Acceleration Curves at 24 to 40 spm

I had RIM running in the boat today (as usual) and since I haven’t rowed at these high rates before, I decided to take a look at the stroke accelerations and see what flaws I could see.  Turns out they are readily apparent.

First, for comparison, here are some nice steady state strokes at 23 and 24 spm.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 1.02.29 PM

See that nice smooth drive at 23 SPM (purple).  Then as the rate goes up to 24, you can start to see the appearance of the double hump in the drive.  That’s is me opening my back early.

Next, here are 3 sets of strokes when I was trying to hit targets of 26, 28 and 30.  They actual rates were a bit higher.  I guess I was over eager.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 12.54.19 PM

The double hump continues to be more pronounced and you can begin to see two other flaws.  First is a disturbance at the finish (around 0.8sec).  That is me starting to get sloppy as I try to get back up the slide more quickly.  The other is a gradual rise in acceleration during the recovery (starts at 1.2sec at r30).  But still, not horrible.

Now we look at r34 and r36.  These are a bit harder on the eyes.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 12.56.34 PM

The double hump is now significantly more offensive, there is a pronounced blip at the finish and I am clearly accelerating as I move up the slide versus maintaining a steady speed from the handles all the way through the legs on recovery.  The miracle here is that I actually rowed at these rates at all.

Lastly the ugliest of the bunch.  Here are three blocks of strokes at 38 to 40 spm.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 12.55.28 PM

Same flaws as before, only more pronounced.  It appears that going from 38 to 40spm does not enable me to make the boat go any faster.  In fact, now the double dip is so pronounced that acceleration goes almost all the way down to zero in the middle of the drive.

So, what to work on.  I need to work on not opening my back.  I think the prescription is a set of 20 stroke intervals between 30 and 36 spm with enough paddle time so that I am working on technique instead of fitness.  This will get into the program next week after the race.

Monday: High Rates in the rain

I think this picture says it all about conditions today.

2015-06-15 08.11.05

Rain, heavy at times, 60F, wind 5mph ESE (cross / tail wind going down river).  It was nice to know that most of my competition had probably decided that today would make a good day to do a session on the erg instead of going out on the river.

Plan:  Try out another one of Sander’s 1K prep workouts.  This time Session #3: The Small Pyramid.  This workout is to try to get some practice in at higher than race rates.  The workout is:

20″ @ 38 / 20″ paddle

40″ @ 36 / 40″ paddle

60″ @ 34 / 60″ paddle

40″ @ 36 / 40″ paddle

20″ @ 38 and that’s it.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 9.59.20 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 9.59.40 AM

03909_|_0095_|_00:21_|_1:47.9_|_013___|_38.0_|_07.3_|_145___|_20″ at 38
04174_|_0126_|_00:28_|_1:49.5_|_017___|_37.0_|_07.4_|_161___|_caught thumb
04426_|_0179_|_00:39_|_1:50.3_|_023___|_34.9_|_07.8_|_159___|_40″ at 36
04777_|_0261_|_00:59_|_1:52.8_|_034___|_34.6_|_07.7_|_157___|_60″ at 34
05187_|_0173_|_00:37_|_1:47.8_|_023___|_37.0_|_07.5_|_161___|_40″ at 36
05480_|_0107_|_00:23_|_1:49.8_|_015___|_38.3_|_07.1_|_162___|_20″ at 38
05587_|_4152_|_23:46_|_2:51.8_|_516___|_21.7_|_08.0_|_148___|_steady state

00941_|_03:27_|_1:50.1_|_125___|_36.2_|_07.5_|_158___|_Main set
04152_|_23:46_|_2:51.8_|_516___|_21.7_|_08.0_|_148___|_Steady State
00917_|_05:49_|_3:10.5_|_112___|_19.2_|_08.2_|_149___|_rest meters

To start, I did the extensive Rojabo warmup, and tried to really max out the stroke rate during that last 20 stroke burst. I was amazed to see that I actually could get the stroke rate up to 37 or 38.  Here are the last 4 bursts at 26, 28, 30 and 37 spm.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 10.05.55 AM

Then it was time to face the demons.  I had no idea what to expect.  The intervals were so short, but the intensity was so high, I had no clue whether this workout would be easy or impossible or somewhere in between.

Per instructions, I did each interval with a rolling start.  So, to get going I took 3 or 4 good strokes and then dove into the first interval, trying to keep my layback to a minimum and my catches clean.  It went better than I would have hoped and I actually had to try to slow it down from 40 to 38.  But when I finished I was really winded.

I went right into the 40″ interval and I was hurting from the start.  The 24 or so strokes at 36 seemed, suddenly to be a very large number of strokes.  Around the 5th stroke, I caught my thumb in my shirt and, essentially, chose to not try to recover.  I took 40″ paddle and tried again.  This time I didn’t have any form problems, but I was really struggling and gave up with 10 seconds to go.

I gave myself a little pep talk.  The important thing was getting the practice in at the rate, so lighten up a bit on the pressure and focus on hitting the rate.  I repeated the 40″ @36 interval with a bit less pressure and it went fine.  Then 40″ of paddle turned into closer to a minute as I turned the boat around and then took off for the 60″ at 34.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 10.06.12 AM

After the previous intervals, 34 felt almost sedate, but not quite.  It was quite a anaerobic load and I was counting the strokes down as I went to stay focused.  Then a minute of paddling, including another turn of the boat and I was off for the 40″ @ 36.  Felt good.  Then a quick 40″ paddle and into the last one, 20″ at 38.  This one felt great.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 10.06.29 AM

I had a drink in the rain and let my HR calm down a bit then I set out for home.  I was at the far end of the river and I was going to do 4K of steady state.  I started up and I immediately noticed that the speedcoach pace was a lot slower than normal.  I was rowing upriver, so the speedcoach should be reading about 2 to 5 seconds faster than the gps derived pace on the RIM app.  It was reading about 10 to 15 seconds slower.  I stopped twice to feel around the impeller to see if it was fouled but there didn’t seem to be anything there.  It was really hard to row to the HR cap with the insanely slow pace staring at me, even though I knew it was wrong.  I ended up pushing a bit too hard.

Tomorrow:  Steady State plus a hard 1K.