14K OTW – Steady State and Technique

Big day today.  Back in my Fluid, back on the upper Charles River.

It took me a little to get my boat reassembled, and I took my time.  The last thing I wanted to was to screw something up and flip when the air temp was 35F and the water was around 45F.

The despite it being a bit cold.  The weather was beautiful.  There was very little wind and it was nice and sunny.  It had warmed up to the mid forties by the time I had finished.

The water was nice and flat and I was able to just focus on trying to remember how to row.

The plan was pretty simple:

  • 4K to the dam just rowing steady state to reacclimate
  • 3K back upstream working on technique
    • 500m Square blades
    • 500m alternating SBR and feathered
    • 500m trying to row feathered without touching water
    • repeat
  • Same thing 3K down stream
  • 4K back to the dock rowing steady state to see if I made any progress

It’s funny, the first few outings in  the spring, my heart rate is quite high and my boat speed is quite slow.  After a couple weeks in the boat, I seem to get back in the groove.  Today was much the same.  In addition, there was a reasonable amount of current flowing, so I was about 5 sec faster downstream and 5 sec slower upstream on pace.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 11.10.13 AM.png

Workout Summary - media/20180329-1335260o.csv
Workout Details
00|00889|04:34.2|02:34.3|144.2|17.0|131.5|146.0|11.4 to the cut
01|02735|13:15.0|02:25.3|157.2|18.4|154.1|158.0|11.2 downstream ss
02|02815|15:54.0|02:49.5|136.3|17.5|148.1|161.0|10.1 drills
03|02768|14:43.2|02:39.5|133.5|18.6|143.7|155.0|10.1 drills
04|02881|15:22.2|02:40.1|145.0|19.4|151.0|157.0|09.7 upstream ss
05|00835|04:31.8|02:42.7|146.4|21.2|147.2|160.0|08.7 cut back to dock

I’m nursing a nice set of blisters on both hands, and I’m sore in lots of places.  And I’m happier than I’ve been in months!

Tomorrow:  Low Intensity day.  OTW 1x.  Depending on time and fatigue, somewhere between 60 and 80 minutes of rowing.  Main intent is to get in some ss meters, but I want to do some side video to see where I am from a technique perspective.  So that means I will probably throw in a few short rate ladders.


Back on the Water! – 3 x 1500 + 3 x 500 in a 2x

A couple of days ago, I looked at the weather forecast for the week and decided that it was time to get back on the water.  I sent a text to my friend Joe and asked if he wanted to go out any morning this week.  I needed to retrieve my boat from winter storage on in Worcester, and I thought it would be great to get a first row in out there with Joe at the same time.

He suggested Wednesday morning.  I was a bit worried this morning when I woke up and heard sleet on the windows, but I’m glad that we weren’t deterred.  The weather cleared up and the water was amazing!  There was basically no wind and the lake was glassy smooth.

One of Joe’s finest qualities is that he is willing to do just about any kind of training session.  So, today, I just brought the session that Marlene has scheduled for Wednesday’s

The Plan:

  • 3 x 1500m / 1′ rest
    • Cat IV, r24
  • 3 x 500m / 2′ rest
    • Cat II, r28

To work with the constraints of the lake, we did a nice long warmup down to the south end of the lake.  Then we did the 3 1500s going north.  Instead of 1 minute rests, we just paddled 200m between intervals.  It looks like that was actually about 1:20 of rest.  And between the 1500s and the 500s, we took a longer break so that we could get up to the north end of the lake.

I was really pleased with how the outing went.  Even in the warmup, I felt like we were in synch and rowing pretty cleanly.

The 1500s at r24 were really enjoyable.  They started to bite a bit at the end of each, but the rowing was good.

The 500s were a bit more hectic, and by then my hands were pretty torn up, so I wasn’t as happy with how I was rowing.  But for r28 in a first outing, I’m not gonna get too grumpy about it.

Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 1.04.51 PM.png

         Workout Summary - media/20180328-1600330o.csv
Workout Details

Tomorrow:  OTW in my single.  Cat VI session r18-20 total rowing time ~ 60 minutes.


More Power! – Peak Power Session


  • PT Suite
  • 10 minute warmup with 5 stroke power bursts at nominal drag factor
  • 10 x 10sec / 1′ rest peak power training on max drag
  • 2 x 20′ / 1′ Cat VI (r18-r20, 2:03 to 2:08, HR cap at 155)

I did my PT exercises.  My back was a bit sore from the kettlebell swings I did yesterday, but it loosened up nicely.

The warmup was uneventful.  I tried to work on getting the rate up nice and high, but I wasn’t too successful.  But I managed to work up the beginning of a sweat, so mission accomplished.

For the Main set, I tied my shoes extra tight, moved the foot stretcher up one hole, and cranked the damper to 10.  Then I programmed the PM to 20 second intervals with 50 second rests.  That’s as close as I can get to the desired setup with the constraints of the PM5.  SO, I rowed the first 10 seconds of each interval hard, and then eased up for 10 seconds, and then let the flywheel coast down during the 50 second rest.

The protocol is to do a rep, see what power you manage to get, and then do reps until you reach 10, or your power drops below 90% of the your initial value.

Today, I saw no real drop off, which I suspect means that I am not trying hard enough.

Here’s the summary plot.  I think the only useful information on it is the drag factor.  187, maybe it’s time to clean the erg?

It is way more instructive to look at this on a flex plot.


So you can see all the reps have peak power between 675 and 710W.  710W is 1:19.0.  My all time best low pull on a static erg was back in 2015 at 1:16.9 (769W).

It is telling that my best power was achieved in the last two reps.  You can see how many reps it took me to get the rate up to near 45 SPM.  the early reps I was trying too hard to just over power each stroke.  By the end, I was more focused on getting my ass back to the catch.

You can see this in the work per stroke, which is actually declining as the power is going up.


What I found really fascinating was comparing this workout to the same session done on the Concept2 Dynamic.  I did this a couple weeks ago.

First is a comparison of the power.  I was able to achieve much higher peak power on the dynamic, maxing out at 795W.  What’s up with that?


The short answer is that you can rate up like crazy on a dynamic erg.  I was consistently able to rate between 55 and 60 spm, versus the 40 to 45 spm on the static erg.


Take a peek at the work per stroke on the prior workout.  It is really consistent and 200 joules lower than what I was pulling on the static erg.


You can see this in the peak force too.  On the dynamic, I pulling around 1100N.  On the static, peak force was around 1400.

What the hell does all of that mean?  I guess it depends on what you are trying to accomplish with the session.  If the point of the session is to get as many reps at the highest possible handle force, then it make more sense to do the session on the static erg.  If the point is to work on neuromuscular coordination to be able to effectively apply force at high rates, the dynamic is a better choices.  If you are trying to impress your friends with insanely fast splits, definitely go with the dynamic!

This is a very interesting session  to highlight the differences between unique erg types.  I think I’d like to do this session on the Oartec and the C2 on slides to see what happens.  I think they will probably fall in the middle between these two extremes.

After that, I did the 2 x 20′ Cat VI.  Apparently there wasn’t much left in my legs or body, because it was massively hard work.  my HR shot up to the limit very quickly and so I rated up to 20 and lightened up the pace to try to hold my HR right at 155.  It was an extremely long 41 minutes.

Tomorrow:  The forecast is for temperatures of 31F and freezing rain, so I’m going rowing!  I’m going to meet my friend Joe to take out the double for my first outing of the season.  I will also pick up my boat so I can get it back down to the Charles on Thursday morning.

The planned session should be a bit of fun.  I think Joe will enjoy it.

  • Nice long warmup, working on technique from the boat house to the south cove.
  • 3 x 1500m / 1′ rest (This should take up from the south cove to the north end of the lake)
    • r24
  • 3 x 500m / 2′ rest (This will take us from the north end of the lake to the boat house)
    • r28

I have a lot of organizing to do tonight to get all my goodies packed and charged.


Ambition Should be made of sterner stuff

Yesterday, I did my session around 5pm and it was a hard one.  This morning, after a rather lousy night’s sleep,, I was up at 5:15 and off to work.

I headed to the fitness center at 7 and this was my plan:

  • Full PT exercise suite (I haven’t done it for a couple weeks and I’m noticing that my back hurts and my legs are starting to splay at the catch again.)
  • Then 3 x 20′ / 3′ with one arm KB swings during the rests. (15 each side during each rest)
    • Cat VI: r18, 2:03-2:08

I did my PT exercises and then the first set of KB swings.  Then I setup on the rowed and did the first 20 minutes.  Between the session last night and the first of KB swings, my legs felt empty and it was hard work from the start.

I finished the first 20’s and then did another set of the KB swings.  Which brought my HR up to 165, and then sat down for the next 20 minutes.  This was pretty hard work.  I slowed down to keep my HR below 155.

I finished rep 2 and did another set of KB swings, then started rep #3 on the erg.  I was struggling along for about 6 minutes and then decided that I had had enough for today.  I’m disappointed that I didn’t finish the session, but I think the idea of doing the KB swings is a good one.  I need to do more strength work.

          Workout Summary - media/20180326-1225310o.csv
Workout Details


  • 10 minute warmup
  • Peak Power training (10 x 10″ / 1′ rests) max drag
  • 2 x 20’/1′ Cat VI (r18,2:03-2:08)

Sunday: 2 x 2k / 2 x 1k / 2 x 500 – On the Oartech DX

Last Thursday night, I picked up an Oartech DX rowing machine from the Riverside Boat Club in Cambridge.  The local rep for Oartech offer to let me try for a few sessions if I agreed to write up what I thought of it.

Those impressions are coming soon.  Right now, I just want to jot down the details on the session I did yesterday afternoon.

My wife and I got home from the Cape around 3.  I did some chores and errands and finally sat down to work out around 5.

The session:

  • 2 x 2000m / 2’
    • Rating: Cat V pace; target SR 22 (1:58 – 2:02)
  • 2 x 1000m, rest 3’ easy
    • Rating: Cat IV pace: target SR 24-26 (1:52)
  • 2 x 500m, rest 2’ easy
    • Rating: Cat III pace: target SR 26-28 (1:48)

I added another 2K (r18-20, 2:03-2:08) to the beginning as a warmup.

         Workout Summary - media/df_20180325-231815.csv
Workout Details

So, I managed to hit all targets, but it was hard work!  I compared it to the two prior times I did this workout, both on the static erg.

  • The power was basically identical in all sessions.
  • My heart rate was higher today.  I think this is mostly a machine difference, not a difference in how I was feeling.
  • The drive length was basically identical between static and the Oartech DX.  I was expecting a slightly shorter drive length.

Here is power and WPS versus stroke rate.  I was working hard to stick to the stroke rates and so it is showing an increase for the higher rates.


Plan for Monday:

  • Combined strength / endurance
  • 3 x 20′
  • Between each 20′ do 20 KB swings and pull ups.

Saturday: 3 x 15′ / 4′ – Rate Ladders

Down on the cape.

It’s been a great day.  I got up around 9, and went out to the bakery.  I got some farmers bread, chocolate croissants, and other pastries and a delicious latte and headed home.

We had some breakfast and then it was time for some work around the house.

The winter has been tough on the exterior of the house.  A couple of stretches of sand fencing were blown down.  So the first task was to replace and resecure the fencing.

2018-03-24 18.24.07

2018-03-24 18.24.41

Then I went and bought some fiberglass screening and replaced the torn screens in three of the storm doors.

Finally, around 5pm, I headed downstairs to do my erg session.  This is the second time at this workout and the first time was tough.

  • 3 x 15′ / 4′ rest
    • 5′ @ Cat VI r20 (2:03-2:08)
    • 4′ @ Cat V r22 (1:58-2:02)
    • 3′ @ Cat IV r24 (1:52-1:56)
    • 2′ @ Cat III r26 (1:48 exactly)
    • 1′ @ Cat II r28 (1:45 or faster)

I actually misremembered the paces and I was aiming at 2:06, 2:02, 1:57: 1:52, 1:47

          Workout Summary - media/20180324-2200360o.csv
Workout Details

Well, I might have aimed slow on pace, but it was a very hard workout.

The heart rate was almost identical to the the first time I did this workout on March 10th.  That time I started a bit faster and slowed down.




  • 2 x 2000m / 2’
    • Rating: Cat V pace; target SR 22 (1:58 – 2:02)
  • 2 x 1000m, rest 3’ easy
    • Rating: Cat IV pace: target SR 24-26 (1:52)
  • 2 x 500m, rest 2’ easy
    • Rating: Cat III pace: target SR 26-28 (1:48)

Back in town for a week.

Tuesday night:  After my afternoon workout, I headed to the office for prep meetings and then to Cardiff by the Sea for a very nice diner at the Pacific Coast Grill.  I got back from dinner around 10pm and by the time I had caught up with email, it was around midnight.

Wednesday – March 21:  Rest Day

I had planned to get up at 5:30 to go to Crossfit near the hotel, but when my alarm went off, I couldn’t find the motivation to get out of bed.  I slept until around 7:30, showered and headed off to the airport.

I flew up to San Jose. Again I had a prep meeting in our office and then a customer meeting at 3pm.  I was done by  around 5pm and headed to SFO for my flight home, a red eye departing ay 8:45pm.  I wasn’t sure if it would actually depart because another snow storm was forecast in Boston.

As it turned out, we left on time and arrived early, about 4:45am.  I slept maybe an hour on the flight.  I guess it was a “rest day”

Thursday – March 22:  3 x 1500@24 + 3 x 500 @ 28+

Since it was so early, I drove home and crawled into to bed.  I slept from 6:30 to 10:30 and then went to work.  I had a couple of meetings and then headed to the gym.  The plan for today was…

  • 3 x 1500m / 1’
    • Rating: Cat IV pace; target SR 23-24 + (1:52)
  • 3 x 500m / 2’ easy
    • Rating: Cat II pace: target SR 28-30 (1:45)

I had low expectations because of my travels, but the session turned out well.  I added a 1500 @ Cat VI at the beginning as a bit of a warm up.

Compared to the first time I did this workout last week, this was a much better effort.  I blew up in the 3rd 1500 last time and I had no oomph for a sparkly last rep.  You can see the dip in power in the third rep (green was last time), and  the much higher heart rate in the right plot.

Friday – 23 March:  30 minutes with bumps.

Although it feels like the world is conspiring to make it impossible for me to maintain reasonable consistency in training, I realize that it is just a product of the choices that I am making.  The consequence of wanting to remodel the master bathroom in our house is that I had to meet a contractor this morning during my usual workout time.  I thought that meant that wouldn’t get in any kind of a session, but as it turned out, I had a brief window in the evening, once we had come down to Cape Cod.

I popped down to the basement for a quick 30 minutes session.  I decided the main intent was to just work up a sweat and go to bed feeling a bit more relaxed.  So, I invented a session on the spot.

  • 30 minutes
  • 6 x 5′ splits
  • each split 4′ at Cat VI pace, 1′ at Cat II pace.

I was on slides, and I gotta say, with the slides aligned and level, I love rowing this way.  The Steady state stuff was smooth and it was a pleasure to rate up.  I pushed the 3rd bump a bit too hard and took the 4th slow bit a little slower than plan, but overall this was just a really nice little workout.

Workout Summary - media/20180324-0300470o.csv
Workout Details

I did a quick 1000m cooldown after that and now I feel great!

Tomorrow:  Rate ladders!


  • 3 x 15’ / 4’
    • 5’@ Cat VI; SR 20
    • 4’ @ Cat V; SR 22
    • 3’ @ Cat IV; SR 24
    • 2’ @ Cat III; SR 26
    • 1’@ Cat II; SR 28

San Diego: 60 minutes in the fitness center

I was up at 4:45am so I could get to the airport to catch a 7:10am flight out to San Diego.

I arrived around 10:30 and I was at my hotel before noon.  I had no meetings until 2pm, so I headed off to the fitness center to try to get in some kind of a session.

I was feeling stiff and a bit tired from the early start, so I started easy, with a 30 minute march on the treadmill with the incline at 15%.  This slowly brought my HR up to the top of the UT1 range by the time I was finished.  Aside from being really bored, I was feeling pretty good.

So, I hopped on the elliptical to do another 30 minutes.  This time as a HIIT session with
6 x (4:20 of easy and 0:40 of really hard).  This was no where near as traumatic as the HIIT session I did on the treadmill in SF last week, but I was pretty gassed at the end of each sprint.

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 10.39.20 PM

Then it was off to the rest of my day.  3 hours of internal meetings and then a customer dinner that lasted from 6:30 to 9:30.

Tomorrow:  I am hoping to head over to Crossfit Del Mar at 6am before my flight at 10AM up to San Jose.  The workout planned is

  • 3 x 1500m / 1’
    Rating: Cat IV pace; target SR 23-24 + (1:52)
  • 3 x 500m / 2’ easy
    Rating: Cat II pace: target SR 28-30 (1:45)


The Glamour of Business Travel

Thursday, 15 March: No training, travel to CA.

Friday, 16 March: Quickie HIIT session

35 minute treadmill in the fitness center.

6 x (30″ hard / 4’30” easy)

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 12.17.57 PM

Felt like crap.  The intervals really hurt.  Then I headed to the airport to fly home.  I got home around 6pm.

Saturday, 17 March: No training. Rest Day.

I went to the Boston Flower Show with my wife and had dinner in Boston.

Sunday, 18 March: 4 x 20′ / 3′ Dynamic

          Workout Summary - media/20180318-2130340o.csv
Workout Details

I felt really strong through the first two intervals, but I kind of ran out of steam in the second half of the third interval.  The last one was a bit of a struggle.

Monday, 19 March: 2 x 2k/2′ + 2 x 1k/3′ + 2 x 500/2′

I added a 2k warmup to the front end.

          Workout Summary - media/20180319-1215340o.csv
Workout Details

The PM was considerably more generous than rowsandall in terms of the paces.

Tomorrow:  I fly out to San Diego first thing in the morning.  I’m hoping that I can do a workout in the Hotel Fitness Center once I get there.  I have a business dinner that night.


Tough Session: 3 x 1500/1′ + 3 x 500/2′

Went to bed a bit late, but slept well (if only for about 5 hours).  Up at 5:15 to head to work.


  • 3 x 1500m / 1’
    • Rating: Cat IV pace; target SR 23-24 (Pace: 1:52)
  • 3 x 500m / 2’ easy
    • Rating: Cat II pace: target SR 28-30 (Pace: 1:45)
  • Notes: Stay on the target paces, no faster, no slower.

I added a 2K at Cat VI pace to warmup.

I figured I would be OK since the pace for my 20′ test was faster than what was required for the 3×1500.  But I was a bit worried about the short turnaround from the peak power session at 5pm last night to this session at 7:30am today.  I wasn’t sore this morning, but my legs felt “empty”.

The first two reps were OK, but really taxing.  I was counting strokes the whole way.  The third rep, I basically chickened out.  I think I could have made it, but I was really struggling, and I knew that I had the 3×500 yet to go.  I HD’ed briefly in  the middle and started up again at a slightly slower pace.  Stopping once really took the wind out of my sails so when it started stinging again near the end, I just paddled it out.

The 500s were far more humane, even though they were a lot faster.  I was having trouble holding the stroke rate above 28 because I was really focusing on trying to sequence the recovery correctly.  The last of the 500s was pretty brutal, but I was not in the mood to bail on any more intervals.

          Workout Summary - media/20180314-1230360o.csv
Workout Details
00|02000|08:19.0|02:04.7|179.3|18.2|133.5|146.0|13.2 - wu
03|01500|05:55.4|01:58.5|216.2|24.0|169.0|177.0|10.5 - HD!

Next time, I think I can get this one on target.

Tomorrow:  I am flying off to San Francisco first thing in the morning.  I have meetings in  the afternoon and a dinner.  Then I head home Friday morning.  I will take a rest day tomorrow and try to a quick session in the hotel fitness center before I fly home.