Crew Class - Autumn 2015 - Week 1

Hi all

Welcome to my emails!

For those of you who got them last year - they are basically the same. An outline of two suggested sessions for the week, and a bit of a spiel about the rationale for them. In fact, those of you who are eagle eyed might spot that some of the emails will be copy and paste jobs - I've gone through my records and I'm going to keep more or less the same plan, albeit with some tweaks. If anybody wants to tell me what they want, either feedback from last year, or new ideas, go for it!

The basic outline is that each week has two of these three: 1) single long pieces, 2) long intervals, 3) short intervals. The general aim is to build towards a 5km piece at Christmas. Last year we rate-capped that, perhaps we won't this year, let me know what you think.

In the Wednesday sessions I'll try to be there most weeks to shout / motivate / cajole - if that's what people want. If I'm not there, then either someone else might be able to take that role, or otherwise I will have sent you the session plan ahead of time anyway, so you can just treat it as a group training session. As we know, technical feedback isn't my strong point, but I can stand beside you and yell annoying things at you to try to make you get the splits you want, if that's what you want!

This year's experiment with running two sessions simultaneously (novice and senior) is because the club just can't afford to subsidise it when we don't get the numbers for two sessions. Let's see how it goes!


Week 1


Session: 3 x 8 minutes, on 3-minute rests, each piece is 4 minutes @ r18, 4 minutes at r20. Splits should be at a 'somewhat hard' intensity (RPE 13-14, see attached and below).

Rationale: A 'UT1' session - basically, working at a level which improves your ability to transport and use oxygen - your aerobic energy system. If we go at a harder intensity, it would be more anaerobic - the painful, burning stuff that we usually all do on the erg. That too is really beneficial, but there's a bit of a 'walk before you can run' strategy - it's better to get the solid aerobic base and build that anaerobic work on top of it. If you don't get the aerobic base, your anaerobic work won't be any harder (it hurts, no matter what), but it will be less effective (you won't go as fast, basically). So

So I'll be trying to get you to use RPE (rating of perceived exertion) to control the intensity of it, rather than just going for the lowest split you can. That will mean that it might all feel a bit easy and the split might be a bit high, but it's useful in the long run - training so hard that you are in bits after every session isn't effective, we have to train smarter than that. I know it's counter intuitive in some ways, because we all want to go as hard as we can, all the time. And that does work, but it reaches a limit if the aerobic base isn't solid underneath it.

Also, as this might be the first erg session in a while, think of it as you giving your body a chance to adjust to it! Aim to do the session at an RPE / intensity which is what you feel you should do at the moment for 24 minutes straight - so think of the breaks just as chances to give your hands and backside a rest, and recover your form.

8 minute pieces are fairly short for that type of intensity, but I want to use them to get us used to the idea of getting that pacing and effort right (somewhere between 'somewhat hard' and 'hard'), and getting the feeling of finishing each piece tired, but knowing that you could have kept it going for a while longer. At this time of year, that's more beneficial than going flat out all the time.

Suggested second session.

Session: 2 x 14-16 minutes, on 5 minutes rest, rate 20. RPE 14.

Rationale: You're still aiming for the same RPE of ~14, but now you're stretching out the length of each piece. Split should be similar enough to Wednesday. So the aim here is to increase the total amount of work slightly (to 28-32 minutes) and reduce the rest intervals. At the moment you do it at a managable intensity, and then over the weeks you keep nudging up the time, reducing the rest, and gradually increasing the intensity - but usually it works better to keep the intensity as the last variable to change, after you've got the endurance base.

Focus in this one on establishing a consistent split during the first few minutes, and then keeping it consistent for the rest of the piece - it's a chance to figure out what it is about your stroke that your are varying each time, and get it nailed.

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