Thursday: 10K @ 2:00 split

I had limited time this morning and frankly, I was a little grumpy.  I just decided to ignore HR and just row 10K.


Workout Summary - media/20170112-1255080o.csv
Workout Details

It’s 1:20am and I’m on a work phone phone call :-O

I’m not sure I will have time to train.  If I do, it will be just a quick 30 minutes or so.

10K L4

Slept badly,  my back hurts, a lot on my mind.  Rowing to specific power targets seems a lot simpler to me right now, but my HRs were off the chart on the high side today.

The plan:

  • 10K
  • L4 format, but with distance instead of time
  • 4 x 2500m segments
    • 1000m/750m/500m/250m
    • r18 / r19 / r20 / r21
    • 180W/190W/200W/210W
  • No HR cap.


Distribution of strokes by power


Stroke power versus stroke rate


One of the things that L4 workouts are supposed to do is maintain a constant work per stroke (SPI :-O)


Another way to see if you are maintaining a similar stroke technique as you increase stroke rate is to look at avg to peak power versus stroke rate.


Or the just the peak power.


Both of these show a slight increase as stroke rate increases.

Tomorrow:  I think I will do another bumps workout, but this time doing the slow bits at 2:05.


2 x 5K with bumps

I am doing my best to try to keep exercising as parts of my life go a bit out of control.  I decided on a very simple idea of just doing 10k a day.  Depending on the day, it might be hard or easy, but 10K takes around 40 minutes and I can get in and out of the gym in just about an hour.

I’ve done hard 10Ks, push 10Ks, L4 10Ks.  Today, I thought I would do a bumps workout.  I remember in the good old days of the concept2 UK site, that all of the 10SMPS folks would do these 8Ks with bumps.  They looked like misery.  Basically you row at about your steady state pace, and then every so many meters, you increase the pace to something faster (like 2K pace) for 100m (or 200m, or 250m, or whatever), then return to the steady state pace afterwards.

I thought it would be an way to get some faster rowing into the 10K format.  SO here was my plan for today.

  • 10K
  • 20 x ( 400m @ 2:00, 100m @ 1:45)
  • Free rate
  • Strapped in
  • No HR cap

Since this was a first attempt, I had no idea if this would be too hard or too easy.  It turned out to be too hard.  It didn’t help that I over-achieved on the sprinty bits.

I made halfway through, and I knew that I was in trouble.  I had decided that I would slow down the steady state, or drop out some of the fast bits.  That’s when the PM5 decided that it had gone just about far enough on this set of batteries and threw a persistent error.

The good news is that Painsled behaved perfectly!  When I looked later, the whole thing was safely on my iphone and it even handled the ignominious finish without any troubles.

I went to my gym bag, found a couple batteries (always prepared!) and changed them out in the PM5.  Then, with trepidation, I set up another 5K for more bumps action.

I only made it a couple of bumps into this one when I found that I couldn’t hold the 2:00 pace anymore.  My HR was sky high and wasn’t dropping much at all between bumps.  I skipped one bump and then rowed the steady state slower, between 2:05 and 2:10 generally, but slower right after the bump.

First 5K


Workout Summary - media/20161219-175842-sled_2016-12-19T11-48-29ZEST.strokes.csv
Workout Details

Second 5K


Workout Summary - media/20161219-2055100o.csv
Workout Details

So, next time I do this workout, I think keeping the slow bits at 2:05 might be a better idea.

Saturday: 2 x 5K Pushes

I love push workouts.  Almost always, I will do a 10K push, start at a 2:00 pace and then speed up a second every 1000m.  Today, I wanted to do it a bit differently, so I did 2 5K pushes.

  • 2 x 5K push workout
    • First 5K
      • start at 2:00 pace
      • drop the  pace by 2 splits every 1000m
    • 2 min rest (paddle and drink)
    • second 5K
      • start at 2:00 pace
      • drop the pace by one split every 500m
    • No rate restrictions
    • No HR caps

So, I stuck to the pace targets except for the last 1000m of the first rep and the last 500m of the second rep.


It was a good threshold workout. with some good variety of intensity.

It’s fun to look at the metrics for this workout because it is free rate and I just try to find the most efficient rate for each target pace.  It still comes out very close to the kind of increment I see in L4 workouts, about 2 splits per SPM.


On this workout you can see in increase in work per stroke as the stroke rate goes up.  In an L4 workout, this would be nearly constant.


I saw Sander included the avg/pk force ratio in his workout.  I wanted to compare.  Here’s mine.


So, my force ratio was 0.67, versus a 0.56 for Sander.  This is a much larger difference than I was expecting to see.  Here are the two parameters that go into the ratio.

bokeh_plot (96).png

To complete the set.  Here’s drive length.  You can see that I am back to full slide, with no significant knee issues.


This intrigued me, so I looked at drive length versus power and drive length versus SPM.  Nearly constant for both.  I think that’s a good thing.

Sunday: another brief 10K workout.  Probably just an easy L4.

Friday: 10K L4

I wrote some stuff about my Dad, but moved it over to a different post.  I decided it doesn’t have much to do with training.


I had a tough day at work on Friday.  There are multiple projects going on and one of them in particular is in that critical stage, that it seems all projects go through, where it looks like the world is ending.  I was supposed to review progress at 3, but they waved me off because they were in the middle of a test run, so I had a hole in my schedule.

I thought a quick workout would help me keep my head clear and thinking straight, so I headed to the gym.  I decided to do a 10K L4.  Since I am training so little right now, overtraining is NOT going to be a factor, so I dialed up the intensity.  Instead of trying to keep my HR below a cap, I just rowed to power, and I included a fair amount of work at 22spm and 24 spm.

Of course, since I was on a tight schedule, today had to be the day that Painsled decided to not work.  I am not sure whether it was because of changes in PainSled, or because my phone was in a funny state, but it would not stay linked to the PM.  It would get the first HR and then not update after that.  I tried a couple of things and couldn’t get it working, so I bailed on painsled and went to ergdata.  Say what you want about ergdata, it seems very reliable.  It always links, the syncing to the logbook is fast and easy.  The support in the logbook is getting better all the time.

Heres what the workout detail page looks like now, if you row with ergdata.


Pretty good huh?  It has all the basics including heart rate.  If it recorded the stroke metric esoteric that painsled does, I’d be really happy.

Of course you can’t do the stuff you can do on rowsandall.  Let’s use this workout for a quick comparison.

Workout summary:

  • rowsandall provides the ability to do summaries using distance or time.  concept2 is time only.
  • rowsandall provides a plot of power in addition to pace.  Since I row to power, that’s handy.
  • Splits:  concept2 provides the same splits that were defined in the PM.  rowsandall does the same as default, but provides a way to redefine splits, which I used to look at each segment.
  • Drag Factor:  concept2 has this on the summary page, for rowsandall, it is on the summary plot.
  • Accuracy:  Because rowsandall is reconstructing the row from stroke data, there is some error in the distances recorded, generally much less than the distance in a stroke.  This can cause significant changes in avg pace for very short intervals.
  • Concept2 log integration:  ergdata to concept2 log is incredibly easy.  so is export from rowsandall to concept2.  However, watch out for rankable pieces.  Because of the interpolation on rowsandall, if you export a HM you might end up with a 21094m which you can’t rank.  In general, for ranking pieces, I log them manually to make sure they match the PM exactly.  On ergdata/concept2 syncing, they seem to match exactly every time.  (I wonder if they are using features that they are not publishing in the API?)

Of course there is stuff that you can’t do on the concept2 log page.  Here are a few examples:

Time in Zone HR chart and Time in Zone Power chart

And of course flex charts:  Here is pace versus SPM.  Which I’ve defined as one of my favorites in the tool.

bokeh_plot (89).png

You can also easily generate a power histogram for the workout.

bokeh_plot (90).png

Or generate it for a range of dates, so you can see how well you are managing intensity for a polarized workout plan.  Here are all the erg strokes I’ve taken since November 8th.

bokeh_plot (91).png

You can see that I am in a low intensity, endurance maintenance mode right now, with very little work being done above 200W.

With regard to the workout, it was a useful diversion.  I enjoyed it so much that in the last 2500m, I decided to push it harder.  I did 500m each at 18/20/22/24 and 26.  I was rowing strapless so the 24 and 26 was a bit of a challenge.  I was in a much better place when I finished than when I started.

Here’s the summary

Workout Summary - media/20161217-143940-concept2-result-28153486o.csv
Workout Details

Not sure if I will row today.  It might be a good idea to keep myself busy until the snow clears.



Monday: Quick 10K in Munich

I arrived at 5:00AM on the red eye from Boston to Heathrow, and connected to Munich, finally getting there at about 10am.  I had found my train and gotten to my hotel by 11:15.  There was nothing on my calendar until 1:00, so I decided to bolt over to the “Fitness First” next door to the hotel and band out a quick 10K.  I had no real plan, and pretty low expectations since I was working on basically no sleep.

The club has two meticulously maintained model Es with Pm4s.

As you can see from the HR charts, I started a bit slow, then tried to hold at a HR cap around 160.  Then with 2K left to go, I tried to speed up and hold about 210W the rest of the way.  This was hard work.


I’m glad I did it, but it was pretty ugly at the end.



I ended up skipping training yesterday.  I was just doing other stuff, and I didn’yt really feel like it.  You might be able to tell that my discipline is ebbing, as my surgery date approaches.

Today, I knew I would be getting on a long flight and I always do better if I have exercised before I fly.  So, I decided to do a quick 10K before I got ready to head to the airport.

I also wanted to push my knee some more.  As perverse as it sounds, I wanted it to hurt.  I wanted it to lock up.  I wanted it to misbehave.  It refused to do that.

I dutifully put down my bandaid to limit compression, but as I went along in the piece, I started to ignore it and try to push as far into compression as I possibly could.  I was reaching for the handle guard in front of the fan cage, and nearly touching it.  My knee started to feel a bit sore, but did not misbehave.  Not a click was heard, no locking happened, and it didn’t betray me, as much as I wanted it to.  What the hell is up with that.

Anyway, my intent was just a nice UT1 kind of workout.  A bit spicier than a normal endurance session since I was only going for 10K.  I ended up pushing harder than that.  And the only thing UT1’ish about the session was the rate.


Workout Summary - media/20161211-214912-sled_2016-12-11T13-16-31ZEST.strokes.csv
Workout Details

Now, this was no where near as fast as my 10K CTC in October, but I was interested in comparing the two workouts.

First, comparing power.


In October, I started fast and faded a bit.  Today, I started slower and held it.

Stroke rate…Very different.  I rated higher the whole way in October.

bokeh_plot (85).png

This infers that my work per stroke should be higher this time…And it is.


Which led to a higher rise in HR.


Now, what about drive length?  I started today shorter, but as I started to test my knee, I matched my stroke length from that row.


This got me thinking about drive length versus peak force.  Here’s the two plotted together for today’s row.


Goes to show you how much length matters!

So, now I’m at the airport, getting ready to board.  Not sure what the training will be like this week.

Friday: Temptation

So, I don’t really know what to think about how things are going with my knee.  There is no doubt that the MRI showed an damaged area of the meniscus cartilage, but right now, it is hurting a lot less.  I still get clicking and I am treating it very carefully, but I am worrying about whether getting it scoped is the right thing to do.

The thing is that I would not be able to row well the way it is now.  I would be constantly worried that I would over compress and lock it up in the boat.  This would be painful at least and could be potentially dangerous, if it was as bad as when it happened in Vermont (or numerous times the following couple of weeks).

Anyway, this morning, the plan was for a 60 minute endurance session.  I was originally planning to just do another boring ride on the stationary bike.  I started there, and did 30 minutes that way, and I got really bored.  My knee also felt perfectly fine.

Hmmm.  Maybe I could do a little erging.   Either it would go OK, or at least I’d be more certain about the procedure.

So, I toddled over to the erg.  I put down a bandaid on the rail to give myself a reminder to not compress too far.  I dialed up 10km on the PM5 and started rowing.

At first I was very tentative about stroke length, and the time off the erg was definitely having an effect.  But over the first 10 minutes I got more comfortable and confident and lengthened my stroke a bit.  I’m still not squeezing hard into full compression at the catch, but I was going an inch or so past the bandaid.  As this happened I was able to bring the rate down a bit too.

The HR response was pretty poor for such a slow piece, but it was great to get back on the erg and my knee is showing no ill effects afterward.

Workout Summary - media/20161209-181650-sled_2016-12-09T07-29-45ZEST.strokes.csv
Workout Details


Here’s a quick plot showing how I extended my stroke length over the first 10 minutes or so.


Here are HR stats for the whole workout from Wahoo fitness.

Gotta say, I feel a lot better for having done it, but the worries about doing the wrong thing with the surgery are unabated.

Tomorrow:  Probably another easy erg session and some strength work.  Maybe I’ll try some kettlebell stuff for fun, plus push ups and chin ups.

Tuesday: 10K easy plus strength trainig

At work in the fitness center.

First, some erging to warmup and keep the aerobic base.  Goal is to run this right at the top of the UT2 band.  I want enough training stimulus to maintain blood volume but not enough to take away from the strength work coming next.

  • 10km
  • 10W x stroke rate
  • HR cap at 145
Workout Summary - media/20161115-140421-sled_2016-11-15T06-49-38ZEST.strokes.csv
Workout Details


I started at 190w and it felt pretty easy, so I upped it to 200w and rowed until I hit the HR cap.  Then I backed off to 190(ish) and played with pace and rate to try to keep my HR between 144 and 146.  It was good sweaty, easy fun.

Then I took about 10 minutes, went and grabbed my exercise bands and ab wheel and changed my shirt.  Now it was time for some strength work.

(weight in pounds)
45 x5
135 x6
185 x5 x5 x5
185 was a good weight.  I could have probably squeezed out another rep in each set.  I think I’ll push this slowly up to 3×8 at 185, and then up the weight.
Chin ups (red band on knee)
3 x 5
Next time I will do the first set unassisted
Standing press
45 x5
65 x6
75 x5 x6 x5
I need to work on form for this exercise.  I think I am arching my back too much.  Surprisingly hard for such light weights.
AB wheel roll outs (from knees)
3 x8
Oh my.  These were hard!  My calves were cramping up.
3 x10
I was very disappointed with how weak I felt in the push ups.  Might have been from the standing press, but I felt like I had no “pop”
Tomorrow:  Early flight to Texas.  Probably a rest day.

Monday: October CTC – 10K Unrestricted

Sunday:  It was a lovely day down on the cape.  I did some maintenance around the house, including replacing some shingles that were blown off the roof by a wind storm and digging out some sand that built up around the basement entrance.  We hung out until late in the afternoon and I never got a chance to do a training session.  No great loss.

Monday:  Today is the 31st, so it was my last chance to post an entry for the October Cross Team Challenge.


As usual during the OTW season, I go into these challenges not having a good idea about pacing.  My all time best 10K was in December of 2013.  I was in fantastic shape at that point and was knocking off most of my middle distance PBs.  Right now, my training has been focused on middle distance work for the head racing season, but I wasn’t sure how well that would translate to the erg.

I decided to try go out at a 1:52 pace and see how things went.

If you have been reading my training journal, you can probably suspect what a 1:52 target means in practice.  It means I went out around 1:50-1:51.

The way I do these middle distance pieces is to count strokes for each 1000m.  At the start, I was doing about 94 strokes per 1000m.  In this piece, I started to struggle a bit around 5000m and started to ease up on the pace.  The worst was at 2500m to go.  I saw a few 1:53s and 1:54s on the monitor.  I would push a bit, then ease up, then push again.  Once I got to 1500m left, I felt pretty sure I was going to make it, and I started to push harder and got 1:52s and 1:51s back on the screen.  With 500m to go, I started counting down strokes and rating up.

I am delighted with the result.  37:08.1, a 1:51.4 pace.  I ranked it on the C2 site and it’s 18th (97th percentile).  For the CTC results, I’m in at 77th place and the 4th place for Free Spirits.

I did a quick 1K warmup before and a 2k cool down after.

Tomorrow:  4 x 20′ L4