The last session I posted was December 29th. It’s been busy month since then with some good training, heavy work commitments and recently a few, not terribly serious injuries.
Here’s a synopsis
The result was that by the 27th of January my fitness was at the lowest level it has been for a couple of years, and it’s time to get back on track.
Sunday – Dec 30 – Rest Day
I had a lot of logistics to deal with on Sunday. We were hosting a New Year’s Eve party down at our house in Wellfleet. I had to buy delicious local delicacies on the way and do a bit of house cleaning once we were there. No time for training.
Monday – Dec 31 – Awful Half Marathon on Slides
Our party guests were arriving in the early afternoon, so I got up at a reasonable hour and jumped on the erg. I was feeling guilty about missing a workout on Sunday, so I didn’t want to compound my sins by missing another day. I was so excited to row on something other than the miserable dynamic, I decided to do a half marathon.
It started out fine, but things started to go down hill around the one hour mark. To be indelicate, I’ve been having some issues with my ass. Especially my left cheek. The area around my sitz bone gets sore after about 30 minutes of rowing and it seems to get worse as I go along. I thought it was because my trusty seat pad had gotten squooshed down and wasn’t doing it’s job. So I replaced it with a new one (2 layers of concept2 foam pads with the cutouts removed). This was the first session with the new setup and I think I misdiagnosed the cause of my problem because the pain was much worse with the new pad. I decided that the edge of the cutout must be doing something bad, so at the one hour mark, I dropped a layer. It helped a little, but over within another 8 minutes or so, I was hurting again and tried to sit further forward to get my sitz bone on the pad and out of the hole. That bought me another 10 minutes. I adjusted again and then gritted my teeth through the rest of the workout. I may have to spring for one of those insanely expensive finnish butt pads before I really injure myself.
I am also seeing a lot of data drop outs. I wonder if there is some issue with painsled?
Tuesday – Jan 1 – January CTC (on slides)
I haven’t been very consistent at doing the CTCs in the past couple of years. I used to do every one, but since I started rowing on the water, I don’t usually do them during the OTW season, and I’ve even gotten spotty in the off season. I think it’s mostly a pride thing. I used to do better than I do now, and that bugs me. This month’s CTC seemed fun though, so it seemed like a good option when I was feeling a bit hung over and bloated from a great new years eve party.
The CTC was 20′ at r20. I wasn’t sure how to pace it so I basically just started rowing. I was on slides. I was able to bring the split down into the mid 1:50s and hold them them.
I ended up with 5129m (1:57.0), which puts me in Free Spirits boat 2. I need another 7 meters to get into boat 1. I might have to give that a try. I think without a hangover and on a static erg, I might be able to do a fair bit better than that.
After that I did a 209 minute L4 and it was delightful!
Wednesday – Jan 2 – No Training
Un planned rest day. I had t o drop my car off at the shop in the morning and I didn’t have a window to go work out during the day.
Thursday – Jan 3 – 60′ L4
I had so much fun doing the 20 minute L4 that I decided to do one for today’s endurance session. This on on a static erg. So here I would try to go for my “usual” power levels, which are very easy to remember
16 – 160W
18 – 180W
20 – 200W
22 – 220W
I did very easy progress of sequences. For L4 aficionados, it was a 168/172/172/176/176/180. Here it is in graphical form.
planned a hard session. 30′ free rate, with 2k warmup and cool down.
warm up – pick drip and then 20 stroke bursts at target pace.
The main event. Went pretty well! Little bit of a bobble at the end. I would love to get back to doing over 8000m for these. I have a ways to go (92 meters).
Here’s the whole workout.
Tuesday – Jan 8 – No Training
Traveled to Dallas for a business dinner. No time to train.
Wednesday – Jan 9 – 30′ Max Incline March
In Dallas at the Airport Hyatt before I flew to San Diego
Thursday – Jan 10 – 5km run
In San Diego, I had conference calls all morning in my hotel, and then I went for a run. My hotel was in a nice location.
I had HR monitor issues, so I recorded the run on my apple watch. Turns out, the apple watch does not believe in data freedom!
After my run, I packed up my stuff and flew home.
Friday – January 11 – No Training
I arrived home around 12:30am, and decided to not get up early to train. I had a jam packed morning of meetings, then I headed out in the afternoon so we could head down to the Cape for the weekend.
Saturday – January 12 – 3 x 20′ / 2′ L4 on slides
Down on the cape. I was struggling with a pain in the ass. I have developed some irritation in my left ischial tuberosity (also known as the sitz bones). It was getting worse and I was experimenting with different padding options, but none seemed to be helping. I think a main cause may be sitting for long periods in airline seats. Anyway, I enjoyed the rowing, but my butt was getting worse and worse.
On slides my power levels were.
16 – 140
18 – 160
20 – 180
22 – 200
So, 10W better than dynamic for roughly the same intensity.
Sunday – January 13 – 3 x 20′ / 2′ L4 dynamic
Back in Hopkinton. Still enjoying L4s, still suffering debilitating butt pain.
Monday – January 14 – The Half Marathon from hell
There was a rowsandall challenge race that I needed to get a result in for. It was a half marathon. I had high hopes that I could do reasonably well, and I set off way too fast. I blew up halfway through. I was also having very severe IT issues (Ischial Tuberosity) and tried to readjust my seat padding a bunch of times. It was horrible. Terribly horrible.
This was very disappointing. When I caved in the middle of the piece, my HR was a bit high, but not remarkably so. I had started to try to slow down a bit to try to rein things in, but the pain in my butt made it really hard to get any kind of momentum. Every stroke hurt. I decided that I need to do something about the IT pain.
Tuesday – January 15 – Mini Strength Session
I had very limited time because I had an 8 oclock meeting. Also, my knee hurt so I wanted to avoid erging. I did a quick strength session.
swiss ball twists with med ball
inclined rows in the smith frame
cable pull downs
My knee really stiffened up through the day and get sore. It became painful to walk down stairs, basically the bending my knee under pressure caused serious pain at the base of my kneecap.
Wednesday – January 16 – No Training – Knee injury
I woke up with my knee very stiff and it was painful to walk, especially down stairs. Going up stairs hurt too. I hobbled through the day and by the evening I was taking ibuprofen. Even with that, it was so sore that I couldn’t fall asleep. I got up and iced it for 30 minutes, which helped a lot.
Thursday – January 17 – No Training – Knee injury
Still very sore in the morning. I wore an ace bandage and took ibuprofen and that seemed to help stabilize things. I iced it again before bed and slept fine.
Friday – January 18 – Strength training
Basically the same routine as Wednesday. Avoided doing anything that would put stress on my knee
Saturday – January 19 – No Training
There was a big storm that was closing in on Boston for Sunday. I needed to be in San Jose for a meeting first thing on Monday morning, so I changed my flight arrangements and left on Saturday so I would be stuck. I arrived in San Jose around 10pm.
Sunday – January 20 – Fitness Center strength and Max Incline March
Basic core and strength session, and then added on a 40 minutes on the treadmill.
Monday – January 21- Fitness center triathlon
20 minutes Max Incline march
20 minutes stationary bike
20 minutes elliptical
Tuesday – January 22 – No Training
Our board meeting started at 8am and I was nervous as hell. I got in really early and made sure that everything was ready.
The meetings went well, and then I had an additional 2 customer meetings in the afternoon and a team dinner in the evening. Finally, I headed to the airport to catch my flight to Korea, leaving at 11:30pm.
Wednesday – January 23 – Did not exist for me
I departed at 11:30 on Tuesday night, flew across the date line and arrived in Seoul at 5:00AM on Thursday morning. So does it count as a rest day if the day didn’t happen?
Thursday – January 24 – Fitness Center Strength Training
I arrived in Korea at 5, I was at my hotel before 7. I went straight to the fiteness center. Did a full strength training session. I even did some squats to test out my knee. It seemed to hold up pretty well. I also did some good mornings and I tweaked my lower back. I didn’t notice it at the time, but it was sore the next day. I also did 30 minutes on the treadmill.
After that I went to semicon Korea and did my presentation. At the end of the day, I had a customer dinner. I was pretty tired by the time I was back at the hotel and slept well
Friday – January 25 – Fitness Center
30 minutes inclined march
5 minutes on a stair stepper, then I saw an elliptical open up and bagged that.
20 minutes on the elliptical
I had internal meetings and a meeting with a key supplier and headed to the airport to catch an 8:30 flight home. I managed to leave in such a rush that I left my suitcase in my korean colleague’s car. My bag is still in Asia, coming home tomorrow with a coworker that was staying on after I left.
Saturday – January 26 – No Training
I arrived home at about 2 am on Saturday morning, and I slept until 10 am the next morning. Even after I got up, I was in rough shape. my back hurt, my butt hurt and I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I basically just did stuff around the house.
Sunday – January 27 – 2 x 20′ / 2′ dynamic
It had been 12 days since I had been on a rowing machine. I was still achy, but I wanted to ease back into, so I figure a nice gentle 40 minute endurance session.
That was surprisingly hard work.
Monday – January 29 -2 x 20′ / 2′ static plus 20 max incline walk
I was going to do 3 x 20′ on the rower, but my butt started to hurt, so I decided to do the last 20 minutes on the treadmill.
Even though I am not 100%, I think the best course of action is to add a measured dose of higher intensity to the mix.
So, time to bust out a classic. The 4 x 1k. I set an easy target pace, 1:50. At my best, I was pounding out this session close to 1:40 pace. But I have to keep myself from thinking like that. It just leads to frustration and injury.
The workout went well. I did a reasonable warmup and got into it.
I think focusing on strength training has improved my power, but I have not re-calibrated myself to the new me. I find it hard to row slower than certain splits at a rate and end up pushing a bit too hard on the long pieces.
This was definitely good training effect. My butt still hurts, but I think I have found a seat pad arrangement that is not aggravating it further.
Thursday – January 31 – 3 x 20′ / 2′
A lovely relaxing row. Butt pain still there, but much less intense.
I like this routine. Sleeping, relaxing, cooking, rowing.
Thursday – 12/27 – 10 x 2′ / 2′ Dynamic
A little bit of a variation on the 8×500. On the dynamic, so aiming for about 4 or 5 sec per 500 slower than on a static erg. First rep was a warmup. Then I targeted 1:50 for the rest, and a faster last. I hate this infernal machine.
The rowsandall summary was a bit stingy with the splits. I seem to lose a few meters on each interval.
Started fine, but I fell apart after about an hour. My ass hurt a lot. I slowed down as necessary to stay under a 155 cap. I had to switch laundry around the 30 minute mark. That’s the stoppage in the plot.
I’m gonna have to explore other seat pad options. My left sitz bone is bothering me a lot!
Saturday – 12/29 – 5 x 1500 / 4′ Dynamic
I went through most of the day intent on taking a rest day, but around 10pm, I got bored and decided to workout. I think it was a good idea because I’ll probably want to take a rest day on New Years Day.
I haven’t done much long interval work, and I don’t like doing it on the dynamic, but the 1500s are by far the least onerous session. I gave myself a softish target and got to work.
I didn’t bother with a warmup, I just dove into the first interval. I think the target was about right. I was very uncomfortable in the last 500 of each rep but I never had the urge to give up rowing and take up knitting.
The rowsandall splits are again a bit stingy. One day, I’ll have to invent a good interpolation routine to make them correlate better with the PM.
I was interested in seeing how I needed to increase my rate, and decrease the DPS as I got tired. I plotted out the WPS and the Average Drive Force to see what they looked like. There is about a 10% decline in WPS over the workout. The question in my mind is whether I should be aiming at that lower WPS the whole workout or is a higher WPS more efficient?
Tomorrow: 3 x 20′ on slides (I hope). We are off to the cape for our New Year’s Eve party,
One of the contributors to rowsandall organized a Christmas 10k. I was a little bummed out because my only option for rowing it was the dynamic, and I knew that I would be a fair amount slower on the dynamic than on the static erg. But, I like the idea of doing the same session as other folks, and I don’t even mind getting beaten (especially when I have an excuse!)
So, I set the conservative target of “faster than 2:00”. I did a 2K warmup to get loose. Starting again with a pick drill.
Then the 10K. I had haunting memories of the 30r22, so I was in no mood to push it too hard. Even with that, I couldn’t have gone a lot faster. My heart rate was up near 180 at the end.
This is an online challenge, line the 500 from last week. This was a session from Sander’s team coach, and he set it up as an online race to make things a bit more interesting. I looked at my testing at the end of October, and I did a free rate 20′ at 1:50.5, and that was at about 25 spm. Since then, I have eased off a bit, adding in some strength training, and reducing the volume, So, three things to slow me down. I was guessing something like a 1:55 split would be OK.
I did a quick warmup.
I tried to get the hang of rowing full pressure at 22. The splits came out a lot faster than 1:55.
Oh well, how badly could it go? Pretty badly as it turns out.
I felt strong and smooth through 5 minutes and I was going way faster than 1:55. This was a bad idea. I was a bit worried about how fast my HR was going up. The next 5 minutes were a bit tough, and I started trying to slow my roll. By the time I passed 10 minutes, I was really struggling. My HR wasn’t crazy high, but I had an awful sort of drowning feeling. If I hadn’t said I was going to post a result, I might have packed it in. Even with the virtual pressure, I put the handle down briefly around 10:40. I started paddling almost immediately and then brought my pace down to around my original 1:55 target. That lasted just a couple of minutes and I got that drowning feeling again and went back to paddling. OK, so 1:55 doesn’t work, how about 1:56. That lasted another couple of minutes. I was definitely not at my best and definitely not happy about it. I decided to just try to go faster than 2:00 and post whatever I got. 1:57 seemed to work out quite well and I plodded along like that until I had about a minute to go. Then I steadily ramped up the pressure to the end.
Cable rows 120 10,10,10 (getting the hang of these)
One leg squats 2×25 12,12,12,12,12,12 (Oh my god, these are hard!)
Shoulder press 96 12,12,8
Cable pull downs, 144 10,10,10 (Time to up the weight, I think)
Friday – 12/21/2018 – Another go at the 30r22
Try it again, I thought. You went out too fast, I thought. It’ll be better today, I thought.
But there were ill omens. First, I woke up feeling sore and tired, but that’s nothing new. I didn’t get nearly enough sleep, also unremarkable. Someone beat me to the gym and pinched the newer erg, leaving me with the old Model C. I know it doesn’t matter, but I feel like I row better on the new machine. More importantly, they had my setup my fan to keep them nice and cool for their ugly and ineffectual workout (sorry, that sounds a bit ungenerous). I would hate to be thought of as the self important jerk who hogs his own fan, so I didn’t even ask to use it, but inside I really missed it. Yep, I’m petty and stupid.
I did a longer warmup. 2k versus 1K and I actually did a pick drill to start. It was kind fun and useful, I might do again in the future.
Then I started the 30r22 and it was misery from the start.
So. Many. Failures! I was more careful. I was rowing 1:55s when I decided to quit rowing (actually, both in the sense of this specific workout, and the sport in general). I changed my mind, and again set the no slower than 2:00 splits rule, which I found it hard to observe. I kept speeding up and then HD’ing.
My wife has a nasty cold and I have the beginning of some symptoms. Sometimes, I like to use the excuse that I didn’t do well because I am fighting a bug. Maybe that I’ll include that in the excuse index for this piece. Anyway, it sucked. It was slower and more painful than wednesday. The only good that came of it was that I was so angry and frustrated by the time I had 5 minutes left that I started to row really hard (at 22spm) and just kept pushing harder. I wanted it to hurt. And it did. I finished within 4 beats of my MaxHR.
Saturday – Rest Day.
After that debacle, I decided that a rest day would be a good idea. It was a good idea. My kids are all home for Christmas and we just hung out, drank beer and enjoyed each other’s company.
Sunday – 12/23/2018 : HR capped at 150
Time to do some base work. For some reason I am favoring HMs over the 4 x 20’s sessions recently. I like distance based workouts. My only issue is my butt is hurting more recently on the erg, and especially in these long sessions, it gets pretty bad. It’s really my left sitz bone. I am going to try some different seat pad arrangements to see if it gets better.
Today’s workout was a bit slower than I hoped, but I respected the cap until the very last minute. I really didn’t want the time to be longer than 1:31.
New plan for today. I was a bit short on time, and I honestly didn’t want to do a long interval session either. So, I decided that it would be a good chance for me to get a result in to the rowsandall racing series “Give it a try 500“.
I am a happy member (and tester) for rowsandall, and one of cool features is the ability to define online races. This started last summer with OTW races over specific course, but this winter, it has been expanded to support indoor races on ergs. You can either upload a result from the c2 logbook, painsled or boatcoach, or you can plug in a result manually. There are already a slew of races defined, and every user has the ability to through down a challenge.
This first race is just for people to get the idea of how it works. And it works great!
I am a painsled user. I use it because it captures all the cool metrics that the PM5 provides for later analysis. I always send my results from painsled to rowsandall by email, which is quick and painless. To enter my result in the race, I just have to click a button and it’s there.
So, for today’s session, I started with a Fletcher warmup.
Looks like I’m having some issues with the PM talking to my phone.
Then I did the 500m. I decided to try to rate around 40, and keep the pace around 1:30. It turns out that this was hard to do. I was feeling the struggle but halfway and I just closed my eyes and counted out strokes, and it was so many strokes! At 40 spm, I had time to cram in about 65 strokes. The last 20 were…were…painful.
The following charts tell the story. I started at the right stroke rate and immediately slowed down too much. I am just not used to rating up, even on slides. With the rate down below 40, I was having trouble holding a sub 1:30 pace. As I passed the halfway point, I decided to get the rate up where it belonged and the splits obliged by dropping to the right side of the target. I could feel the power leaking out of my legs, so I just kept pushing the rate up. With about 50 meters to go, I started to really gasp for air and my legs were starting to cease functioning, but by then I was just counting down the last few strokes.
The end result was a 1:29.4. That’s a second off of my PB, and on slides to boot. So, I am not as fast as I was in 2014, but back then I was in tip top sprinting form. I’m OK with this result.
This puts me in the lead for the online race so far, but there is still some time for someone to come along and beat me. One of the cool things about racing on rowsandall is being able to compare racers. Here’s a little taste. This is a plot of everyone’s stroke rate through the race. My line is the minty green one. You can see how being on slides helped me rate up through the last half of the piece, compared to the static racers.
I had two things on my list of things to to today. The first was to play around some more with the Quiske pod on the erg. I needed to redo an example I am used in a blog post over on the rowsandall analytics site. I had the pod mounted backwards and the plots were inverted, so I wanted to update it with the right data.
That ended up being about 18 minutes of reasonably hard rowing, but it was in short intervals of 1 to 5 minutes. I ended up sweaty but not tired.
After that, I got myself settled to do my hard distance workout for the week. 10K on slides. It’s always a mystery to me how to pace stuff on slides. I am not as fast on slides as on static, but a bit faster than on the dynamic. I decided to try to 1:58. It worked out fine. It was hard, but I was able to hold the pace throughout.
My flight from Taiwan arrived in San Francisco in the early evening, and I headed straight to my next flight, a red eye to Boston, which left at about 9pm and arrived in Boston at 5am. I slept about 5 hours on the flight from Taiwan to SFO and maybe another 3 on the flight to Boston. I was tired when I got home around 6:30 and slept until 10. I kind of zombied my way through the day, buying a Christmas tree, putting up decorations, and doing errands. Eventually, I decided to do a nice slow and easy half marathon.
I had trouble getting up in the morning and I was still kind of out of it. The plan called for a hard distance session, and I wasn’t really in the mood and I hate doing hard pieces on the dynamic. But I guess that’s one good thing about having a training plan, it will remind you to do things that you don’t really want to. So, I did it.
It didn’t go so well, but I didn’t bail and made it to the end.
I had every intention of training this morning, but I was just a bit slow getting to work, and then the emergencies started up before 8am, so I couldn’t squeeze in a session.
Thursday – 12/13 : Strength Session
I had originally planned to take Thursday as a rest day because my company had a big all day meeting in downtown Boston. But since I had missed Wed, I got up early, drove up to North Reading, did my workout, and then drove into Boston. I felt virtuous and smug all day!
It was a little shorter than Monday’s session and wanted to avoid anything that would be really tough on my back.
Side plank 2x3x30
Pushups 2×16, 1 x 20 (getting a bit easier…)
Front squats: bar+70 3×7
One arm rows 50 2x3x12 (The last two reps were really tough!)
One leg squats 2×20, 2x3x10 (A bit easier, I’m getting my balance better)
Cable pull downs, narrow overhand grip 144 3×10
Friday – 12/14 : 2 x 30′ / 2′
More endurance work. Trying to keep my HR at a reasonable level.
That brings up up to date. I’m down on the cape for the weekend. That means sessions on slides!
Saturday: Hard Distance…I think a reasonably brisk 10K
Sunday: I owe the plan some hard intervals. I might do a waterfall.
This meso cycle, I am aiming at a reduced training load and working on strength, so I am expecting that my fitness will trail off. It is but not terribly. The biggest impact has come from missing training days due to travel.