  • My heart was not really in it for sprint racing.  I was dreading the intense sessions and opting for shorter intervals, and lower stroke rates.  I am not sure if I really want to do much sprint racing in the future, but that is not a decision for now.  What I do need to do is to make sure that I am enjoying what I am doing.  If things are going well, then you face hard sessions with determination and feel a lot of satisfaction when you hit your goals.  Not having enough consistency in training makes it harder to set good goals and makes it much more likely to over-reach and fail in these sessions.

So putting that together in a plan for the fall.  First, I am motivated.  I am excited for head racing and excited to do some long ocean rows.  That’s the most important thing.  I am going to be facing familiar competitors in these races, so I will be able to measure my progress compared to last season.  That should provide a ton of motivation.  Second, I think I can allocate time to do the longer sessions, but I’ll adjust as necessary.  I think the idea of getting good long sessions in on Sundays will be beneficial.  As for diet, it’s all about having a concrete goal and holding myself to it.  As soon as I get home from this trip, I’ll start weigh ins.  So, with an improved attitude, here’s the plan for the fall.

Last year, I defined my first training plan focused on head races.  You can see it here.  It was a progressive plan, like The Pete Plan, or the Wolverine Plan, but focused on improving performance for head race length events.  Overall, the plan worked great.  With the exception of the Textile River Regatta, which was marred by awful weather and lousy water, it was a really good racing season.  No injuries, no over training, and my best performances.

After last year’s head racing season, I embarked on my first experiment with periodization.  I set up 3 mesocycles.  First was a block of endurance training, then into long intervals, then finally into short intervals.  This went great through the first 2 mesocycles, and I was able to set some PRs at long distance events.  But it kind of fell apart in the short interval section due to work related travel and life just generally getting in the way.

I’m thinking of combining these two plans for this fall season. I have a bunch of races that I would like to do.  The first event is on 17 September.  The last in 5 November.  I would like peak around the beginning of October and hold that peak through October.  So, between now and the beginning of October, I have 12 weeks.   I think I will break it up into two blocks.  The first block will be 7 weeks long and focus on endurance training.

Endurance Block

  • 6 sessions weekly
    • 2 steady state or technique sessions HR capped at 150, or <2.0 mmol/l lactate
    • 1 long and easy erg session at least 2 hours.
    • 3 hard distance sessions (30 to 60 min continuous or >10′ intervals with very short rests)

This will be followed by a block that will last through the rest of the season that irrors what I did last year.  This will keep the long steady state sessions, but change the high intensity sessions.

Head Race Prep Block

  • 6 Sessions weekly
    • 2 steady state or technique sessions HR capped at 150, or <2.0 mmol/l lactate
    • 1 long and easy erg session at least 2 hours.
    • 1 short rest interval session.  This is high rep, short duration intervals with short rests.  Designed to be executed at head race pace or slightly faster, these will work on technique and lactate tolerance
    • 1 long interval session.  Basically WP L2 sessions.  These are to be done at head race pace and include distances from 1500m to 3000m and usually 5 minute rests.
    • 1 head race simulation per week.  5 to 6K as fast as possible, and rate between 28 and 30.  These work on aerobic fitness, lactate tolerance and mental toughness.

I am not planning any big tapers in this plan, just a short one before the HOCR (if I get in through the lottery).

The plan is subject to change based mainly on work travel and work load.  Depending on my schedule in the fall, I might decide to skip one or more of the races.  The main thing I want to do is to have a basic plan down so I’m not inventing it as I go along.

Date Day Workout Type mode Planned Workout Notes
Meso Cycle #1 – Endurance
7/11/16 Mon Rest  rest Travel
7/12/16 Tue Hard Distance erg 60′ @ 1:57 Travel
7/13/16 Wed Steady State erg 4 x 20′ / 1′ (hr cap at 150) Travel
7/14/16 Thu Hard Distance erg 60′ @ 1:57 Travel
7/15/16 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 otw Bungee Row first half, Steady state r20 second half
7/16/16 Sat Hard Distance otw 2 x 5.5K r26
7/17/16 Sun Technique UT2/UT1 otw Square Blades / Slow Roll Up / r20 2 minutes each, repeated
7/18/16 Mon Rest  rest
7/19/16 Tue Hard Distance otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r24 (HR limit 170)
7/20/16 Wed Steady State otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit 150)
7/21/16 Thu Hard Distance otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r24 (HR limit 170)
7/22/16 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 otw Bungee Row first half, Steady state r20 second half
7/23/16 Sat Hard Distance otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r24 (HR limit 170) Travel
7/24/16 Sun Rest  rest Travel
7/25/16 Mon Cross Training (UT) xt 4 x 20′ fitness center Travel
7/26/16 Tue Cross Training (TR) xt 10K run Travel
7/27/16 Wed Cross Training (UT) xt 4 x 20′ fitness center Travel
7/28/16 Thu Cross Training (TR) xt 10K run Travel
7/29/16 Fri Cross Training (UT) xt 4 x 20′ fitness center Travel
7/30/16 Sat Technique UT2/UT1 otw 2 x 5.5K r26
7/31/16 Sun long and easy erg 4 x 30′ / 1.5′ rest (lactate)
8/1/16 Mon Rest  rest
8/2/16 Tue Hard Distance otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r24 (HR limit 170)
8/3/16 Wed Steady State otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit 150)
8/4/16 Thu Hard Distance otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r24 (HR limit 170)
8/5/16 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 otw Square Blades / Slow Roll Up / r20 2 minutes each, repeated
8/6/16 Sat Hard Distance otw 2 x 5.5K r26
8/7/16 Sun long and easy erg 4 x 30′ / 1.5′ rest (lactate)
8/8/16 Mon Technique UT2/UT1  otw Bungee Row first half, Steady state r20 second half
8/9/16 Tue Hard Distance otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r24 (HR limit 170)
8/10/16 Wed Steady State otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit 150)
8/11/16 Thu Hard Distance otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r24 (HR limit 170)
8/12/16 Fri rest  rest
8/13/16 Sat long and easy owr 120′ open water (HR Cap at 150) cape
8/14/16 Sun Hard Distance owr 60′ open water (HR cap 177) cape
8/15/16 Mon long and easy owr 120′ open water (HR Cap at 150) cape
8/16/16 Tue Hard Distance owr 60′ open water (HR cap 177) cape
8/17/16 Wed long and easy owr 120′ open water (HR Cap at 150) cape
8/18/16 Thu Hard Distance owr 60′ open water (HR cap 177) cape
8/19/16 Fri long and easy owr 120′ open water (HR Cap at 150) cape
8/20/16 Sat Hard Distance owr 60′ open water (HR cap 177) cape
8/21/16 Sun rest  rest cape
8/22/16 Mon Hard Distance owr 60′ open water (HR cap 177) cape
8/23/16 Tue long and easy owr 120′ open water (HR Cap at 150) cape
8/24/16 Wed Hard Distance owr 60′ open water (HR cap 177) cape
8/25/16 Thu long and easy owr 120′ open water (HR Cap at 150) cape
8/26/16 Fri Hard Distance owr 60′ open water (HR cap 177) cape
8/27/16 Sat long and easy owr 120′ open water (HR Cap at 150) cape
8/28/16 Sun Hard Distance owr 60′ open water (HR cap 177) cape
8/29/16 Mon Rest  rest
Meso Cycle #2 – Long Intervals
8/30/16 Tue Long Intervals otw 3000 / 2500 / 2000 5′ rest
8/31/16 Wed Steady State otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit 150)
9/1/16 Thu Short Rest Intervals otw 4 x (5 x 2′ on / 30″ paddle) / 2′ rest
9/2/16 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 otw Square Blades / Slow Roll Up / r20 2 minutes each, repeated
9/3/16 Sat Hard Distance otw 5.5K r30
9/4/16 Sun long and easy erg 4 x 30′ / 1.5′ rest (lactate)
9/5/16 Mon Rest
9/6/16 Tue Long Intervals otw 5 x 2000 / 5′ rest r28
9/7/16 Wed Steady State otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit 150)
9/8/16 Thu Short Rest Intervals otw 5 x 20@32/10 off / 5 x 20@34/15 off / 5 x 20@36/20 off, 8′ between sets
9/9/16 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 otw Bungee Row first half, Steady state r20 second half
9/10/16 Sat Hard Distance otw 5.5K r30
9/11/16 Sun long and easy erg 4 x 30′ / 1.5′ rest (lactate)
9/12/16 Mon Rest
9/13/16 Tue Long Intervals otw 4 x 2500 / 5′ rest r24
9/14/16 Wed Steady State otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit 150)
9/15/16 Thu Short Rest Intervals otw 4 x (3 x 3′ on / 1′ paddle) / 2′ rest
9/16/16 Fri warmup only erg warm up only
9/17/16 Sat CRI Fall Classic race
9/18/16 Sun long and easy erg 4 x 30′ / 1.5′ rest (lactate)
9/19/16 Mon Rest
9/20/16 Tue Long Intervals otw 5 x 1500 / 5′ rest r26
9/21/16 Wed Steady State otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit 150)
9/22/16 Thu Short Rest Intervals otw 4 x (5 x 2′ on / 30″ paddle) / 2′ rest
9/23/16 Fri Steady State otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit 150)
9/24/16 Sat Hard Distance otw 5.5K r30
9/25/16 Sun long and easy erg 4 x 30′ / 1.5′ rest (lactate)
9/26/16 Mon Rest
9/27/16 Tue Long Intervals otw 3000 / 2500 / 2000 5′ rest
9/28/16 Wed Steady State otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit 150)
9/29/16 Thu Short Rest Intervals otw 5 x 20@32/10 off / 5 x 20@34/15 off / 5 x 20@36/20 off, 8′ between sets
9/30/16 Fri Steady State otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit 150)
10/1/16 Sat warmup only erg warm up only
10/2/16 Sun Textile  race
10/3/16 Mon rest
10/4/16 Tue Long Intervals otw 5 x 2000 / 5′ rest r28
10/5/16 Wed Steady State otw 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR)
10/6/16 Thu Short Rest Intervals otw 12 x 500 / 1’30” rest (sr 22,24,26,28,30,32,32,30,28,26,24,22)
10/7/16 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 otw Bungee Row first half, Steady state r20 second half
10/8/16 Sat warmup only  erg warm up only
10/9/16 Sun Snake Race  race
10/10/16 Mon rest  rest
10/11/16 Tue Long Intervals otw 4 x 2500 / 5′ rest r24
10/12/16 Wed Steady State otw 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR)
10/13/16 Thu Short Rest Intervals otw 4 x (3 x 3′ on / 1′ paddle) / 2′ rest
10/14/16 Fri Steady State otw Square Blades / Slow Roll Up / r20 2 minutes each, repeated
10/15/16 Sat Hard Distance otw 5.5K r30
10/16/16 Sun long and easy erg 4 x 30′ / 1.5′ rest (lactate)
10/17/16 Mon Rest  rest
10/18/16 Tue taper otw 4 x 500
10/19/16 Wed taper otw 3 x 500
10/20/16 Thu taper otw 2 x 500
10/21/16 Fri taper otw row the course
10/22/16 Sat HOCR otw race
10/23/16 Sun HOCR otw race
10/24/16 Mon Rest  rest
10/25/16 Tue Long Intervals otw 5 x 1500 / 5′ rest r26
10/26/16 Wed Steady State otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit 150)
10/27/16 Thu Short Rest Intervals otw 4 x (5 x 2′ on / 30″ paddle) / 2′ rest
10/28/16 Fri Steady State otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit 150)
10/29/16 Sat Hard Distance otw 5.5K r30
10/30/16 Sun long and easy erg 4 x 30′ / 1.5′ rest (lactate)
10/31/16 Mon rest  rest
11/1/16 Tue Long Intervals otw 3000 / 2500 / 2000 5′ rest
11/2/16 Wed Steady State otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit 150)
11/3/16 Thu Short Rest Intervals otw 5 x 20@32/10 off / 5 x 20@34/15 off / 5 x 20@36/20 off, 8′ between sets
11/4/16 Fri Short Technique UT2 otw Bungee Row first half, Steady state r20 second half
11/5/16 Sat Merrimack Chase otw

3 thoughts on “Head Racing Training Plan – 2016

  1. dcyyz says:

    I’m exhausted just reading the plan. Glad you took a rest day today so you could write all that. While its good to have a plan (especially one where sessions repeat so you can measure progress) don’t be afraid to move stuff around or drop a session if fatigue builds.

    Liked by 1 person

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