Tuesday: 5 x 2000 / 2′ (1500 @ 22, 500 @24)

Tuesday was a bit of a jumble.  I had to be at an offsite meeting at 8am to give some opening remarks, so no morning workout.  Then by 9am, I was on my way the office.  I couple of meetings brought me to around 12:45pm, when I headed off to the gym to do my planned session.

  • 5 x 2000m / 2′ rest
    • 1500m: r22, 2:01
    • 500m: r24, 1:55

Before that, I did the ever expanding set of corrective exercises from the PT.  These are starting to be a real time sink.  I hope the benefit is worth the training time that I am devoting to it.  The exercises have 3 purposes.  First to correct the imbalance between my hips and glutes.  Second to work a bunch of adhesions out of my quads and IT bands and improve hip flexibility.  Third to strength the helper muscles in abdomen to improve my ability to rock over and hold a strong position at the catch and finish with a very stable back.  I guess this is the perfect time of year to work on these issues, but I find it to be maddening drudgery.  I have to look at it as if it was a standard medical prescription and take my medicine.

I noticed that I felt more fatigued from my PT exercises , and I wondering if I was either coming down with the cold that was going through my family last week at Thanksgiving, or just worn out from my battles with the dynamic erg.  At any rate, I thought the erg session would be a struggle, and it was.  This is the same session that I did on 11/17 and 11/21.  The one on 11/21 was remarkably good.  This was a lot more like the one on the 17th.  High heart rates, but otherwise entirely manageable.

I started with a 2000m warmup, basically starting around 2:15 and speeding up to do the last 500m at my target 2:01 pace.

Then into the intervals.  I still want to pull a bit faster at r22 than a 2:01 pace, so I really needed to focus on light strokes, limited layback, and fast hands away to keep from either pulling 1:59s at r22, or 2:01s at r21.  This was actually a really good way to keep my brain engaged in the technique notes that I’ve been getting from Marlene.

As I said above, my HR was high, but I felt good through the session and pleasantly tired, but not beaten up at the end.

I finished with a 2000 happy ending cool down.


          Workout Summary - media/20171128-1920330o.csv
Workout Details

Wednesday is a planned rest day.  I’m flying down to Texas for a couple of meetings.  I’m going to try to find a crossfit box for a workout tomorrow morning. The planned session is a nice easy endurance workout.

  • 3 x 20′ / 3′
  • Cat VI (r18, 2:06)

I’m pretty pleased with how things are going lately.  November is going to be my highest monthly training time in almost 2 years. Here is training time per month going back to May of 2013.  The last time a set a PB was January of 2016.  Do you notice something different in the graph before January of 2016 and after?  I sure do.


By a strange coincidence, I got a promotion just about 2 years ago and the amount of travel and work hours ramped up at that time.  If I look closely at the months with low training totals, some of them correlate to months with a ton of travel (Feb-17, July-17), but other correlate with injuries (12-16 – knee surgery, 9-17 – back injury).

So, my conclusion is that I can probably manage about 30 training hours a month.  This would include rowing hours plus aerobic cross training.  It does not include PT stretches and exercises.  If I am traveling heavily, there will be more cross training hours and fewer rowing hours, and most likely a couple of extra “no training” days.

I think one adjustment that makes sense to is approach my schedule to do longer “easy” sessions when I have a time window to do it, and even extend them from 80 minutes to up to 2 hours, if I have the time.  I think there is a strong correlation between total training time and results.


Monday: 4 x 12′ / 1’30”


  • 4 x 12′ / 1’30″
  • rate: 22
  • pace: 2:01 to 2:05
  • HR limit: 157

The main point of this workout is precision.  Hitting exactly the target split at exactly the target rate.  In addition, it’s a good chance for me to work on recovery sequence (keeping my knees down)

I did the workout in the fitness center at work around 11 am.  This was about 18 hours after yesterday’s awful 60′ session.  I sure felt sore this morning and I suspect that I was not sufficiently recovered even by my late morning start.

My HR was a higher today than last week, but was only a little high relative to the HR limit.  It plateaued pretty much around 157-159.

          Workout Summary - media/20171127-1720300o.csv
Workout Details

Comparison of HR to last time.


I like this workout.  It’s pretty short and not too taxing.


  • 5 x 2000m / 2′
    • 1500m at r22 and 2:01
    • 500m at r24 and 1:55

This is a redo of the workout I did last Tuesday.

Sunday: Hour of not much power

God I hate this damn machine.  Still at home on the dynamic.


  • 60 minutes
  • Rate: 22
  • Pace: ~2:00 or better

Should have been a piece of cake.

Started with a 5 minute warmup.

  • 1 minute of pause at arms away and body over
  • 1 minute at target pace
  • 1 minute of pause at arms away
  • 1 minute at target pace
  • 1 minute of pause at arms away

Then in to the main event.  60 minutes.  I set up a nice playlist on Pandora and got going.  After about 5 minutes, my music stopped playing.  I tried to fix it while rowing, but with no success.  After a couple minutes of trying to hold the pace while fiddling, I ripped off the headphones and flung them across the room and kept going.  It was the longest 50 minutes of my life.

As I suspected, holding a 2:00 split on the dynamic was too much for me and I had to slow down.  I crossed the 30 minute mark right at 7500 meters, but by then i was seeing a lot more 2:01s and 2:02s.  My HR was going pretty good, but plateaued in the low 170s for the second half of the row.  When the music stopped, it also blew away my painsled session, so the only evidence of my pain is the PM picture.

Tomorrow:  Scheduled rest day, but since I have business travel later in the week, I will do Tuesday’s session.

  • 4 x 12′ / 1″30″
  • rate: 22
  • pace: 2:01 to 2:05
  • HR limit: 157

Saturday: 4 x (5′ Cat III + 5′ Cat VI)

I spent a couple of hours outside putting up the Christmas lights.  Then around 4pm, I suited up and headed back to the dreaded dynamic erg for a hard workout.  I was very worried about pacing for this one.

The plan:

  • 2 x 20′ / 1′
  • Each 20 broken into 2 sections, 10′ each
    • 5′ at Cat III (28 spm, 1:51 pace)
    • 5′ at Cat VI (18 spm, 2:06 to 2:11 pace)

My paces are derived from testing that I did on the static erg, and it seemed like I was a couple seconds slower for the Cat VI stuff.  But then yesterday, when I was doing the 20 stroke bumps, it felt much, much harder.  Like 5 to 10 seconds off what I could do on a static.

I decided to try to hold the original targets.  It was a very hard.

I started with a 5 minute warmup.  This was a minute easy, then a minute at r24, then a minute easy, then a minute at r28.  The minute at r28 was a bit scary because I discovered that it was far from easy to hold a 1:51 split.  It was actually quite hard.  Oh well.

Then I pushed on into the workout.  The first one was OK, but I was annoyed that my HR sensor seemed to be lagging.  It finally got with the program about 2 minutes into the first interval and was fine after that.  But I was really tired by the end of it.  I shifted down to the r18 and 2:10ish pace and recovered well.  But the second one came around pretty soon and I found myself counting strokes with my eyes closed to try to get through it.  I slowed down, just a little about halfway through and that helped me keep the wheels on.

I gasped my way through the 5 minutes at Cat VI, and then had a quick drink.  My legs were shot, but I gave it a go.  I told myself that 1:52 or 1:53 would be good enough and again counted strokes with my eyes closed.  The slower pace seemed to help.  The Cat VI section flew by and it was time for another 5′ sojourn in hell.  Now my legs were pretty useless, and even 1:53 was hard to hold.  But I counted strokes and got through it.  It really felt like I was rowing through mud (despite a very reasonable 128 drag factor).

After I finished the main set, I did a happy ending 2k cool down.

This is a bit depressing. The workout should have 20 minutes of Cat III, but I had less than 12.

Over time, I am supposed to extend this workout from 4x to 6x the 10 minute sequence.  I hope I can do it next time on a static erg.  I’m very interested to see the difference in outcomes.

Sunday:  The plan is an hour of power at r22.  Cat V pace.

Friday: 20 stroke bumps

Thursday:  Rest day.  Thanksgiving.  We went up to Woodstock, Vermont and spent the day with my wife’s relatives.  We had two cars full.  My wife and I, our three adult children, and two significant others.  Good food and good company.

Friday:  We spent the night up in Vermont and had a nice brunch at the Woodstock Inn on Friday morning.  Then we packed back into our cars and drove home.  In the late afternoon, I settled in for an erg session.

The Plan:

  • 3 x 15′ / 1′
  • Cat VI Pace: 2:06 to 2:11, r18-20
  • Every 5′ – 20 strokes at r32  (Cat I)
  • Also, insert 5 strokes of a pause at rocked over on recovery every 5 minutes or so.

My technique objective was to work on correcting my problems with breaking my knees too early and also maintain the right back posture.  I did the pause drill as the first 5 strokes of each 5 minutes to get myself setup right, then rowed continuously until there was 2:50 seconds left in the 5 minute segment, then I would do 40 seconds of rowing at r32.  This ended up being about 23 or 24 strokes.  Then I would finish out the last 2:10 seconds at r18.  After three sets of that, I took a quick swig of water and did the pause drill during the rest of the break.

It was a very enjoyable workout.  I was happy to see my HR coming back down nicely at the Cat VI pace.

One thing I did not enjoy was doing this workout on the dynamic erg.  When I crank up to a 32 rate on the static erg (or on slides), the pace tumbles easily down to 1:35 or below.  On the dynamic, I was pulling as hard as I could at 32 and it was a massive struggle to get down below 1:45.

After I finished the main set I did a 2k happy ending cool down.


Wednesday: 3 x 20′ / 3′ Cat VI

Easy session.  Good thing too.  I’m feeling a bit tired.  Lot’s of rowing over the past 6 days.  But I am really excited.  I feel like I am making progress on my stroke, and with the exercises that the PT has given me.

Today, I was doing the session at home, in the mid-afternoon.  The plan was:

  • 3 x 20′ / 3′
  • Cat VI
  • Pace 2:06-2:11
  • rate: 18-20
  • HR limit: 145,150,150

My hr was high today, and ended up marginally higher than the limits as I went along.

          Workout Summary - media/20171122-2120290o.csv
Workout Details

Tomorrow:  Rest day!  Happy Thanksgiving.

On Friday the plan is:

  • 3 x 15′ / 1′
  • Every 5′ – 20 strokes at r32
  • Otherwise: Cat VI: 2:06 to 2:11, r18-20
  • Also, Insert 5 strokes of pause at hands away to try to work on keeping knees down on recovery in the first minute after the fast strokes.

Basically, I will do this as 4:20 at Cat VI pacing and then 40 seconds at r32 or higher.   I’ll be at home on the dynamic for  this session.



Tuesday: 5 x 2000 (1500 @ 22, 500 @ 24) / 2′

The Plan:

  • 5 x 2000 / 2′
  • 1500m @ r22, pace 2:01-2:05
  • 500m @ r24, pace 1:55 exactly
  • Additional notes:
    • Try to hit rates exactly.
    • Try to hit 2:01 exactly.
    • Concentrate on back position at catch and finish
  • HR limit:  Stay below 155 in the 1500

I did this workout last Friday and I enjoyed it.  It was not too hard, but a little spicy.  Trying to stick at 2:01 at r22 is a challenge.  I tend to naturally pull about a 1:59 at r22, so I have to concentrate on lightening my stroke and keeping my hands moving.  These are both good things.

I started with a 2k warmup and finished with a 2k cool down so I could do the whole thing as a single interval workout.  I think it makes for a particularly satisfying summary plot.


          Workout Summary - media/20171121-1345370o.csv
Workout Details

I felt like the workout had gone a lot easier than when I had done it last Friday.  A comparison of the two workouts helped me figure out if that was true.

First, I was much better at keeping rate this time, especially for the r22 sections.  I mean look at the fourth one!


In terms of target power, I did a better job hitting my targets this time, especially at r24, but that did help make the workout easier.  You can see me consciously bleeding off power toward the end of the 1500m segments to try to hit 2:01 exactly.  I let myself have some fun in the last interval today, just like last time.


Now for Heart rate.  This shows that it was an easier workout.  I started at a higher HR because I warmed up today, but my HR did not drift up during the workout.



So, that’s a happy thing.


  • 3 x 20′ / 3′
  • Cat VI
  • Pace 2:06-2:11
  • rate: 18-20
  • HR limit: 145,150,150

I’ll be doing this one on the dynamic, so I’ll probably work at about a 2:09 pace.

Monday: 4 x 12′ / 1’30” Cat V

In the fitness center around noon.

The plan:

  • 4 x 12′ / 1’30”
  • Rate: 22
  • Pace: 2:01 – 2:05
  • HR Limit: 155

The intent of this session is to work at a specified pace and stroke rate.  For me, it is also a chance to focus on the new stuff that I need to fix in my posture and technique.

The biggest challenge I had was getting to the target stroke rate and rowing lightly enough to avoid going too fast.  I ended up failing on both accounts.  My stroke rate ended up a bit low, and my pace ended up a little fast.

         Workout Summary - media/20171120-1800320o.csv
Workout Details

It got a bit better as my legs got a bit tired.  But I feel like I can do a better job with it.  I was happy to see my HR plateau around 150 in the workout.  That’s a hopeful sign.


  • 5 x 2000 / 2′
  • 1500m @ r22, pace 2:01-2:05
  • 500m @ r24, pace 1:55 exactly

Sunday: Back on the erg – 4 x 20′ / 3′ Cat VI

Busy day.  I did a couple hours of raking and cleaning out the flower beds early this afternoon.  Then, around 5:30 I settled down for a long easy Cat VI workout.

The only tricky part was I was at home with my nemesis, the dynamic erg.  For those of you who have not followed the saga.  I have not been a fan of this piece of equipment, and I was convinced that it was defective in some way.  I am less convinced since I sat on a dynamic erg at the HOCR and it felt basically exactly the same.  Also, since then, I have received with less enthusiasm, pretty direct feedback about possible flaws in my technique that could explain why I can hammer out better times on the static erg, but not on my nemesis.

This situation gives me hope.  If I can get better on the dynamic, maybe that will translate better to the boat too.  So, it is time to embrace the suck.  No better session to embrace the suck with than a nice easy Cat VI workout.  The guidelines are simple.

  • 4 x 20′ / 3′ rest
  • rate: 18-20 (the lower the better)
  • pace: 2:06 to 2:11
  • HR limit: 145,150,155,155

On the static erg, I am doing these just about at the fast edge of the band.  On my nemesis, I figured I should go out slow, maybe 2:10 and see what happened.

I started and things felt good between 2:08 and 2:09.  Rate felt good between 20 and 21, so I had to work on keeping it at 20, with mixed success.

         Workout Summary - media/20171120-0000300o.csv
Workout Details

So, I think right now I have about a 2 split difference between dynamic and static, maybe 10-15 watts.

Monday’s session:

  • 4 x 12′ / 1’30”
  • Rate: 22
  • Pace: 2:01 – 2:05
  • HR Limit: 155