Frustrated: Blown 30 minute Threshold workout on the erg

Argghhhhh.  What a frustrating end to the week.  This week has been very up and down.  Monday and Tuesday were lovely workouts.  I was forced to miss wednesday because I needed to prep for a big meetig at work.  Then a great workout on Thursday.  Friday was another bust.  I needed to be in Rhode Island for a meeting at 7am, which blew up my chance for a morning row, and then the traffic was so heavy getting from RI back to work that I missed the chance to erg at lunch time.  Then I spent most of the afternoon getting “constructive feedback” on some projects that are behind schedule and over budget.  I left work and then sat in traffic again for another couple of hours.  By the time I got home, I was a wreck.

I had planned to get up extra early this morning to meet some folks for a friendly 5K on Lake Quinsigamond. This is a group from another club on the lake that train together for head races and they invited me to join in.  But by the time I got to bed at midnight, I just couldn’t face another short nights sleep and cancelled out.  The fact that Sunday morning, I need to get up early and fly to Taiwan was also in the back of my head.

I got up around 8 am and I figure I would do some erg penance.  A 30 minute threshold workout seemed to fit pretty well.


  1. 2K WU
  2. 30 minute threshold.  Target pace 1:52 (to get just over 8K).  Target rate 26.
  3. 2K cool down

It all went just fine for about 10 minutes.  But I started too fast, averaging about 1:50.5 for the first 10 minutes and my HR was skyrocketing.  I tried to pull back to a 1:55, but I had dug myself too deep of a hole and kept digging when the warning signs started to appear.  I ended up with 4 HDs, and a much reduced pace for the last two thirds of the piece.

It was awful.

Warmup.  Nice and controlled.  burst of 10, burst of 20, burst of 20.

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 6.10.32 PM

Workout Summary – Aug 29, 2015
–_|_02000_|_07:45.4_|_01:56.3_|_222.2_|_22.8_|_139.8_|_ 68.0% _|_11.3_|_09.7

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 6.08.40 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 6.08.55 PM

Workout Summary – Aug 29, 2015
–_|_07712_|_30:00.0_|_01:56.7_|_220.2_|_24.6_|_167.8_|_ 87.8% _|_10.5_|_09.0
Workout Details

01_|_01360_|_05:00.0_|_01:50.3_|_260.8_|_25.6_|_152.5_|_ 77.0% _|_10.6_|_10.2
02_|_01356_|_05:00.0_|_01:50.6_|_258.6_|_25.6_|_171.9_|_ 90.7% _|_10.6_|_10.1
03_|_01268_|_05:00.0_|_01:58.3_|_211.2_|_24.2_|_170.6_|_ 89.8% _|_10.5_|_08.7
04_|_01203_|_05:00.0_|_02:04.7_|_180.5_|_23.0_|_164.0_|_ 85.1% _|_10.5_|_07.8
05_|_01278_|_05:00.0_|_01:57.3_|_216.7_|_24.4_|_174.7_|_ 92.7% _|_10.5_|_08.9
06_|_01247_|_05:00.0_|_02:00.2_|_201.3_|_24.8_|_173.2_|_ 91.6% _|_10.1_|_08.1

Cool down – 500 @ 2:05/2:10/2:20/2:25 (aiming at exactly 9:00)

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 6.11.29 PM

–_|_02000_|_09:00.2_|_02:15.1_|_142.1_|_18.5_|_151.8_|_ 76.4% _|_12.0_|_07.7
Workout Details

01_|_00500_|_02:04.5_|_02:04.5_|_181.3_|_21.2_|_146.1_|_ 72.4% _|_11.4_|_08.6
02_|_00500_|_02:08.8_|_02:08.8_|_163.9_|_20.0_|_159.4_|_ 81.8% _|_11.6_|_08.2
03_|_00500_|_02:19.6_|_02:19.6_|_128.8_|_17.6_|_154.6_|_ 78.5% _|_12.2_|_07.3
04_|_00500_|_02:27.4_|_02:27.4_|_109.3_|_15.9_|_146.5_|_ 72.7% _|_12.8_|_06.9

So, there it is.  I take off tomorrow morning.  I will be working on keeping my aerobic base and then getting back on the water next weekend.  A very disappointing end to the week.

Thursday: 4 x ( 3 x 3′ / 1′ rest) / 2′ rest – another good one

Yesterday, work intruded on rowing.  I had a big meeting at 10AM and I was working on preparing for it from 6AM onward.  I finished my last meeting of the day at about 6:30PM and scooted home.  Shit happens.

Today, the weather was glorious!  Sunny, cool, around 60F.  Light wind from the NNE about 5 mph.  This was shifty and flukey, but I only noticed it as a head wind on parts of the upriver segments.  But the water was flat and I was really happy to be out on the river.


  1. 3′ on / 1′ off
  2. 2′ minute rests when I needed to spin the boat, so basically 4 sets of 3 reps
  3. rate: r26 or higher
  4. pace: 2:15 or faster, hopefully faster.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.44.24 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.44.01 PM


08420_|_36:03_|_2:08.5_|_950___|_26.3_|_08.9_|_165___|_Main set
01740_|_10:55_|_3:08.2_|_223___|_20.4_|_07.8_|_158___|_rest meters
03240_|_18:25_|_2:50.5_|_355___|_19.3_|_09.1_|_139___|_cool down

BOOM!  Another really good workout.  It was hard, but I was able to focus on technique at 26 spm and hold 2:10 pretty routinely.  Each of the reps started to bite around halfway through, but I didn’t need to pull back on any of them.

Tomorrow:  Another day of work related craziness.  I need to be in Rhode Island at 7am for a meeting, and then drive to the office for meetings in the afternoon.  I figure I might be able to squeeze in an erg session, but I’m not sure.  I need some steady state meters!

Tuesday: 4 x 2500 / 5′ rest – Good Session!

Weather: light overcast, 65-70F, wind light which was shifty.  It was only a factor in the last interval when it seemed to freshen and slowed me down in the first half of the rep.


  1. 4 x 2500m / 5′ rest
  2. rate: r26
  3. pace: better than 2:15 for all reps
  4. No HR limit

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.51.06 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.50.39 AM


10000_|_44:18_|_2:12.9_|_1165___|_26.3_|_08.6_|_168___|_Main set
01500_|_10:19_|_3:26.3_|_186___|_18.0_|_08.1_|_135___|_rest meters
01360_|_08:11_|_3:00.6_|_163___|_19.9_|_08.3_|_132___|_cool down

Despite missing target for the last rep (by 0.3 seconds!), I am really happy with the workout.  I felt in control the whole time and my steering was impeccable!

Tomorrow:  4 x 3000m / 2′ rest  @ r20, HR cap at 157

Monday: 14km Rate Ladders

Weather: Overcast, 70F, humid, light NE 2-3mph.  Head wind going down river.

Plan: Rate Ladders

  1. 4 x (1000m@r18, 1000m@r20, 500m@r22, 250m@r24) / 2′ rest
  2. Pace: Roughly 2:30 for the r18 and faster form there
  3. HR Cap: 80% HRR (157).

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 9.23.44 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 9.23.28 AM




11100_|_53:02_|_2:23.3_|_1072___|_20.2_|_10.4_|_151___|_main set

01880_|_11:54_|_3:09.9_|_225___|_18.9_|_08.4_|_134___|_rest meters

Pretty uneventful.  Nice flat water.  I was trying to keep my pressure low enough during the r20 sections to stay under the cap.  Then when I shifted up to r22, I would let my HR go up and just focus on staying long at the catch and finishing cleanly.

Tomorrow:  4 x 2500m  / 5′ rest r26.  Aiming at 2:15 pace

Saturday: 5700m Threshold on Lake Quinsigamond

Cloudy, nice temp, mid 60s.  Wind from the North at 8 to 10 mph.  I rowed the main piece with this as a tail wind.  Water conditions were nice for the first 1000m, then choppy for the next 3000m, then it smoothed out at the south end of the lake.  It was rough enough that I had some trouble maintaining stroke length.

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 7.57.11 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 7.56.53 PM

03000_|_5700_|_25:11_|_2:12.6_|_645___|_25.6_|_08.8_|_171___|_5.7km threshold
08700_|_3780_|_21:51_|_2:53.4_|_432___|_19.8_|_08.8_|_144___|_sbr, sru, r20


I went out with great exuberance and with the tail wind I had no trouble holding under 2:10 over the first 2k or so.  By then the chop had built up and I was struggling to keep my oars off the water on recovery.  After I passed the bridge I was waked pretty hard by a waterskiing boat that was pulling someone on a wake board slowly enough that the boat wasn’t even planing.  The wake was huge and stopped me cold.  I recovered from that and went another 700m or so, and got waked by another waterskier, but this time it was a bit further away and a bit easier to row through.

From there, I was down around the islands and the water was getting better.  I tried to push the pace a bit more, but I was pretty tired out.  I had enough lake to get 5700m done.  Final split was 2:12.6, which is the fastest I’ve done the lake, but it was quite a tail wind.  I would have hoped with that kind of a boost, I could have held it down around 2:10, but I guess I’m not quite that fit.

Tomorrow:  Rest day.

Friday: 16K Steady state on the HOCR course

Weather:  Overcast, warm, humid.  Light wind from the east that was generally a head wind down river.  Around 3K from the end, it started raining, then it started raining hard, then it rained yet harder.  As I was pulling into the ramp to pull my boat, I saw flash of lighting and heard a first rumble of thunder.  Perfect timing!  I was soaked and happy.


  1.  Steady State
  2. r18 to r20
  3. pace: ~ 2:30
  4. HR limit: 157

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 9.54.24 AM

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 10.16.12 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 10.16.27 AM

I launched from the public ramp adjacent to Community Rowing in Brighton.  I felt much more comfortable with the ramp launch this time.  The main challenge is putting socks on damp feet without flipping over!  It took a little patience but I’m getting used to the process.

I started with a little bit of arms only rowing, then arms and body, then half slide.  This all was over the first 1000m or so.  Then I carefully made my way around the shallows that trapped me last time.  I was rowing in the same direction as a 4+ and they were doing pieces.  So, they would pass me, and then paddle, and I would pass them, then they would pass me.  This continued through the first broad turn to the Northeastern boathouse.  I was scolded to not hugging the boston shore closely enough and pushing them out toward to middle of the river.  I guess this was a useful steering lesson, but made me feel like a noob.

Eventually they turned into the the CBC docks and I continued.  There was tons of traffic on the river, most of it was going up river.  But is very nice to row with company, and it certainly keeps you alert.  It also encourages rowing with good form.  It seems like there is always someone rowing with beautiful technique nearby.

I rowed around the big turn that starts before the eliot bridge at the Newell Boathouse and goes all the way to the Anderson Bridge.  This turn requires that you row with good form, but slightly higher pressure on port to keep slowly turning and maintain consistent distance from the Boston shore.  The river bends the other direction through the Anderson bridge and then hooks back to go through the Weeks Footbridge.

Beyond that is the powerhouse stretch, which is basically straight for 1500m.  Then finally a broad turn to the BU bridge.  Today I rowed about 800m past the bridge and then turned for home.

I turned for home and merged into single traffic heading up river.  There were two boats ahead of me, and one boat about 50m behind.  I felt compelled to stay at least that far ahead of him as we rowed up stream.  So, that pushed my HR a bit higher than I would have liked.  Not a lot higher, and I felt happy and not over taxed, so I wasn’t very worried about it.

As I rowed upstream, I started to count strokes between landmarks.  It really struck me how far it is from the Eliot Bridge to the finish.  When I have watched the race, it seems like the Eliot bridge is close to the finish, but there is about 4 minutes of hard rowing around a big turn.  I imagine that this is going to hurt.

As I finished the course, the rain started and got quite heavy.  It was good to see other singles sculling in the rain.  I toned things down by doing 500m on the square, and then about 1000m with slow roll ups focusing on form and trying to keep my blades off the water.  I was not all that successful.  Then when I was in front of the CRI docks, I increased the pressure and continued to do slow roll ups with perfect form to try to look impressive as I passed.  I suspect that I didn’t succeed, but it was worth the effort.

00500_|_7520_|_37:17_|_2:28.8_|_725___|_19.4_|_10.4_|_156___|_down river
08020_|_0200_|_01:15_|_3:06.5_|_025___|_20.1_|_08.0_|_141___|_crossing over
08220_|_6440_|_32:15_|_2:30.2_|_669___|_20.7_|_09.6_|_159___|_up river
14660_|_1680_|_09:11_|_2:43.9_|_191___|_20.8_|_08.8_|_151___|_sbr, sru

13960_|_09:33_|_2:29.4_|_1394___|_20.0_|_10.0_|_157___|_Main set
00200_|_01:15_|_3:06.5_|_025___|_20.1_|_08.0_|_141___|_rest meters
01680_|_09:11_|_2:43.9_|_191___|_20.8_|_08.8_|_151___|_cool down

I like rowing this course on Fridays.  It is a really nice way to finish the week.

Tomorrow:  Hard 5.5km on Lake Quinsigamond

Excuse of the day: Sleep is important! – 60 minutes on the erg

I had a work dinner last night, and got home after 10pm.  I finally got to bed after midnight.  I tried to get up at 5:15, but I felt awful and went back to bed and slept until after 8.

That meant that I didn’t have enough time for my planned sprinty session on the water.  I finally found a bit of time around 5pm and used the erg on slides down in the gy at work.

I started off with the plan to do a 60 minute L4.  I was going to do

10 x 6 minute sequences of (3′ @ 18, 2′ @ 20, 1′ @ 22)  I was aiming at 180W, 200W and 220W respectively.

I did 4 of them and then I felt bored and a bit too worn out.  So, I stopped after the fifth, changed my music to something a bit more upbeat, and decided to row out the rest of the session free rate and at 200W.

To pass the time, I tried to visualize progress through the Head of the Charles course.  I tried to remember the distances between specific bridges and landmarks and translate that into numbers of strokes.  I think this is a good way to memorize the sequence of landmarks and start to get into my head the proper way to steer between them.

I’ll try to go row the course tomorrow.  It depends on the weather.  There’s a chance of thunderstorms, so I might end up on the erg again.

splits from today.


Tomorrow:  Steady State ~ 15km including rowing the HOCR course in both directions.

Wednesday: 14km steady state @ r20

Weather:  A little cooler, around 70F.  Still really humid.  There was something between haze and mist over the surface of the river.  A little breeze that was a head wind going up river, maybe 2 mph.


  1. 4 x 3000m / 1′ r
  2. rate: 20 spm
  3. pace:  hopefully faster than 2:30
  4. HR limit: 157 (hard cap)

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 9.35.34 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 9.35.19 AM

01000_|_3000_|_14:23_|_2:23.8_|_296___|_20.6_|_10.1_|_142___|_tail wind
04000_|_3080_|_15:17_|_2:28.8_|_309___|_20.2_|_10.0_|_146___|_head wind
07080_|_2980_|_14:28_|_2:25.6_|_295___|_20.4_|_10.1_|_150___|_tail wind
10060_|_2980_|_15:06_|_2:32.0_|_304___|_20.1_|_09.8_|_151___|_head wind, waked
13040_|_1120_|_05:43_|_2:32.9_|_117___|_20.5_|_09.6_|_156___|_cool down

What a nice row.  The wind was just fresh enough to make the boat feel different going up stream versus down stream.  It also was a welcome relief from the heat.

Tomorrow:  Time for a Sander special!  5 x 20@32/10 off / 5 x 20@34/15 off / 5 x 20@36/20 off, 8′ between sets

Tuesday: 5 x 2000 / 5′ rest – That stung

Weather:  Hot as hell.  Upper 70s and humid.  Light, flukey headwind heading up river, maybe 2 to 4 mph.


  1. 5 x 2000m / 5′ rest
  2. rate: r26
  3. pace: better than 2:15

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 9.52.34 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 9.52.59 AM

01000_|_2000_|_08:33_|_2:08.2_|_218___|_25.5_|_09.2_|_162___|_Interval #1
03500_|_2000_|_08:47_|_2:11.6_|_235___|_26.8_|_08.5_|_169___|_Interval #2
06000_|_2000_|_08:47_|_2:11.8_|_231___|_26.3_|_08.7_|_172___|_Interval #3
08500_|_2000_|_09:03_|_2:15.7_|_239___|_26.4_|_08.4_|_172___|_Interval #4
11000_|_2000_|_09:08_|_2:17.1_|_226___|_24.7_|_08.8_|_171___|_Interval #5

10000_|_44:18_|_2:12.9_|_1149___|_25.9_|_08.7_|_169___|_Main set
02000_|_14:32_|_3:38.0_|_268___|_18.4_|_07.5_|_129___|_rest meters
03320_|_19:50_|_2:59.3_|_377___|_19.0_|_08.8_|_141___|_cool down

Between the slight tail wind and fresh legs, the first 500m of the first rep felt so easy that I thought the speedcoach was broken!*  I was pulling under a 2:10 split without any trouble.  I just kept pushing along and sure enough around 1000m mark, it really started to bite.  That’s when I went into the s-turn.  I cut the corners of the turn which puts me into the up river lane coming out the turn.  Unfortunately, this morning this lane happened by occupied by another sculler. To add to the problem going through the turn down river you are basically rowing right to the east, so there was a ton of solar glare looking over my shoulder and I missed him until I was only about a boat length away.  I was about half an oar length off of his path, and we ended up just touching oars.

It was totally my fault and I have to be more careful through that turn when I’m rowing into the sun.  I apologize profusely by email afterwards and he seems to hold no real ill will, but he would have every right to.

After that setback, I spun back up to speed and hammered through the rest of the rep.  I finished with an average pace of about 2:08, which is damn fast for me.

After I finished, I noticed I was tired and regretted my exuberance.

The other reps passed painfully and uneventfully.  In each of them, I would try to row to a level of effort, not a specific pace, so the ones with a headwind were a little slower.  At the end of the fourth interval, I lied to myself and told me that I could stop after the 4th interval and just go home.  Then after the rest, I betrayed myself and made me do the last rep as planned.  I reminded myself that the HOCR was coming and it would be better to fail today than to fail then.

So, to give myself a little break, I decided to target r24 for the last rep and let the pace settle between 2:15 and 2:20.  That was plenty hard enough.

I finished the 5th rep at the far end of the river, about 3K from the dock.  So I rowed 1K with feet out trying to use RIM to see how clean I could get get my finishes.  Then I put back on the shoes and did 500m on the square, then 500m with slow roll ups.  Then I basically just limped the rest of the way home.  Between the intense session and the heat, I was totally spent.  I basically crawled out of the boat at the dock.

Tomorrow:  4 x 3000m / 2′ rest, r20, HR limit at 80% HRR (157)

  • I didn’t believe it until I got onto the computer and compared the pace from the speedcoach with the pace from the GPS and they lined up pretty much perfectly.

Monday: Steady State Rate Ladders

Sunny and hot.  Very light wind.  Head wind heading up river.


  1.  4 x rate ladders (1000m @ r16, 1000m @ r18, 750m @ r20)
  2. 2′ rest
  3. HR cap at 155.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 2.45.27 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 2.45.38 PM

Not much to talk about.   A nice session focused on technique.

Tomorrow:  5x2K / 5′ rest.  rate target: r28, pace target: 2:15.