Sunday: Half Marathon on the erg

To make Boris happy, I’m going to try to work up to some longer slower sessions on weekends.

Today was a Half Marathon for the Concept2 challenge this month.  I’m somewhere between planning, hoping and dreading doing a full marathon in  the next couple weeks.

Nothing to exciting to report.  Wanted to keep it a low impact, aerobic row, so i set a hard HR limit at 157.  I started at about a 2:03 pace and held that nearly an hour.  I slowed down to stay under the cap until I got bored with a thousand meters to go.

I’ve done a lot of 4×20′ sessions, which is basically the same thing, but it seems a lot easier with the breaks.

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Workout Summary – May 03, 2015
–_|_21097_|_86:20.7_|_02:02.8_|_189.1_|_19.9_|_148.5_|_ 74.1% _|_12.3_|_09.5
Workout Details

01_|_05000_|_20:27.4_|_02:02.7_|_189.3_|_19.4_|_134.7_|_ 64.3% _|_12.6_|_09.8
02_|_05000_|_20:25.9_|_02:02.6_|_190.0_|_19.6_|_148.2_|_ 73.9% _|_12.5_|_09.7
03_|_05000_|_20:32.2_|_02:03.2_|_187.1_|_20.1_|_152.6_|_ 77.0% _|_12.1_|_09.3
04_|_05000_|_20:41.9_|_02:04.2_|_182.7_|_19.9_|_154.6_|_ 78.4% _|_12.2_|_09.2
05_|_01097_|_04:13.4_|_01:55.5_|_227.2_|_23.2_|_164.0_|_ 85.1% _|_11.2_|_09.8

Tomorrow:  I think a good hard 4×2500 at head race rate (>26), then I fly off to Orlando for a couple days.

Saturday: Video and stroke analysis

I decide to make this a separate post so I can find it a bit easier later.

I did a sequence of 8 – 1 minute pieces with a minute or longer rests between.  I was rowing at full pressure in each of them.

Video was recorded by gopro camera mounted on a rigger bow stay that was bolted to the tube at the port end of my rigger.  It was about 6 feet from the side of the boat.

The HR, rate, time, pace and distance data, along with the little indicator map are driven by TCX data exported from the RIM website.  It is merged into the video using software called Dashware (which is now free and the most amazing way to waste huge amounts of time).  As far as I can tell the rate data is accurate to what I see on my speedcoach.  The pace looks like it is a bit faster than it was on the speedcoach.  I only wish I was that fast.

If you look at the video, just look at that water!  It was the most beautiful rowing conditions!

18 spm

Well, I aimed for 18 spm, but I got 19.  I was really pretty happy with how this looked.  Nice flat plateau during the boat run and recovery.  Need to get rid of the hook in thee drive.


20 SPM


22 SPM

Now I’m starting to see a bit of a hump at the end of the recovery.  That means that I am rushing into the catch a bit now.  The bump in the drive is less, but that is more due to stroke to stroke variation averaging out than an improvement.


24 Spm

You can’t tell from the graphs, but this was the rate that felt the most natural and fluid.  The bump late in recovery is getting a bit bigger, though.

The water is so glassy smooth you can see the shoreline perfectly reflected.


26 spm

This is right after my turn and doing the top quarter drill.  I’m rested and full of beans!

Notice now that the acceleration down the slide is actually causing the boat speed to increase during the recovery.  I have to work on not doing that.


28 SPM

Now the rate is getting high enough that my form, such as it is, is starting to fall apart.


30 SPM

I’m embarrassed to even post this one and the next one.  So much rushing to the catch.  Such awful drive mechanics.  So much work to do.


32 spm

The best thing I can say about this piece is that it started under a bridge, which is fun to look at.  It is clear that I need to do a lot of work on the basic mechanics of my stroke, because anything good that was happening at the lower rates has largely disappeared.


And just because I like abuse.  Here is my rendition of king of the mountain, and the top quarter drill.  It ain’t pretty, but I stayed dry!

So, what do I get from all of this?  I compared this to some of the rows that I captured in RIM last season and there are some reasons to be happy.  Last season, I was showing that ugly hump in the acceleration curve going into the catch, even at low rates.  The metrics also showed a long catch duration and lower peak accleration.  Comparing video, I think I look a bit better, but that is more than likely just self delusion.

What’s the prescription to get better.  I welcome all ideas, here are mine:

  • Keep doing the top quarter drill.  I feel much more confident at the catch this season and that’s part of the reason why
  • Keep doing SBR and feet out to work on getting my finishes better
  • I thought I was not laying back very much, but in fact I am and I don’t think it is helping things.  I need to finish with a more erect posture
  • I need a lot more practice at high rates.  I think I will put a few 1′ reps or maybe even 30 second reps at the end of steady state sessions to try to get to the point where I can hold 36 spm reasonably cleanly.

Saturday: 20K of drills, stroke metrics and beautiful water

Friday was NOT a training day.  Up at 3:45 to catch a 5:15 flight out of Austin, then straight to work for afternoon meetings.  I finally finished up in the office around 7pm and headed home

Saturday was looking good though.  You can see the conditions.  Sunny, Cool (in the 40s) and basically no wind.  Absolutely beautiful.


  1. Steady state, want to be on the water for at least 90 minutes.
  2. Some 1 minute intervals at different rates to capture side video
  3. Use Rowing in Motion so I can see boat acceleration with the video
  4. Keep working on the top quarter drill during all turn arounds

So, here’s an overall picture of the workout.  At first the HR sensor was acting up.  It settled down after 20 minutes or so.  The first 3500m was downriver to the dam, just warming up and enjoying myself.  Then I turned around, did my second top quarter drill and rowed back to the bridge.

Then I started my 1 minute pieces.  Starting at r18, I would row with full pressure for a minute then take a minute or more if I needed to get around a curve or turn.  I built all the way up to r32.  I turned around between the r24 and r26 pieces and did another top quarter drill.

The last r32 piece took me almost back to the dam, so I paddled to the end and saw a couple of guys in a reallt nice empacher double.  They are regulars on this stretch of river.  One of them own a house right on the cove.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to keep your boat in your own back yard and row whenever you feel the whim!

Any way, I chatted we them for a few minutes and then did my top quarter drill.  It was nervous making doing in front of other people!  I’m glad I didn’t flip or anything.  They invited me to depart before them and I did.  They started to chase me.  Well, we all know what happens when some one comes after you, right.  Yep.  I tried to hold my rate between 20 and 22 so that it would look nonchalant from a distance, but I put everything I had into each stroke and I slowly put more and more distance between me and them.  I basically rowed all the way to the guys house.  By the time I got there, about 10 minutes later, I had put a couple of minutes of distance on them.  But the heart shows how much work it was!

By then I was pretty cooked, so I relaxed a bit and rowed back to the dam, trying to slow down when my HR got above 160.  Then a long row home.  I started at r16 trying to do some slow motion practice, and let the rate creep up to r18.  The last 1K I rowed with square blades.

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