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.

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

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

Sunday: 40km Bike ride

I took Thursday off, so no need for a rest day on Sunday.  It was a hot sunny day, and I elected to go give my new bike shoes and clips a try.  I wanted an aerobic session, so I set a HR cap at 155.

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Here are the details on Strava.

Just about the same speed as I have done a very similar course and distance, but with a lower overall heart rate.

I like the shoes.  It’s a lot easier to maintain a good cadence and I felt plenty secure.  Stopping and getting my feet out is going to require a bit more practice.  I was generally OK, but once I toppled over at an intersection.  I have also not completely mastered the method to get my foot back in the clips.  It took me a couple of trie each time to get the toe lined up right.

Saturday: 5.5km Threshold on Quinsig

Since I had my boat on my car from my Charles River adventure, I decided to bring it out to Worcester to do my weekly hard distance piece in my own boat.  I think I will do it again this week.  It was much better rowing in my own boat.  And just as importantly, it takes away one set of excuses for going slow.

The plan was:

  1. Warmup: 3.5km of bungee rowing  working on stroke sequence
  2. 5.5km at r26.  Aim at better than 2:15 pace.
  3. drills and stuff back to the dock.

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The bungee row was great.  I took it pretty easy and just tried to work on not opening my back early.  There were various interruptions, but it was a nice change in warmup routine.

Then I turned and got myself ready for the piece.  I was aiming at keeping the pace between 2:10 and 2:15.  And this actually felt pretty good through the first 1000m or so.  Then, I got hit by the first wake.  As I recovered from the wake, the pace on the speedcoach did not budge.  Weeds!  I just maintained the stroke rate and tried to ignore the erroneous pace readings.  After about 15 or so strokes, the pace popped back to a reasonable number.

I was starting to feel a bit overcooked, so I eased up the pressure a little bit as I approached the narrows.  Right after the narrows, I was hit by two wakes in reasonably close succession.  At this point I was about 500m from the Rt 9 Bridge, so I just tried to settle into a sustainable pace and rate.  This hovered around 2:15.  Sometimes a bit slower, sometimes a bit faster.  Generally dependent upon the water state.  There was a bit of slop from all the boats and even though it wasn’t seriously disruptie, it kept me from getting really good balance.

I passed under the bridge and at that point I know there is a bit more than 2k left to go, so I tried to up the pressure a bit.  My HR started to creep up to the top of my TR band, but I didn’t feel like I was in much distress.  Around 1000m left to go, I got waked again.  This time was closer and bigger than the others and it took a couple strokes to try to get back on track.  Now, I was past the Gazebo and getting closer to the Donahue Rowing Center, and since I knew there would be people there, I had some motivation to try to look better than I felt.  I tried to row clean and hard and the pace sped up a little bit as I approached the rt 290 bridge.  Last Saturday, I stopped at the bridge.  Today, I wanted to push a bit further, so I rowed under the bridge plus another 40 strokes.  That put me close enough to the north end of the lake that I needed to check it down to keep from running into the docks.

Including all disruptions, including the weeds, my pace was 2:19.8.  But if you cut out the weed section, the avg pace was 2:14.7, including being waked 4 times.  I want to be much better than that, but I’m pleased with making some progress.

After that I did a bit of feet out rowing, and then strapped back in and did 500m of square blades, then 500m of slow roll ups, then 500m of square, then to finish it all off, I did 500m of r28 full pressure rowing.  It felt very good.  Well balanced, good stroke mechanics.

A good day on the water.

03500_|_1440_|_06:17_|_2:11.0_|_165___|_26.2_|_08.7_|_159___|_start of piece
05060_|_4040_|_18:19_|_2:16.1_|_478___|_26.1_|_08.5_|_174___|_rest of piece
09100_|_2400_|_14:54_|_3:06.4_|_261___|_17.5_|_09.2_|_132___|_feet out, sbr, sru
11540_|_0440_|_01:51_|_2:06.1_|_051___|_27.6_|_08.6_|_163___|_500m hard
11980_|_0180_|_01:17_|_3:34.4_|_021___|_16.3_|_08.6_|_135___|_back to dock

05480_|_24:37_|_2:14.7_|_643___|_26.1_|_08.5_|_170___|_Main set
02520_|_16:23_|_3:15.1_|_298___|_18.2_|_08.5_|_135___|_rest meters
00440_|_01:51_|_2:06.1_|_051___|_27.6_|_08.6_|_163___|_500m @ r28
00180_|_01:17_|_3:34.4_|_021___|_16.3_|_08.6_|_135___|_cool down

Friday: 20km on the Charles River Basin

Thursday:  I was too tired at 4am to get up and workout before my flight.  So I didn’t.

I got home from the airport around 7pm and had a nice relaxed evening.

Friday:  Since I will be rowing in the HOCR, I need to learn the river.  This session was the first step towards doing that.  The plan was for two hours of steady state down the whole HOCR course and into the basin, then turn and row up the course in the direction of the race.  There are lots of bridges and turns, so there is a lot to learn.

I launched at a public boat ramp next to Community Rowing in Brighton.

I managed to knock my seat off the rails while doing my beach launch, so I scooted over to their docks and got myself fixed up.  Then I proceeded down river.

I had spent a little time looking at the Charles River Rowing Map. But I certainly had not memorized it.  I began to regret this almost immediately.  After heading downstream from the CRI docks, you pass under the North Beacon Street Bridge.  About 500m past that bridge, there is a sandbar that extends more than halfway across the river.  It is well marked, but I misjudged how close I could cut it and ended up dragging my fin and speedcoach impeller through the sand and needed to gingerly turn to escape.  It didn’t really occur to me that it could be as shallow as it was, but I looked off to the side of my boat and about 20 feet away from me downriver, I saw a goose standing on the sandbar, and his body wasn’t even touching the surface.  It must have only been about an inch deep there!

Having extricated myself, I then continued downstream through the Arsenal Bridge, and past the Northeastern boathouse.  Just downstream from there is where the HOCR finish is.  Along this part, I also managed to get some weeds entangled in my impeller, so the pace was wrong on my speedcoach.  It took a bit of time to realize this and I really raised the pressure to get back to sub-2:30 splits.

I continued down river through the Eliot Bridge turn.  This turn is HUGE.  It’s about 1 km around the bend and now I can see why it so hard to keep a good line in the race.  It just keeps going and going. Finally you straighten out and hit the Anderson Bridge.  This was the warmup area for the Cromwell, so I rowed up and down the section from the Anderson Bridge to the Weeks footbridge a number of times that morning.  Today, I just went straight through the Weeks foot bridge and onto the 1km straight section called the Powerhouse Stretch.  There are two bridges in this section, the Western Avenue Bridge and the River Street bridge.

I had rowed 5.5km by the time I hit the Powerhouse stretch, and nearly 7km by the time I entered the broad turn toward the BU Bridge.  I was starting to feel a bit tired.  I had been rowing a lot harder than I had intended.  Mainly because I wanted to see faster splits, but I think also because there were other folks on the river and I didn’t want to be a slowpoke.

After going through the BU Bridge, I passed in front of BU’s DeWolfe Boathouse, which is the HOCR starting line.  This is also the finish of the 2K course in the basin.  So I lined up on one of the lanes and continued rowing down stream under the Harvard Bridge, and nearly all the way to the Longfellow Bridge.

At the point where the speedcoach told me I had done 10K, I turned around and had a drink.  I’d been rowing for a bit more than an hour.  I then set myself up and got going in the other direction.  I discovered that I had a bit of a headwind to contend with, and I was getting a pretty tired.  I rowed upstream over the HOCR course and tried to pick out useful landmarks to use for different sections of the river.  After I passed the finish of the HOCR I slowed down and paddled through the narrow bit of the river.  Through the last 2 km or so I was gaining on a women sculling ahead of me.  I pushed the pace to cleanly pass her before we got to the North Beacon Bridge.

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I had such a good time!  It is a remarkable place to row.  Some nice straight sections, broad turns in both directions.  Tons of bridges.

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Certainly keeps you alert.

I think I might try to do this again a few more times.  It was really information overload this time.