So far so good

Tuesday – Nov 5 – 3 x 20′ / 1′

In the fitness center at work, static erg. b A bit short on time because I had to get to some offsite training by 8:15am.  Original plan was 4×20, I had to shorten it to 3×20.

Started at 165W and increased as I went along.

Wednesday – November 6 – 4 x 2000/5′

This is an intimidating session.  I had a reasonably good idea for the pace target because of the waterfall from last week:  1:53.0

The first rep was a warmup.  The average pace for the 4 work reps was 1:51.6.  The first two were no problem, the third was tough and I was struggling to hold pace in the last one after the first 500m of it.  I’m really happy to complete it cleanly.  1:51.5 target for the first 3 next time, with hopefully a faster last.

Thursday – 7 November – rest day

I wasn’t planning a rest day, but when I got to work I wanted to work on requirement definition for the “secret new feature” on  And then I discovered that I had a 8 am meeting.  So, there wasn’t enough time for a row.

Friday – 8 November – 3 x 20’/1′

Another day with early meetings, but I went right to the gym and got to work.  Today, I started at 170W and pushed it a bit while trying to keep my HR below 145 through the first 40 minutes.  I loosened the cap in the last 20 minutes to 150.

Saturday – 9 November – Hard 30′

At home on slides.  I was nervous about this session because of all the 10Ks that I bailed out on over the summer.  But based on the 1:57.2 10K that I did last week, a reasonable target for this piece was 1:56.  In my head, I really wanted to hold 1:55, but I was afraid that would be a stretch.

I started with a 2000m warmup.

Here’s the main piece.  Looks pretty boring.  It wasn’t.  I was making very small adjustments to stroke rate to try to hold 1:55.  And I counted strokes for each 1000m of the piece.  The hardest bit was probably from 5000 to 6000m.  Still pretty far from the end, but deep into the hole.  When I got to 2 minutes left, I was sure I was going to make it and I rated up to try to get over 7850.  I did…7855m.  That’s a 1:54.5 pace.  I have to shave 2 seconds off that to get back above 8K for 30 minutes.  I think that’s doable.

        Workout Summary - media/20191109-2211370o.csv
Workout Details

Then a 2K happy ending cool down.

Tomorrow:  Long row — 3 x 30’/2′





12/18 to 12/23 – I have a new least favorite session – 30r22

But we’ll get to that.

12/18 – Strength Session.

Crunches 10×10″/5″
Superman 2x10x10″/1″
Side plank 2x3x30″/10″
Pushups 2×17,1×20
Front squats , bar+90lb  3×6
Cable rows 96lb 1×6, 120lb 2×8,1×1 (Should these be done with or without back swing?  I did them without.)
Shoulder press 84lb 1×12, 96lb 1×9 1×7
One leg squats 2x20lb dumbbells, 2x3x12
Cable pull downs, narrow overhand grip 144lb 2×10 1×7
Deadlifts bar 1×12, bar + 150lb 3 x10


12/19 – 30r22

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.

        Workout Summary - media/20181219-1246020o.csv
Workout Details
10|00252|01:00.0|01:59.2|225.0|22.1|167.8|168.0|11.4 - HD #1
12|00247|01:00.0|02:01.3|218.5|22.1|167.6|168.0|11.2 - HD #2
15|00225|01:00.0|02:13.4|181.3|20.0|166.9|167.0|11.3 - HD #3
29|00270|01:00.0|01:50.9|250.2|22.1|180.2|181.0|12.2 - End in sight!

It was pure misery, but pretty good threshold training,

I think.  In the end, I missed my target of 1:55 by about a second.  I figured if I didn’t go out so fast, I could hold 1:55 the whole way.  A theory I disproved on Friday.

I did a dejected little 1k cool down.

Thursday – Strength

Crunches 10×10″/5″
Superman 2x10x10″/1″
Side plank 2x3x30″/10″
Pushups 2×18,1×20 (steadily increasing.  That’s good)
Front squats , bar+90  8,8,8 (up 2 reps from Tues)
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.

        Workout Summary - media/20181221-1316040o.csv
Workout Details
10|00173|01:00.0|02:53.9|104.7|21.2|164.9|169.0|08.2 - HD #1
12|00247|01:00.0|02:01.2|203.4|20.8|159.4|162.0|11.9 - HD #2
18|00196|01:00.0|02:33.2|122.3|20.5|164.8|168.0|09.5 - HD #3
22|00250|01:26.1|02:52.3|205.7|21.8|158.5|164.0|08.0 - HD #4

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.

       Workout Summary - media/20181223-2025320o.csv
Workout Details

Tomorrow:  I think I will do the Christmas 10K online race

30 minutes hard – static

It was foggy and windy this morning so no coastal rowing for me.  Probably a good thing.  I have a lot of issues to work on right now, but threshold fitness is probably the biggest one.  It’s probably easier to focus on fitness on the erg compared to a coastal row with a lot of wind, chop and other distractions.


  • 5 minute warmup with 10 stroke bursts at 22/24/26/28
  • 30 minutes hard
    • rate target: 24
    • pace target 1:55
    • HR limit: none


Workout Summary - media/20170923-1750570o.csv
Workout Details

I held onto to 1:55 as the target through the first 10 minutes, but I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to keep it up the whole way.  I decided to let the pace drift up to 1:57.  That got me through the next 5 minutes.  At the halfway point, I decided to try to play a little visualization game.  I tried to remember the rough spacing of bridges in the HOCR.  I was pretty sure it was about 5 minutes from the Eliot bridge to the end.  It was probably a little more than 5 minutes from the Anderson to Eliot, and another 5 minutes from Western to Anderson.  So, I tried to visualize the different parts of the course as I did them.  I was really struggling at 10 minutes to go, and I was picturing myself going around the long turn from Anderson to Eliot.  I pictured the Cambridge Boat Club coming into view with about 2 minutes left and focused to trying to stay close to the buoy line.  I let my pace slip a bit slower than 1:57 because I wanted to save a little for the last stretch beyond the eliot bridge.  With 5 minutes to go, I split it up even more.  First was about 25 strokes to get me to the BBN docks.  Then 50 strokes to get around the last turn.  Then a final 50 strokes to the finish.

It was pretty satisfying to get it done.  I was really losing hope in the middle.  I am not pleased at all about the time.  My best 30 minutes is 1:48.8 pace back in 2013, and my best hour is at a 1:52 pace late in 2015.  Hell, my best half marathon is faster at 1:53.6 (also in 2015).  So I am more than 7 seconds off my best pace for head race distances.  All I can do is work on my tolerance for pain and do my best.

Tomorrow:  Hopefully an easy coastal row.

The Resident Plan : An erg training plan for people with very little time

My daughter is in med school at a major urban hospital.  This means long and irregular hours and lots of stress.  I wanted to figure a reasonably well balanced plan to improve fitness for the 2k distance within a tight time constraint.

The plan is mainly based on the Pete Plan.  This is a cyclical plan with 3 “hard” sessions a week, and 3 “steady” sessions a week.  In the 3 hard sessions are a short interval session, a long interval session and a hard distance session.  The steady sessions are basically 8K done at a moderate pace.  The creator of the plan, Pete Marston, is an accomplished indoor rower.  He wanted a plan that would fit into his lunch hour.  It has some similarity to the Wolverine Plan, but dispenses with the parts of that plan that Pete found annoying.

So this, then, is a grandson of the Wolverine Plan.  The constraints of the plan are this.

  • Employ sound training principles
  • Actual rowing time is limited to 30 minutes per session
  • 3 to 7 sessions per week
  • Cyclical, progressive format (like the Pete Plan)

So, here, without further ado, is the Resident Plan.

The Resident Plan:

The plan is based on a three week cycle. There are no rest days, because life will provide those for you in the form of on-call hours and other interruptions.  In each week there are 4 hard days and 3 easy days.

The hard days are intended to provide a weekly balance of power, threshold work, and enough lighter work to facilitate recovery and maintain aerobic endurance.

Start off with a 2K test just to get yourself calibrated. (record your average split)

Since life is all about choices, the workout types are provided in priority order.  Try to get the three highest priority workouts done each week.  If possible try to get a recovery day between these workouts, but that is not mandatory.

Note about  how to row the intervals:  One of the key pieces of advice from the Pete Plan is to set your pace conservatively and stick to it for the all but the last interval, and then make the last one the fast one.  Then you can take the average pace of all your intervals and use that as the target for all but the last interval of the same session, the next time around.

Important Safety Tip:  In order to fit a useful amount of hard rowing into a brief workout window, I have reduced the amount of warmup and cool down in the sessions way more than I would normally like.  If you have extra time for a session, especially the short and long intervals, taking a few extra minutes in warmup is a very good idea.  If you don’t have time for more warmup, starting with a bit slower pace target in the first rep is a good idea. I also think that cooldowns are a good idea, although the research is not as conclusive as it is about the value of a warmup.  But a bit of stretching after a hard session is probably a good idea.

Session Types

Priority #1 – Short Intervals
The objective of these workouts is to improve your 2K performance.  They should be rowed at roughly the same rate (SPM) as your 2K.  The pacing should be about the same as your 2K for the 2′ intervals, and a little slower for the 3′ and 4′ intervals.  If you are not shaking after you do these sessions, you need to try harder.

  • Week #1: 7 x 2′ / 2′ rest ( 2′ warmup / 14′ work / 12′ rest / 2′ cooldown = 30′)
  • Week #2: 5 x 3′ / 3′ rest ( 2′ warmup / 15′ work / 12′ rest / 1′ cooldown = 30′)
  • Week #3: 4 x 4′ / 4′ rest ( 2′ warmup / 16′ work / 12′ rest / no cooldown = 30′)

The two minute warmup up:  Row nice and slow for 30 seconds.  Then do 5 hard strokes. Then 30 seconds easy. Then hard strokes for the rest of the 2 minutes.  For the hard strokes, aim for the target pace and rate that you will be rowing in the intervals.

Priority #2 – Long Intervals
The objective of these workouts is to improve your efficiency and economy and they can really help to improve your middle distance rowing.  They also teach you about dealing with discomfort.  The pacing should be about 6 second slower than your 2K split to start, but it’s going to vary from person to person.  Stroke rate should be a couple beats lower than the short interval sessions.

  • Week #1: 4 x 6′ / 2′ rest ( no warmup / 24′ work / 6′ rest / no cool down)
  • Week #2: 3 x 8′ / 3′ rest ( no warmup / 24′ work / 6′ rest / no cool down)
  • Week #3: The water fall 9′ + 8′ + 7′ / 3′ rest ( no warmup / 24′ work / 6′ rest / no cool down)

Priority #3 – Hard Distance Day
The objective of this workout is to work on lactate tolerance and efficiency.  Pace is going to be about 10 second slower than your 2K test to start (for the free rate piece).  Stroke rate will probably be about 4 beats lower than your 2k.

  • Week #1 : 30r20.  This is a classic power workout.  You row as hard as you can for 30 minutes but the catch is that you row at exactly 20 spm for the whole piece.
  • Week #2: The 30 minute push.  This one is tricky to explain.  The 30 minutes is divided into 5 chunks, each 6′ long.  Row the first chunk at a reasonably easy pace.  Maybe 20 splits slower than your 2k time.  Then, at the end of the first 6 minutes, speed up by 2 splits.  So, for example, if you start rowing at a 2:10 pace, then you would accelerate to a 2:08 pace after 6 minutes.  Then after 12 minutes, accelerate again (now to 2:06).  Then after 18 minutes, do it again (to 2:04).  After 24 minutes again.  Do this one slow the first time, and then start a second or two faster the next time it comes up in the sequence.
  • Week #3:  Free Rate Day.  Choose one of the Concept2 middle distance ranking distances, and go for it.  Your primary choices are 30′, 6K, 5K.  No rate restrictions.  If you are doing the 5K or 6K, do a short warmup before hand.

Priority #4 – Power Day
The objective is to increase your anaerobic power and neuromuscular coordination to row at high rates.  The workout is loosely based on Peak Power Training from Ed McNeely.  This is the same session in all 3 weeks of the cycle.  Here are a few tips from the that article about how to do this session.

On a CII set the drag factor to 200. The high drag factor is necessary to provide adequate resistance so that you can hit a true peak power. Lower drag factors do not provide enough resistance and you will get lower peak power numbers. Warm up by paddling easy for 5-10 minutes. At the end of your warm up come to a full stop and let the fly wheel stop. Set your monitor so that you can see the watts for each stroke. From a stop row as hard and as fast as possible for 10 seconds, recording the highest power you see on any stroke. There is no rate cap but you must row as close to full slide as possible right from the first stroke, do not use a racing start.

  • 8′ warmup
  • 3 x ( 5 x 10″ hard / 50″ paddle) / 2′ rest (2:30 of really hard work, 12:30 of paddling, 4′ rest)
  • 3′ cooldown

Priority #5 – Easy Days
Although these are the lowest priority, they are the key to long term improvement.  These sessions are also the most boring.  You get on the rowing machine and you row for 30 minutes.  Your pace target should be about 2K plus 20 or so.  If you use a heart rate monitor, you should aim at having your heart rate below 80% of your max at the end of the session.  The purpose of these sessions is provide active recovery from the hard sessions, to build aerobic endurance and to improve the ability to use fat as an energy source for exercise.  These sessions can be replaced by a bike ride, run, or other aerobic activity.

The cycle

The whole point of the structure of this plan is so that you go through all the workout over a 3 week cycle, and then you come back and do them again.  You can measure improvement from cycle to cycle and you get better at the workouts.

Example 3 Week Cycle

Week Day Workout Type Session Target Pace
1 Sunday 2K Time Trial 2K
Monday 30′ Easy 2K +20
Tuesday Short Intervals 7 x 2′ / 2′ rest 2K
Wednesday 30′ Easy
Thursday Long Intervals 4 x 6′ / 2′ rest 2K + 5
Friday 30′ Easy 2K + 20
Saturday Power 3 x ( 5 x 10″ / 50″ ) / 2′ rest 2K – ?
2 Sunday Hard Distance 30 R 20 2K + 14
Monday 30′ Easy
Tuesday Short Intervals 5 x 3′ / 3′ 2K + 1
Wednesday 30′ Easy
Thursday Long Intervals 3 x 8′ / 4′ 2K + 6
Friday 30′ Easy
Saturday Power 3 x ( 5 x 10″ / 50″ ) / 2′ rest
3 Sunday Hard Distance 30′ Push 2K + 20 to start
Monday 30′ Easy
Tuesday Short Intervals 4 x 4′ / 4′ 2K + 2
Wednesday 30′ Easy
Thursday Long Intervals 9′ / 8′ / 7′ (3′ rest) 2K + 6
Friday 30′ Easy
Saturday Power 3 x ( 5 x 10″ / 50″ ) / 2′ rest
4 Sunday Hard Distance 30′ Time Trial (Free Rate) 2K + 10

What if you are on call and can’t do a session?  If you have a couple minutes, here and there, I suggest that you try to do some very quick body weight exercises.  Do 50 body weight squats.  Do a set of 20 push ups.

There are two options about what to do with the planned sessions when you need to miss multiple days in a row.  One option is to try to cram all the high intensity stuff into the days that you have.  The other is to just pick up with the normally scheduled session for the day when you return.  I have found that the second way is a lot easier to manage when my routine is disrupted by travel or other business commitments.  But you might be different.  In any case, after a lay off of 3 days or so, your splits will suffer a little, so don’t get all stressed about your times.


Saturday: June CTC – 30R24

Friday:  “Rest Day”.  Flew to San Diego in the morning, and back on the red eye.  I arrived at 7:00AM.  Drove home and slept until around 10:30.

A little after 2, after doing some domestic chores, I found time for an erg session.  The month is passing and I hadn’t made an attempt at the Cross Team Challenge.

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 5.55.01 PM.png

I started with a 2K warmup, with 3 bursts of 20 strokes each near my target pace and rate.

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 5.49.51 PM

2016-06-18 14.55.56

Then it was onto the main event.  I felt like an 8K target was about right.  Maybe a bit aggressive since I haven’t been doing much erging and very hard distance work, but I would have felt bad doing less.

I turned out to be doable.  I was a bit fast through the first half, and I needed to bleed off a bit of pace to keep from blowing up in the second.  It was very close to a maximal effort.

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 5.50.43 PM

2016-06-18 15.30.23

I took 721 strokes exactly, according to the painsled file.

Then a 2K cool down

Mission accomplished.

Tomorrow:  Steady State OTW



Saturday: Hard 30′ (very hard)

No PB for me today.  I tried, but by 10 minutes into it, I pretty much knew I couldn’t hang on to the required pace.  I slowed down a bit and just hung on.  It was a season best, but no where near what I think I should be able to do.  It was my 7th straight training day, versus doing the 5K after a rest day.  I’m not too bummed out about it and I’m looking forward to getting into my sprint and power mesocycle on Monday.

2K warmup

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 7.20.11 PM

Workout Summary – Jan 16, 2016
–_|_02000_|_07:44.6_|_01:56.2_|_223.3_|_21.0_|_135.5_|_ 64.9% _|_12.3_|_10.6

The main event.  Target split for a PB was 1:48.8.  I fell behind target after 10 minutes and never got back.

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 7.24.49 PMScreen Shot 2016-01-16 at 7.25.21 PM

Workout Summary – Jan 16, 2016
–_|_08133_|_30:00.0_|_01:50.7_|_258.2_|_25.5_|_171.6_|_ 90.5% _|_10.6_|_10.1
Workout Details

01_|_01387_|_05:00.0_|_01:48.2_|_276.6_|_25.4_|_156.7_|_ 79.9% _|_10.9_|_10.9
02_|_01379_|_05:00.0_|_01:48.8_|_272.0_|_25.6_|_170.2_|_ 89.5% _|_10.8_|_10.6
03_|_01356_|_05:00.0_|_01:50.6_|_258.6_|_25.4_|_172.1_|_ 90.8% _|_10.7_|_10.2
04_|_01337_|_05:00.0_|_01:52.2_|_247.8_|_25.0_|_174.0_|_ 92.2% _|_10.7_|_09.9
05_|_01329_|_05:00.0_|_01:52.9_|_243.5_|_25.2_|_177.0_|_ 94.4% _|_10.5_|_09.7
06_|_01345_|_05:00.0_|_01:51.5_|_252.2_|_26.4_|_179.7_|_ 96.2% _|_10.2_|_09.6

Then a 2K cool down.

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 7.21.58 PM

Workout Summary – Jan 16, 2016
–_|_02000_|_08:28.4_|_02:07.1_|_170.4_|_19.9_|_149.3_|_ 74.6% _|_11.8_|_08.5

Probably take a rest day tomorrow.


Tuesday PM: 30′ L4

I’m really liking this L4 thing.  It’s giving me something to think about instead of just bashing my head against constant power steady state sessions.  I think it is also good to have the rate changes to force me to think about technique as I go along.

This was just an easy session.  I repeated the same 6 minute sequence 5 times.


Stroke count was right (to the resolution of the PM) and I was about 6 watts ahead of the target power.  I should probably get back on the power target and push the rate up a notch.


HR was nice and low through the session.  I don’t bother doing lactates for the 30 minutes sessions.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 9.19.12 AM