Rowing in Seoul: 10x(500@22,500@18)

I left Boston at 1:30AM on Monday morning.  Flew east over Europe and Asia, landed in Hong Kong, changed planes and continued on to Seoul.  I was on the ground at about 12:30PM Tuesday afternoon, and at my hotel around 2:00PM.

I unpacked and since I didn’t have any commitments until dinner time, I suited up and headed down to the gym.  As is typical for hotels in Korea, the fitness center was pretty amazing.  Even more amazing was the sight of two, brand new Model D rowers with PM5s.

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I was not expecting that.  So, I can stick to the training plan.  Today’s mission

  • 10x500m/2′ paddle
  • Cat V: r22, 1:58
  • To make it easy to program, I did it as 500m with no rest and alternated each piece between Cat V (1:58/r22) and Cat VI (2:05/r18)
  • To make it a bit more fun, I did it strapless.

I was a bit jetlagged and the gym was hot, but I had a good time.  I started with one rep at Cat VI, then into the 10 alternating reps.  Then I finished with a 500 at r16 as a quick cool down.

My HR was a bit higher today than previously, but not by a lot.


Tomorrow: 3 x (5 x 500/1′)/5′  Cat IV: 1:52/r24


Sunday: 3 x 20′ / 3′ Cat VI – Dynamic, plus video

Since I didn’t feel particularly bad yesterday, just really tired, I wasn’t sure if I was better today.  I went to bed at 11 and slept until 9.  When I woke up, I certainly didn’t feel like erging.  So, I hung out, wrote up my journal, did some grocery shopping and some chores around the house.  Finally, around 2, I decided that I should get it done.

The workout on the agenda for today is a regular old 3 or 4 x 20′ / 3′ at Cat VI.  That means rate at 18 and pace between 2:03 and 2:08.  I have been thinking about getting back on the dynamic erg for a while.  Since I am making changes in my stroke, I was wondering if it would be a less unpleasant experience with better technique.

I decided today was a good day to try it out.

Most folks rate up a bit on the dynamic, so I decided r20 was the target instead of r18.   And since I have had such struggles with it, I decided that a target above 2:05, maybe 2:07 might be a good idea.  In any case, I would go by a HR limit.  Keep it at or below 155.

And that’s what I did.  It seems that deleting and reloading painsled fixed my issues, it worked fine today.

          Workout Summary - media/20180128-2010330o.csv
Workout Details

It was a lot more work than on the static, but it felt a bit better better than before.  It was certainly easier to maintain proper form, at least I thought so.  After I finished, I set up to take a short video so I could see I was actually doing the right things.

I watched the video and yes, it looks like I was doing a pretty good job on recovery.  I was a bit more slumped than I should have been, but not so bad.

Here’s the video, judge for your self.

I was interested to compare doing steady state on the dynamic to the static.

  • Power:  About 5 watts lower
  • Rate: 2 beats higher.  Also note how much less consistent my rate is.
  • HR: About 5 beats higher
  • Drive length: 10 cm shorter on the dynamic.  I will have to do a video compare to figure out what’s going on there, but I suspect that I am compressing less at the catch on the dynamic and that’s probably a good thing.
  • Peak force:  just about the same
  • Average force: lower, which makes sense since I am doing less power at a higher rate
  • Peak/avg ratio: follows logically.

Tonight:  I am flying to Korea via Hong Kong.  My flight leaves at about 1:30 am.  I get to Korea Tuesday morning.  I’ll be there through Friday.  More crosstraining!


Thurs: Travel, Friday: 8x(4:30@18,30″@30)/30″ (good) , Sat: 4x(3’@28,7’@18)1′ (bad)

Thursday: Up at 5:15am to head to the airport.  Direct flight from LAX to BOS.  I managed to score an upgrade to business class.  I arrived around 4:45PM and was home by 6:30.  A reasonably civilized way to travel.

Friday:  Back to the routine.  Up at 5:15, and into work.  I had an 8:30AM meeting so I had to be aware of the time, but the planned workout was pretty short.

I did my full set of PT exercises.  Then the erg session.

  • 8 x 5′ / 30″ rest
  • first 4:30 of each interval is Cat VI (r18, 2:05)
  • last 30″ of each interval is Cat II (r30+, 1:45 or faster)
  • The important thing to me was to try to maintain good sequential recovery in the high rate bursts.

The first annoyance was that I could not get Painsled to link up with the PM.  I tried a bunch of stuff and then gave up.  I ended up using ergdata which linked up right away.

The workout itself went great.  I had a blast.  It was pretty close in feel to the HIIT sessions I did while I was on the road.  I was not pushing  the fast bits as hard as I could go though, and the paddling I did in between bursts was harder than the rests for the HIIT stuff.

Because it was captured with ergdata, it is almost impossible to get a good set of summary stats.  Luckily, rowsandall has a way around that, using the flex plot.  I can look at a plot of all the strokes I took at above r25.  And get an average stroke rate and power.


So, 324.28 watts is 1:42.6.  I was closer to 1:40 in the bursts after I got up to speed.

Saturday:  I slept a lot on Friday night, and since we had a busy day planned, I went to workout as soon as I got up.  I didn’t feel so great.  And today was a tough workout.

I did my PT exercises.


  • 10 minute warmup
  • 4 x (3′ @ r28, 7′ @ r18)/1′ rest
  • target pace for r28: 1:48
  • target pace for r18: 2:05

I felt pretty nasty in the warmup.  It seemed like it was taking a lot of work to get to my regular Cat VI pace and the bursts were hard too.

Then into the workout.  I was destroyed by the first 3′ section.  I usually bring down the rate in a controlled way.  Yesterday, I just started paddling and tried to bring the pace back to the target.  I made it about 5 of the 7 minutes in the first rep and I was having trouble catching my breath, so I paddled out the rest of it.  The second 3′ section was even worse.  I stopped completely after it and then rowed to the target off and on through the Cat VI section.  Same thing in the last two intervals.  In the last Cat VI section I started getting awful stomach cramps and I barely made it to the toilet after I finished.  Not really the cool down I was planning.

Workout Summary - media/Import_32270454.csv
Workout Details

The only positive note was that I actually hit the target for the 3 minute sections.

I was drained the rest of the day.  We took a quick ride down to the cape.  I needed to replace some shingles on the roof and do a few other chores.  I fell asleep in the car going down for about 30 minutes, and while we were there I slept for another half hour or so on the couch.  I didn’t have any other symptoms, but I suspect that I am trying to fight off a bug of some kind.


Wednesday: More HIIT, today on the treadmill

I’m liking this stuff.  Today, I decided to try to use the treadmill.

So, I set it up for a 15% grade and started walking at a nice gentle 2.5mph pace.  After 4:20, I turned up the speed.  The first interval I got up to 6.2mph, and sprinted until the next minute turned over.  I got just over 30 seconds of sprinting at speed, and then I hopped off the belt to the sides and turned the speed back down.   Then I’d walk it off for the next 4 minutes.  I boosted up the speed a bit on each of the sprints.  The surprising thing was that my sprinting economy improved through the session, so I found it easier later on even though I was up to 7.4mph by the last interval.

Overall it was a bit easier from an aerobic perspective than yesterday, but a hell of a lot more fun.


Tomorrow:  I have a 7:50AM flight from LAX to Boston, so I need to leave the hotel before 6am.  I get home around 6pm, so probably no training.


Tuesday: Something new. Minimalist Intervals

Yesterday, I was up at 3:30am, on a flight at 6, then in meetings to 6 and dinner until 9:30, add in the time zone change and it was a 21 hour day on 2 hours of sleep.  I was pretty tired.

Tuesday:  I had to be at a meeting by 8 so I didn’t have a ton of time.  On the flight out, I spent some time reading this book.

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Now, I was suspicious of this book right from the title, but the author is at McMaster University and he has published some well regarded research into HIT, so I thought I would give it a chance.  The book is based on a really good paper from 2012.

Physiological adaptations to low-volume, high-intensity interval training in health and disease

The thing that I am struggling to comprehend is that this research is showing a measurable effect on endurance.  My understanding before was that low intensity duration built endurance and HIT improved lactate tolerance, strength and power.  This seems to say that doing intervals above VO2Max power has a beneficial effect on endurance, which is just plain weird.

But, anyway, it seemed like good chance to give this nasty hard interval stuff a try.  So, I decided to do the same workout that they used in the 2012 study for the HIT group.

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The study was done with stationary bikes, but it seemed any mode would work: treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike or erg.  Today, I went to the fitness center and the elliptical was open so I jumped on that.   I just programmed a 30 minute manual session and started going at about a level 14.  After 4:25, I cranked the “level” up to 23-24 (out of 25) and pushed as hard as I could.  At this level, I could barely move the pedals at first and it was pretty tough to make it through 30 seconds at the intensity.  The HR increase was so sharp that the monitor seemed to lag a bit.  Next time I torture myself, I will try to use the OH1 and Polar H7 to compare.

Here’s the HR response.  The first one I only got the level up to 22 and I think it was a bit too easy.  The second one I got all the way to 25 and pushed so hard I nearly threw up.  I kind of settled on 24 after that and it was just manageable to get to the full 30 seconds (plus whatever extra I got by turning up the level early.


Since I am always pressed for time on the road, and I seem to be trading off workout time versus sleep time, I think that this kind of short interval work might be a good travel solution.   If I am reading the paper correctly, it may do a better job maintaining my endurance than the shorter LIT sessions I typically do on the road.  Anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens.  If I have time and an erg I will stick to the “real” training plan, but otherwise, I think I will tryout this HIIT style sessions on the road.

Tomorrow:  Another HIIT session before I fly down to LA for more meetings.


Thurs: 3 x 20′, Fri: Rest, Sat: 4 x (3’@28,7’@18)/1′, Sun: 4 x 20′

Tough week last week.  Quarterly business reviews and lots of issues at work.  I had time to train (mostly), but no time to write it all down.  So, now I try to catch up.

Thursday: 3 x 20′ / 1′ Cat VI

I had meetings starting at 8 am, so I didn’t have time for 4 pieces.  I settled for 3.  Not much to report.  It was a fine workout.  Rock solid HR with basically no drift in the last 40 minutes.

          Workout Summary - media/20180118-1245320o.csv
Workout Details

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Friday: rest day

I was intending to workout.  But I had to meet someone fixing my furnace in the morning, go to the dentist at noon, then get to work, and after work, meet a candidate for a quick drink.  I had no time to train.

Saturday:  4-6 x (3′ @ 28, 7′ @ 18) / 1′

By all rights, I should have been fresh as a daisy, but I didn’t feel that way.  My target paces were 1:48 for the r28 (Cat III) and 2:05 for the r18 (Cat VI).

I did the full set of PT exercises include the core work.

I started with a 2k-ish warmup, with bumps to Cat III pace.

          Workout Summary - media/20180120-2006130o.csv
Workout Details

The main set was brutal.

         Workout Summary - media/20180120-2005350o.csv
Workout Details

I wish I could say that these were getting easier, but they aren’t.

Sunday:  4 x 20′ / 3′

Again, I did the full set of PT exercises.

I decided to try out Zwift with painsled.  It worked fine, but I managed to hang it up during my second 20′ piece.  In terms of a workout, my HR was a bit higher than normal, but stabilized below 155.

First 20 minutes.

Second 20 minutes is missing.  Here are the third and fourth.

I also did sets of 10 kettlebell swings during the breaks.  I think I like the idea of adding a little bit of strength work to these easy days.  As for Zwift, it was kind of cool, but I don’t see it being something that I do regularly.

Monday:  Arother rest day.  I got up at 3:30AM eastern to catch a 6:00AM flight to San Francisco.  From there, it was straight into meetings and will finish up with a business dinner tonight.  I’ll try to do a quick workout in the morning before my first meeting.

As for the featured image.  I read yesterday that Antisocial Marmets live longer than socially adept Marmets.  So, there’s a vote for being antisocial!


Mon: Rest, Tues: 10x(500@22,500@18), Wed 3x(5×500@24/1′)/5’5′

Monday:  Scheduled rest day.  I think this might be the first scheduled rest day on my scheduled rest day after a full week of training in the last 6 months.  It feels good to be in a routine, while it lasts.  I start travelling again next week.

Tuesday:  Full set of PT exercises.

The workout plan calls for 10 x 500m at r22 with 2 minute rests.   I have been making a bit more work by replacing the 2 minute rests with a Cat VI 500m (r18, 2:05).

The workout isn’t hard, but I tried to work continuously on recovery sequence.  Tense the glutes, hold the quads, fast hands away, wait until body is over before starting up the slide.

Comparing this to the past couple of weeks shows about the same HR response.  A bit higher at the start and lower at the end.


Wednesday:   3 x (5 x 500 @ 24 / 1′ ) / 5′

target: 1:52

Another fun workout.  Again, I did the 5′ rests between sets as one minute paddle, 500m of pause drill, which ended up around 2:40, and then another minute of paddle.  This makes the pm setup easier.

I started with a 2K warmup, with bumps working up to the r24.  Again I was trying to find the rhythm of the stroke while concentrating on recovery sequence.

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The main set.

          Workout Summary - media/20180117-1355320o.csv
Workout Details

Compare today to the two past weeks.  HR response was better today, peak HRs were lower and recovery in the rests was faster.


Tomorrow:  4 x 20’/3′  if I have time.  I have a 8am meeting which might cut things short.


Sunday: 4 x 20′ / 3′

This session was really easy.  Focused on technique.  HR stayed low.

          Workout Summary - media/20180114-2005330o.csv
Workout Details

Tomorrow:  Rest Day

Earlier in the day today, I noticed the pack ice moving slowly past our house as the tide was going out.  I took a time lapse video of about 10 minutes of it.

Later after the tide went out, there were ice bergs stranded all over the sand bank.  Some of them were huge!  Well over 6 feet thick.  Can you find me in the picture?


4 x (3’@28, 7’@18)/1′ – Is this Cape Cod or Greenland!

We drove down yesterday evening and arrived around 7:15pm.  We had not been down to the house since the week after Christmas, and that was just a very short visit.

As we drove down, the weather app on my phone popped up with 4 different weather warnings for Wellfleet

  • Gale warning
  • Flash Flood Warning (potential for up to 4″ of rain)
  • Flash Freeze warning (the temp was going to drop from 50F to around 20F after the front came through
  • Fog warning

Oh well, we didn’t think it was going to be beach weather anyway.

When we arrived, the wind was already whipping and the rain was starting.  We settled in and I made dinner (Filet of beef with mushrooms in red wine sauce and sauteed baby spinach).  The wind just kept getting stronger and we could hear the rain pelting the side of the house.

During the night, the wind was incredible.  Three times it caused the screen door outside our bedroom to start banging against the frame.  I would go to close it, open up the door and the wind and rain would come blowing into the bedroom.  Unpleasant!

Here’s the overnight wind speeds.  Peak gust around 65mph, but lots of time the sustained wind was above 50mph.  It only calmed down after about 9am.

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It was tough to sleep with all the racket, so I stayed in bed until around 9:30, and when I got up the sun was starting to break through the fog.  I couldn’t believe the site in front of me.  It was like something out of the arctic.

I headed out to get something yummy for breakfast and on  the way back, the fog was clinging to ice across the bay.

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By now the sun was out and the ice looked even more amazing.   Here’s a panorama from top of the bluff.  The ice close to shore is dirty because it lies on the sand at low tide.

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My next mission for the day was to get the basement organized.  I moved my dad’s tools in over the Christmas break, but I needed to get everything arranged.  It took a couple hours, but turned out good.

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The erg is setup out of the picture on the left side.

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All of this took time and I debated blowing off my erg session.  I decided to cut it a little short instead.  I would do 4 sets instead of 6.

So the new plan

  • 4 x (3′ @ r28, 7′ @ r18)/1′
  • r28: Cat III, Pace: 1:48
  • r18: Cat VI, Pace 2:03 – 2:08
  • Technique:  Still focused on fixing my stroke.  This is more important that pace.  Avoid breaking my knees until my arms are extended and body over.  Try to remember to keep my glutes tensed through the finish.  At r28, limit layback and keep the handle moving.

First a warmup.

          Workout Summary - media/20180113-2251060o.csv
Workout Details

The the main set

          Workout Summary - media/20180113-2250310o.csv
Workout Details

That was harder than it should have been.  But I think I maintained form pretty well.

Tomorrow:  4 x 20’/3′ @ r18 focusing on technique

Friday: I’m about 2 steps into a journey of a 1000 miles

I’m not sure who, but someone said that a journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step.  Well, I contend that the first step is pretty easy.  It’s steps 2 through 500 that are when you start to wonder if the journey is such a good idea.

Today, I was doing a new workout.

Session: 8 x 5’
Rest between: 00:30 easy paddle
Rating/Pace: 4:30 @ Cat VI pace: SR 20 + 00:30 power @ Cat II; SR 30-32

Of course I misread it on my phone and took 1;30 between 5′ chunks.  Oops.

Pace targets were 2:03 to 2:08 for the Cat VI and 1:45 for  the Cat II.

Of highest importance was trying to keep my mind on the technique modifications, but try to do them at r20 and r30-32 instead of at R18, which was basically could be rowed like a pause drill at body over.

I started with the full suite of PT exercises.  SI corrective, quad stretch, foam roll the quads and IT band, the glute thing on swiss ball and the core exercises as well.

Then a 2k warmup with 10 stroke bumps.  Trying to work out how to row at r30 while keeping my knees down longer.

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Then the fun part.

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So, since the whole point was technique.  I did yet another video  this one is 30 seconds of r20, and 30 seconds of r30.

The r20 looks better to me.  Still keeping the knees down, but smoother.  The r30 looks like I am falling back into bad habits.  I can’t tell you how hard I was trying to get my hands away fast and hold back on the slide, but I have to do more work on it.

The picture on the left is at r20.  The one on the right is at r30.

Stay tuned.

Tomorrow:  The hard one.  6 x (3′ @ r28, 7′ @ r18)/1′