Tuesday: 3 x 30′ / 3′ rest (mp, 10kp, mp)

When you write it in shorthand, it doesn’t look that bad, but it is a whole lot of rowing.  90 minutes of rowing, 60 minutes of it at a little bit above my endurance pace, and 30 minutes of it a lot faster than my endurance pace.

This was a monster of a workout.  The EF marathon plan does not feature the acute pain of the Pete Plan, but it is designed to put you into chronic oxygen debt and elevated lactate levels for VERY LONG PERIODS OF TIME.

The way I was thinking about this workout is this:

  • The first 30 minutes at MP is basically like doing the first 30  minutes of a marathon
  • The second 30 minutes at 10KP is faster than marathon pace to build up a really good oxygen debt and lactate load, that gets delivered to the last 30 minutes
  • The last 30 minutes at MP is like the last 30 minutes of a marathon.  You are rowing at a comfortable pace, but you have a big debt that you can’t pay off.  (That’s as fun as it sounds)

I did the 20 minute flavor of this workout before, and the extra 10 minutes at 10KP is brutal!

I had a hangup with the PM5 and Painsled.  I think it was related to using ANT+ for HR data.  It froze up on me about 8 minutes into the first mp interval, so I stopped at 10 minutes, reset the PM, and programmed a 20’/30’/30′ variable interval session.  There wasn’t much to look at for the first 10 minutes anyway.  I aimed at 185W, I did 187W.

Here is the rest of the session from painsled.


I was never seriously considering quitting, but boy that middle 30 minutes lasted forever.I decided to ignore the HR cap, basically because I’m a prideful idiot.

I looked a bunch of metrics.  Some of them are interesting (at least to me).

  • Drive length is consistent across time and stroke rates
  • peak force declined between the first 30 minutes and the last 30 minutes as I rated up to try to deal with the fatigue
  • Drive energy is basically work per stroke (of SPI).  This shows how I was a shadow of my former self in the last 30 minutes.
  • I thought the stroke rhythm was interesting.  My drive to recovery  ratio was smaller in the first 30 minutes and consistent between the 10KP and final MP segments.  Another indication of how my rowing changes when I am really tired.
  • Then a few plots versus stroke rate.  I find it interesting how different the first mp section is from the last mp section in these.

The fact that I had the hangup gave me an interesting opportunity to compare this workout to the 3 x 20′ version that I did 2 weeks ago.

Remember the first 10 minutes of today’s workout is missing.

The power was identical in the first and second intervals.  In the third interval of the prior workout, I felt so fresh, I upped the power.  Stroke rate was higher today, and I was trying to do that.  HR is interesting.  The first interval shows that my HR after 10 minutes today was much lower than 10 minutes into the first piece last time, but by the end of that piece it was a bit higher.  You can see the effect of that extra effort in the second interval.  My HR bumped up faster, and kept climbing.  Last week, it plateaued around 165 or so, today, it just kept on going.

Tomorrow:  2 x 30′ sub-MP, HR limit at 150


Monday: 4×15′ / 4′ rest (9′ @ 5KP, 6′ @ MP)

This one pushed me to my limit.  Two weeks ago, I did the version of this where I did 6′ at 5KP and 9′ at MP, and it was a pretty easy ride.  Swapping those two was brutal.

It’s a bit of a bummer, because I have rowed longer than this at a much faster pace then the 5KP, but it is what it is, and I can work with it.

The first rep was pretty manageable, but I definitely felt like I was working hard.  This step down format is a pretty fiendish way to do an interval.  I was struggling to get to the end of the 9 minute block, and my central governor really wanted me to stop at that point.  Instead, you slow down.  But you don’t slow down enough to feel much better.  My heart rate slowly drifted down and my RPE was amazingly high for a 2:03 pace.

I reprogrammed my power zones in rowsandall to reflect my marathon target paces.



So for this workout, the goal was 36 minutes at 5KP and 24 minutes at MP.  The power pie chart shows exactly that break down.  So it will be a useful way to track this type of workout on the erg, and even when I am on the water.

Pics of the PM.  I set it up as a variable interval session so I could grab the warmup along with the main set in one set of data.

Workout Summary - media/20170130-1315200o.csv
Workout Details

I did a bunch of flex plots.  Drive length is good and consistent across rates and as I geot more tired.  It’s cool to see the effect of fatigue on stroke rhythm.  You can see my trading off higher rate to try to hold on to the power and the force I could generate declined.  The work per stroke versus stroke rate shows an increase with stroke rate.  I think that is mainly because the lower power stuff was tacked onto the end of the higher power stuff, so I was really spent and barely hanging on during those sections.  I usually see a flatter work per stroke than that.

Last week I did a version of this workout but with 6′ at 5KP and 9′ at MP.  I was interested to compare them.    The first plot is power and you can see that I was hitting the same target.  You can see that I was rating a touch higher, and I think that’s a good thing.  Finally in the HR comparison, you can see that I was struggling more with this workout more than the other one.  My HR was higher at 6′ in interval #1 today than it was last time.  I think accumulated fatigue and time of day are the main factors there.


3 x 30′ / 3′ Pace: MP, 10KP, MP HR cap: 90.0% (167)

Friday: 2 x 45′ @ 170W

I need to get serious about rebuilding my aerobic base.  I’ve gotten into this hole many times before.  My training gets disrupted (in this case because of my knee injury and the then surgery), and when I return, I use the same pre-disruption power levels.  This ends up pushing my endurance workouts above their target zone.

The effect of this is that my ability to produce lactate increases and my ability to metabolize lactate decreases.  This is a very bad thing if I am planning to compete in a 3 to 4 hour race.  So, it’s time to reset my expectations and restart at a very low endurance training power.

I decided to try 170W, since my recent rows at 180W resulted in HRs way above my target.  I wasn’t sure how well I’d do because I was working on zero sleep (I just got home on  the red eye.)  It turned out to be a lovely row.



Thursday: 2×30′ fitness center

Wednesday:  First teleconference at 7am. Then another at 8.  Then off to the airport to fly to LAX, then more meetings and dinner with the team from our facility there.  No time to train.

Thursday:  It was going to be another long day.  First teleconference at 6am, which lasted until 8.  I had a bit of time before I needed to drive to San Diego, so I went to the hotel gym.  This session was more about stress management than training.  I just wanted to do something.

I did 30 minutes on the stationary bike (rollings hills, level 15).  Then 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer (rolling hills, level 15).  It turns out that rolling hills are easier on the elliptical.



After that, I showered, hopped in my car and drove down to San Diego.  Straight in to a prep meeting for 3 hours, then a meeting with our customer from 6pm until 8:30.  That left me just enough time to drive to the airport and catch the redeye home.  Well not quite home, I am now in Charlotte waiting for my connection and writing a journal entry.

After I get home, I think I’ll take a nap, and maybe do an easy erg session.

Tuesday: 30′ @ MP and skierg

Monday:  No training.  I flew out to San Jose, and headed straight into the office.  Straight from the office to a business dinner.  Back to hotel around 10pm.

Tuesday:  Early start, in the office at 7am to prep for big meeting.  Then lots of other meetings through the day.  My last meeting finished around 4pm and I decided to sneak out.  I went back to my hotel, threw on my workout clothes and ran over to Evolution Fitness in downtown San Jose.  I bought a day pass and hopped on an erg.  I had to be done, back to the hotel, showered, and in a cab in time for a 6pm business dinner.

Originally, I thought I had time to do a 2×30′ session, but as I was grinding away in the first 30 minutes, I was working out the timing and logistics of getting to my dinner on time and it was clear that I didn’t have that much time.  When I came into the gym, I notice a row of 4 nice new skiergs along a wall.  I decided that a I just finish up the first 30 minutes on the erg, and then give the skierg a try.

So 30 minutes at marathon pace, and then an exploratory session on the skierg.  The workout did not go very well.  It was hard work to sustain even the low end of the marathon pace band and my heart rate was way high.  It might have had something to do with not enough sleep, too much alcohol and way too much stress.  In any event, I was just glad to have had the chance to do a little training.

The skierg was quite an experience.  I just walked up to it, set the damper at 4, the PM to a 10 minute session and started pulling.  I started off at something like 38 SPM, and after a minute found that it was not even remotely sustainable.  I back off to 30 or so, and still redlined about 8 minutes into it.  My pace was incredibly slow, so I have to assume that my technique was crappy.  But it was an impressive workout.  It is full body like a rowing machine, but almost entirely the opposing muscles.  My shoulders, back and neck are all stiff today.


Workout Summary - media/20170125-0115190o.csv
Workout Details


Workout Summary - media/Import_28626041.csv
Workout Details


Sunday: 3 x 20′ @ mp / 10kp / hmp

This was a redo of the workout I did on Wednesday, but this time with lower power levels

  • 3 x 20′ intervals
  • Pace Targets:
    • 1st interval: Marathon Pace
    • 2nd Interval: 10K Pace
    • 3rd Interval: Half Marathon Pace
  • 2′ rest between pieces
  • HR Range: 80% to 90% of HRMax (149 to 168)


So, based on yesterday’s happy workout, I aimed 5 watts above the bottom of each pace range, so my targets were

  • Marathon Pace: 185W
  • 10K Pace: 215W
  • Half Marathon Pace: 200W

I stayed just below the HR limit in the second and third interval.


These to be just about right.  Challenging, HR coming close to the limit.

Saturday: 4 x 15′ 5kp/mp step downs

Friday: I had a teleconference for work at 9pm that I actually needed to go to work to do.  The call lasted 90 minutes and then I had to do a couple of follow up calls.  I finally got home around 1 in the morning.  I decided to sleep in instead of getting up to row.

Saturday:  I went to row about 3 in the afternoon, after taking care of some errands and chores.  I wanted to try out the workout from Tuesday with the lower power targets.

  • 4 x 15′
  • 4′ rest
  • the first 6 minutes of each interval is rowed at your current 5k pace
  • the last 9 minutes of each interval are rowed at you current projected marathon pace
  • HR limit: 92.5% of HRMax (172)

Pace Targets:


Today, I would start off using 225W for the 5kp and 180W for the MP.  I decided I wanted a short warmup, so I decided to program the whole thing as a variable interval session on the PM.  I set it up as

  • 1000m / 2′ rest
  • 4 x 15′ / 4′ rest

I was able to boost up the power a bit.  Maybe because I do better in the afternoon, or maybe it’s a very fine line.  My HR never came close to the limit.


I am finding this workout to be very fascinating or looking at stroke metrics.  Here’s a whole lot of them.

So, I think I am at the right power now.  These workouts get tougher by going to 7′ at 5kp, then to 9′ at 5kp in each 15′ interval, so I won’t be trying to go faster.


Thursday: 2 x 30′ @ mp

After the Wednesday session, I knew that I needed to dial it back a notch, so I decided to try one of the bread and butter endurance sessions from the plan.

  • 2 x 30′
  • Marathon Pace or Slower
  • HR Limit: 75% of HRMax

A 75% of HR max cap is very low for me.  That’s a HR of 140.  I decided to use 80% of HRMax instead which is 148.  I used 195W as my starting marathon pace.  That pace did not last very long.  Even with the higher HR limit, and in fact, blowing through that limit up to 84% of HRMax, I had to continually slow down.


Yep,  The high end of the range is too high.