About me

I’m a 52 year old rower.  5’11”, 195 lbs.

I compete in Massachusetts in sprints, head races and indoor events.

I am interested in using structured training programs and applying technology to improve rowing performance.

Personal Bests for indoor rowing

21 thoughts on “About me

  1. Randall says:

    Hi Greg,
    I have been reading your posts on your experiences with the Rojabo program. I was attracted to the program because intuitively it makes sense to focus on acclimating to higher SPMs while retaining a constant SPI. I see that you no longer are using the program and have switched to a more traditional endurance/lactate tracking approach. In making the switch, did you try using the Rojabo program as a base and a long endurance row at the end of the week, akin to a long weekend run. Or alternatively did you conclude that the Rojabo programing was flawed. My experience has been that the Level D endurance days are far from an endurance workout and am considering only using the program 3 days a week with endurance rows the other 3 days. What you think based on your experience with the program? Appreciate your thoughts,

    Randall Bickham


    • gregsmith01748 says:

      Hi Randall,

      I don’t think that Rojabo is flawed as much as it was just not a good fit for me. What I found was that all the workouts pushed me very hard and did nothing to help improve my aerobic capability. This might have been the result of pace/power targets that were too aggressive, or that I am as different from a young, elite, Danish, lightweight rower as one could possibly be.

      I definitely agree with the idea of maintained relatively constant SPI across workouts, and I try to track that in my current program.

      I really don’t know what is optimal, but I think the polarized approach is a good fit for me. Each week, I do 3 or 4 days of steady state sessions, plus 1 or 2 days of high intensity interval work, and 1 “threshold” row. I could easily see replacing the high intensity days with Rojabo A,B, and C workouts.

      I’m not likely to do that just because I like to row distance based intervals.


  2. Joakim Nömell says:

    Hi Hi Greg. I am a visually impaired indoor rower. I am using my own Concept2 PM5 machine and really want to import my workouts to Strava. I have downloaded your Rowingdata tool on my Linux machine but can’t get it to work. Wonder if it is possible to maybe get some help or if you have a server or website I can use to convert my files? The problem now is when installing fitparse, it complains about zip_longest which I understand is included in iterutils. I think iterutils is installed on my machine but it doesn’t work anyway. Thanks in advance.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sanderroosendaal says:

    Hejda Joakim,

    I have developed a website just for that. Surf to rowsandall.com, sign up (free) and upload your file or import from the Concept2 logbook. I have no clue if the website is suitable for you as a visually impaired person. Would love to get some feedback on that, either through the contact form on the website or send me an email to info@rowsandall.com .

    Actually, I am also the developer of the “rowingdata” tool (together with Greg who started it). I will check on a clean PC if I have an issue with fitparse. On my own computer, I am using fitparse version 0.0.1.dev0. The same on the website.


  4. Brad Kuhn says:


    I’m a recent fan and avid reader from Orlando, Florida. I’ve training for the Southern Sprints indoor rowing race using your CRASH B training protocol — while continuing OTW training with my local club. With only a couple of weeks to go before the Southern Sprints I’m getting rib pain that takes my breath away. Wondering whether you’ve ever experienced this, and if so, what you recommend for optimal recovery? Thanks.

    All the best,


    Liked by 1 person

    • gregsmith01748 says:

      Hi Brad,

      I’m glad you you found my training notes. I hope they are helpful. Regarding rib pain, you might want to take a look at an article on the World Rowing website. (http://www.worldrowing.com/news/the-dynamics-rib-pain). The most common reason for rib pain is a stress fracture. I had the same thing happen about 4 years ago. I started having a pain that was radiating along one of my ribs on my right side. It was most painful at night when I was lying down, but I could sleep if I was on my other side. It finally got bad enough that I went to the doctor and he sent me for an xray that confirmed that I had a stress fracture in one rib.

      The bad news for me was that the recommended way to treat the injury is to allow it time to heal. I stopped rowing completely for 2 weeks, and then I avoided high pressure and low rate rowing for 2 weeks after I started again. With a competition coming up, I imagine that taking a rest is the last thing you want to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Brad Kuhn says:

    Thanks, Greg.

    I was afraid you’d say that. I’ve read the world rowing stuff, and the diagnosis seems pretty clear — especially since I can trace the pain back to some 30-second PP/ sprints our club did recently. Unfortunately the race is scheduled for Jan. 28, which is a bit too soon, I think, to recover enough for a peak effort. I’ve got a sculling camp and our first sweep sprint scheduled in the second half of February, so I’m probably going to have to bag on the indoor race — which is too bad, because with your help, I was on track to post a 1:40 split.

    As a stats wonk, I’m devouring your posts — past and present. My single looks like it has an aircraft instrument panel, between my stroke coach and RiM. Thank you, for all you do. I’ve often wondered how many folks like me are out here “hanging” on your wonky wisdom. You truly are making a difference.


      • Brad Kuhn says:

        Working my way there. I’ve been mastering my current analytic tools: (acquiring a cable to sync my PM4 with ErgData and mastering the subtleties of RiM. Need to dig deeper into Rowsandall and Painsled, but I’m not there yet (pesky little thing called work :O)

        Liked by 2 people

  6. AMBer says:


    Your website and travails have inspired me to get back on my erg and get serious about regaining some rowing fitness. Many of your ideas I had started to look into, although without your level of quantification (I’m a surgeon so not quite as numbers driven, but all about the efficiency). I was fortunate to row a great deal at high school in New Zealand then D1 at college in the US where I have stayed. As part of getting back into rowing I looked into the drivers of performance by the NZ team – they only have 30 elite rowers per category (male/female/lwt etc), yet for the past 2 Olympic cycles have been consistent medalists. A couple of observations jump out that may be of interest to you
    1) The head coaches gave up program load setting to physiologists. 6 years ago physiologists put together a 12 month program that defines month to month work loads for the U23 and elite rowers. Lactate derived, watt based. This is worth considering. Both in NZ and Aus overall work load set by physiologists. Coaches put together the how and what in the session. They now have development data on rowers evolution from juniors to elites. I can’t underline how unusual this is.
    2) Noel Donaldson the NZ head coach, and ex awsome foursome coach from Australia has a new book with the GB performance director – https://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Rowing-International-perspectives-performance/dp/1472912330 – you may find it of interest – they lay a lot out. – Dr Seiler has a chapter
    3) The high performance physiologists from the NZ team are publishing a bunch of papers – this is a pre-release on the NZ pair polarized training. They use a watt bike to get extra UT1 work since rowing too much increases stress scores.
    4) You can email the physiologists! – I did, they answered some questions – They would probably give you a 12 month training load schedule if you asked (and paid them some money) – then you can work with a local coach on technical aspects. Here is their website – they are very responsive because people don’t know they just left the NZ High Performance Group. https://www.plewsandprof.com/our-story

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Marco Perinasso says:

    I Greg,
    I’m a recent reader of your posts, I’m a master rower born in 1963. I compete in single scull and pair in Italy.
    Unfortunately in my club the planning of training for masters is “muddled” and not much focalized on the objective, as it should i mean. For this i decided, a couple of years ago, after obtained the first level trainer patent, to prepare myself the training program fitted for my own objectives. Luckily my home is riverside and i have my own pontoon in the garden as well as single scull, once or twice a week i’m at club for 2- training.
    Now we are preparing for the national head race (6K) in 2- or 4X in two weeks.

    I really appreciated your “scientific” approach and the reports of your sessions, some workouts type are very similar to ours. Your outcomes at erg are very close to mine for medium distances (HR, Watts, Pace and SPM) while you are better in short (1K, 2K), so i must confess to find challenging and motivating following to your reports and your progress!

    I’d like to analize my workouts but at the moment i’m still trying to connect my C2 Mod E PM4 to the smartphone to upload ergdata files on rowsandall site (PM4 firmware updated but no connection, probably i need the specific usb cable without junction ).

    So compliments again and thanks for tips and informations in your website!

    Marco Perinasso


    • gregsmith01748 says:

      Hi Marco, I’m glad you read my posts and I’m always happy to meet other master rowers.

      It’s actually really easy to connect the PM4 to your phone. If it’s an android, C2 sells a cable. If it’s an iphone, then you can buy the liverowing cable and that works too.


  8. Christopher Kelly says:

    Hi Greg,

    I wanted to thank you for this website and the posts you have made on the concept 2 forum page. All this detail is fascinating.

    I started indoor rowing just under a year ago for general fitness. I discovered the beginner Pete Plan and got hooked, I have just finished it and I’m moving over to the main plan this week.
    Your take on an “evidence based” approach to training chimes with me because I spend my time off the erg as an anesthesiologist. All the physiology discussed is very familiar to me but applied in a different way. We are interested in how the body reacts to the stress of surgery, rather than exercise, but the concepts are remarkably similar. For example, there is lots of evidence about the relationship between anaerobic/lactate thresholds and chances of surviving major surgery. The more “functional reserve” the patient has the more room I have to manipulate their physiology to help them survive.

    I am very late to the Stephen Seiler party, but I have just discovered the concepts of polarising training. I effectively raced every piece I did in the BPP. Today I did a HR limited piece for the first time…. 15K HR 144-150, very strange!

    Anyway, thank you again for your informative thoughts. I’m going to spend some time considering your lactate hysteresis hypothesis!

    Best wishes,


  9. Rob says:

    Hi Greg,

    I was reading some of your logs on lactate testing. Do you have any recommendations on blood sampling protocols for lactate measurements? I am primarily concerned with avoiding contamination of blood samples with sweat etc when sampling, however if you have any advice about practicality that would be helpful. From the results you have measured have you ever witnessed spurious or unexpectedly high results? Do you always sample from the finger? What lactate monitor do you use?

    I have done some brief tests myself of a lactate edge monitor but results were much higher readings of lactate than I expected. I wasn’t following a set protocol and more just playing around but got restitution values of 2.2mmol and steady state easy pace was 3.3mmol. At max pace (unsustainable for 4mins) I was hitting >22mmol and the step before this 18mmol. I am not an athlete anymore and only ergo 1 to 2 times a week (normally long steady state up to 70mins) so it may explain the high readings.


  10. Thomas Fiorito says:

    I’m like you a masters rower who loves data and gadgets. I’m also on the cape for a while this summer and rowing on town cove in Orleans. I’d love to hear a bit about your experience salt water rowing here.

    I’m also interested in the humon. How important had it become too your training? Would you recommend it at this point?

    Much thanks,


    • gregsmith01748 says:

      Hi Tom,
      I’ve never rowed down in town cove. One of the things that I’d like to do someday is to row from Wellfleet down to rock harbor and back. I need the right kind of day though. High tide, and light winds from the east.
      I am very impressed with humon, it seems stable, reliable and accurate in training sessions. Right now, I mainly use it to limit intensity in steady state sessions.


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