Friday: 90 minutes of near-bliss

I felt like crap all day Thursday.  My stomach was a little upset, and just felt lethargic and slow.  We went to bed early again and I got a good 8 hours of sleep.  I woke up this morning feeling a whole lot better.

The weather was gray and it rained off and on.  The temperature was in the mid-40s.  But there was very little wind and I was looking forward to just taking it easy and working on technique.  My morning schedule was pretty open, so I didn’t have to rush to much either.

I launched and got going.  My plan was:

  • 2′ SBR
  • 2′ alternating square / feathered
  • 2′ r20
  • repeat over and over again.

As I rowed out to the useful part of the river, I decided that today would be a good day to get the impeller mode of the speedcoach calibrated.  Right now there is enough current that my upstream and downstream speeds are different by 10 or 15 second per 500, and since the impeller is already mounted on the boat, I might as well use it.

I had never done the calibration with the speedcoach GPS, so I fumbled through the menus a bit until I found it under the advanced setup menu.  Once I found it, it was easy and intuitive to use.  Just start it up, it tells you to start rowing, and once you are up to speed, it uses the GPS to measure 500m of true distance.  Then it tells you to turn around and press start when you are ready to do the same thing in the other direction.  After all that, it tells you what the cal factor is.

So, I did 2 moderately hard 500m pieces to setup the cal.  I was suspicious that it might not be a good cal because my boat speed looked a bit too good.  :-/

After that, I just rowed.  I went all the way down river, back up to the cove, then back down to the dam.  The basin down by the dam is pretty broad and the I can do 500m without much of a turn, so I did the cal again.  The cal factor came out close to the first time (1.069 vs 1.061), but I did pull one massively bad stroke in the first 500, so I am wondering if I could get it better.  Maybe I’ll do it again on Quinsig this weekend over 1000m.

After I finished the second cal, I decided to row steady state the whole way back.  I was pulling really hard in the 2 minute chunks of r20, and I wanted to try to practice at a feathered at a lower stroke pressure.  This was very pleasant rowing.

The whole outing was about 17km on RIM, and I was on the water for 96 minutes.  It was glorious.

This is the GPS data from RIM.  You can see the extra loops at each end of the river where I did the cal pieces.  You can also see a place in the middle where the was some kind of glitch with the data.  I did not, in fact, row through the headland, not even close.

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 2.30.38 PM

Here is the same thing using the GPS coordinates from the speedcoach.  In this one, the cal pieces are missing, but look at how much smoother the path is.

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Here’s the summary plot from the speedcoach.  Still suspicious about the impeller based pace, but it sure is less noisy!  It is also missing the cal pieces.


Here is the summary plot from RIM.


In this plot, I have smoothed the pace data twice, and it is still a lot noisier than the speedcoach data.

I am trying to figure out the best set of parameters to have live in the boat.  Today, I setup the speedcoach to have pace, HR, effective length and wash.  On RIM, I had stroke rate and elapsed time.  This worked out OK, but I think I like using the RIM for HR.  For example, today I don’t have any HR data for the cal pieces.  In a similar way, if I setup the speedcoach for an interval workout, I would miss the rest data.  If I use RIM essentially as a logger, and the speedcoach more interactively, I think that would work out.

I think I will always want to see pace, stroke rate, heart rate and elapsed time.  And I would like to have two fields for empower related stuff.  Right now I am working on finishes, so it makes sense to have wash.  But eventually, I think I will mainly have work and effective length as the main screens.

Feeling so bad yesterday and so good today has gotten me thinking.

I have never really figured how much business travel interferes with training.  I used to just think of travel days as enforced rest days and tried to just hit my training goals working around the travel.  From that perspective, the only impact was essentially from reduced training hours when I couldn’t squeeze in the sessions.

Now I think it’s worse than that.  Spending 6 hours squeezed into a plane (or 15 hours) and shifting multiple time zones is nothing like a real rest day.  But it does nothing to improve my fitness level.  Right now, I am thinking that it puts the same stress on my body that training does, but without the beneficial training effect.

So the question is…what to do about it?  The answer is…I don’t know.  It seems pretty clear to me that maintaining a very regular training schedule helps me manage jet lag and stress.  It’s also clear that my performance in training sessions after travel is compromised.  So, I think I keep doing what I’m doing.  I will try to rearrange my schedule to put low intensity sessions after trips and I will focus on base endurance cross training or strength while I travel.

The other thing that is really clear to me is that the best thing I can do to improve performance right now is to lose weight.  Losing weight requires no extra time, it can be done while I’m at home or on travel, and every 10 pounds is worth a full second off my 500m split in the boat.  The problem with losing weight is will power.  It takes a lot of effort for me to lose weight and it’s easy to lose motivation.  But, I need to give it a try.  It will help my fitness, performance and health.

Tomorrow:  yardwork all day.  Time to mulch.