Q - Power

Indoor Rowing Team

100km World Record

Paul Buchanan Sets a New 100km World Record in the Men's 30-39 Heavyweight Category

On 24 August 2013, a few days after turning 39, Q-Power's Paul Buchanan set a new world record in the men's heavyweight 30-39 category over 100km. The previous record was set on 1st February 1998 and has stood for over 15 years. 

On the right hand side of this page you can see Paul's intermediate split times together with certain heart rate and VO2 data. Paul's account of the row is set out below.

Paul writes:

"Well - where to start - I suppose the idea of breaking the world record first came to me when I attempted my first 100k in 2012 (6h46m). I did this very last minute without any huge preperation and with a support team which I had not had a chance to talk to before the day. Still, it went well and apart from one stop to clean the rail, I rowed all the way through it. After that I attempted Row24 during which I failed an attempt at the 24 hour world record which I felt sure I could attain. After 15 hours various physical issues took over and I had to stop. That took a lot out of me both physically and mentally. In December 2012 my daughter was born 7 weeks early and again things got thrown up in the air. 

Then in March 2013, when I heard the Irish Indoor Championships were on, I started up training again seriously. As it happened I did not attend in the end as my 2k was only around the 7 minute mark (my PB being 6:06). After that I started focusing on the training which had to fit into less time from that previously available due to the new family. This in turn led me to look for gains elsewhere and the most obvious place was weight loss. I have managed to drop about 18kg in the last 6 months, and predictably this resulted in gains in my rowing. A series of PBs and national records in mid distance rows followed, as well as in the half-marathon and more recently the full marathon. My mind turned again to the 100k and two weeks ago I stated my intentions to Q (my coach).

With that in mind I set myself a date to do the row - my 39th birthday on 22nd August 2013. In the two weeks leading up to it I was focused solely on the 100k and as part of my training I rowed a 50k piece and two 25ks. Physically I was set and felt ready to go, the longer pieces resting on an aerobic foundation that seemed surprisingly intact. However the set up for the row with regard to "on the day" support was not ready and so the attempt was postponed for 48 hours. My partner Pamela was going to provide support on the day, handling food and fluid, and my mother-in-law Liz was going to babysit Lilly. The kitchen I was going to row in was rearranged, fans set up, and I was finally ready. 

So 12noon on the 24th August, music on, and off we go. Focus was on 5k chunks and split showing on the screen. Fluids went in on the 5k and food every 2,500m between. The start was hardly ideal and after about 10k I stopped, put the handle down momentarily (the clock still relentlessly ticking away), and looked at Pamela -  "no sod it, I can't do it. "You can't do it?" she replied.  I picked the handle up and set off again. "You're doing really well" Pamela commented. So why did I stop? Well, the guilt of taking up the entire day for rowing and the fact my right knee had started playing its games (pain and locking up). However after another few kilometers I was back on track and I asked Pamela to give the knee some freeze spray. Two applications and another few kilometers and it seemed to be ok, thank god. At about 30km in I again turned round to Pamela and said I could not do it and needed to stop. She gave me the look, the one that says "you better bloody not", so I kept going, trying to concentrate on every 5k hitting the target split my spread sheet told me I needed to get in order to hit the world record. 

Somehow I made it to the halfway mark. My back was stiffening and the knee still hurting, but with 50km done and with the split needed to hit the world record reading 1:55, I kept going and focused on getting to the full marathon distance left to go. It is admittedly a weird point of view - looking forward to only having a marathon to row - but I was because then I was in known territory. At about 30km to go I started feeling sick in my stomach. Too much sweet stuff and "sports drinks". I was thinking about asking Pamela to bring a bucket down for me, but decided that if things were going in that direction, the tiled floor would suffice. After that I broke it down, looking at hitting the half marathon to go, then the hour, then the 10k. A was still on target and then the final 5k split came up. The predicted finish was still bouncing either side of the WR but I knew I had a little bit of "wulf" finish for the last few hundred meters. 

So with 200m to go I let him have a play. Brought the split down to the low 1:30's and it was done... so was I. I felt like I needed to be sick but managed not to be. Took photos of the monitor and then I stumbled up from the machine. It took a while to stand up straight and then straight into a hot bath."

Below:  The data predictably shows a slow steady increase in heart rate over the first 5 hours of the row, notwithstanding no significant increase in oxygen consumption over the same period. The heart rate variability data also allows for the determination of respiration rate which, again predictably, matches stroke rate.
Row Statistics

Distance: 100,000m
Time: 6h 22m 40.6s
Weight (before): 107.0 kg
Weight (after):    104.4 kg.
Average HR:      147 bpm 
Max HR:          170 bpm
EPOC  75.00 ml/kg 
Calories:  5,690 kcal.

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