Looping back around again.

I’ve completed the three week cycle of the plan, and then had a 1 week interruption to go to China.  Now, I am back to repeating the workouts for the second time through and have a much better idea of pace targets.

Sunday – Nov 24 – 3 x 30′ / 2′ Steady State with a bit of L4 action

I was feeling a tired and my HR was a bit higher than I expected, but it was a good session.  I got bored and decided to do the last 30 minutes in L4 format.

       Workout Summary - media/20191124-2146140o.csv
Workout Details

There is something brewing with the monitor on this rower.  The spikes that you see at the end of the first 30′ piece were transients.  I saw them on the monitor too.  I was rowing along and suddenly the power went up above 200 and the stroke rate was way off too.  There is also missing strokes, something that I saw a lot more of a while ago, but is still an issue on this specific machine.

Monday – Nov 25 – 8 x 500 / 3’30”

Last time I did this session was October 25th.  I targeted a 1:45 pace, did the first 7 reps between 1:44 and 1:45, and kicked out a nice faster last rep at 1:41.9.  That brought the average to 1:44 even for whole session.

So today’s target was 1:44 for the first 7 and a faster last.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.  I started with a fletcher warmup.

That was hard work.  I was worried that I might not be up to the session.

But, it turns out I was OK.  In fact, I was really nailing it in the middle reps.  The last couple started to bite pretty hard, but I focused on trying to keep my rate up above 30 and row nice and light.

Here is the comparison between sessions.

  • 1.2% shorter DPS (correlates with slightly higher stroke rate)
  • 2.4% higher peak force.
  • 1.9% higher stroke rate
  • 3.1% higher power (up from 309 to 319W)

I’m really happy with the session.  I had an irresistible urge to lie down for a minute in the locker room afterwards, and I’m pleasantly sore now.  I’ve kind of missed doing these sprint interval sessions.


Long and fast

Not at the same time.

Sunday:  4 x 20′ / 2′ L4

Down on the Cape.  We went down to see how things were holding up over the winter.  The house looks to be a good shape, but the stairs that I built last spring have taken a serious beating.

The damage is much worse than last winter.  It appears that pack ice must have entrapped the bottom of the stairs and when it broke free, carried the stairs with it.  Next time I go down, I will see what I can salvage and once it warms up, I’ll rebuild.

The workout had a much better outcome.  Sometimes, it just happens.   You do a workout where you feel great.  That’s how I felt on Sunday.  I had pushed really hard on Saturday and for Sunday’s session, I just wanted to bank the meters.  So, I set up to do the same L4 as I have been doing.  But it just felt so easy.  And my HR never really went up.  I’ve been doing 3 x 20s lately, but 4×20 was no problem.

        Workout Summary - media/20190210-1840400o.csv
Workout Details

Notice the summary is a bit ragged.  I have seen this before and almost always on the erg down on the Cape.  The reason it looks that way is it is missing lots of strokes.  This is a quick graph to show what I mean.  The captured data includes stroke number.  This is just a graph of the stroke number minus the prior stroke number in the file.  There are 9 times where more than 10 strokes are missing from the data.


The question is why?  There are lots of possible suspects.  The data is communicated from the PM5 to my iphone by bluetooth.  At the same time, my iphone is streaming a podcast over wifi, and using a bluetooth connection to my earphones.  My wifi on the cape is really bad (Thanks directTV!).  It’s possible that the streaming is the cause.  Someday, I might try to sort it out.  Definitely if I am going to do an online challenge or ranked piece.

We headed home around 3 in the afternoon.

Monday – 8 x 500m / 3’30” – L1

I slept badly last night.  It’s a Sunday night tradition.  But I was up at 5:15 and in the office by 6:20.  The planned session was an 8×500, and I was hopeful that I could hold a target pace faster than the 1:42 from the pyramid session last week.

I started with a 2k warmup.  Pick drill, then 20 stroke bursts at target pace.

Then the main event.

        Workout Summary - media/20190211-1315390o.csv
Workout Details

Nailed a 1:40 pace.  Happy with that.

Tomorrow:  3 x 20′ / 2′ L4

500m race

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.

2018-12-16 13.22.41

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.

bokeh_plot (57)


Mon: Rest, Tues: 10x(500@22,500@18), Wed 3x(5×500@24/1′)/5’5′

Monday:  Scheduled rest day.  I think this might be the first scheduled rest day on my scheduled rest day after a full week of training in the last 6 months.  It feels good to be in a routine, while it lasts.  I start travelling again next week.

Tuesday:  Full set of PT exercises.

The workout plan calls for 10 x 500m at r22 with 2 minute rests.   I have been making a bit more work by replacing the 2 minute rests with a Cat VI 500m (r18, 2:05).

The workout isn’t hard, but I tried to work continuously on recovery sequence.  Tense the glutes, hold the quads, fast hands away, wait until body is over before starting up the slide.

Comparing this to the past couple of weeks shows about the same HR response.  A bit higher at the start and lower at the end.


Wednesday:   3 x (5 x 500 @ 24 / 1′ ) / 5′

target: 1:52

Another fun workout.  Again, I did the 5′ rests between sets as one minute paddle, 500m of pause drill, which ended up around 2:40, and then another minute of paddle.  This makes the pm setup easier.

I started with a 2K warmup, with bumps working up to the r24.  Again I was trying to find the rhythm of the stroke while concentrating on recovery sequence.

2018-01-17 08.53.05

The main set.

          Workout Summary - media/20180117-1355320o.csv
Workout Details

Compare today to the two past weeks.  HR response was better today, peak HRs were lower and recovery in the rests was faster.


Tomorrow:  4 x 20’/3′  if I have time.  I have a 8am meeting which might cut things short.


Wednesday: 3 x (5 x 500 @ r24 / 1′ ) / 5′

I have been squeezed for time the past two days so I skipped my physio exercises.  Seems that was a mistake!  Last night I started feeling really tight in my left hip and back and this morning, my SI joint was really sore on the left side.

I was a good boy and did all my exercises today, and afterward, it felt a lot looser.  It still gave me a bit of a twinge if I finished with too much layback.  Probably useful since I need to be more consistent and use a bit less layback in general.

The session for today is one that I have done at least 3 times now.  I like it.  At r24, it’s pretty easy to crank out 500s.  They sting a bit at the end, but you can really focus on stroke mechanics because the rate and pace are pretty reasonable.

The target pace for these was 1:52.

To make the setup simple, I programmed this as 500m intervals and 1′ rests.  Then after 5 hard intervals, I did the next one as a very light pause drill, stopping at body over on every stroke and trying to isolate and feel the body recovery.  I ended up cheating myself out of about 20 seconds of the 5 minute rest this way, but there was plenty of recovery time.

I started with a 2k warmup with 4 x 300m or easy and 200m of hard.

          Workout Summary - media/20180110-1436060o.csv
Workout Details

2018-01-10 09.25.47

Then I tightened the foot straps, programmed the PM, and got going.  Not much to report.  I was really trying to hold both rate and pace, while focusing on fast hands away and full body recovery before breaking my knees.  It wasn’t too hard, but I was glad when the 5′ breaks came along.

          Workout Summary - media/20180110-1435320o.csv
Workout Details

Compared to last week.  My HR was running a bit higher today, not sure why.  Last time I opted to push the pace on the last one, I didn’t today.

After I finished, I was curious to see if all the effort I was putting in to technique was actually doing something or if I was just deluding myself.  Somewhere in between, I think.

I still have to hold the knees down longer.  Here’s the offending screen capture.  Arms bent, body halfway there, but knees already up.  Bad Greg!

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 12.52.22 PM.png

Tomorrow:  4×20′ / 3′ Cat VI, r18, 2:05



Wednesday: 3 x (5 x 500m / 1′) / 5′

I was pretty excited to give this workout a try.

  • 3 sets of (5 x 500m)
  • Rest between: 1’ between each 500m
  • 5’ between each set
  • Rating/Pace: Cat IV: SR 24  <– 1:52

It should have been quite doable and it was.  I had a bit extra left over to put some extra grunt into the last rep of the last two sets, trying to keep the rate at 24.

To make the interval setup easy, I just did it as 500m work and 1′ rest.  After each 5 hard 500s, I paddled a 500 really slowly, aiming at a 3′ time.  That plus the 1′ before and after gave me a 5 minute break.  Since I would dissect the intervals in rowsandall afterward, it worked out fine.

Today, I was using a PM3 with painsled via the usb connection.  I was using the OH1 HR sensor connected to the iphone.  Painsled seemed a bit unhappy about this and the HR display on the phone danced between the correct reading and 0.  As it turns out, that’s also what it logged in the data, so the time in zone data is useless, but you can get the picture from the plot.

There was also a weird occurrence during my warmup.  I did 2k with 10 stroke bumps at my target pace every 500m.  After my second bump, painsled popped up the completing session message, and then kept going.  In the log, there were two files, one for each half of my warmup. No problem, I glued the two pieces of the warmup and the mainset together in rowsandall before doing the plots.

          Workout Summary - media/20171227-2016050o.csv
Workout Details

It was a reasonably hard session, but definitely not over the top.  I enjoyed it.

Tomorrow:  I am going up to Marblehead to collect my father’s set of woodworking tools.  I plan to move them down to the house on the cape and set up a little workshop in the basement (near the erg!).  If I have time in the afternoon, the planned session is a 4 x 20/3′ at r18.  My new pace range for these is 2:03 to 2:08.  I think I will push from 2:06 to 2:05 as my target.


Wednesday: 8 x 500 / 2’30”

Warmup: Fletcher

          Workout Summary - media/20171115-1315300o.csv
Workout Details

The main event:  Target pace 1:45

I played it safe in the first 5.  It also took a bit of practice to rate up and keep my stroke smooth.  I tried to remember the posture stuff from yesterday, mainly tried to keep my knees down at the beginning of  the recovery.  In the last three I started to push harder with the end in sight.  I really pulled out the stops for the last one.

I’ve got a long way to go.  My training objective is to break my 2k PB of 6:36.  That means I’d have to hold that 1:39 split for 4x the distance I did today.  Its going to take a lot of work, but I’m excited by the possibility.

Cool down:

I’m very happy with the workout.  I think the safe pace target worked out well and being able to pull a “fast last” was awesome.  Next time for this, a target of 1:44.

Now, I get to enjoy a day of not eating.  I am going to get my first routine colonscopy tomorrow so they mandate no solid food for the full day before.

So, we’ll call tomorrow a “rest” day.  😦



A little bit of speed

Note:  Just realized that I never posed this workout. I had a draft written and never published it.

I had an 8 am meeting today, so not enough time for OTW.  I was sick of slow and steady sessions so I decided to dip a toe back into an easy speed session.

8 x 500 / 2 min rest.

Target was to do a couple 500s as warm up and that start at 1:50 and do each one faster than the last.

It was fun, and it helped me calibrate what a reasonable pace would be for this session.

For some reason, nothing was working in terms of electronics.

I set up in erg data and it hung up in the 4th interval.  Then I setup in pain sled and that hung up after 2 intervals.  At that point, I just kept going without capturing any data.  Kind of disappointing.

Here are the first four intervals.  The first two were warm ups.  Then:

target actual

  • 1:50, 1:49.9
  • 1:49, 1:48.7

Then I reset the workout and continued.  I think I cheated myself out of a little rest.

  • 1:48, 1:47.5
  • 1:47, 1:46.5
  • 1:46, 1:45.5
  • 1:45, 1:44.6 (slipped a tenth!)
  • 1:44, 1:43.3 (got it back with interest)
  • 1:43, 1:37.9 (The irresitable lure of the faster last!)
  • Then a “cool down” rep.  It turns out I wasn’t in the mood to cool down.

So, I think aiming at 1:45 for all reps would be totally reasonable.



Thursday: 2×500 taper.

On the charles in my fluid.

Last taper day.


Workout Summary - media/20161020-152810-77630o.csv
Workout Details


Wednesday: 3 x 500 Taper (in 2x)

On Lake Quinsigamond in the Vespoli double with Joe.

Weather:  Wicked dark!  Warm, around 65F.  Wind from the SW around 10mph, but it felt like it was lighter in middle and kicked up a bit again at the end.


  • Long Rojabo style warmup
  • 3 x 500
    • Pace: ~2:00
    • Rate: 28-30
  • Long rests with square blade drills
  • Long cool down with some more sets of 20 to work on technique

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 7.06.12 PM.png

No Heart Rate data.  I assume the battery in the H7 gave up the ghost.


The intervals were basically at a 2:00 pace.  I feel like that’s pretty good boat speed for us.

Workout Summary - media/20161019-125836-77588o.csv
Workout Details

I stuck the GoPro camera on the stern today to get a look at how well we were rowing together.  It was way too dark to see much for the first 45 minutes of the outing, but it was light enough during the last 10 minutes or so during our row back to the boathouse at the end.  We did four sets of 20  strokes on / 20 strokes off you can see in the rate plot above.  They were at 28, 24, 26, and 24 spm.

So, it looks like you will have to sneak over to youtube to see the video, I can’t seem to embed it anymore.  Here’s the link.