Saturday: 4 x (3′ @ 24 + 3′ @ 28) / 6′ on slides

We are down on the cape.  We came down this weekend to get the house ready for next weekend when one of my sons and my daughter will be coming.  My tasks for the weekend were

  • Replace the exterior sensor for my weather station.  The storms this winter wore out the anemometer!
  • Put up shades in the guest rooms.  We have been getting complaints that the early morning sun is a bit bright for our late sleepers
  • Get a start on the repair of the stairs to the beach.  The ice this winter tore the bottom 16 feet of stairs away and pulled out the supports for landing at the top of that flight.

I managed to get through tasks 1 and 2, and replaced the supports for the landing, but then the rain started and I needed to give it up for the day.  I’ll do a bit more tomorrow.

Later in the afternoon, I did my erg session.  This is a tough session.

  • Session: 4 x 6’
  • Rest between: 6’
  • Rating/Pace:
    • 3’ @Cat IV pace: target SR 24
    • 3’ @ Cat III; target SR 28
  • Notes: Work on the rhythm of a strong leg drive combined with relaxation on the recovery. Follow through to the arms/body away position to complete each stroke and to set the body preparation for the next stroke before starting the slide. Hold your posture and head up as you fatigue.

I did it on slides in the basement.  It was really hard!  I was doing stuff like switching laundry during the long rests so the those chunks were really spotty.

I faded a lot more than I would have liked, but I have spent so little time on the erg, I have no idea what target paces would be right.  I spent more time focusing on posture and sequencing on the recovery, but I was still working really hard.

Tomorrow:  80′ of speed play, on the erg since there will be a 25 mph wind out of the SW.


Sunday: 4 x 20′ / 2′ Dynamic

Crappy weather and I was too lazy to go to Newton to row.  Around 3, I decided to do an easy cruise of a session on the dynamic.  The goal would be to work on getting my heels down and keeping them there.  Hopefully also keep reminding myself to sit up tall in the seat and hinge at the hips.

Allowing for how much I loathe the dynamic, it was a lovely session.  I was relaxed and comfortable throughout.

          Workout Summary - media/20180429-2110250o.csv
Workout Details

Tomorrow:  80′ of speed play down in Newton on the Charles.


Off to Japan

Friday night, my wife and I decided on the spur of the moment to see if we could organize Easter on the Cape.  We called our sons, who live in Cambridge to find out if they we up for an adventure and they were!  So, my wife and I headed down to the Cape on Friday night.  We arrived pretty late, around 10pm.

Saturday morning, I headed out early (ish) and went to the French Bakery.  I bought all sorts of good stuff for later and headed back to the house.

A bit later, I needed to head out to go pick up my boys.  They were taking the commuter rail about halfway to the house, but I still had about an hour of driving each way to get them.

I also had to contend with the tides.  I left quite a bit early so I didn’t get trapped.  That gave me time to stop at the fish market and supermarket for the rest of our feast.

I was back at the house by around 2pm and we hung out for a while.  Around 5 I decided to go do my scheduled erg session.

The plan was:

  • 3 x 15′ rate ladders / 4′ rest
    • 5′ at r20 (2:04)
    • 4′ at r22 (1:58 to 2:00)
    • 3′ at r24 (1:52 to 1:54)
    • 2′ at r26 (1:48)
    • 1′ at r28 (1:45)

This was done on slides.  I was a bit dubious because this was my 8 straight day working out, but it turned out to be a good session.

         Workout Summary - media/20180331-2220260o.csv
Workout Details

Turned out better than prior attempts.

  • lower HR
  • higher power
  • good drive length on slides

Then it was time for the “Parade of Deliciousness”, all accompanied by prosecco

  • Appetizer: bruscetta with Mac’s Seafood boursin
  • First course: Sauted Maine shrimp and Cape Cod sea scallops with roasted aspargus.
  • Second Course: roast ham with baked sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes
  • Green Salad
  • Assorted desserts

After that I was paralyzed.

Sunday:  We got a reasonably early start for us, we were out of the house by 11:00AM.  We needed to beat the tide, and get my sons to the train before 12:30.  That got us home by about 1:30pm.  The workout for Sunday was 2 hours of yardwork clearing the trees and branches that had come down in the string of 3 Nor-easters that we had in March.  It was reasonably hard work and I didn’t have time for an erg session.

Monday:  9am flight to Chicago, then the long flight to Narita, then a 80 minuute car ride from Narita to Haneda, then a 2 hour flight to Kumamoto, then a 40 minute cab ride to the hotel.  I arrived at the hotel at 9:30pm, Tuesday night (having lost a day to travel) about 26 hours after leaving my house in Hopkinton.  I felt like I had been beaten up by thugs..  So, no training on Monday or Tuesday.

Wednesday:  Up at 5AM, and right into emails.  Off to the office at 7am.  Today, I am helping to dedicate our new building in Kumamoto.  Our old building was destroyed by the earthquakes there in April of 2016.  I just finished participating in the Shinto dedication ceremony.  A remarkable experience that involved a whole lot of bowing.  Now we have a luncheon to thank the architects and construction company, later on we have a big dinner for our local team and a customers.  It’s a pretty big deal for us.   SO no training again.

Thursday:  I have a breakfast meeting with a customer at 7am, then a “coffee meeting” with our local team, and then I’m off to the airport to catch a flight around noon.  The return path is a one stop better…

Hotel  –> Kumamoto –> Haneda –> Narita –> Boston –> Home.

So, no training again.  That’s four days without training.  Arghh.  Just when I was getting in the groove.

Hopefully, I can get a good session in on Friday.




More Power! – Peak Power Session


  • PT Suite
  • 10 minute warmup with 5 stroke power bursts at nominal drag factor
  • 10 x 10sec / 1′ rest peak power training on max drag
  • 2 x 20′ / 1′ Cat VI (r18-r20, 2:03 to 2:08, HR cap at 155)

I did my PT exercises.  My back was a bit sore from the kettlebell swings I did yesterday, but it loosened up nicely.

The warmup was uneventful.  I tried to work on getting the rate up nice and high, but I wasn’t too successful.  But I managed to work up the beginning of a sweat, so mission accomplished.

For the Main set, I tied my shoes extra tight, moved the foot stretcher up one hole, and cranked the damper to 10.  Then I programmed the PM to 20 second intervals with 50 second rests.  That’s as close as I can get to the desired setup with the constraints of the PM5.  SO, I rowed the first 10 seconds of each interval hard, and then eased up for 10 seconds, and then let the flywheel coast down during the 50 second rest.

The protocol is to do a rep, see what power you manage to get, and then do reps until you reach 10, or your power drops below 90% of the your initial value.

Today, I saw no real drop off, which I suspect means that I am not trying hard enough.

Here’s the summary plot.  I think the only useful information on it is the drag factor.  187, maybe it’s time to clean the erg?

It is way more instructive to look at this on a flex plot.


So you can see all the reps have peak power between 675 and 710W.  710W is 1:19.0.  My all time best low pull on a static erg was back in 2015 at 1:16.9 (769W).

It is telling that my best power was achieved in the last two reps.  You can see how many reps it took me to get the rate up to near 45 SPM.  the early reps I was trying too hard to just over power each stroke.  By the end, I was more focused on getting my ass back to the catch.

You can see this in the work per stroke, which is actually declining as the power is going up.


What I found really fascinating was comparing this workout to the same session done on the Concept2 Dynamic.  I did this a couple weeks ago.

First is a comparison of the power.  I was able to achieve much higher peak power on the dynamic, maxing out at 795W.  What’s up with that?


The short answer is that you can rate up like crazy on a dynamic erg.  I was consistently able to rate between 55 and 60 spm, versus the 40 to 45 spm on the static erg.


Take a peek at the work per stroke on the prior workout.  It is really consistent and 200 joules lower than what I was pulling on the static erg.


You can see this in the peak force too.  On the dynamic, I pulling around 1100N.  On the static, peak force was around 1400.

What the hell does all of that mean?  I guess it depends on what you are trying to accomplish with the session.  If the point of the session is to get as many reps at the highest possible handle force, then it make more sense to do the session on the static erg.  If the point is to work on neuromuscular coordination to be able to effectively apply force at high rates, the dynamic is a better choices.  If you are trying to impress your friends with insanely fast splits, definitely go with the dynamic!

This is a very interesting session  to highlight the differences between unique erg types.  I think I’d like to do this session on the Oartec and the C2 on slides to see what happens.  I think they will probably fall in the middle between these two extremes.

After that, I did the 2 x 20′ Cat VI.  Apparently there wasn’t much left in my legs or body, because it was massively hard work.  my HR shot up to the limit very quickly and so I rated up to 20 and lightened up the pace to try to hold my HR right at 155.  It was an extremely long 41 minutes.

Tomorrow:  The forecast is for temperatures of 31F and freezing rain, so I’m going rowing!  I’m going to meet my friend Joe to take out the double for my first outing of the season.  I will also pick up my boat so I can get it back down to the Charles on Thursday morning.

The planned session should be a bit of fun.  I think Joe will enjoy it.

  • Nice long warmup, working on technique from the boat house to the south cove.
  • 3 x 1500m / 1′ rest (This should take up from the south cove to the north end of the lake)
    • r24
  • 3 x 500m / 2′ rest (This will take us from the north end of the lake to the boat house)
    • r28

I have a lot of organizing to do tonight to get all my goodies packed and charged.


Saturday: 3 x 15′ / 4′ – Rate Ladders

Down on the cape.

It’s been a great day.  I got up around 9, and went out to the bakery.  I got some farmers bread, chocolate croissants, and other pastries and a delicious latte and headed home.

We had some breakfast and then it was time for some work around the house.

The winter has been tough on the exterior of the house.  A couple of stretches of sand fencing were blown down.  So the first task was to replace and resecure the fencing.

2018-03-24 18.24.07

2018-03-24 18.24.41

Then I went and bought some fiberglass screening and replaced the torn screens in three of the storm doors.

Finally, around 5pm, I headed downstairs to do my erg session.  This is the second time at this workout and the first time was tough.

  • 3 x 15′ / 4′ rest
    • 5′ @ Cat VI r20 (2:03-2:08)
    • 4′ @ Cat V r22 (1:58-2:02)
    • 3′ @ Cat IV r24 (1:52-1:56)
    • 2′ @ Cat III r26 (1:48 exactly)
    • 1′ @ Cat II r28 (1:45 or faster)

I actually misremembered the paces and I was aiming at 2:06, 2:02, 1:57: 1:52, 1:47

          Workout Summary - media/20180324-2200360o.csv
Workout Details

Well, I might have aimed slow on pace, but it was a very hard workout.

The heart rate was almost identical to the the first time I did this workout on March 10th.  That time I started a bit faster and slowed down.




  • 2 x 2000m / 2’
    • Rating: Cat V pace; target SR 22 (1:58 – 2:02)
  • 2 x 1000m, rest 3’ easy
    • Rating: Cat IV pace: target SR 24-26 (1:52)
  • 2 x 500m, rest 2’ easy
    • Rating: Cat III pace: target SR 26-28 (1:48)

Back in town for a week.

Tuesday night:  After my afternoon workout, I headed to the office for prep meetings and then to Cardiff by the Sea for a very nice diner at the Pacific Coast Grill.  I got back from dinner around 10pm and by the time I had caught up with email, it was around midnight.

Wednesday – March 21:  Rest Day

I had planned to get up at 5:30 to go to Crossfit near the hotel, but when my alarm went off, I couldn’t find the motivation to get out of bed.  I slept until around 7:30, showered and headed off to the airport.

I flew up to San Jose. Again I had a prep meeting in our office and then a customer meeting at 3pm.  I was done by  around 5pm and headed to SFO for my flight home, a red eye departing ay 8:45pm.  I wasn’t sure if it would actually depart because another snow storm was forecast in Boston.

As it turned out, we left on time and arrived early, about 4:45am.  I slept maybe an hour on the flight.  I guess it was a “rest day”

Thursday – March 22:  3 x 1500@24 + 3 x 500 @ 28+

Since it was so early, I drove home and crawled into to bed.  I slept from 6:30 to 10:30 and then went to work.  I had a couple of meetings and then headed to the gym.  The plan for today was…

  • 3 x 1500m / 1’
    • Rating: Cat IV pace; target SR 23-24 + (1:52)
  • 3 x 500m / 2’ easy
    • Rating: Cat II pace: target SR 28-30 (1:45)

I had low expectations because of my travels, but the session turned out well.  I added a 1500 @ Cat VI at the beginning as a bit of a warm up.

Compared to the first time I did this workout last week, this was a much better effort.  I blew up in the 3rd 1500 last time and I had no oomph for a sparkly last rep.  You can see the dip in power in the third rep (green was last time), and  the much higher heart rate in the right plot.

Friday – 23 March:  30 minutes with bumps.

Although it feels like the world is conspiring to make it impossible for me to maintain reasonable consistency in training, I realize that it is just a product of the choices that I am making.  The consequence of wanting to remodel the master bathroom in our house is that I had to meet a contractor this morning during my usual workout time.  I thought that meant that wouldn’t get in any kind of a session, but as it turned out, I had a brief window in the evening, once we had come down to Cape Cod.

I popped down to the basement for a quick 30 minutes session.  I decided the main intent was to just work up a sweat and go to bed feeling a bit more relaxed.  So, I invented a session on the spot.

  • 30 minutes
  • 6 x 5′ splits
  • each split 4′ at Cat VI pace, 1′ at Cat II pace.

I was on slides, and I gotta say, with the slides aligned and level, I love rowing this way.  The Steady state stuff was smooth and it was a pleasure to rate up.  I pushed the 3rd bump a bit too hard and took the 4th slow bit a little slower than plan, but overall this was just a really nice little workout.

Workout Summary - media/20180324-0300470o.csv
Workout Details

I did a quick 1000m cooldown after that and now I feel great!

Tomorrow:  Rate ladders!


  • 3 x 15’ / 4’
    • 5’@ Cat VI; SR 20
    • 4’ @ Cat V; SR 22
    • 3’ @ Cat IV; SR 24
    • 2’ @ Cat III; SR 26
    • 1’@ Cat II; SR 28

The Glamour of Business Travel

Thursday, 15 March: No training, travel to CA.

Friday, 16 March: Quickie HIIT session

35 minute treadmill in the fitness center.

6 x (30″ hard / 4’30” easy)

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 12.17.57 PM

Felt like crap.  The intervals really hurt.  Then I headed to the airport to fly home.  I got home around 6pm.

Saturday, 17 March: No training. Rest Day.

I went to the Boston Flower Show with my wife and had dinner in Boston.

Sunday, 18 March: 4 x 20′ / 3′ Dynamic

          Workout Summary - media/20180318-2130340o.csv
Workout Details

I felt really strong through the first two intervals, but I kind of ran out of steam in the second half of the third interval.  The last one was a bit of a struggle.

Monday, 19 March: 2 x 2k/2′ + 2 x 1k/3′ + 2 x 500/2′

I added a 2k warmup to the front end.

          Workout Summary - media/20180319-1215340o.csv
Workout Details

The PM was considerably more generous than rowsandall in terms of the paces.

Tomorrow:  I fly out to San Diego first thing in the morning.  I’m hoping that I can do a workout in the Hotel Fitness Center once I get there.  I have a business dinner that night.


Tough Session: 3 x 1500/1′ + 3 x 500/2′

Went to bed a bit late, but slept well (if only for about 5 hours).  Up at 5:15 to head to work.


  • 3 x 1500m / 1’
    • Rating: Cat IV pace; target SR 23-24 (Pace: 1:52)
  • 3 x 500m / 2’ easy
    • Rating: Cat II pace: target SR 28-30 (Pace: 1:45)
  • Notes: Stay on the target paces, no faster, no slower.

I added a 2K at Cat VI pace to warmup.

I figured I would be OK since the pace for my 20′ test was faster than what was required for the 3×1500.  But I was a bit worried about the short turnaround from the peak power session at 5pm last night to this session at 7:30am today.  I wasn’t sore this morning, but my legs felt “empty”.

The first two reps were OK, but really taxing.  I was counting strokes the whole way.  The third rep, I basically chickened out.  I think I could have made it, but I was really struggling, and I knew that I had the 3×500 yet to go.  I HD’ed briefly in  the middle and started up again at a slightly slower pace.  Stopping once really took the wind out of my sails so when it started stinging again near the end, I just paddled it out.

The 500s were far more humane, even though they were a lot faster.  I was having trouble holding the stroke rate above 28 because I was really focusing on trying to sequence the recovery correctly.  The last of the 500s was pretty brutal, but I was not in the mood to bail on any more intervals.

          Workout Summary - media/20180314-1230360o.csv
Workout Details
00|02000|08:19.0|02:04.7|179.3|18.2|133.5|146.0|13.2 - wu
03|01500|05:55.4|01:58.5|216.2|24.0|169.0|177.0|10.5 - HD!

Next time, I think I can get this one on target.

Tomorrow:  I am flying off to San Francisco first thing in the morning.  I have meetings in  the afternoon and a dinner.  Then I head home Friday morning.  I will take a rest day tomorrow and try to a quick session in the hotel fitness center before I fly home.


Snow Day: Peak Power

I was working from home yesterday.  We had a massive snow storm.  About 17″ in Hopkinton.

Here’s the snow totals for the area.

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 6.36.34 AM

Despite the snow, I had a full schedule.  I was on calls constantly from 9 am to 4:30pm.  Then I had a bit of a break, then on the phone again from 6pm to 7:30.

During the break I had enough to squeeze in an abbreviated workout.

The planned session:

  • Easy warm up 5-10’
  • Peak Power Test
    • Set your erg on watts. Set drag factor at 200. Then test your 10-second peak power.
    • Note your peak watts then subtract 10%, write that number down so you know what to aim for the workout
  • Peak Power Training:
    • 1 set of 10 x 10-seconds, 1’ rest between.
    • Repeat 10-second all out sprints, full slide with 1’ rest between. Each sprint should begin from a start position at the top of the slide.. Secure the handle during the 1’ rest so the flywheel slows down.
    • If the peak watts falls below 90% of your peak power value for two 10- second sprints stop the set..
  • Session: 2 x 20’ / 1’
    • Rating/Pace: Cat VI; target SR 18-20, regular drag factor (Pace: 2:03 to 2:08)

Because of time constraints, I used the first sprint as my peak power test benchmark.  I also did not have time for the 2×20 afterward, so I just did a 10 minute cool down.

Here’s the whole thing.  During the warmup, I did 4 little 5 stroke bursts with the wheel spinning.  During the peak power session, I let the wheel stop between each and set the drag to max (DF = 171, I guess I need to do a little cleaning).

I had set up the session as 100m/1′ intervals.  100m takes about 13 strokes at these rates.  For the first couple of intervals, I held the power through the full 100m.  After that, I trailed off after 10 seconds because I wanted to retain  the intent of the workout.  It was basically 10 or 11 strokes.  I ended up at about 55 strokes per minute, and I wasn’t shortening the stroke much.  For the bursts my drive length was 1.21m vs 1.29m when rowing with full power at r24.

The peak power session was a bit strange to do on the dynamic.  I was expecting it to be terrible.  I’ve had trouble with interval sessions on the dynamic and I’ve struggle to rate up.  But with the drag set to max and such a short interval, I could really hammer it.  The load comes on so fast at the catch compared to the static erg that I was able to get higher power than I have seen in years.

My all time low pull split was 1:16.9, which is 770W.  My first burst peaked at 786W (1:16.6).  So I guess I have a new low pull PB. The first interval is also a clear PB for my fastest 100m ever.  I don’t remember the display, but my old mark was 17.6 seconds and I think both the first and second were faster than that.

I guess I have found the one thing that the dynamic is good for.

Here’s a plot of the peak power bursts plotted versus strokes


You can see that the power really didn’t fade all that much.  I guess that means that I should have been able to get a higher peak power initially.  Here it is plotted against the 10% limit.


I’m interested to try the same session on slides and on a static machine to get a comparison.

Today:  A bit tougher session

  • 3 x 1500m / 1’
    • Rating: Cat IV pace; target SR 23-24 (Pace: 1:52)
  • 3 x 500m / 2’ easy
    • Rating: Cat II pace: target SR 28-30 (Pace: 1:45)
  • Notes: Stay on the target paces, no faster, no slower.


Back in the Saddle

I arrived home around 10pm on Friday night.  I didn’t sleep at all on the flight so I was quite tired.  I slept from midnight to 11am the next morning.  A fantastic night’s sleep.

Saturday, March 10: 3 x 15’/4′ Rate Ladder

Our internet enable thermostat told us that our house down on the cape was getting colder and colder.  When we are not there, It’s supposed to stay at 55F, but it had dipped all the way down to about 48F.  It seemed as if there was something wrong with the heating system.  So, I headed down there to check it out.  I did all the troubleshooting that I could and it seemed pretty clear that there was a furnace problem.  I put in a call to the furnace people and they told me they’d be over in an hour.  Imagine my shock when they showed up an hour later!  The technician quickly found the problem (a bad igniter), installed a replacement, and we were all set.

I wanted to make sure that the house actually started heating up, so I came down prepared to do an erg session while I waited.  As a bonus, that meat that I could do the session on slides, a most agreeable way to do an erg session.

I was not sure what to expect from the session.  It is my first pass through a new training plan and this is one of the more important weekly sessions.

  • Session: 3 x 15’ / 4’
  • Rating/Pace: Row each 15’ with the following rate changes:
    • 5’@ Cat VI; SR 20 (pace: 2:03 – 2:08)
    • 4’ @ Cat V; SR 22 (pace: 1:58 – 2:02)
    • 3’ @ Cat IV; SR 24 (pace: no faster than 1:52)
    • 2’ @ Cat III; SR 26 (pace: 1:48 or faster)
    • 1’@ Cat II; SR 28 (pace: 1:45 or faster)

I was worried about the last 6 minutes of these intervals, but I figured I could pull it out.

     Workout Summary - media/20180310-2220300o.csv
Workout Details


So, I nailed the first two intervals, and I needed to back off a little bit in the third, but I finished pretty strongly in the last minute.  All in all a good workout after a long trip.

Sunday – March 11: 3 x 20’/3′ Cat VI, Dynamic

The workout plan called for a harder session, but I I had two excuses queued up to avoid it.  First, was adequate recovery with Jet Lag.  Second, was a very strong desire to avoid doing harder sessions on the dynamic, since it sucks.

This was a very pleasant workout.  My HR was nice and low, and I felt good.  I was a second faster on splits compared to the session I did before I left on my trip, so that’s heartening.

    Workout Summary - media/20180311-2255300o.csv
Workout Details

See the blip in the heart rate toward the end of the first interval?  I started thinking about work and my HR just took off.  I guess I might be carrying a bit of work related stress.

Monday – March 12: 2x2k / 2x1k / 2×500

This is another “important” workout.  I did it this morning at work on the static erg after a really terrible nights sleep.  Jet lag sucks.

The detail plan:

  • 2 x 2000m / 2’ easy
    Rating: Cat V pace; target SR 22 (pace: 1:58-2:02)
  • 2 x 1000m / 3’ easy
    Rating: Cat IV pace: target SR 24-26 (pace: 1:52 or slower)
  • 2 x 500m / 2’ easy
    Rating: Cat III pace: target SR 26-28 (pace: 1:48 or faster)

So, this looked a fair bit easier than the Saturday 3×15 rate ladder session.  In the execution, I added another 2K at r18 as a warmup.

       Workout Summary - media/20180312-1230330o.csv
Workout Details

So, that was pretty great.  I hit the paces in every piece and had enough headroom to focus on technique throughout.  All in all, a really fun session.

Tomorrow:  Peak power training….10 x 10″ sprints / 1′ rest + 2 x 20’/3′ Cat VI.  Unfortunately on  the dynamic.