Wednesday: 4 x 500 – Race Taper

Weather:  Sunny and Hot 75F, 75% RH.  Light breeze 1-2mph from the NW.  This was basically a cross wind, although it was at it’s strongest and a bit of a head wind during the final rep.

I have used the same taper plan for racing for the past couple of years and I really like it.  It’s documented here.   It’s very simple. The theory is to maintain intensity, and reduce volume as you approach the race.  Today, I did 4 – 500m intervals, tomorrow I’ll do 3, then 2 on Friday, one on Saturday, and race on Sunday.  The approach was shown in the linked study to improve the time to exhaustion at 1500m running pace by 22% (from 250 seconds to 320 seconds) when compared to taking rest days and 14% compared to a low intensity taper.  I like it because it gives me the chance to keep practicing starts and work on race pacing.

So today’s plan:

  • Long Rojabo style warmup finishing with 20 strokes at faster than race pace.
  • A few practice starts
  • 4 x 500m intervals
    • 1:55 pace
    • 30-32 spm
  • Long rests
  • Cool down

Here’s a map view of the whole session.  The river level is quite low and the water is getting really murky.  There are a lot of floating weeds, but I didn’t have any issues with them today.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.01.02 AM

The warmup was uneventful.  I was hitting some sweet paces, and I felt like I was rowing clean.  I was having some intestinal troubles.  These continued through the whole session.  I hate that.

After the warmup, I did 4 practice starts.  None of the four were disastrous, none of them were great either.  The last one was the best one.


Then into the intervals.  I pushed the first one really hard, and really smashed into the lactate wall at about 50 strokes, the last 15 really hurt.  I had massive shivers after I finished.  On CrewNerd, it was a 1:57 pace, upstream.  On the speedcoach, it was a 1:54.1.  That was definitely a bit too fast.

I was an idiot on the second interval.  I got all set up, did my start and settle, and then looked at the iphone.  That’s when I noticed that I didn’t set up a 500 interval and I didn’t know where I was.  I bailed out around 250m.  It was a pretty good 1:55 pace though.

I took a couple minutes to get my breath back and then setup CrewNerd for another 500m.  Off I went, and I was determined to get a good start and settle aggressively to my target rate at 30 spm.  This one was another 1:57 on CrewNerd, but 1:55.8 on Speedcoach (still upstream, but less current here).  The lactate wave was less debilitating in this interval.  In think this is a better pace target for me.

Then I paddled around, had a drink, spun and setup for interval number 3.  This one was downstream, and what wind there was, was a bit of a tail wind.  I had high hopes.  This one was a disappointing 1:59 on CrewNerd because I stopped about a stroke too soon.  On Speedcoach it was a 1:57.5.  Good rate discipline.

I setup for the fourth interval, now heading up river.  The breeze was a little fresher and was a headwind about 30 degrees off the bow.  I got a good start, and then settled.  The boat felt heavier even though the headwind was light, only about 2mph.  The settle took my pace above 2:00.  I tried to focus on holding the rate and taking long strokes.  Around the 40 stroke point, I noticed that I was a bit off course and needed to do some steering.  I counted out to 60 strokes and looked at the iphone to see how much distance I had left, expecting to see about 30 meters or so.  Instead, I saw 112 meters and the display was not updating.  The frigging thing had frozen!  I took another 2 strokes and guessed that I had finished the 500m.  Turns out I was off by about 30m.  This interval was at 2:00.5 pace.  Part of it was head wind.  Part of it was fatigue.  It was close to a maximal effort.


It looks like Crewnerd kept working in the background, despite the display being frozen.  And once I brought up a Just Row and started it, the display was live again.  I was pretty irked.  This kind of freeze had not happened to me unless I was using the Dual GPS before.  I am edging closer and closer the buying a Speedcoach GPS.

After the last interval, I pulled my feet out of the shoes and rowed back to the dock concentrating on trying to get perfect finishes.

Tomorrow:  Same thing, but 3 intervals.

Finally, apropos to nothing, but while I was driving to the lake on Saturday morning, the sun was rising behind me and the shadow of my boat on my car was kind of cool.

2016-07-03 06.06.12



Tuesday: 3 x 20′ / 1’30” rest (w/lactate)

I had a blast in Provincetown on the 4th.  I went for a walk in the morning to go collect some breakfast.  Then we lazed around the rest of the morning.  Around noontime, we wander over to a boat rental place and rented a 2 person kayak.  We spent an hour paddling around the harbor, checking out the yachts and enjoying the sunny day.  Then the walk back to the hotel, picking up some sandwiches on the way for lunch.  Later in the afternoon, we headed out again and walked all the way across town to a favorite shop of ours.  On the way back, we picked up some wine, cheese and crackers to enjoy during the fireworks.  We settled in on the deck of the hotel, and watched the fireworks over the harbor.  All together, it was over 7 miles of walking and a brilliant day.

The drive home was unpleasant.  We set out for home around 11am on Tuesday morning.  Apparently, so did everyone else on Cape Cod.  We fought through 4 hours of traffic to get off the cape, and even then, the traffic pretty heavy  the rest of the way.  We didn’t get home until well after 5pm.  I had a snack, and drink, and then went off to do a light 60 minute session.


  • 3 x 20′
  • 1:30 rest (to allow time for lactate tests)
  • target power: 185W
  • rate: 19-20

It was hot and humid.  After I finished, the temperature was 80F, and the humidity was 80%.  It was a very sweaty, and hot enough that it compromised the power I could hold with reasonable lactate levels.

The first 20 minutes was fine.  Lactate at the end was 1.9mmol/l.   I missed the start for the second interval because I was running to get a water bottle.  So, I was chasing the target power a bit.  The power for the full interval read 182W, but I missed about 15 seconds of rowing at the beginning, so I was rowing >185W for the whole interval. I also was starting to sweat up a storm and feeling a bit overheated.  At the end of the second interval, I read 3.2mmol/l.  I suspect it might have been a bad reading, but I decided to back off the power to 180W for the last 20 minutes, and push the stroke rate up to 20 to keep things under control.  It did the trick.  My HR stabilized and my lactate level dropped back to 2.2mmol/l. by the end of 60 minutes.

myimage (35)

2016-07-05 18.56.47