Sunday, 12 January 2014

ETT January HM Challenge

Have you have risen to the ETT HM challenge set by new team mate Matt C?
If you haven't e-mailed or blogged your interest to get involved, read about it and see whether you would like to join in.

What does it involve?
Rowing the Half Marathon ranking distance of 21,097 metres in one sitting.
Anytime between 25th - 31st January 2014
Can I do more than one HM in the week to improve my time?
Knock yourself out! I will just be doing ONE HM!

We have the following team mates signed up so far.

  Previous HM time HM pace for a 2014 PB
Matt C 01:27:09 below 02:03
Steve C 01:17:23 below 01:50
Nick W 01:46:00 below 02:30
Karyn 01:38:57 below 02:20
Caroline 01:46:42 below 02:31
Mark B 01:19:30 below 01:52
Lucas 01:27:00 below 02:03
Jeff K 01:35:44 below 02:16

ETT'ers are aiming to improve their previous time (or have set a time they would like to meet).
To improve on these times they will need to row at and below the suggested pace in the right hand column.

If you are interested in getting involved e-mail / blog your previous or intended time and I will add you to the list!

Any tips for rowing a Half Marathon?
I will blog a summary of the best suggestions next week.


  1. Wow! Some great times here and wouldn't it be awesome if everyone could shave a little off that PB?! Would just be great to get lots of people all completing a come on, more the merrier guys!!

    OK, so here's where I am curious, and where the geek in me comes out, especially in training for another marathon. Any thoughts or experience of fuel intake during a half marathon or marathon? I make sure I drink every 2500 metres (just over every 10 minutes) and use electrolyte tabs in water. During my marathon last year (and during long training sessions) I also used energy gels (found a nice strawberry and banana one!!). During the marathon, I took my first gel after about 30 minutes, then one every 5000 metres (every 20 to 21 minutes). What do all you other long distance guys do? Do you take on carbs during a half marathon (some might say it's just short enough to go without)? I'm interested as I really want to get a new PB on my marathon, and I think my nutrition in training and during the event will help give me that little bit extra. I think I carbed up too much during training last gave me good experience (getting used to the mechanics of eating and drinking on the move) but I think I treated my body to too much energy and never really trained it to use non carb energy sources - seems to be a fine balancing act between having enough in the tank to train hard and having too much.

    All thoughts welcome!

    Matt C

  2. I wish I could get involved but due to a bad fall I can't put in the meters I would like. Maybe next time. I hope there another chance to do this challenge.

    1. Paul M - I hope your back heals soon.
      I am sure we can arrange another inter-team HM challenge. We could do it during the World Erg Challenge in March - April 2014.

  3. Before i injured myself, i used to row at least one HM per month. My tips / strategies for rowing a HM are;

    Personally i prefer not to refuel or rehydrate while rowing a HM as it causes too much interuption. Therefore for me proper nutrition prior to a HM is important. For me this involves; 2-3 days prior to rowing i would 'carb load' without overdoing it, take a proper sports drink (i use Endura Rehydrate) that provides carbs, electrolytes and other trace elements etc and take it as per directions.

    On the day of the row, i would eat simple (maybe a banana or two and a couple of pieces of toast with jam) a couple of hours prior to the HM. Then half an hour beforehand i'd have another Endura sports drink and a carb gel. I find that this is enough to comfortably get me through a HM without having to refuel / rehydrate during the row.

    Once rowing a HM my strategies are to set a series of mini and major goals along the way to help break up the row. From the 20km mark (counting downwards) for me a mini goal is every 2.5km and a major goal is every 5km. From 21097 to 10000 i maintain a conservative pace. Then from the 10km mark onwards i'll increase my pace every 2.5km depending on how i am feeling. On a good day i'll really smash out that last 10km and give the last 2km everything i've got. On a bad day i'll at least maintain my conservative pace.

    In summary my advice would be to consider your nutrition / hydration plan prior to the HM and to set a series of goals during the row to help break it up. This works for me and i hope that you may also find it useful. Best of luck and enjoy your HM!

    Dave P:)

  4. Hi Dave P and thanks for your comments on nutrition. Looks like you have some great PB's so all wisdom well received!! I think going for a non-stop HM is definitely something to aim for. Probably what I'll do is take a gel or 2 with me along with a drink in case I feel like I am flagging, but will attempt without fuelling during the row. I think the trickiest part of that will be not drinking as I always drink every 10 minutes or so during 60 minute plus training sessions, which I think is valid over the longer distance, and therefore probably a good habit to get into.

    Any other training and nutrition tips from team members welcome.

    This time around I am following a marathon specific training plan by a guy called Eddie Fletcher - I think it's quite a well-known plan, but in case any of you are interested, you can find it here:

    I adopted some of these techniques for my first marathon, as I only came across this plan about 5 or 6 weeks into my training. This time, I'm pretty much following this one to the letter, going for the 4 sessions per week plan. What I will say when comparing to my last attempt is that I'll be putting something like 40% more metres in this time around.

    Hope it is useful for others out there, I guess my race times will prove out how useful it has been for me!!

    Matt C

    1. No worries Matt, i'm glad you appreciated my advice on nutrition. You seem to have a pretty good plan in place so i think it is best to stick to what you know and if you think changes are necessary, gradually introduce them and experiment without being too drastic. I think having a gel or two spare and a drink handy is a good idea if you find yourself flagging.

      Anyway i think you are well prepared for a HM especially considering that you've recently completed a sub 3hr FM that's impressive stuff. My conservative prediction for you (all going well) is that you'll complete the HM in sub 1:24:00.0 and easily beat your current HM - but please don't let that put pressure on you. Stick to your game plan and most importantly enjoy the row. The HM is a great distance!

      Thanks for the info regarding training for a FM. I've only completed one FM and that was back in 2007. I should really give it another go!

      All the Best
      Dave P:)

  5. I have just hit my fist Million Metres and am over the moon............ :-) :-)

    1. Nice work Nick! That just prompted me to look at my own total, I'm 43km from 12M, by my reckoning I'll pass that sometime Thursday/Friday!

    2. Nice work Nick W and Mark B!

    3. Great work Nick! All the best with your second million metres! Cheers Dave P:)

    4. Great work Nick - I think you are actually a machine!! If all VTC members rowed only half of what you do we'd blast it! Well done....

      And Mark B, 12 million metres??! Respect!

      Matt C

  6. Dave P - I definitely think you should give another marathon a try.....perhaps if you're fit you can aim to do one during the World Erg Challenge (March/April)? I'm doing mine on 6th April which falls within that VTC - fancy doing one on the same day? Is the same day as the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race, so quite apt!

    I like the ambitious sub 1:24 call....firstly beating the last PB would be great. I think in reality, I could post between 1:25 and 1:26. Perhaps I'll find an extra lick of speed in the second half of the race to bring the time down a bit more!

    Matt C

    1. Hi Matt - i'd love to give the FM another go but probably not just yet as i'm just returning from injury. Also March / April can still be pretty hot where i am from.

      I remember with my first and only FM attempt 7 years ago, i had trained for it, planned the day well in advance which happened to be in the middle of summer on a hot 49 degree celcius day. I was going really well with my attempt and at the 37km mark i was looking at sub 2:55:00.0. But then i hit my wall big time physically and mentally and just crashed and i had to really force myself to get through the last 5km to finish in just over 3hrs.

      I guess that's the beauty of the FM is the physical endurance and most importantly mental strength it takes to complete one and anyone who can do this should be really proud of their achievement no matter how long it takes.

      I must admit that was left feeling a little traumatised from my first and only attempt but i guess i need to face those demons and give it another go. Currently the FM is my nemesis that i must overcome!

      All the very best with your training!

      Dave P:)

  7. Good Day Captain Caroline and thanks for your encouragement of the ETTers. It certainly provides additional motivation. Count me in for the half marathon. My current best time is 1:28:30.1 (2:05.8) so I will be aiming to improve on that.

    As a frequent traveler, my rowing sessions most closely correlate to my time at home. However, I have found Concept2's "Rower Finder" very helpful in getting in a row or two when away. I'm off to Peru and Colombia next week for 8 days and unfortunately will not have access to rowers anywhere along my journey. However, I'll be back in time to get my HM in before the end of the month.

    All the best and happy rowing,

    Norm Haas