3/13 – 3/14: Nine days straight!

Today was the ninth day in a row that I have trained on the erg.  I think it’s my longest streak in a pretty long time and it’s making me pretty happy.  I’ve got 3 more days before I head off to China, so I’ll be trying to keep the streak alive.

I am actually a big believer in the general rule of taking a rest day every 6 days, but I had a couple of rest days before this streak and I will have a lot of trouble fitting sessions around my work in China, so I am OK with pushing it a bit.

Wednesday – 3/13 – 3 x 20’/2′ L4 (static)

Bread and butter.  Felt kind of hard.  I was actually having a bit of trouble rowing lightly enough at r16 to get down to 160W.   I think that helped overcook the session.  Still it was pretty enjoyable.

       Workout Summary - media/20190313-1245450o.csv
Workout Details


Thursday – 3/14 – 4 x 2000 / 5′ L2 (static)

I felt pretty worried going into this session.  I have a reasonable history of L2 sessions now, so I had a good idea of achievable pace, but I knew it was going to have to be willing to endure some discomfort to hit the target.

My history.

  • 1 Feb – Waterfall – 1:52.4 (static)
  • 9 Feb – 4 x 2k – 1:51.6 (slides)
  • 15 Feb – 5 x 1500 – 1:49.2 (static)
  • 9 March – Waterfall – 1:51.1 (slides)

So, my target for today should have been 1:51, but I wanted to shoot for 1:50.  It’s such a nice number.

I programmed the PM for 2k reps and 5 minute rests.  I did the first rep as a warmup.

Isn’t that the prettiest thing?  Nice warmup.  I extended the last burst to about 60 strokes, which got me a bit sweatier and I think that helped.

The first rep was a breeze.  I am noticing that my watts per stroke is going up a bit, must be all those L4s.  Here is a comparison of 4 L2 workouts.  I have 2 waterfalls, a 5 x 1500 and todays 4x2k.  Notice the way that my power per stroke was fading in later reps in the other three workouts, but today (purple) was a much steadier performance.

bokeh_plot (78)

In terms of intensity, I think it was right in the zone.  I passed 95% of HRR max right at the end of the last interval.  I guess I could have pushed a little bit harder, but it felt great to be in control through the whole session/

Average pace 1:49.7 for the 4 work reps.  Yes!  That makes me happy.

Tomorrow:  3 x 20’/2′ L4



Hard 10K and 4 x 2K


I already posted about my session on Tuesday morning, but on Tuesday night, I did something fun.  My wife’s niece play Hockey for Northeastern.  Northeastern is a legit women’s hockey powerhouse.  They are ranked third in the NCAA division one.  They have an olympian on the team.  Anyway, we went to see her team play in the first round of the Women’s Beanpot, a hockey competition between the 4 powerhouse schools in Boston (BU, BC, Northeastern and Harvard).  They were playing BU and it was an incredible game.  The quality of play was very high and my niece in law played well getting an assist and a ton of shots.  She was very bummed that she didn’t get any goals.  The game ended in a tie and was settled in a shoot out, with BU coming out on top.

Here’s a picture of her right after she scored the winning goal in overtime against BC in a game earlier this year.


Wednesday:  No Training

I had scheduled a plumber to come fix a problem with a sink Wed morning and he blew me off.  Supposed to show up at 8:30 and didn’t.  I called to follow up and found out he wouldn’t get to the house until at least 10.  I gave up rescheduled and headed to work.

I hoped to find time during the day to workout, but no luck.

Thursday: Hard 10K – L3

I had limited time because I had an 8 am meeting.  I was scheduled to do the 10K on Wednesday and then an L4 endurance session on Thursday.  With the short window, the 10K fit in better, and is a higher training priority so I did that.

No time for a warmup, so I just settled right in and went for it.  Last time I did a 10K, I fell apart at the end.  The cause was butt pain, lack of fitness and lack of toughness.  On Thursday, I was hoping to address the butt pain and the toughness.  Fitness is what it is.

For the butt pain, I have made an investment.  The Citius Remex.  The world’s most expensive butt pad.  Endorsed by Eskild Ebbesen.  I imagine that elite rowers must treat their behinds with the care that a violinist lavishes upon their hands, or a dancer on their legs.  My wife has heaped ridicule upon me for buying this gold plated butt pad, but it will all be worth it if it solves my problems.

There is actually a theory behind this butt pad and it make some sense to me.  The seat on the C2 rower is basically flat and this puts all the stress on your Iscial Tuberosities (aka your sitz bones).  Other butt pads attempt to mitigate this by either cutting out material where the sitz bones are, or by providing cushioning to spread the pressure over a larger area.  But this has potential problems as well.  The edge of the cutouts can cause pressure points (and they did for me) and this can lead to pain.  And a squishy pad can cause problems with circulation on the back of your thighs.  The Citius Remex has a different shape to it.

2019-02-09 14.44.06.jpg

It is designed to spread the pressure between your perinium and your ITs.  A bike seat basically puts all the pressure on your perinium, and the C2 puts all the pressure on your ITs.  This butt pad basically tries to balance the pressure between the two.  It also has three different insert for the middle part so you can “adjust” the balance between support on your perinium and sitz bones.

Anyway, it felt a bit weird at first, but I sat up straighter, was able to keep my knees down better, and my ass hurt a lot less at the end.  So, I am happy to have bought my gold plated butt pad and recommend it for aging rowers with delicate buttocks.

Back to the 10K.  Last time I averaged 1:57.2, but I was holding around 1:56 before I wimped out.  So I decided to try to target 1:56.  I ended up feeling a bit better at 1:55, so I hung in with that.  Around the 7K mark, I began to feel like that might have been a real problem, but I eased up the pace, counted out the strokes from 7k to 8k and held on.

It was a max effort.  I was above 95% of HRR for almost the last 2000m, about 7:30.  A very long time to be on the ragged edge.  So, I am simultaneously happy with the effort that I put in, and sad that it wasn’t faster.  I finished with 38:25.7, a 1:55.2 pace.  I ranked it and it’s 89th percentile.  Trained, I have the potential for 95th percentile performance.  And it’s a long way off of my best 10K (36:33, 1:49.6 pace).  I guess it’s something to shoot for.

        Workout Summary - media/20190207-1245380o.csv
Workout Details
07|01000|03:53.9|01:57.0|218.9|23.8|177.4|178.0|10.8 - crisis!

I logged this as an entry for the rowsandall “Tough Ten” regatta.  And it puts me firmly in ….last place.  bummer.

Friday: No Training

Today was the make up appointment with the Plumber.  He showed up on time, but took my workout window.  I was booked the rest of the day.  In the evening, we headed down to the Cape for the weekend.

Saturday: 4 x 2000m / 5′ on slides – L2

I am trying hard to do the three “hard” workout per week, even if I miss sessions.  Today was the right day to do the L2.  Last week I did the waterfall for an average pace of 1:52.4.  This was on a static erg.  Trying to figure out a target pace, there was a lot to consider.

  • 4 x 2000 is usually a bit faster than waterfall
  • slides are usually a bit slower for me than static
  • I was not feeling super aggressive, but I didn’t want to fail at the workout

So, I decided to start around 1:54 and see what happened.  What happened was that I was able to do a bit better than that.  I did the first 2000 as warmup, then ended up with the first rep coming in right under 7:30 (1:52.3).  I felt pretty good so I pushed the second rep a bit more (1:51.5).  I had a problem in the rest after the second rep.  Somehow I nudged the back of the erg on  the slide and it was scraping.  I only noticed when I started the 3rd rep and the slides were massively misbehaving.  I stopped, worked it out and started up a fresh 2000.  It gave me an extra 1:30 of rest.  The third rep was challenging.  Fatigue was starting to set in, but I wanted to keep it under 7:30, so I pushed hard and finished at 1:51.5 again.  I was worried about the fourth rep.  My legs were feeling a bit empty.  In the first 3 reps, I was aiming at a rate around 27 and trying to pull right on 10 meters per stroke.  I was essentially trying to start the drive right as the distance clicked down to a “0”.  In the last rep, I found that I was having trouble maintaining that and holding the rate around 27.  I struggled through the first 1500m, and then just buckled down to attack the last 500.  I was happy to finish, and even happier that I managed a slight negative split (1:50.9).

I am happy to be back at the wolverine plan.  I just have to keep the targets reasonable and I think this is a good plan to take me into the spring.

Tomorrow:  4 x 20′ / 2′ L4




Monday: 3 x 20’/2′

        Workout Summary - media/20181029-1225340o.csv
Workout Details

Tuesday:  Strength

  • Abs:  4 x 30″ front plank, 3 x 30″ side plank (each side)
  • swiss ball/med ball twisty things
  • Front Squats bar x 10, bar+20 x 10, bar+40 x 3 x 12
  • incline row: 3 x 12
  • deadlift (with hex bar): bar x 10, bar+90 3 x 12

Wednesday: 4 x 2000′ / 4′

Hard one.  Tried for target pace of 1:50.  It was too much for me.  I backed off to 1:51 in the first couple reps but needed to slow down a bit more on the last two.

I think I need to pace these a bit more conservatively over the winter to avoid really punishing myself, especially when I am as sore as I was from the weights.

Thursday: Strength

  • Abs:  4 x 30″ front plank, 3 x 30″ side plank (each side)
  • swiss ball/med ball twisty things
  • pushups: 3 x 12
  • Front Squats bar x 10, bar+50 x 3 x 10
  • incline row: 3 x 12
  • Good mornings: bar x 10, bar+50 x 3 x 10

Friday: 3 x 20’/2′

Legs a bit sore from yesterday.  But way better than last week.  Felt pretty easy.

       Workout Summary - media/20181102-1240330o.csv
Workout Details


Not bad for a work week. I’ll try to do some hard distance tomorrow, probably a 10K on the dreaded dynamic.

4 x 2K / 5′ – on the erg – Back at it

When my alarm went off at 5:15 this morning, I felt very tired.  I walked downstairs, thought about it for a minute, and then went back to bed for another 2 hours.  I got up at 7:30 and felt much better.

As I drove to work, the weather was fine, but a bit windy.  It would have been perfectly rowable, but I was glad to get the additional sleep.

My new plan was to do the workout at the end of the day on the erg.  Because I have missed just about a full month of serious training, both technique and fitness need attention.  Today I wanted to focus on fitness.

I haven’t done this workout since 9/16/2016, just over a year ago.  This winter and spring, I was using the Eddie Fletcher Marathon training plan and haven’t been doing the normal interval work at all.

I point out all of that basically to say that I had very low expectations, and I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew.  So, I decided to pick a conservative pace target.

The Plan:

  • 4 x 2000 / 5′ rest
  • pace target: 1:55 or faster
  • rate target:  1st: 24, 2nd 25, 3rd 26, 4th: no target
  • HR limits: none
  • Technique:  Focus on keeping my knees together at Head race stroke rates

myimage (8)

        Workout Summary - media/20170921-2215550o.csv
Workout Details

That was hard work.  I managed an average pace of 1:53.7.  Under “normal” circumstances, I would consider this a massive fail.  But given that I am coming back from an injury layoff, and going by the HRs, I was working very hard.  Mostly I was really happy about sticking with it in the later reps and I walked a bit taller walking away from the erg.

Tomorrow:  OTW steady state.  Focus on technique.

Wednesday: Twisty 4 x 2k / 4′ rest (2x)

Weather:  Awesome.  Sunrise is at 6:33am, so when we launched at 5:40 it was still very dark.  The eastern sky was just starting to lighten up.  No wind.  Clear skies.  Flat water.

In the race last weekend, one of our week points was maintaining speed and technique during the big sweeping turns.  Today’s workout was designed to try to practice that.  In the south end of the lake, there are a set of small islands and the lake is much wider.  I looked at it compared the turn radius that you need to hold for the big turn on the charles before the Eliot Bridge.  The inset in the map below is the Eliot turn.  The rest of the map is the south end of Lake Quinsigamond at exactly the same scale.  By doing a figure 8 around the little island on the eastern side of the lake, it is a similar turn to two Eliot Bridge turns in opposite directions.  If you start and finish at the small island to the north, it’s about 2000m.



  • 4 x 2000m
  • 3′ to 5′ rest
  • spm: 24-28
  • pace: faster than 2:20
  • technique:  try to avoid digging too deep.  Clean up finishes.  work on maintaining speed in the turn.

It turned out to be a very hard workout!  I’m not sure about Joe, but it nearly killed me.  I was a bit lightheaded and woozy for a while after we landed.

Here’s the whole thing on a map.  The boathouse is on the top, and we warmed up going down lake to the little island next to the google maps red “pin”.  Then there are four loops around the islands.  Then a cool down going back up to the boathouse.

Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 3.07.07 PM.png

Here is a zoom of each of the four loops.

As we went along, Joe got more and more comfortable with the best line around the small island.  The biggest difference was from rep number 2 to rep number 3.  In Reps 1 and two we lost a ton of boat speed at the apex of the turn.  You can see the divot in the pace plot.  In rep #1, the pace was killed around the 3000m point, and we slowed all the way to a 2:42 pace.  We only got back our boat speed in the last 400m or so.  In rep #2, we still lost speed at the apex of the curve, and the pace dropped to 2:33, but we managed to get back on track sooner.  In rep #3, the pace never got worse than 2:27 and we held boat speed through the whole back half of the turn.  By the fourth rep, I was toast.  I rated lower and rowed like crap.

The piece splits back that up.  Rep #2 had a furious sprint at the end at 30 spm, but was still slower overall than the third rep.

|Start|Dist_|Time_|_Pace__|_SPM__|avg HR|DPS_|Remarks
|00010|01990|10:45|02:42.1| 17.7 | 131 |10.5|warmup
|02000|01999|09:39|02:24.8| 26.6 | 162 |07.8|rep #1
|03999|00251|03:28|06:54.3| 18.1 | 126 |04.0|rest
|04250|02000|09:13|02:18.3| 28.1 | 166 |07.7|rep #2
|06250|00500|06:04|06:04.0| 13.9 | 129 |06.0|rest
|06750|01928|08:51|02:17.7| 27.2 | 170 |08.0|rep #3
|08678|00341|04:27|06:31.5| 26.2 | 130 |02.9|rest
|09019|02001|09:47|02:26.7| 26.0 | 168 |07.9|Rep #4
|11020|02171|13:56|03:12.5| 20.7 | 146 |07.5|cool down
|Start|Dist_|Time_|_Pace__|_SPM__|avg HR|DPS_|Remarks
|00000|01990|10:45|02:42.1| 17.7 | 131 |10.5|warmup
|00000|07928|37:30|02:21.9| 26.9 | 166 |07.9|main set
|00000|01092|13:59|06:24.2| 18.8 | 129 |04.1|rests
|00000|02171|13:56|03:12.5| 20.7 | 146 |07.5|cool down


I’d call that about 38′ of HIT and 37′ of LIT.

Tomorrow:  75′ steady state in my single down in Newton.


Saturday: 4 x 2K / 4′ rest

At home.  Static erg.  Over cooked the first rep and never really recovered.  Hung in there at progressively slower paces, and finished the set, but at very high heart rates and by digging very deep.

Glad I finished.  Depressed I was that slow.

No rowing on the lake this weekend because of some big collegiate racing going on.  Today it was the NERC, which is the New England championships.  Tomorrow is the Women’s Eastern Sprints, which is for bigger schools.  We lend out our boathouse to some crews and there are tents set up all around so it’s impossible to get to our boats.

Tomorrow:  Recovery row.  Something easy.

Thursday: 4 x 2K / 4′ rest

Still struggling.  All I could do to hold flat splits at 1:49.


This was a first outing on the erg at with with a newly upgraded PM5!

2016-01-07 08.24.59

The upgrade was a bit of struggle because the monitor was setup for model D/E, and I needed to a bit of googling to find the way to change it to Model C.  By the way, if you ever want to do that, here is the help page.

After I got that sorted out,  it hooked up to my Wahoo Tickr HR belt with no drama.  And hooked up to my iphone via bluetooth seamlessly.  On the iphone, I tried it with the concept2 application ergdata.  I worked without any trouble.  After that, I started up my beta copy of the Painsled app.

The app hooked up automatically and showed a live dashboard.  The way the app works is you basically pretend that the phone is there at all and set up your workouts on the PM5.  When you finish a workout, the app is supposed to write your workout log file when you press the menu button.  This crashed the app.  But the coolest thing happened.  Overnight between wednesday and thursday the developer pushed a new version which fixed the bug.  What a delightful experience.

So, it worked great on Thursday morning.  I captured the whole workout in a big messy csv file.  Now I am trying to figure out how to massage that into my graphical tools.  A project for this weekend perhaps.

Here’s a primitive HR plot from  the file.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 5.20.28 PM

Today I took a rest day.  Going to go for a hard 5K tomorrow.

Friday: 4 x 2k / 5′ rest

I took yesterday as a rest day.  We had some last minute Christmas prep to do, and a big Christmas Eve feast to prepare.  The was beer to be drunk, and chocolate cream pies to be eaten.  I had a lovely day.

Je ne regrette rien

Today is Christmas, and after opening our presents and carting my daughter off to the airport for her to meet up with her beau to go skiing in Utah, I came home.  And you know what, I was eager to get on the erg.  That’s the good thing about a rest day.

Today’s session is another Pete Plan / Wolverine Plan classic.  The 4 x 2K.  Based on my waterfall at 1:48, I might have chosen a target pace of 1:47.  But based on the level of indulgence yesterday, I decided to play it safer and row to a 1:49 target.  I think it was a good idea.

It was a nice, hard row.  And I pushed it to the edge in the last interval.  I was happy to get the rate up.

Screen Shot 2015-12-25 at 8.15.30 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-25 at 8.15.05 PM

Workout Summary – Dec 25, 2015
–_|_15000_|_59:57.9_|_01:59.9_|_202.9_|_22.7_|_152.3_|_ 76.8% _|_11.0_|_08.9

Workout Details
01_|_02000_|_08:00.0_|_02:00.0_|_202.6_|_20.0_|_130.6_|_ 61.4% _|_12.5_|_10.1
02_|_02000_|_07:16.2_|_01:49.0_|_269.9_|_25.3_|_154.6_|_ 78.4% _|_10.9_|_10.7
03_|_01000_|_04:52.2_|_02:26.1_|_112.3_|_19.1_|_128.7_|_ 60.1% _|_10.8_|_05.9
04_|_02000_|_07:15.7_|_01:48.9_|_270.8_|_25.7_|_160.2_|_ 82.4% _|_10.7_|_10.5
05_|_01000_|_04:53.1_|_02:26.5_|_111.2_|_19.0_|_135.6_|_ 64.9% _|_10.8_|_05.8
06_|_02000_|_07:14.4_|_01:48.6_|_273.3_|_26.2_|_164.4_|_ 85.4% _|_10.5_|_10.4
07_|_01000_|_04:54.4_|_02:27.2_|_109.7_|_19.4_|_140.4_|_ 68.4% _|_10.5_|_05.7
08_|_02000_|_07:01.9_|_01:45.5_|_298.3_|_28.2_|_173.8_|_ 92.0% _|_10.1_|_10.6
09_|_02000_|_08:30.0_|_02:07.5_|_168.8_|_19.3_|_151.6_|_ 76.3% _|_12.2_|_08.8

Other Meters_|_07000_|_31:09.7_|_2:13.5__|_117.4_|_19.4_|_138.4_|_11.6

So, in the end, a 1:48 average for the intervals.

Tomorrow:  4 x 20′ / 1′ rest



Friday: 2K Test


  1. On slides
  2. 20 minute warmup with power 20s at race pace
  3. 2K test
    1. Time target: 6:48
    2. Pacing: Flat pacing at 1:42
    3. Rate: 32 to 34
  4. 20 minute cool down

2k Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 8.27.10 AM

6:50.4…Not terrible, but not as good as I could have done.  I had a little breakdown around 800 meters.  I was fully prepared for “the wave”.  When I do more speed work, I get used to the crisis moment that hits around then.  Kind of a combination pain, chills, nausea, drowning feeling that passes over the course of about 10 strokes.  Anyway, it hit me hard today and I paused before I really knew what was going on.  I started going again almost immediately and finished without any more drama.  Kind of a lame and it definitely cost me about 3 or 4 seconds off the time.

But as a marker for the start of the indoor season, it isn’t so bad.  I ranked it for fun and it’s 18 out 778 in my age group (97th %-ile).  I think with a month or so of base work, and then a couple months of sharpening, taking 3 seconds off my splits is entirely feasible.  I’d like to build a plan to be within striking distance of my 2K PB by the crash-bs.

Tomorrow:  3×20’/1′ steady state at 190W.

Tuesday: 5x2K / 500m rest – Boom

Weather:  cool (60F), sunny, light wind from the west, maybe 2-4 mph.


  1.  5 x 2000 / 500m rest (roughly 5 minutes)
  2. rate target: 28 spm
  3. pace target: 2:12

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 11.17.59 AM Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 11.17.29 AM


10000_|_43:12_|_2:09.6_|_1162___|_26.9_|_08.6_|_166___|_Main set
02000_|_14:12_|_3:33.0_|_253___|_17.8_|_07.9_|_128___|_rest meters
03260_|_18:05_|_2:46.4_|_369___|_20.4_|_08.8_|_141___|_cool down

Holy shit!  That went well.  Comparing the stats from last time on the 5x2k

  • Avg Pace: 2:09.6 (2:12.9)
  • Stroke rate: 26.9 (25.9)
  • Avg HR: 166 (169)

I certainly faded a bit in the last two reps.  In the last rep especially, I just couldn’t get the boat moving in the middle of the rep.  I was having paranoid fantasies about weeds on the fin and mythical head winds in the whole middle 1000m.  Once I got to about 500m left to go, I started pushing harder and counting down the strokes.  That helped pull the avg pace down a bit.

Tomorrow:  The plan calls for 4 x 3000 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit at 80% HRR).  That would be a HR cap at 157.  I think I will row to a 75% HRR cap instead (150).  Should be interesting trying to keep the rating up, the strokes long, and the pressure light.