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.


2 thoughts on “All rowing, all the time

  1. sanderroosendaal says:

    Those look like very nice rows. It seems your coach is really giving you a lot to work on. I can see the logic of all these points, although personally I would try to reduce them to three or four “attention areas”. Perhaps posture, catch, finish, and recovery?

    Then as you Row, cycle through those attention areas. Five strokes focus on posture, five on catch, five on finish, etc. I even do that during sprint races, and it really helps to find the effective stroke and calm me down in the first half of the race.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gregsmith01748 says:

      I like the idea of focusing on one thing at a time. In reality, her feedback is prioritized. She really wants me to get outward pressure on the oarlock on recovery and get good body position before starting to move the seat to the stern. I should work that first.

      Liked by 1 person

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