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