Saturday: 4 x 20′ / 3′

I missed a couple of days of training.  On Thursday, I rented a truck, grabbed one of my sons and drove up to Marblehead to collect my father’s woodworking tools, plus a bunch of his old stuff.  The tools included a radial arm saw, a bandsaw and a drill press along with a whole bunch of hand held power tools.  Getting the bigger tools out of the basement was a significant strength workout.  It took about 6 hours to get the truck, drive up, load up and return home.  I had no time to train.

On Friday, I grabbed my other son and we drove the truck down to the house on Cape Cod.  We have a big section of unfinished basement and I going to set up a little workshop there.  We unloaded the truck and got everything placed approximately right.  Another strength session I guess.  Then home to Hopkinton, where I unloaded all the non-workshop stuff and then finally returned the truck.  This all took the better part of 8 hours, so I had no time or energy to train.

So this morning, I had to atone for this gap.  I wanted to try a Cat VI workout at a slightly faster pace (2:05 vs 2:06).  I wanted to see what happened with my HR.  The good news, it was a little higher, but plateaued nicely.

          Workout Summary - media/df_20171230-194635.csv
Workout Details

I connected PM3 to painsled over usb again.  This time I had a bunch of extraneous “session completed” messages while I rowed and my workout ended up in about 5 pieces.  Luckily I could glue it back together.  This problem combined with the problem with the HR monitor storing a ton of zero values makes this setup pretty impractical. I’m not sure which is the better solution for PM3, ergdata or painsled.  Both have issues.

But on the plus side, I reported my error messages on the PM5 to Concept2 and they are going to do a warranty replacement of it, even though the unit is well over a year old.  Gotta say, they seem to take good care of customer service issues when you talk to them.

Tomorrow:  I will do the session planned for today.

1 x 60’  (6 x 10’/1′)
Rest between: n/a only briefly to rehydrate
Rating/Pace: Shift every 3’ Cat III; SR 28+/7’ @ Cat VI; SR 18

  • Cat III Pace: 1:48
  • Cat VI Pace: 2:03 to 2:08


Wednesday: 3 x (5 x 500m / 1′) / 5′

I was pretty excited to give this workout a try.

  • 3 sets of (5 x 500m)
  • Rest between: 1’ between each 500m
  • 5’ between each set
  • Rating/Pace: Cat IV: SR 24  <– 1:52

It should have been quite doable and it was.  I had a bit extra left over to put some extra grunt into the last rep of the last two sets, trying to keep the rate at 24.

To make the interval setup easy, I just did it as 500m work and 1′ rest.  After each 5 hard 500s, I paddled a 500 really slowly, aiming at a 3′ time.  That plus the 1′ before and after gave me a 5 minute break.  Since I would dissect the intervals in rowsandall afterward, it worked out fine.

Today, I was using a PM3 with painsled via the usb connection.  I was using the OH1 HR sensor connected to the iphone.  Painsled seemed a bit unhappy about this and the HR display on the phone danced between the correct reading and 0.  As it turns out, that’s also what it logged in the data, so the time in zone data is useless, but you can get the picture from the plot.

There was also a weird occurrence during my warmup.  I did 2k with 10 stroke bumps at my target pace every 500m.  After my second bump, painsled popped up the completing session message, and then kept going.  In the log, there were two files, one for each half of my warmup. No problem, I glued the two pieces of the warmup and the mainset together in rowsandall before doing the plots.

          Workout Summary - media/20171227-2016050o.csv
Workout Details

It was a reasonably hard session, but definitely not over the top.  I enjoyed it.

Tomorrow:  I am going up to Marblehead to collect my father’s set of woodworking tools.  I plan to move them down to the house on the cape and set up a little workshop in the basement (near the erg!).  If I have time in the afternoon, the planned session is a 4 x 20/3′ at r18.  My new pace range for these is 2:03 to 2:08.  I think I will push from 2:06 to 2:05 as my target.


Tuesday: 10 x 500 / 2′ – Cat V

Well, I have my new paces.  And a new workout to try them out with.

The description was pretty simple.

Session: 10 x 500m
Rest between: 2’
Rating/Pace: Cat V: SR 22-23
Notes: Medium tempo session. Use the faster end of your Cat V split. Focus on posture, firm core, chin level, breathing.

So, the pace target was 1:58.  This seemed pretty easy to me, so I decided to do the 2′ rests as Cat VI.  This was a bit of a challenge since I didn’t get any feedback on pace or rate.  As it turned out, my sense of rate and pace is pretty good because I took a total of 354 strokes during the 20 minutes of rest, so 17.7spm.  And I did 4661 meters over 20 minutes for a pace of 2:08.7.

Because of the way that the PM3 records strokes in ergdata, the plots are weird.  The total distance and heart rate are right, but the power, pace and rate are only accurate during the work intervals

From now on, I will setup this workout as variable intervals and record the rests as if they were work sections.

Tomorrow:  Another new session.

  • 3 sets of (5 x 500m)
  • Rest between: 1’ between each 500m
  • 5’ between each set
  • Rating/Pace: Cat IV: SR 24 <– 1:52


Merry Christmas: 4 x 12′ / 1’30”

Well, the firmware update did nothing to help solve the PM5 problems.  But it sure did change the symptoms.  Now, while I am rowing, at random points, the PM5 will throw an error, but it will keep working and talking to painsled.  I can push continue, and everything will be fine for a while, and then it will repeat.  The time between errors can be just a couple of strokes, or as long as 10 minutes.

I checked the batteries, and they claim to be at 96%, which makes sense since I replaced them last week when this problem started.

I guess it  is time to contact Concept2.  For now, I think I will swap out the monitor to a PM3 that I have lying around.  I’ll see if that works better with a USB cable than the PM5 works via BT.

The session was uneventful.  I really like the 4×12′ session.  It’s a quick session and the 1:59 pace put me right on the edge of my aerobic HR zone, and a bit over at the end.

On the chart, you can see when I got the screens because it caused the blips in the pace.  By my count I had 18 interruptions due to error screens

          Workout Summary - media/20171225-2205320o.csv
Workout Details

I’ll be starting off with my new training paces today, based on the recent testing.

  • Cat VI: 2:03 – 2:08
  • Cat V: 1:58 – 2:02
  • Cat IV: 1:52
  • Cat III: 1:48
  • Cat II: 1:45

Today’s session: 10 x 500m / 2′ Cat V pace.


Sticking to the easy stuff 4 x 20 / 3′

Just trying to keep my base building going.  Another instance of the PM5 misbehaving and painsled losing all my data.  This is getting old.

Nice and easy.  HR stayed below 150 the whole way.

This was one of the error codes.  It popped up with 3:00 left in the whole row.

2017-12-24 16.04.22

I guess I will try a firmware upgrade tomorrow.


A bit better. An easy 40 minutes

Around 6pm, I decided I really wanted to exercise a bit more.  So, I jumped on the erg, dialed up 40 minutes and started rowing.

The thought was to just pile on some Cat VI meters.  And that’s what I did.

Workout Summary - media/20171223-2300300o.csv
Workout Details

I felt a bit better after that.  Tomorrow, more of the same.  4 x 20′ / 3′ – Cat VI.



Where’s my mojo.

Thursday: First day of vacation.  I’m feeling kind of down.  I’m not sure why.  But my motivation to train is quite low.  The plan for the day was to do the session that was planned for wednesday that I delayed to do an easier session


  • 4 x ( 1500m + 500m ) / 2′
  • 1500m – Cat V: 2:00, r22
  • 500m – Cat IV: 1:55, r24

Workout Summary - media/20171221-1645290o.csv
Workout Details

That was a bit harder than it should have been.

Friday:  My daughter came in from St. Louis around noon.  I picked her up at the airport and we took a quick detour to Boston’s North End, which is the italian neighborhood.  I wanted to get some pastries, pasta and bread for dinner.  With all the bustling around, I didn’t find a time to train.  If I am being honest with myself, I wasn’t all that motivated to train anyway.

Saturday:  With everyone home it was going to be another day of family stuff.  I knew it would be weird for me to disappear to erg, so I hopped on the erg as soon as I got up in the morning.  Despite a HRV reading that said I was good to train hard, I felt really unmotivated.  I was also a bit intimidated by the planned session.  This is the hardest session of the week for me.


  • 6 x (5′ @ r28, 5′ @ r18)
  • r28 – Cat III, 1:51 or faster
  • r18 – Cat VI, 2:06-2:11

I didn’t have a lot of time, so I skipped the stretching and PT exercises that I usually do before an erg session.  To get a little bit of a warmup, I did the first 5 minutes at r18.  I found it disturbingly hard to hold 2:06 even though I had fresh legs.

The first r28 section was OK, but I was pretty tired by the end of it.  I recovered OK during the next r18 section.  The second r28 section was horrible.  I was trying to lighten up my stroke and counting down.  The next slow section was not nearly slow enough.  I blew up at the end of the third r28 section and paddled through most of all the next r18 section.  I managed to get myself psyched up to do the next one by deciding that I would stop after 4 instead of going to 6.

But, my plans were blown up by getting a phone call in the middle of the last r28 interval.  This cost me at least 30 seconds, then I pushed hard through the last 2:30 of interval.  I was so disappointed that I just stopped after that instead of doing the last r18.

To add insult to injury, the phone call seemed to blow up my painsled session.  When I finished, no workout was recorded. Fcuk.

I’m not sure what my problem is, but I think I need to ease off and do some base sessions.  I might sneak off an do a second session later today, maybe a 2×20′.

Tomorrow:  4 x 20′ / 3′


Wed: 4 x 12’/1’30”

Tuesday:  Up at 4:45am and off to the airport to catch a 7:00am flight to San Diego.  Arrive in San Diego around 11am pacific time.  Meetings from 12 to 4:30, then an early work dinner.  Back at the airport at about 7pm and on a flight back to Boston at 9pm.

I managed to get about 3-4 hours of fitful sleep on the plane.  I arrived in Boston at about 5am and I was home before 6am.  I crawled in bed and slept another 3 hours or so.

Let’s call that a rest day.

Wednesday:  Up at 9:30, and straight onto the erg.  I didn’t feel up to doing the more intense session scheduled for today, so I opted to do the Tuesday session that I missed.

  • 4 x 12′ / 1’30”
  • Cat V: Rate 22, pace 2:01

I had low expectations because of the quality and quantity of sleep that I got last night.  My HR was a bit high, but I felt pretty good once I was going.

          Workout Summary - media/20171220-1630300o.csv
Workout Details

Results were similar to past sessions of this type.  A bit higher watts.  HR in the same range.  More consistent stroke rate.  Interestingly, there is a significant increase in peak power for my most recent two sessions.  This is coupled with a significant reduction in drive length.  I think this is a sign that I am limiting the amount of layback that I am getting and spending less time dwelling at the finish.  I’ll have to do a video to look at the comparison. but for now I think that this is purposeful.  Time will tell if it is a good thing.  I am doing it to be better in the boat, and to reduce the likelihood of re-injuring my back.  I expect that it actually increases the amount of energy I need to expend to hold a certain pace.

I’d love to hear people opinions about this.  It’s kind of a subtle point.

Tomorrow:  4 x (1500m @ 22, 500m @ 24) / 2′  Target pace: 2:00 for r22, 1:55 for r24



4 x 20′ / 3′

Not surprisingly, I felt pretty tired this morning.  The HRV data agreed.  Luckily, I had an easy sessions scheduled.


  • 4 x 20′ / 3′
  • Cat VI: Pace – 2:06-2:11, Rate: 18

This felt like a lot of work, but my heart rate stayed nice and low.

          Workout Summary - media/20171218-1410320o.csv
Workout Details

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 2.41.37 PM

Tomorrow: I really would have liked to train tomorrow, but I am flying to San Diego at 7am, and flying back on the red eye.  Next session is probably Wednesday afternoon.