Friday: 8 x 500 / 3′ rest

Training plan called for short intervals, so I defaulted to the classic…8×500/3′ rest.  I decided that it was OK to work against a pace target of 1:45.  This is a pretty tame since I was able to post a 1:40.8 for a 6×750/4’rest session at the end of January.

I haven’t done much sprint work and my training volume in February and March has been way down.  For November, December and January, I was averaging almost 100km a week.  Since the beginning of February, my weekly average is 43km.  Now, I have done my best to supplement that with cross training, but there is not way to make up for that kind of a “time on erg” deficit.  Anyway, so much for my excuse codes for a slow target.

Warm up was a standard fletcher.  It felt hard.

Then in to the main event.  I focused on trying to hit 30 SPM and get my heels down fast.  I’ve noticed that I have been rowing on my tip toes when I rate up and that will be bad news in the boat.  This pace was hard, but doable, and I managed a fair bit better than target.  I did the first one at 1:44, and knew I could go harder.  Same thing in the second where I did 1:43.  The rest were in the 1:42.x range, with a nice faster last.  There were some annoying drop outs in the HR data.  Looking at the Strava data, I see exactly the same thing, so it’s the strap, not the PM5.  I only seem to see it on these short interval sessions.  I wonder if the fast HR increases are confusing the algorithm in the strap.

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I was pretty much toast after that.  I did a 2K cool down.

I decided to pass on doing a weight session tonight.  Not enough time and I’m still suffering DOMS from the last session.

Tomorrow:  OTW!

Thursday: Insomnia and 3 x 20′ L4

Last night I went to bed a bit before 11, and then woke up for good around 1:45.  I tossed and turned for 2 hours and then gave up. got up and did some reading until it was time to go to work.  I felt worn down and tired, but not at all sleepy.  I’m working through a fair amount of stress right now, so it’s not surprising.  It is, however, annoying.

So, I had plenty of time for a long session this morning, but, as it turns out, I didn’t have the energy.  I plugged through the first 20 minutes, but I just sort of gave up the will to row in the middle of the second 20 minute piece.  I sat around for a minute or so, trying to decide what to do,  and then restarted at a light paddle and just sort of coasted through the last 12 minutes of that chunk.

I wasn’t sure if I should quick or continue after that, but I decided to give it a go.  I elected to invent a new L4 stroke sequence, which I shall hence forth call the “Dash of Spice”.  It is 1 minute at 21 SPM (and 210W), and then 4 minutes at 18 spm (180W).  I did 4 sets of that and it was the right choice for this morning.  I could hold the 180W sections with a nice stable HR, and the 1 minute sections at 210W were a good way to break up the piece.

I consider it a session well rescued.

Tomorrow:  I think another 3 x 20′.  Saturday will likely be my first OTW outing of the season.  Probably in a quad.  I’ll try to convince my boat mates that a session that is half technical and half 30″ on / 60″ off is a good way to open up the season.


Wednesday: 3 x1500 / 3′ rest

Original plan was 5×1500 / 5′ rest, but I needed to squeeze the workout into lunchtime, so I only had time 3 reps and I needed to cut the rest down and skip the cool down.

Despite that, it was pretty taxing.  I was feeling some DOMS from my adventures with weights the day before.  I used the first 1500 rep as a warm up and then focused on staying under a 1:50 split for the next three.  I used the final rest as a cool down, pushing the pace a little bit more than normal, mainly to get the total meters above 8000 for the session.

I was working harder than I would have hoped for the achieved pace.   Probably because of the lingering effects of the weight session, but also because I haven’t done much middle distance work for the past month.

Tuesday PM: Starting Strength

I’m adding 2 strength training sessions per week to my OTW training plan.  From what I have read in a couple of places (Fast after Fifty by Joe Friel, and Rowing Stronger by Will Ruth), I am becoming more convinced that adding strength training is an important way to prevent injuries, and get faster, at least for sprints.  I have also spent some time reading the strength training chapter in Rowing Faster, authored by Ed McNeely.

Both the Daly book and the McNeely chapter divide strength training into 3 main phases.  Hypertrophy, Strength and Power.  Each one has a slightly different combination of volume, intensity, reps per set and number of sets.  The intensity for each exercise is set as a percentage of 1RM (1 Rep Max).  So the job yesterday was to figure out what that number is for the main lifts.

So, the main lifts I will be doing are Squats, Front Squats, Deadlifts, Power Cleans, Good Mornings, Bench Press, Strict press, and either seated or bench rows.  In addition, I will be doing pull ups, chin ups and some core work.  Each session will include 2 main lifts, plus either pull ups or chin ups, and core work.

Instead of pushing all the way to a “real” 1 rep max test, I decided to play it a bit safer and use a calculated method where you try to get to a weight where you can do somewhere between 1 and 10 reps.  It’s more accurate if you have less than 5 reps.

Then you use this formula to estimate your 1RM.  (Source: wikipedia)

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Here’s my results from yesterday.


So, I haven’t done the exercise for Good Mornings, strict press or the rows.  I will probably just wing it with them when they come up in rotation.

The basic plan is 2 sessions per week.  One on Monday or Tuesday and the other on Thursday or Friday.  Each session will have 2 major lifts plus assistance exercises.  Some example workouts…

  • Back Squat, Power Cleans, Pull ups, ab roll outs
  • Deadlift, Front Squat, chin ups, planks
  • Back Squat, Bench press, seated rows, ab rolls outs
  • Deadlift, Good mornings, Press, chin ups



Tuesday: 3 x 20′ / 1′ rest L4

Tough rowing today.  Felt quite tired.  HR was correspondingly high.  I didn’t measure lactate, but it would have been too high if I did.

Later today, I will try to start some strength training.  I will probably do some work to estimate 1RM for a few major exercises (Back squat, Front Squat, Strict press, bench press, power clean, dead lift, good mornings).  I will not go to failure on these, but use the method of getting to a weight where you can do less than 10 reps and then use the formula

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to figure out an estimate for what my 1RM would be.

Tomorrow morning: Long Intervals : 5 x 1500 / 5′ rest, target pace 1:50

Monday: 10K reasonably hard

I was short on time this morning so I did a 10K.  I was in the mood for a bit of intensity, so I started off targeting 1:57.  Then pushed the pace down to around 1:54 as I went along.  It was about a 80-90% effort.

Doing it strapless was a bit of challenge.

I won’t have time for the strength session tonight.  I will push that to tomorrow night instead.  Tomorrow morning, 3 x 20’/1’rest.


Sunday: 3×20’/1′ rest L4

Saturday:  Rest Day!

Sunday: 3 x 20′ / 1′ rest L4.

This is my first erg session in 9 days.  I did 5 sessions of cross training during that period, but it felt weird being back on the rowing machine.  I expected my HR to be a bit high and it was.

Check out the new plots derived from Painsled data.

HR Statistics.

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Monday:  40 minute steady state session in the morning and a strength session in the afternoon.


Narita shuffle

I had a 5 hour layover in Japan on my way home. So I decided to take a walk. I left my bags in a locker and walked the perimeter of the terminal I was in. 

I used the wahoo app to try to track how far I walked, but GPS was not working too well indoors. Here’s the path that it thinks I walked. 

I promise I wasn’t zigzagging around or rocketing across the apron. 

I walked for a little longer than an hour. Now my legs have a nice, been used, feeling. 

I’ve now boarded my flight. It’s 12:45 of pure flying pleasure ahead. Ughh. 

Tomorrow: 3×20 L4

Thursday: Cebu – Treadmill Intervals!

I was press for time and craving something with a bit more bite on Thursday morning.

So, I warmed up with 8 minutes of incline walking (15%, 5.5km/h).  Then I did alternating 2 minutes at 12km/h and 1 minute at 6kmph with the incline at 3%.  Sad to say that 12km/h on 3% grade is a pretty intense pace for a lumbering water buffalo like me.

My HR monitor began to misbehave in the middle of the session, but by all appearances, I was getting the right effect!

I did repeats until I had 5 minutes left and then I cooled down.  As near as I can figure it, that’s makes this a 9 x 2′ / 1′ rest session.

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This is my first time visiting the island of Cebu in the Philippines.  I stayed at beautiful resort very near our facility here.

Now I am on my way back to Boston, on a 5 hour layover in Narita.  I think I will go for a nice walk in a little while to pass the time.

Saturday morning will be a traditional post-travel L4 session on my erg at home.