Monday: Head Race Piece on Quinsig in a 2x

Weather:  A bit chilly, around 50F.  Clear skies, but a low mist was rising from the lake.  This effected Joe a lot more than me because he had to make sure we didn’t hit anything or any body.  There was a very light breeze which seemed to mostly come out of the north, which was a slight tail wind.  Looking at weather stations near the lake, they show no wind at all.


  • Warmup to the north end of the lake
  • Hard 5.5km from the north end of the lake to the south end.
    • rate: 26
    • pace: better than 2:15
  • Cool down and a few power pieces back to the dock.

We launched around 5:40 and the sky was just starting to lighten up in the east.  We headed north at an easy 18 spm and got warmed up.  We were in the club’s Vespoli 2x, which I think is a better boat for us.  My foot position was also a bit better.  I had more room at the finish and I like my catch position.  I was still coming down hard on the track ends, so I need to remember by bite guards.

We spun up at the north end and then started the piece.  The intent was to simulate a head race at our target rate and race pressure.  I wanted to make sure that we had some time trying to row hard while carrying a lot of fatigue before we raced next weekend.

I liked this boat a lot more.  I felt like I was getting good strokes in, and there were sections where the boat really felt like it was moving very well.  Probably the best section was during the last third of the piece.  When we passed the first island past the narrows, the boat just seemed to get a lot lighter and we were in very good synchronization.

Here is a comparison of our strokes in the first 1000, when we were fresh, but the boat felt a bit heavier and the “magic” section.

I specifically tried to pick out single strokes to avoid any averaging.  The thing that jumps out at me is that we had better finishes in the magic section.  The hump between 0.8 and 1.0 sec is lower.  The acceleration is still sloping up to a peak right before the finish, and I’ve changed my mind to say that it’s probably OK.  In the boat, when we are running well, I can feel the surge late in the leg drive and through the body swing.  It makes sense that it takes more of the stroke to accelerate a heavier boat and two rowers than a single.  The thing that we have to work on is consistency.  Hopefully a couple of rows per week between now and the HOCR, we can lock it in.

This was a much better piece that the one we did on Friday.   The avg pace was 2:14.4, and a fair amount of the time, we were hovering around 2:10.  We would have done even better, if we hadn’t been waked about 500m from the end.  That slowed us down a bit and we struggled to get back up to speed for the last bit of the piece.

On the way back up lake, we took it easy all the way up through the narrows and then did 4 sets of 20 on/10 off.  Then to cap it off we did a 30 stroke piece after we got past the rt9 bridge.

|Start|Dist_|Time_|_Pace__|_SPM__|avg HR|DPS_|Remarks
|00020|02330|13:16|02:50.8| 18.2 | 129 |09.6|warmup
|02350|05502|24:39|02:14.4| 26.2 | 164 |08.5|hard 5.5k
|07852|02046|12:52|03:08.7| 24.1 | 136 |06.6|rowing light
|09898|01349|06:27|02:23.4| 25.7 | 154 |08.1|20 on 10 off
|11247|00239|00:57|01:59.2| 28.9 | 160 |08.7|last 30
|11486|00251|03:08|06:14.5| 24.4 | 122 |03.3|back to dock

|Start|Dist_|Time_|_Pace__|_SPM__|avg HR|DPS_|Remarks
|00000|02330|13:16|02:50.8| 18.2 | 129 |09.6|warmup
|00000|06851|31:06|02:16.2| 26.1 | 162 |08.4|main set
|00000|02046|12:52|03:08.7| 24.1 | 136 |06.6|rests
|00000|00490|04:05|04:10.0| 25.5 | 131 |04.7|cool down

It was so pretty this morning when we landed I could resist taking a few pictures.

Tomorrow:  Back in my single on the Charles for a long and slow endurance session.  r20 and HR cap at 155.



Sunday: Lactate 10′ Step Test

Plans for any training down on the Cape this weekend were disrupted by other priorities.  We had all kinds of appointments on Saturday morning, and the main mission for the day was to prepare the deck around the house for a coat of wood sealer.  This took much longer than I was hoping because I vastly underestimated how much deck there was to prepare.  (1400 SQ FT!)  Anyway, by the time that was done, I was not in the mood to do much of anything beside hang out with my wife and drink a couple of beers.

I was thinking I could go for a row on Sunday morning, but when I woke up, it was blowing like crazy.  The peak gust was 50mph (80km/h) and sustained winds were around 35mph (55km/h).  I didn’t even like the thought of trying to pedal a bike into that kind of a headwind, so I decided to wait until the afternoon and just do an erg session.

But what session to do?  I was planning on an early morning row in the Double with Joe on Monday morning, so I didn’t want anything too intense.  And there was a fresh new box of lactate test strips that had just arrived.  So, I quickly decided to do the same 10 minute step test that Sander did last week.

My protocol:

  • No warmup
  • 10 minute steps
  • 1:30 rests
  • start at 160W and increment by 5W to 200W
  • Measure HR throughout and lactate at the end of each step

The purpose of the test is to help define an appropriate steady state intensity for endurance training.  I suspect that it would be around 180-185W or so.

When yo put the data  into a plot, it looks a bit weird.  The test did not go entirely smoothly.  I suspect the lactate test for 170 was contaminated with sweat, leading to a high reading.  The one at 175 had to be redone due to an “E-4” (insufficient sample size).  At 180, I also suspect contamination.  The rest of the readings I think were good.  I had my method down pretty smoothly by then and I was doing a good job cleaning my hands.  I suspect that the inflection above 190W is totally legit. Based on this data, I could try to train at 190W, but I suspect that this would be a bit too intense.  I did this test after a full rest day, and late in the afternoon (my best time of day).  The temp was warm, but cooling down during the session.


I had plenty of time to think, and one of the things that occurred to me is that it is entirely plausible that it takes me 30 minutes to really warmup for a steady state session.  Some of my best results a couple of seasons ago were when I eased into the first 20 minute session by starting at a lower power and then hitting target power for the second 20 minute piece.  When I did that, I think I was able to hold higher “watts at 2.0 lactate”.  I think I might make that my standard procedure over the winter.

So, 185W will be my training power for now.  Next weekend, I think I will do a 90 minute session at 185W and do lactate tests every 10 minutes to see what happens.  The hypothesis I am testing is that my lactate will initially rise toward 2.0, then fall back toward 1.0, hitting a trough around 40 minutes, and then start to rise again after 60 minutes.