Tuesday: 4 x (6′ @ 5kp + 9′ @ mp)/4′ rest

Pretty incomprehensible title, huh?  This week I am experimenting with the week #1 workouts from the Eddie Fletcher Marathon Training Plan.

There are some very interesting concepts in the plan, and some intriguing workouts that I have never done before, so I decided to make a guess about my current capabilities, try a few workouts and then adjust as I need to when I start the plan in earnest.

Today’s workout was 4 x (6′ @ 5kp + 9′ @ mp)/4′ rest.  What that means…

  • 4 intervals each of them 15′ long
  • 4 minutes of rest between interval
  • the first 6 minutes of each interval is rowed at your current 5k pace
  • the last 9 minutes of each interval are rowed at you current projected marathon pace

The training plan does not explain exactly what the logic is for this, but having done it, I have a pretty good idea.  By starting at a 5k pace, you are working above your MLSS (Maximum Lactate Steady State) pace, which means that you are accumulating lactate.  By the time you finish 6 minutes at that pace, your heart rate is up, and you are feeling a bit like you would be much further into a marathon length row.  When you slow down to marathon pace, you are no longer building up your lactate levels, but the level of effort is such that you don’t clear much of it either, and your heart rate slowly (very slowly drifts down).  This workout seems like a very clever way to simulate rowing in the last hour of a marathon.

I just took a guess about pacing.  Based on the 4×4′ CTC, I figured that my 2k pace is around a 1:45.  For this workout plan, you use 4 basic paces, which are just percentages of your 2k power.  I did a quick table for mine.


The plan was very clear that you should start at the low end of the power range and work your way up.  The plan also includes HR limits for the workout.  The limit for this one was 92.5% of HRMax, which for me is 172bpm.

Of course that is exactly what I didn’t do.  In typical fashion, I looked at the top end of the range as the absolute minimum that I should see on the monitor, and I completely ignored the HR limit.  And I enjoyed it.

That made it a very hard workout.  I started with a 1k warmup, since the first chunk would be at 5k pace.  I worked my way up to 240 watts over the first 400m and then held it for the last 600.


Then into the workout.


Workout Summary - media/20170118-145925-sled_2017-01-17T07-10-05ZEST.strokes.csv
Workout Details

The results were quite consistent, but I had to go very deep into the well for it.  The last 9 minutes at marathon pace were excruciating.

Since this workout is at higher stroke rates and pressure, I thought it would be interesting to look at some of the metrics to compare the sections done at 200W to the sections done are 245W.

Drive was consistent across the two powers, so was force ratio.  Force ratio looks like it got more erratic in the last interval (the spread around 0.8 looks broader).  I was expecting to see a bigger change in stroke rhythm between rowing at 22-23 for the 200W and rowing at 24-25 for the 245W, but it stayed around 31%.  At this point, I don’t understand that metric to know if that is good or bad or indifferent.

So, next time I do this workout, I’m aiming for the bottom of the ranges, 225w and 180W.


3 thoughts on “Tuesday: 4 x (6′ @ 5kp + 9′ @ mp)/4′ rest

  1. sanderroosendaal says:

    I may try that one as well, also aiming at bottom of range. Last Wednesday I took off at 5k PB+1 (above the top of the range) because I planned a 5k. Then I changed it to this workout, but the first interval took me so deep into the red that I didn’t finish it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dcyyz says:

    I don’t think these are meant to be 5k PB pace. They certainly weren’t for me. My blogs for when I did these on the erg are lost in the ISS blogs meltdown, but IIRC my “5k pace” was around 1:45-1:47 which was 3-5 seconds slower than PB pace.
    I think its just a naming system to describe roughly where you are as a %age of 2k power.
    Wait until you do the 9/6 ratio and you’ll realize that doing 36 minutes at 5k PB pace is not possible, however much rest you take.

    Liked by 1 person

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