Thursday: 15 x 3’/1′ off the red eye

I landed in Boston at 6:30am.  I was on the erg by 8am.  I managed to get some sleep, but my expectations for the session were pretty low.


  • 15 x 3’/1′
  • Rate: 25-28
  • Pace: 1:52 or better

I did this session in September (described here).  The jump up was an average pace of 1:50.7, and over 9 minutes spent in the anaerobic HR band.  It was brutal.  Today, I was way more the way that I started, and basically negative split the workout.  The end result was an average split of 1:49.9, and zero time spend in the AN band.

I think the improvement comes from both a more intelligent pacing strategy for the workout, and improved aerobic fitness since mid-September.

The plots and pictures below include 1 warmup rep and 1 cool down rep that are excluded from the pace calculations.

Here is the split summary from  It looks like the way that painsled reports data, it can mess up short intervals by a few meters, so it is different from the PM picture.

Workout Summary - media/20161103-135324-sled_2016-11-03T08-06-32ZEDT.strokes.csv
Workout Details

This session provides another opportunity to explore some of the stroke metric analysis you can do on

First, here is a view of the stroke metrics versus time.


You can see the warmup and cooldown reps.  The other thing that you can just begin to see is that I got all the pace improvement in the last couple of reps by increasing rate, not force.  The best place to see that is in the drv and rcv time plot, where you can see the recovery time decreasing, but the peak and average force are quite consistent with the prior reps.  You can also see how my drive length increased and my avg force decreased a bit over the first few reps.  Let’s dig a bit deeper into those parameters.

First, lets look at drive length over time and also versus stroke rate.  I’ve used the controls on the site to exclude all rest strokes and all strokes below 23 spm, which screen out the warmup and cool down.

So, there is definitely a strong time dependence to my drive length.  I start short, get longer as the workout continues, and only shorten up again at the end when I start to push pace much harder.  The relationship between drive length and stroke rate is very weak.

Next, lets look at peak and average force.

There is little change in these parameters over time or stroke rate.  The area that I want to understand better is the spread of the peak power.  I wonder if I am wasting energy by having an inconsistent stroke.

Tomorrow:  4 x 20′ / 1′ L4


Wednesday: 15 x 3′ / 1′ rest at Crossfit Anaerobic

I’m here in lovely Orange County, so I dropped in on my favorite Crossfit box.  It’s about half a mile from my hotel, and the walk/jog to and from there makes a good warmup/cooldown.  The place is always hopping, and the people are very nice.  I just go get an erg from the long line of well maintained model d’s that they have along the wall, set it up so I can watch all the people doing their Crossfit thing and do my session.

Today’s session is the last high intensity session before the race this Saturday, and boy was it a doozy.  Here’s the plan:

  • 15 x 3′
  • 1′ rest
  • pace target: 1:52 (Actually 800m per interval was what I wanted to beat in each interval)
  • rate target: 26
  • No HR Cap

This is a classic Wolverine Plan “L3” workout.  The rests are not long enough to come close to fully recover, so you dig yourself in deeper and deeper as the workout progresses.

I attacked this session with vigor.  Maybe a bit too much vigor.  I was able to hold my pace below 1:50 for the first 7 intervals.  But I was in deep trouble by then.  I backed off a bit, but came close to blowing up in the 11th, about 1 minute into it.  I took a few strokes around 2:00, and then slowly brought the pace back down to around 1:54.  I rowed the next couple of intervals more conservatively, but I was running on fumes by the time I got to #14.  I purposely sandbagged that one so that I would have a chance on the last one, which I very much wanted to be ahead of target.  It was.  I was shaking all over and it took me a good couple of minutes before I could get off the erg.  This was a very good workout.



Add in another 10 minutes of LIT for the warmup.  So, 45′ of HIT and 45′ of LIT.  And a whopping 9 minutes of anaerobic.  Ouch.

Tomorrow:  Steady State Session.  4 x 20’/1′ rest at 185W.

Thursday: 10 x 3′ / 1′ rest – Not my best work

The original plan was for 15 reps at 1:50.  I pushed through the first 10 reps a little bit ahead of target, but I was digging deeper than I wanted to right from the start.  I wasn’t feeling all that great, I was have some digestion issues and frankly, I was in a pretty crappy mood as well.  Anyway, it all added together and I had an “aw screw this” moment after the 10th rep.  I took an extra minute of rest and then tried to get back on track.  But less than a minute into the 11th rep, I gave up on it.

So, I’m disappointed in myself for bailing instead of finishing the session at a slower pace.   But, it’s just a single workout and I was pretty obviously working hard.  Tomorrow is another day.  I was physically shattered afterward.  I sat on a bench in the locker room for about 10 minutes with a towel over my head waiting to feel better.

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Tomorrow:  4 x 20′ / 1′ rest Lazy Man’s L4.

Saturday:  10K threshold.  I should be able to beat my PB.  My PB is 36:33, which is a 1:49.7.  Using the Free Spirits Pace Predictor and plugging in my HM and 60′ results, I get a predicted time of 36:23 (1:49.2 pace).  So, it will be close, but possible.  It also predicts that I could do 8325m for 30′, which would also be a nice improvement over my current 8266m PB.  I guess that could be a project for next week.

This week is also the final week of my Long Threshold mesocycle.  Next week I move to the long interval mesocycle, mainly at 6K pace or faster for the HIT workouts.  So far, the plan is working.  My long distance times have never been better.  I should really try to find the time and grit to do a FM.  I’d probably do pretty well on that too.


Thursday: 14 x 3′ / 1′ rest varying rates

I’ve noticed that I seem to do better off of slides for middle distance pieces.  For endurance sessions, at the same training power, I seem to have about the same HR and lactate.   And for sprints, I think I actually do a bit better on slides because I can rate up much higher.  But for the middle distances, I am having trouble finding a nice efficient stroke rate.  Basically, I have trouble getting into the groove.

So, today, I decided to do a bit of an experiment.  I replaced a planned 2 x 30′ threshold session with a 15 x 3′ / 1′ workout.  I’ve been doing this workout for a while.  It is one of the “L3” workouts from the Wolverine Plan.  And the pace for it comes around the pace for a 30 min TT.  I thought that this would be a good session to experiment with different rates on slides.

So, I decided that I would try to aim for a pace faster than 1:55, and start at 23 spm.  Then I would click up the stroke rate by 1 spm for each interval.  I decided to play it by ear in terms of how high I would push the rate, and then I could come back down the other side.

I did a couple of 3′ segments at a slower pace as a warmup and then went into the main set. At 23 SPM, I settled in at 1:53 and it didn’t sting too bad.  As I increased stroke rate, it was hard to avoid going faster.  I could tell that I was pushing the pace unsustainably fast as the rate increased.  The format of the workout gave me a chance to try to out some changes in stroke dynamics.

As I got to the higher rates, I needed to concentrate on having really fast hands on the recovery.  If I did that, then I could take the drive a bit slower and maintain the pace.  But it was really murder on my arms.  By the tenth rep, I found it hard to keep my arms out with good form while I paddled in the rests.

From today’s experiment, it looks like for a 30′ Threshold, on slides, I should be rating between 28 and 30.  But I rarely rate that high either in a boat or on an erg.  I need to practice at these rates more often to make it work.

And through this experiment, I think I am starting to get an idea about the root cause of why my boat speed is not as good as my static erg speed.  I have deeply ingrained muscle memory to pause at the finish.

It’s gotten a bit better over time, but I do not flow smoothly from the drive through the finish to the recovery.  Instead I pause, then from a stop, I accelerate through the recovery to the catch, and then hit the catch hard.  I am beginning to think that getting to the point where my middle distances are better on slides than on static might unlock some boat speed.

So, back to the workout.  I pushed all the way up to 33, and started back down.  I did the 32 spm segment which was my 12 interval, but I was toast after that.  I felt barely recovered at the end of the minute rest, and blew up a minute into the 31 spm rep.  I paddled that one out.  Then did two more reps at 31 and 30 spm and decided that I had done enough damage for today.  I did a quick 3 minute cool down and headed off to the showers.

And because it was that kind of a morning, I discovered that I had forgotten my towel at home and needed to dry off after my shower using paper towels.

Temp: 70f, Humidity 55%

12-3Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 10.31.31 AM

I think I’ll do a slow 30 minutes tonight to try to facilitate recovery and a 4 x 20′ tomorrow morning.

Thursday: 10×3’/1′ rest on the erg

Weather forecast was for rain, wind, and chance of thunderstorms.  So, even though the temperature was back in the high 50s, I decided to stay inside on the erg.  I did the workout on slides.

The OTW plan was for 4 x ( 3 x 3′ / 1′ paddle) / 2′ turn.  This was adapted from an erg workout 15×3’/1′ rest, so I decided to do that.  The problem coming back to the erg is always figuring out a good pace.

Today I guesses wrong and paid the price.  I decided to try to hit 1:50 or better, and ended up faster than 1:49 through 10 intervals, but I was totally done by that point and HD’ed in the 11th interval.  Once that happened, I basically gave up on the workout.  Looking in my old notebook, I saw that my fastest ever for this workout was 1:48.5, so I was a bit too ambitious with my pacing.  1:52 would have been a much better choice.

10x3 Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 12.57.10 PM

I have trouble getting upset about this workout.  I did 30 minutes at head race pace and pushed it pretty hard.  I hate to bail on a workout, but trying to get 15 good reps in would have been an epic battle, probably without much additional training benefit.

Thursday: 4 x ( 3 x 3′ / 1′ rest) / 2′ rest – another good one

Yesterday, work intruded on rowing.  I had a big meeting at 10AM and I was working on preparing for it from 6AM onward.  I finished my last meeting of the day at about 6:30PM and scooted home.  Shit happens.

Today, the weather was glorious!  Sunny, cool, around 60F.  Light wind from the NNE about 5 mph.  This was shifty and flukey, but I only noticed it as a head wind on parts of the upriver segments.  But the water was flat and I was really happy to be out on the river.


  1. 3′ on / 1′ off
  2. 2′ minute rests when I needed to spin the boat, so basically 4 sets of 3 reps
  3. rate: r26 or higher
  4. pace: 2:15 or faster, hopefully faster.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.44.24 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.44.01 PM


08420_|_36:03_|_2:08.5_|_950___|_26.3_|_08.9_|_165___|_Main set
01740_|_10:55_|_3:08.2_|_223___|_20.4_|_07.8_|_158___|_rest meters
03240_|_18:25_|_2:50.5_|_355___|_19.3_|_09.1_|_139___|_cool down

BOOM!  Another really good workout.  It was hard, but I was able to focus on technique at 26 spm and hold 2:10 pretty routinely.  Each of the reps started to bite around halfway through, but I didn’t need to pull back on any of them.

Tomorrow:  Another day of work related craziness.  I need to be in Rhode Island at 7am for a meeting, and then drive to the office for meetings in the afternoon.  I figure I might be able to squeeze in an erg session, but I’m not sure.  I need some steady state meters!