Skills and Drills

I was back at Newport Sea Base at 5:30am again today.  The chance to row Newport Harbor was too tempting to pass up.

I was back in the quad again.  One of the same guys from yesterday, Barney, was there again.  And the other two guys, Tom and Ryan I just met this morning.  All of these folks seem to be very good rowers.  Ryan was at stroke.  He is a young, tall (6′-8″) and obviously a very talented rower.  It was an incredible treat to row directly behind him and try to match up with what he was doing.  It was also a challenge since he could obviously swing through a much wider arc than I every could dream of.  I only hope that I didn’t screw him or the other guys in the boat up too much as I tried to work on fixing stuff.

Today’s session was all about fixing stuff.  The workout plan was:

  • Standard pick drill by pairs.
  • Wide grip rowing by pairs
  • “Piano Fingers” on recovery by pairs
  • 6′ at r24
  • Leapfrog.  A game played with two boats.  One boat rows at full pressure while the other rows at r20.  When the racing boat clears the bowball of the r20 boat, you swap.  So it turns into a 30 second on 30 second off kind of exercise, but the faster you race, the more rest you get.

How did it go?  Ummmm, mixed, but really useful.  During the pick drill the coach (Kristine), picked up on exactly the same flaw in my rowing that Marlene has asked to focus on fixing as my highest priority.  Specifically, my habit of dropping my shoulders as I approach the catch in an attempt to get more length.  It was awesome to have someone catch me doing it live and offer real time corrections.  In the wide grip rowing, she coached my finish position a bit.  During the steady r24 chunk, there were times that the boat seemed to move really well, and other times where we had trouble with set and synchronization, but it certainly felt better as we went along.  We misunderstood the coaches instructions and we thought we were suppose to do a lap of Lido.  So, we were barreling into the turn when she asked us to stop and head back to the dock because we were out of time.

The leapfrog thing was the highlight of the row.  It was fantastic to really drive the boat, and just like the r24 chunk, things were really shaggy in the first couple of full power sets.  My catches and finishes were sloppy and my posture was terrible.  I managed to get a bit better control of myself for the last couple and the boat felt a lot better to me.  I would have loved to play that game for a much longer time.  It was a great way to focus on taking good strokes at race pressure within really burying yourself.


The view from the map actually gives you a good idea about what rowing in Newport is like.  The shore line is slips and beaches.  And on the outside of Lido Island, There are boats in slips along the shore and boats moored in the channel as well.  And most of these boats, or should I say “yachts” are immense!  Huge, fancy, beautiful, expensive boats.  I was certainly glad that I didn’t have to steer.

Screen Shot 2018-05-23 at 6.12.28 PM

In terms of a workout, it was a very light session.

Now I am on my way back home.  I will get back to my regularly scheduled sessions tomorrow with 60 to 80 minutes of speedplay in my single.


Rate Ladders in a Quad in Newport

I’m traveling on business to Newport Beach, California.  I posted a message on Facebook to find out if there was a way for me to go for a row while I was out there.  Within minutes, a member of the rowing club at Newport Sea Base had sent me a message, and offered to connect me to the coaches.

Yesterday I heard back and they told to come on over this morning.  They meet at 5:30 and they could get me into a seat.  As it turned out, they put me into the stroke seat in a quad.  All together we had a men’s quad, a mens double, a women’s double and women’s coxed four, plus the coach Kristine in a launch.

Newport Harbor is busy in the morning.  There are a bunch of clubs and schools all running practices at the same time.  In addition to rowing shells, there were stand up paddle boards, outrigger canoes and, I am told, dragon boats.  The locale is amazing.  The entire shoreline on both sides is basically small beaches and boat slips in front of multi-million dollar homes.

There is a nice long stretch for rowing.   The channel from the turning basin to the end of the breakwaters is over 6km.

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 11.58.53 AM

The workout planned for today was a rate ladder

  • 3′ @ r20
  • 2′ @ r24
  • 1′ @ r28
  • 2′ @ r24
  • 3′ @ r20

We started with a reverse pick drill by pairs and headed from the dock up to the turning basin.

I have to salute the patience and tolerance of my boat mates.  Since I spend almost all my time in a single, I am a lousy stroke.  My ability to hit precise rates is not so good.  I have an annoying bit of a pause before hands away, and I am sure that I was splashing the guys behind me.  But they were all speaking to me when we got back to the dock and that says way more about their disposition than my rowing.

The rate ladder was a good format for us, and there was a pair of good rowers in the men’s double that were a little bit faster than we were in the quad.  Since the coach sent them off a few seconds behind us, it provided a lot of motivation to maintain good pressure throughout the piece.

Often times, our rowing was choppy and ugly, but at times were got it together and the boat really ran nicely.  All in all, it was a delightful row.  I asked if I could come back tomorrow and they seemed willing to have me.  This might turn out to be the best sales conference I’ve ever attended.

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 12.11.52 PM.png

          Workout Summary - media/20180522-1505230o.csv
Workout Details
01|00708|03:00.0|02:07.1|000.0|20.8|129.7|160.0|11.3 - r20
02|00475|02:00.0|02:06.2|000.0|24.1|161.5|164.0|09.9 - r24
03|00244|01:00.0|02:02.9|000.0|27.4|166.5|169.0|08.9 - r28
04|00468|02:00.0|02:08.3|000.0|24.4|167.8|170.0|09.6 - r24
05|00869|03:50.0|02:12.3|000.0|21.5|163.6|167.0|10.5 - r20
06|00604|02:45.0|02:16.5|000.0|20.5|145.5|157.0|10.7 - r20
07|00447|02:00.0|02:14.1|000.0|24.5|161.2|165.0|09.1 - r24
08|00242|01:00.0|02:04.2|000.0|27.3|167.4|170.0|08.8 - r28
09|00502|02:09.0|02:08.5|000.0|24.3|172.2|175.0|09.6 - r24
10|00821|03:31.0|02:08.5|000.0|21.7|172.2|175.0|10.7 - r20
11|00652|02:50.0|02:10.4|000.0|21.0|149.1|160.0|11.0 - r20
12|00475|02:00.0|02:06.4|000.0|24.8|162.6|166.0|09.6 - r24
13|00245|01:00.0|02:02.5|000.0|28.0|169.0|172.0|08.8 - r28
14|00474|02:00.0|02:06.6|000.0|24.7|171.4|174.0|09.6 - r24
15|01039|04:39.0|02:14.2|000.0|23.9|150.9|160.0|09.4 - r24

Saturday: 4 x (3′ @ 24 + 3′ @ 28) / 6′ on slides

We are down on the cape.  We came down this weekend to get the house ready for next weekend when one of my sons and my daughter will be coming.  My tasks for the weekend were

  • Replace the exterior sensor for my weather station.  The storms this winter wore out the anemometer!
  • Put up shades in the guest rooms.  We have been getting complaints that the early morning sun is a bit bright for our late sleepers
  • Get a start on the repair of the stairs to the beach.  The ice this winter tore the bottom 16 feet of stairs away and pulled out the supports for landing at the top of that flight.

I managed to get through tasks 1 and 2, and replaced the supports for the landing, but then the rain started and I needed to give it up for the day.  I’ll do a bit more tomorrow.

Later in the afternoon, I did my erg session.  This is a tough session.

  • Session: 4 x 6’
  • Rest between: 6’
  • Rating/Pace:
    • 3’ @Cat IV pace: target SR 24
    • 3’ @ Cat III; target SR 28
  • Notes: Work on the rhythm of a strong leg drive combined with relaxation on the recovery. Follow through to the arms/body away position to complete each stroke and to set the body preparation for the next stroke before starting the slide. Hold your posture and head up as you fatigue.

I did it on slides in the basement.  It was really hard!  I was doing stuff like switching laundry during the long rests so the those chunks were really spotty.

I faded a lot more than I would have liked, but I have spent so little time on the erg, I have no idea what target paces would be right.  I spent more time focusing on posture and sequencing on the recovery, but I was still working really hard.

Tomorrow:  80′ of speed play, on the erg since there will be a 25 mph wind out of the SW.


Friday: 80′ of speedplay

Weather:  cloudy and blustery.  The wind was coming out of the north and the gusts were over 15mph.  This was a pretty nasty headwind in the straightest bits of the river.  There was even some chop at the ends of the straight sections.

Screen Shot 2018-05-18 at 9.19.50 PM.png

I was eager to try to practice rowing well in under less than perfect conditions.  I wasnt sure how well I could rate up with the wind and chop. In general, I was able to, but I had a couple of very messy moments when I bashed a wave at the wrong moment.  I found that clean, early finishes were incredibly important to maintaining any kind of consistency in these conditions.  It felt great when I would finish well and keep my oars clear of the waves and get a nice catch in.  Much more stable and confident in those strokes.

Horrifyingly low power numbers.  (But gratifyingly consistent data!)

         Workout Summary - media/20180518-1310290o.csv
Workout Details
02|00191|00:50.0|02:10.8|183.9|25.2|150.9|158.0|09.1 - 1st burst into the wind
04|00225|01:00.0|02:13.1|205.7|27.3|158.7|167.0|08.2 - 2nd big gusts!
06|00253|01:04.0|02:06.6|195.2|27.9|152.3|161.0|08.5 - upstream/downwind
08|00255|01:03.0|02:03.7|202.3|28.7|162.1|167.0|08.4 - upstream/downwind
11|00190|00:48.0|02:06.3|212.4|29.7|162.4|168.0|08.0 - near disaster at the end of this one
13|00230|01:00.0|02:10.3|207.1|28.8|158.6|168.0|08.0 - wicked gusty
16|00227|00:57.0|02:05.6|197.3|29.7|156.8|164.0|08.1 - upstream/downwind
18|00248|01:04.0|02:09.0|195.9|29.0|158.8|164.0|08.0 - wind seemed to shift to a crosswind here
20|00141|00:36.0|02:07.5|218.4|29.6|147.4|158.0|08.0 - last one!

Tomorrow:  We are down on the cape now and it looks windy and nasty for tomorrow, so I will do my rate ladders on the erg.

Tough week…spotty training

Last Friday was a wonderful workout.  The joy that I got out of it carried me  through a much less enjoyable set of days and activities since.

Saturday:  Yardwork.

I was spreading mulch.  I was curious about how hard this work is, so I wore a heart rate monitor.  Here are the stats.

  • Duration:  5:07:56
  • Average HR: 97, Max HR 125 (so below UT2)
  • Calories: 2619

So, I guess you could think of it as a long lazy bike ride.  But that’s not quite right because there is a strength component to it.  Basically shovel work, pushing a wheelbarrow and a lot of squatting, bending and raking.

It really knocked me out.  I was useless all night I was so tired.

Sunday:  Yardwork

I did the bulk of it on Saturday, but there was one more flower bed to do, and then moving the excess mulch and some other tidying up.  It was easier work and it only took about two hours.  I didn’t bother with the HR monitor.

Monday:  80 minutes of speed play

I wish I could remember more about this session, but I can’t.  From the data, it looks like it was a pretty nice session, I wish I could remember enjoying it.  Oarlock still acting up.

Tuesday:  30r22 on the erg

So, the original plan was 2 x 30′ @ r22 on the water.  I got up at 5:15, drove to the river, and as I always do, I double checked my work schedule to see when I needed  to be in the office so that I could make sure that I got back to the dock in  time.  When I looked, to my horror, I saw that I had a dentist appointment back near my house at 7:30am.  So, I drove home, took a shower, and went to the dentist instead of rowing.

It left me in a foul mood all day long.  Add in the fact that I needed to deal with unpleasant HR related work matters and by the afternoon, I was a quivering wreck.  I snuck off to the fitness center.  If everything went right, I had just enough time to do my 2×30 on the erg and make it to my next meeting.

Everything did not go right, and when I finished the first rep, I saw that I didn’t have enough time to do another 30 minutes.  This blew my momentum and instead doing 15 or 20 minutes, I just walked away.

The 30 minutes that I did were nice and hard though.  I felt much better afterward.

Workout Summary - media/20180515-1930250o.csv
Workout Details

Wednesday: Unintentional rest day

I intended to go do my speed session in the morning, but I slept terribly.  When my alarm went off, I rolled over and slept two more hours.

I thought I might be able to go to the gym, or maybe even head down to the river in the afternoon, but work conspired to keep me busy all day long.

Thursday:  60 minutes of steady state (ish) rowing

I had two missions this morning.  The first was 60 minutes of rowing.  The other was to replace my empower oarlock.  I’ve been trying to troubleshoot the dropped power values with NK for a couple of weeks.  They finally came to the conclusion that the problem was interesting enough that they wanted the specimen in the lab.  They sent me a unit to swap it out, and a label to return the prodigal oarlock to them.

It took a lot more time than I expected because I had trouble getting through the calibration.  I would try it and it would take me through the steps and then curtly imform me that “Calibration Failed”.  Ultimately, I diagnosed the problem.  The oarlock senses angle by having a magnet assembly on the oarlock pin, and the oarlock is supposed to freely rotate above that.  What happened to me is that the length of the pin was just a hair shorter than the height of the oarlock, magnet assembly and 3 spacers.  The pin was shifting slightly when the oarlock swung.  Ultimately, I sanded about 1/16″ off one of the spacers, and then I could crank down  the pin bolt and the oarlock would swing nice and freely.  Viola, calibration passed.

Then, after wasting some more time finding a restroom, I headed out for a row.  I had just enough time for 60 minutes or rowing, but I wasn’t in the mood for speedplay today.  I decided to just work on trying to row well.

I tried.  Sometimes, I succeeded.  Often, I did not.  But it was totally absorbing.

And I ran into a tree!  I was just starting.  I left the dock, rowed into the turn.  I cut close to the north bank coming into the last bit of the turn, and I usually swing wide while I build some speed into the straight bit.  I alway look over my port shoulder because I can see the whole straight bit without turning too much.  What I missed by doing that was a huge tree that had fallen into the river on the east bank.  I saw it about 5 strokes later and checked down hard.  I managed to take all the speed off the boat and gently coasted into a tangle of the upper branches.

It took me a little bit to calm down and then I backed my way out of the mess and swung around it.

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 4.57.46 PM.png

The rest of the row was quite uneventful.

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 4.56.56 PM

Workout Summary - media/20180517-1845250o.csv
Workout Details
00|00584|02:54.0|02:28.9|126.5|16.9|097.3|115.0|11.9 - to the tree!
01|03335|15:51.0|02:22.6|132.8|18.4|141.7|151.0|11.4 - After the tree
02|02167|11:18.0|02:36.5|126.2|17.5|146.4|155.0|11.0 - up from the dam
03|00278|01:13.0|02:11.1|199.4|30.5|165.4|172.0|07.5 - fast minute
04|00284|01:29.0|02:36.5|120.4|17.4|141.7|153.0|11.0 - technique stuff
05|01439|07:15.0|02:31.1|119.4|18.4|140.9|155.0|10.8 - technique stuff
06|01504|08:18.0|02:45.6|117.3|17.7|138.3|149.0|10.3 - technique stuff
07|00870|04:52.7|02:48.2|118.2|18.2|143.5|152.0|09.8 - Back to the dock

I wanted to do some higher rate rowing just to see if the oarlock missed a beat.  I did a hard minute and it worked great. The data is not glitchy at all!

After that, I shifted gears.  I decided to do 2 minute intervals with 2 minutes of square blade rowing, 2 minutes of slow roll up and 2 minutes of r20.  This was awesome practice, especially the slow roll up.  This really allowed me to focus on the first part of the recovery and get my arms out and body angle right, and then slowly square the blades as I went from body over to the catch.  A few strokes were perfect.  Just a few.  But the feeling was extraordinary.  Finish cleanly, keep the blades off the water, cleanly square the blades in a smooth movement, and drop them in for the next stroke.  Imagine if I could do that for all my strokes!

Tomorrow:  I am still feeling pretty tapped out, so I think I will do a speedplay session instead of one of the more intense workouts.





Friday: Sublime Rate Ladders

Perhaps a gross overstatement, but I feel like today was a bit of break through.

The weather started perfect, but a gusty, but persistent breeze sprung up about halfway through.  This was mostly a cross wind, but depending on the bends of the river sometimes slowed me down quite a bit.

The plan was

  • 4 x 12′ rate ladders
    • 6′ @ 18
    • 4′ @ 24
    • 2′ @ 28
  • 6 minutes rest between

I decided to use the rests to do some KOM drills, and even tried a couple of slow motion starts.

The whole way as I drove to the river I kept telling myself to focus on technique instead of pace or power in this session.  Make sure that in the r24 and r28 sections, I rowed with light pressure and good form.  All of this self talk seemed to make an impression because for once, I actually seemed to follow it.

And the results were awesome.  For brief moments today, I got the feeling of effortless speed.  Sometimes it was during the r18 section when I eased in the catch more gently.  Sometimes it was during the r24 section, though rarely because a lot of those were through the s-turn and it’s hard to reach a sublime state when you are putting all your pressure on one oar.  And a few times, for a few strokes it happened at r28.

These fleeting moments made the whole row a delightful puzzle to solve.  As soon as I noticed that feeling of flow, invariably the next stroke would feel like mud.  Then I would be thinking through how to recapture it.  I am certain it is related to how I take the catch, but balance during recovery is a huge part of it too.  All I am hoping is that I can feel it again, and then extend it over more strokes.

To put this in some context.  I can remember this feeling from a couple of seasons ago, maybe it was even three seasons ago.  I am sure I never felt it last year.  Looking back, it seems like I spent the whole season fighting the boat.  I’d forgotten what this feels like.

A few details about the row.  Each piece was 12 minutes long.  The good section of the river is about 14 minutes of rowing, so that worked out very well.  I only needed to make one adjustment on the fly.  When I was doing the third piece, I was approaching the stone bridge when it was time to shift from r24 to r28.  I decided to extend the r24 by a minute and do the full 2 minutes at r28 after the bridge in open water.  Take that as an indication of how I was feeling.  I don’t know that I have ever willingly extended an interval before.

Screen Shot 2018-05-11 at 5.34.22 PM.png

My problems with my oarlock are unimproved.  Hopefully a HW swap will fix things up.  NK is sending me a replacement to try.

Looking at the heart rate is another indication of goodness.  I was up touching the anaerobic zone at the end of the 3rd and fourth intervals, and I fought no demons.  I was far from comfortable, but I was able to purposely focus on technique during the last ten strokes of each of the pieces.

Tomorrow:  Aerobic gardening!


Thursday: 3 x (1’/2′ + 1’/2′ + 2’/5′) at race pace

I felt tired this morning.

Weather was cool and misty.  A light breeze from the North was on and off.

The plan:

  • 3 sets of:
    • 1’ on, 3’ active rest,
    • 1’ on , 3’ active rest
    • 2’ on, 5’ active rest
  • Rest between: Continuous, no rest between sets.
  • Complete one set and then repeat the series.
  • The active rest is relaxed, low intensity, easy rowing.
  • Stop only briefly to rehydrate.
  • Rating /pace: Race effort, 1k pace (your best right now)
  • Notes: The emphasis is on high quality work and stroke efficiency. This speed workout aims to keep the lactic acid levels low by allowing enough recovery between pieces for it to clear. Do not cut the rest short. Feel fully recovered and psychologically ready to do the next piece. If the quality starts to drop dramatically, stop the workout.

Well, I blew that.  I misremembered the duration of the rests, so instead of 3 minutes between the 1′ work intervals, I took 2 minute rests.

I was actually having a good time with the workout.  Well, to be more accurate, I was enjoying the 1 minute blasts.  30 strokes.  Focusing on clean early finishes, outward pressure on the oarlocks, early body prep and rowing with the blades off the water.  I would get into the zone where I would have 4 or 5 strokes in a row that just felt great.  I always love seeing a 1:xx pace on the speedcoach and there is something about the fluidesign hull.  It gets super stable when you’re going fast.  It’s like riding on rails.

Interesting that comment about quality dropping.  I was doing well all the way through until the last interval.  And man did the quality drop like a stone.   I was breathing like a freight train and losing form pretty badly as I made the slight turn at the little island at about 1 minute.   Then a bit of phlegm started rattling around in the back of my throat.  With 10 strokes to go, it got stuck in my throat and I couldn’t breath.  I thought I was going to puke, flip or die.  Maybe all three, just to maximize the drama of my demise.

I guess I need to lighten up a bit!  I just hate being slow,

I did all the intervals in the big straight bit of the river.

Screen Shot 2018-05-10 at 9.24.05 AM.png

          Workout Summary - media/20180510-1240240o.csv
Workout Details
01|00258|01:00.0|01:56.3|250.5|28.2|154.3|163.0|09.1 - down
02|00244|01:00.0|02:03.1|268.2|29.5|156.3|167.0|08.3 - up
03|00510|02:00.0|01:57.6|249.6|29.4|163.6|173.0|08.7 - down
04|00246|01:00.0|02:02.2|236.7|29.1|152.1|166.0|08.4 - up
05|00250|01:00.0|01:59.8|241.5|29.4|158.1|169.0|08.5 - down
06|00480|02:00.0|02:04.9|209.2|29.8|167.2|177.0|08.1 - up
07|00251|01:00.0|01:59.3|143.5|29.7|154.4|163.0|08.5 - down
08|00248|01:00.0|02:00.7|237.2|30.1|159.0|169.0|08.2 - up
09|00496|02:00.0|02:01.0|235.6|29.9|164.4|175.0|08.3 - down

Again the power measurements were crap.  There were 237 missed power readings out of about 1200 strokes.  Worse, it seems that the missed readings tend to happen when I executed a work interval, so I had no real time feedback in the boat.  I’m in contact with NK and they are helping me figure out what’s going wrong.   Really strong technical support, I have to say!

Tomorrow:  I need to move my Saturday workout to Friday again.

  • 4 x 12’
  • Rest between: 6’
  • Rating/Pace:
    • 6’ @ Cat VI; target 18-20
    • 4’ @ Cat IV; target SR 24
    • 2’ @ Cat III; target SR 28.
  • Notes: Use a strong leg drive to define your transitions from one rating to another. Stay focused on a relaxed recovery rhythm as the stroke rate rises.

This weekend is an extensive endurance cross training opportunity.  I have 5 yards of Mulch to spread.  So all the flower beds need to be raked, re-edged, and then the mulch spread on them.  It usually takes about 6-8 hours of reasonably hard work to get done.



Wed: 2 x 30′ @ 22

Tuesday:  I was out late at a business dinner and didn’t get to bed until nearly midnight.  I decided  to sleep in instead of training.

Wednesday:  A beautiful morning.  About 52F with just about no wind.  Bright sunshine and a cloudless sky.

The plan was 2 x 30′ @ r22.   This is supposed to be a Cat V workout, but I have yet to find the right stroke pressure.  Each time I have done it, I have pushed too hard and end up with heart rates way up in the TR zone.

Today, I wanted to work hard on technique, mostly on recovery.  Maintain outward pressure on the handles, and get my body angle right before starting to slide the seat.  I also spent a bit of energy trying to get better at my finishes.  I have been leaving my oars in the water too long, laying back too far, and disturbing the set of the boat as I try to extract the oars and bump my hands into my torso.  So, the past couple of sessions, I have been trying to consciously finish earlier.  Really tap down as the handles approach my chest, and maintain a tall posture in the seat.  It feels way different, I bet it looks exactly the same to an external observer!

Sander gave me some good advice after my Monday session.  He suggested that I should focus on one aspect of the stroke for blocks of 5 strokes and then move on.  I think that could be a very good way to be more mindful during these sessions.  There are 660 strokes in each 30′ piece.  It’s impossible to focus on everything in every one of them.

Moving on the to the subject of equipment.  I am liking the new rigging settings, but it will take a little while to get used to the heavier load associated with the shorter inboard.  I think that helped to contribute to my high HR and RPE today.  My legs “want” a certain drive duration, but that drive duration is now trying to sweep through a bigger arc, which means I put on more pressure.  I need to lighten up a bit.

When I turned on my speedcoach today, I discovered that the battery was nearly depleted.  That was weird because I had charged it last Thursday night and I’ve only rowed about 4 hours since then.  I wonder if the new FW is draining the battery faster?  Anyway, the speedcoach shut down in the first half of the first 30′ piece, so I only have RIM data, and only have HR for the second piece.

The map view shows significant jagginess.  I suspect that the pace values might be a bit too fast as a result.  The row shows up as almost 14500m, when it is usually closer to 14300m.
Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 4.37.00 PM

This was originally two sessions in RIM, but I glued them together on rowsandall.

          Workout Summary - media/df_20180509-174756.csv
Workout Details
00|01095|05:40.0|02:35.3|000.0|17.8|000.0|0.0|10.8 - warmup
01|03060|13:37.0|02:13.5|000.0|22.2|000.0|0.0|10.1 - 1st downstream
02|02972|14:02.0|02:21.6|000.0|21.9|000.0|0.0|09.7 - 1st upstream
03|02953|13:06.0|02:13.1|000.0|22.0|161.0|169.0|10.2 - 2nd downstream
04|03006|14:34.0|02:25.4|000.0|22.4|168.4|173.0|09.2 - 2nd upstream
05|01164|07:56.0|03:24.5|000.0|19.6|145.3|173.0|07.5 - cd SBR feet out


  • 3 sets of:
    • 1’ on, 3’ active rest,
    • 1’ on , 3’ active rest
    • 2’ on, 5’ active rest
  • Rest between: Continuous, no rest between sets.
  • Complete one set and then repeat the series.
  • The active rest is relaxed, low intensity, easy rowing.
  • Stop only briefly to rehydrate.
  • Rating /pace: Race effort, 1k pace (your best right now)  So, I’ll be aiming at r30.


Monday: 72′ of Speedplay.

Sunday:  Rest Day

By the time we got home yesterday, time was short and I decided that it would be better to take a rest day and row on Monday instead of squeezing in an erg session and letting a beautiful morning pass without rowing.

Monday:  72′ of Speedplay

After I finished my row on Friday, I spent some time making additional modifications to how I am rigged.  The changes were…

  • Footstretcher an additional 1 cm to stern.  Now it is a full 4cm astern of original position
  • Shortened inboard 1cm to 84cm.  Now it is in 5 cm from 89cm originally
  • Lowered oarlocks an additional spacer.  Now 2 spacers lower than original.

Then I left my boat for the weekend and rowed down on the cape.  I did change my oars there to 84cm inboard to match, but I didn’t mess with the footstretcher or oarlock height.

Today was my first row with the new settings.  The plan was for 80 minutes of speedplay.  I had an 8:30 meeting, so I needed to be in my car at 7:45.  That meant I needed to cut is short by just a few minutes.

The flow in the river seems to be a bit down.  The weather was perfect.  There was a bit of mist on the water when I launched, but it burnt off quickly.  The temp was around 55F when i launched, but well above 60 by the time I finished.  There was no wind when I started and just a light zephyr from the west by the time I was done.  A great day to be on the river.

I launched and within a couple of strokes, I was at a nice steady state rate and pace.  I held that through the twisty bits, and continued out into the nice straight section.  I liked the changes to the rigging.  With the oarlock height, I was able to get above the handles and I felt like my balance was better.  I was able to row a lot more strokes without touching water on the recovery.  At around 8 minutes I did my first power 20.  When I finished, I looked around and was somewhat surprised to see a naked man staring back at me from the bank of the river.  I guess he decided  that some early morning skinny dipping was his training plan for the day and I interrupted him.

The rest of the workout passed far more uneventfully.

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 5.17.52 PM

I need to change my OTW slack.  These power bins are depressing me!

But the pace!  A lot faster than recent sessions overall.

Workout Summary - media/20180507-1700240o.csv
Workout Details
01|00856|03:59.0|02:19.6|146.6|19.3|130.2|142.0|11.1 - little gap to maneuver
02|02990|14:00.0|02:20.5|150.9|19.9|144.3|163.0|10.7 - down
03|02892|14:34.0|02:31.1|147.1|20.4|147.6|166.0|09.7 - up
04|02887|13:37.0|02:21.5|152.3|20.8|150.9|167.0|10.2 - down
05|03947|19:57.0|02:31.6|142.7|21.8|151.4|167.0|09.1 - up

I assume that the difference is because of less wind, but I don’t that accounts for all of it.

Tomorrow:  2 x 30′ @ 22.

All rowing, all the time

May 2: 3 x (1’/3′ + 1’/3′ + 3’/6′) all at 1k race pace (or best effort)

May 3: 60′ speed play

May 4: 4 x (3′ @ 24 + 3′ @ 28) / 6′ active rest

Wed – May 2: 3 x (1’/3′ + 1’/3′ + 3’/6′) all at 1k race pace (or best effort)

On the charles.  Nice weather.  It’s finally warming up.

The workout plan was:

  • 3 sets of: 1’ on, 3’ active rest, 1’ on , 3’ active rest 3’ on, 6’ active rest
  • Rest between: Continuous, no rest between sets.
  • Complete one set and then repeat the series. The active rest is relaxed, low intensity, easy rowing. Stop only briefly to rehydrate.
  • Rating /pace: Race effort, 1k pace (your best right now)
  • Training effect: Cat II-III mix, repetitions, race pace technique

My goal here was to try to work on the technique feedback that my coach gave me from the video.  Her main suggestions were:

  1. Keep outward pressure on the oarlocks throughout the whole stroke.  She noticed that at the catch, I was dipping my shoulders and pushing the handles toward the stern.  She wanted to focus on early body angle preparation and remember to keep outward pressure on the handles as I approached the catch.  This feels more like pushing the handles outward, versus sternward.
  2. Keep outward pressure on the oarlocks at the finish. Again, make sure that I am keeping the collar firmly against the oarlock as I approach the finish.  My elbows are in the wrong position, which we are going to work on with a bit more rigging change.
  3. This goes with the body prep comment.  She told me to be very conscious of when I start to move the seat toward the stern.  Work to be sure that my arms are extended and my body position is ready for the catch.
  4. Sit up nice and tall in seat, avoid slumping back on my tailbone.

This workout was an interesting one to try some of this stuff out because all of the pressure rowing was r28 or higher.  I found that concentrating on the technique at r28, I was able to go multiple strokes touching no water and with rock solid balance.  Keeping my core engaged and my legs locked down during the initial recovery really kept the boat stable. Of course, it was more of a challenge to maintain  the rate as I was focusing on the recovery in segments, but I got the hand of it.

A very fun workout.

One thing that was not fun.  My EmPower oarlock was acting up.  Out of about 1200 strokes in the workout, it did not report data for 289 of them.  Many of them were strokes in the intervals when I was trying to row to a power target, which was a pain in the ass.  All in all it was probably a good thing because I ended up focusing more on the technique and less on power.

Workout Summary - media/20180502-1715240o.csv
Workout Details
01|00260|01:00.0|01:55.5|262.7|27.3|147.2|156.0|09.5 - down
02|00237|01:00.0|02:06.5|302.2|29.4|152.3|162.0|08.1 - up
03|00763|03:00.0|01:57.9|282.0|28.4|162.1|169.0|09.0 - down
04|00227|01:00.0|02:12.2|308.1|28.9|149.9|163.0|07.9 - up
05|00263|01:00.0|01:54.0|309.2|29.8|153.8|166.0|08.8 - down
06|00658|03:00.0|02:16.7|261.4|28.2|166.5|177.0|07.8 - up
07|00254|01:00.0|01:58.3|274.3|29.7|151.5|164.0|08.5 - down
08|00225|01:00.0|02:13.1|316.4|29.3|155.0|166.0|07.7 - up
09|00747|03:00.0|02:00.5|265.0|28.8|166.4|178.0|08.6 - down


Thursday – 60 min speedplay.

Again on the Charles.  I had an 8 am meeting, so I bolted out of bed at 5:15, and I was on the river by 6am.  That gave me just enough time to do 60 minutes, put away my boat, get to work, and shower before my meeting.

The workout is pretty standard by now, but on Thursday, I was still trying to obsess on the technique notes.  Also, the annoying empower issues were continuing.  This session 272 strokes were missed.

But none of that changed the fact that the weather was perfect!  No wind.  Really warm.  A little overcast, but still a glorious morning to be out.

Friday – May 4: 4 x (3′ @ 24 + 3′ @ 28) / 6′ active rest

On Lake Quinsigamond.  Overcast.  Very little wind.  Perfect water.  Scattered showers.  We needed to stick to the south end of the lake because boats were out practicing on the 2k course for this weekends big event, the New England Rowing Championship (“The NERCs”).

After 5 days of workouts, I was feeling a bit spent.  The workout plan has an optional speedplay session on Friday, or a rest day.  But since I knew I was heading down to the cape, I switched things to do the more intense Saturday session on Friday.

I knew that I would have to lighten up the r28 sections to make it through 12 minutes total of it.  I was also more interested in continuing to work on technique at race rates.

Here are my coaches notes for the session.

Session: 4 x 6’
Rest between: 6’
Rating/Pace: 3’ @Cat IV pace: target SR 24 + 3’ @ Cat III; target SR 28

Notes: Work on the rhythm of a strong leg drive combined with relaxation on the recovery. Follow through to the arms/body away position to complete each stroke and to set the body preparation for the next stroke before starting the slide. Hold your posture and head up as you fatigue.

I can’t say that I was completely relaxed on the recovery.  I had a lot on my mind…keep the knees down.  Set the body.  Keep my shoulders down.  Keep outward pressure on the handles.  Don’t over reach at the catch.

But, at least I had something to keep my mind off how hard the 3′ chunks were.

Before this outing, I updated my empower firmware to 2.18 and changed the battery in the empower oarlock.  This seemed to calm things down.  Only about 8 missed strokes.  Of course I recorded a lot fewer strokes because I forgot to push start after fiddling with some settings.  I was also having HR monitor troubles.

Here’s the whole thing on RIM

I had a bit of a moment on the third interval.  About a minute into the r28 section of that one, it really started to bite, and I got that drowning feeling.  It remarkable how quickly you can work your way through a chain of logic.  It’s been a long week, I don’t race until July, I shouldn’t have started so hard, etc, etc.  And before you know it, you’ve stopped rowing.  Well, I stopped rowing.  After about 10 seconds I started again and finished out the segment without any further drama.

Here’s the last ladder on NK.  Notice the weird crap going on with the HRM.

Workout Summary - media/20180504-1325270o.csv
Workout Details
01|00671|03:00.0|02:14.1|000.0|23.9|000.0|0.0|09.4 - r24
02|00704|03:00.0|02:07.9|000.0|27.7|000.0|0.0|08.5 - r28
04|00675|03:00.0|02:13.3|000.0|24.2|000.0|0.0|09.3 - r24
05|00711|03:00.0|02:06.6|000.0|27.9|000.0|0.0|08.5 - r28
07|00658|03:00.0|02:16.8|000.0|24.0|000.0|0.0|09.1 - r24
08|00633|03:00.0|02:22.2|000.0|27.5|000.0|0.0|07.7 - r28 (fail)
10|00661|03:00.0|02:16.2|000.0|24.2|000.0|0.0|09.1 - r24
11|00708|03:00.0|02:07.1|000.0|28.5|000.0|0.0|08.3 - r28

The last segment was particularly fun.  As I coasted to a stop at the south end of the lake.  I noticed another single with a shirtless young dude in it.  I turned around to the north, and he just sat there.  When I started to row, he started with me and matched me stroke for stroke.  I noticed he was a bit rough in terms of technique.  I imagine he was a college kid who wanted to branch out into sculling.  Anyway, we were side by side while I was getting ready to get into the interval, then I rated up  to 24 and started moving.  He hung with me for a a little bit and then started dropping back. He was sticking to a lower rate, and I’m sure he wasn’t paying any attention to me, but I was relishing the view of him dropping further behind.  This was all it took for me to make it through the last ladder with no hint of slowing down or giving up.  Seems like I need a training partner!

Later in the day, my wife and I headed  to the cape.

Saturday: May 5 – 60′ of coastal rowing

Screen Shot 2018-05-05 at 8.08.50 PM.png Down in Wellfleet.  It was a windy night last night and breezy in the morning, but by 3pm, it was calm and about 65F with hazy sunshine.  It was a great day for my first coastal row of the season.

The tide was still coming in, but close to slack.  I wanted to row for about an hour, and I just wanted to do steady state.  I wanted to keep working on proper technique in recovery.  knees down, outwards pressure, consistent body angle, don’t overextend.  It was great to practice this in the Aero, because it is so stable.

Workout Summary - media/20180505-2230240o.csv
Workout Details

I was having a great time.

Tomorrow:  The weather is supposed to go downhill, so I think I will probably do an erg session.  80′ speedplay.