Thursday: 15 x 3’/1′ off the red eye

I landed in Boston at 6:30am.  I was on the erg by 8am.  I managed to get some sleep, but my expectations for the session were pretty low.


  • 15 x 3’/1′
  • Rate: 25-28
  • Pace: 1:52 or better

I did this session in September (described here).  The jump up was an average pace of 1:50.7, and over 9 minutes spent in the anaerobic HR band.  It was brutal.  Today, I was way more the way that I started, and basically negative split the workout.  The end result was an average split of 1:49.9, and zero time spend in the AN band.

I think the improvement comes from both a more intelligent pacing strategy for the workout, and improved aerobic fitness since mid-September.

The plots and pictures below include 1 warmup rep and 1 cool down rep that are excluded from the pace calculations.

Here is the split summary from  It looks like the way that painsled reports data, it can mess up short intervals by a few meters, so it is different from the PM picture.

Workout Summary - media/20161103-135324-sled_2016-11-03T08-06-32ZEDT.strokes.csv
Workout Details

This session provides another opportunity to explore some of the stroke metric analysis you can do on

First, here is a view of the stroke metrics versus time.


You can see the warmup and cooldown reps.  The other thing that you can just begin to see is that I got all the pace improvement in the last couple of reps by increasing rate, not force.  The best place to see that is in the drv and rcv time plot, where you can see the recovery time decreasing, but the peak and average force are quite consistent with the prior reps.  You can also see how my drive length increased and my avg force decreased a bit over the first few reps.  Let’s dig a bit deeper into those parameters.

First, lets look at drive length over time and also versus stroke rate.  I’ve used the controls on the site to exclude all rest strokes and all strokes below 23 spm, which screen out the warmup and cool down.

So, there is definitely a strong time dependence to my drive length.  I start short, get longer as the workout continues, and only shorten up again at the end when I start to push pace much harder.  The relationship between drive length and stroke rate is very weak.

Next, lets look at peak and average force.

There is little change in these parameters over time or stroke rate.  The area that I want to understand better is the spread of the peak power.  I wonder if I am wasting energy by having an inconsistent stroke.

Tomorrow:  4 x 20′ / 1′ L4


What’s next? Good question!

Well, I haven’t quite figure  things out yet.

I have a bunch of potentially conflicting objectives that I need to sort out.

Here’s a quick list of the events that I am thinking about competing in.

  • January 28th: Northeast Erg Sprints – 2000 meters indoors (trial event for the Crash-Bs)
  • February 12th: Crash-Bs – 2000m sprint, indoors
  • Mid-May: Essex River Race: 5.5 mile open water race
  • Mid June: Festival Sprints – 1000m OTW sprint
  • Early July: Cromwell Cup – 1000m OTW Sprint
  • Mid July: Blackburn Challenge – 20+ Mile open water race
  • Mid-September: CRI Fall Classic – 5k head race
  • Early October: Textile River Regatta – 6K head race
  • Mid-October: Quinsigamond Snake Race – 4K head race
  • Late October: Head of the Charles – 5k head race
  • Early November: Merrimack Chase – 5k head race

Now there is absolutely no way that I will have the time to do all of these races.  So, I need to prioritize what is most important to me.  I think the two key events that I want to do are the Blackburn Challenge and the HOCR, everything else is optional.

Training for the Blackburn will require a much different training plan than training for the early summer sprint races, so I suspect that I will either blow them off, or just do the Cromwell without training specifically for it.  Basically just include some starting practice into my workouts in June.

A plan for the Blackburn will have two components.  The first is endurance, since it is longer than 20 miles in a boat that is 15% slower than a flat water single, which is about 15% slower than an erg.  So, we are talking about 3 to 4 hours of rowing depending on the conditions.   To do that, I think I will give the marathon training plan from the ISS site a try.  Dave C. seemed to do really well with it as prep for his OTW marathon this year.  The other component is getting used to rowing in rougher water.  That means as much open water work down on the cape as I can do on weekends over the summer.  The Marathon training plans want a full 26 weeks, which would mean that I would need to start in mid-January.  Since the indoor racing season will finish up in mid-February, I will probably lop the first month off and just pick it up in the second month.

So, that basically sorts out the period from mid-February to Mid-July.  What about now?  I think that there are two options.

  • Option 1:  Do a 3 month block periodized plan similar to last year to try to take a run at my 2K PB.
  • Option 2:  Do a 3 month block of strength training and base aerobic work and not take a run at my PB.

Each of these options are attractive in different ways.  Option 1 would be highly motivating and I will enjoy pushing hard and having a really challenging goal to get after.  Option 2 is attractive for three reasons.  One, it might be nice to ease up on the competitive pressure a bit.  Two, I am interested to know whether getting a lot stronger would help me get faster in the boat next spring.  Three, I would like to lose weight and I think it might be easier to do that if I am not pushing every workout to the brink.

So, I need to think this through and make some decisions.  Until then, I just keep doing 3 long and easy and 3 hard sessions a week to keep things going.