Easy and Breezy: 11 x ( 500 square blade / 500 steady state )

The weather report was not very promising yesterday, with rain, cold temps and high winds forecasted.  I went to the length of packing gym clothes in case I decided to skip the OTW in favor of an erg session in the gym at work.

As it turned out, it was a lovely morning.  Sunny, chilly, but not freezing.  It was pretty calm when I started, but the wind built during the row and ended up about 10-15mph from the west by the time I finished.  It certainly impacted the splits, but it didn’t imact what I was trying to do.

So, what was I trying to do.


  1. Alternate 500 meters of square blade rowing with 500 meters of steady state rowing
  2. Technique focus:
    1. Attempt to row without touching water on recovery (work on balance)
    2. Finish each stroke without my hands touching my torso (clean finishes)
    3. Full compression both on the square and steady state (balance)

I started with a quick set of drills.

  • King of the mountain:  sit at the catch, and lift and drop the oars.  Focus on isolating the arm motion and maintaining balance.  I did about 20 reps.
  • Top Quarter:  Going straight from the King of the mountain, take teeny, tiny strokes from the catch to about 6 inches down the slide, then back to the catch.  Essentially isolating the catch.  I took about 10 strokes that way and started to get the hang of it.  Then I caught water with my starboard oar and caused enough panic to pull the plug on it for the day.  At least I didn’t flip and it sure seems like it will be a good drill.
  • arms only for about 100m, then arms and body.  Focusing on clean finishes.
  • Pause at body over.  I did that for about 500m

This all took me to the cut, after I maneuvered through, I paddled until I had exactly 1000m on the speedcoach, and then went right into square blades.  500m of that, then switch to 500m of steady state between 18 and 20 spm.  For both normal and square blade rowing, I tried to keep the stroke power reasonably high, so that I wasn’t just paddling along.  And I tried to get all the way to full compression at the catch.

I found that I could sometimes take a couple strokes without touching water.  And when I touched, it was lightly on a single side, usually starboard.  When the water was flat, it was easier than when it was gusting, but the wind actually made it a bit more challenging and interesting.

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01000_|_0500_|_02:34_|_2:34.2_|_047___|_18.3_|_10.6_|_134___|_on the square
01500_|_0500_|_02:22_|_2:22.4_|_047___|_19.8_|_10.6_|_146___|_steady state
02000_|_0500_|_02:31_|_2:31.2_|_047___|_18.7_|_10.6_|_143___|_on the square
02500_|_0500_|_02:18_|_2:18.5_|_051___|_22.1_|_09.8_|_152___|_steady state
03000_|_0500_|_02:25_|_2:24.9_|_048___|_19.9_|_10.4_|_149___|_on the square
03500_|_0500_|_02:35_|_2:34.8_|_048___|_18.6_|_10.4_|_140___|_steady state
04000_|_0500_|_02:47_|_2:46.5_|_051___|_18.4_|_09.8_|_141___|_on the square
04500_|_0500_|_02:29_|_2:29.2_|_048___|_19.3_|_10.4_|_143___|_steady state
05000_|_0500_|_02:44_|_2:44.1_|_051___|_18.6_|_09.8_|_144___|_on the square
05500_|_0500_|_02:34_|_2:33.5_|_048___|_18.8_|_10.4_|_148___|_steady state
06000_|_0500_|_02:41_|_2:41.2_|_049___|_18.2_|_10.2_|_150___|_on the square
06500_|_0500_|_02:35_|_2:34.6_|_050___|_19.4_|_10.0_|_144___|_steady state
07000_|_0500_|_02:34_|_2:33.7_|_047___|_18.3_|_10.6_|_141___|_on the square
07500_|_0500_|_02:20_|_2:20.5_|_047___|_20.1_|_10.6_|_150___|_steady state
08000_|_0500_|_02:35_|_2:34.6_|_049___|_19.0_|_10.2_|_143___|_on the square
08500_|_0500_|_02:23_|_2:23.1_|_049___|_20.5_|_10.2_|_151___|_steady state
09000_|_0500_|_02:34_|_2:33.7_|_050___|_19.5_|_10.0_|_144___|_on the square
09500_|_0500_|_02:35_|_2:34.5_|_049___|_19.0_|_10.2_|_136___|_steady state
10000_|_0500_|_02:44_|_2:44.2_|_050___|_18.3_|_10.0_|_143___|_on the square
10500_|_0500_|_02:37_|_2:37.0_|_047___|_18.0_|_10.6_|_143___|_steady state
11000_|_0500_|_02:55_|_2:54.7_|_052___|_17.9_|_09.6_|_140___|_on the square
11500_|_0500_|_02:36_|_2:35.8_|_050___|_19.3_|_10.0_|_144___|_steady state
12000_|_0500_|_02:32_|_2:32.2_|_050___|_19.7_|_10.0_|_148___|_on the square
12500_|_0500_|_02:35_|_2:34.7_|_054___|_20.9_|_09.3_|_155___|_steady state
13000_|_1080_|_05:48_|_2:41.0_|_113___|_19.5_|_09.6_|_148___|_cool down

06000_|_31:35_|_2:37.9_|_591___|_18.7_|_10.2_|_143___|_Square Blade rowing
06000_|_29:59_|_2:29.9_|_588___|_19.6_|_10.2_|_146___|_Steady State
01080_|_05:48_|_2:41.0_|_113___|_19.5_|_09.6_|_148___|_cool down

Tomorrow:  Since I won’t be able to row this weekend, I will plan to do a long interval session tomorrow.  4×2500/ ~4′ rest.  Target rate: r26, Target split 2:15