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



5 thoughts on “Wednesday: 4 x 500 – Race Taper

  1. sanderroosendaal says:

    For a moment I confused your start zoom plots with the 500s and was impressed by the score. Also interesting to see the splits differences between GPS and SpeedCoach.

    Good luck at your races! FIrst sprint races this season, right?


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