4 x 20′ / 3′

Not surprisingly, I felt pretty tired this morning.  The HRV data agreed.  Luckily, I had an easy sessions scheduled.


  • 4 x 20′ / 3′
  • Cat VI: Pace – 2:06-2:11, Rate: 18

This felt like a lot of work, but my heart rate stayed nice and low.

          Workout Summary - media/20171218-1410320o.csv
Workout Details

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 2.41.37 PM

Tomorrow: I really would have liked to train tomorrow, but I am flying to San Diego at 7am, and flying back on the red eye.  Next session is probably Wednesday afternoon.


Thursday: 4 x 20′ / 3′

The plan for the session was to keep it nice and easy.

  • 4 x 20′ / 3′
  • Cat VI: 2:06-2:11 pace, 18 spm
  • Heart rate: < 150

I felt very stiff this morning from yesterday’s adventure.  I had low expectations, but I was glad that it was a long slow session.  As it turned out, my heart rate plateaued early and at a low level and basically stuck there.  I was able to hold the 2:06 split throughout without coming close to the HR limits.

          Workout Summary - media/20171214-1350320o.csv
Workout Details

All in all, a nice way to spend 90 minutes.


  • 45′
  • Cat VI
  • Power 20 every 5 minutes at r32


Tuesday: 4 x 12′ / 1’30” Cat V

Today’s session is a nice short endurance session done at paces a little bit faster than base endurance pace and a little bit higher rate.

          Workout Summary - media/20171212-1135290o.csv
Workout Details

Tomorrow:  Big Day…Time to redo my 20′ test.  Last time was 1:52.7 pace (244W).  I will see how I do against a 1:51.0 target.

4 x 20′ / 3′


It was a fantastic workout.  I did it in the basement on the old rowing machine from work.  I brought it home to fix it on Friday.  A couple of new screws, and resetting the rower type in the PM5 was all that was required to have it working like new.

The plan:

  • 4 x 20′ / 3′
  • Cat VI (pace: 2:06-2:11, rate: 18)


My HR hardly every broke 140 and every stroke felt effortless.  I am really happy with how my base endurance seems to be improving with Roylerow training plan.  I am looking forward to the next round of tests (20′ and 75′) that are coming up in a couple weeks.

Tomorrow, I head off to San Francisco.  I’m there on Monday and Tuesday, and then I fly to Taiwan for meetings on Thursday and Friday.  I will get back on Saturday morning.  Depending on how the day goes tomorrow, I might try to get a workout done in the evening.  If I do, it will be a 4×12’/1’30” at r22 and 2:01 pace.

On a side note, I had another PM related problem in today’s workout.  It dropped the connection to my phone 70′ minutes into an 80 minute workout and started to throw error messages.  I’ve seen this before when the batteries get low, and swapping them after I finished seems to have fixed the problem.  It is crazy that the mechanics of the rowing machine are so robust that a machine that is probably 20 years old can be restored to working order with two screws and windex, but the electronics are so half baked that they can’t even let you know when the batteries are running low.  I hope that they can make improvements in the PM over time, because I think it is holding them back in the broader fitness market.


Sunday: Back on the erg – 4 x 20′ / 3′ Cat VI

Busy day.  I did a couple hours of raking and cleaning out the flower beds early this afternoon.  Then, around 5:30 I settled down for a long easy Cat VI workout.

The only tricky part was I was at home with my nemesis, the dynamic erg.  For those of you who have not followed the saga.  I have not been a fan of this piece of equipment, and I was convinced that it was defective in some way.  I am less convinced since I sat on a dynamic erg at the HOCR and it felt basically exactly the same.  Also, since then, I have received with less enthusiasm, pretty direct feedback about possible flaws in my technique that could explain why I can hammer out better times on the static erg, but not on my nemesis.

This situation gives me hope.  If I can get better on the dynamic, maybe that will translate better to the boat too.  So, it is time to embrace the suck.  No better session to embrace the suck with than a nice easy Cat VI workout.  The guidelines are simple.

  • 4 x 20′ / 3′ rest
  • rate: 18-20 (the lower the better)
  • pace: 2:06 to 2:11
  • HR limit: 145,150,155,155

On the static erg, I am doing these just about at the fast edge of the band.  On my nemesis, I figured I should go out slow, maybe 2:10 and see what happened.

I started and things felt good between 2:08 and 2:09.  Rate felt good between 20 and 21, so I had to work on keeping it at 20, with mixed success.

         Workout Summary - media/20171120-0000300o.csv
Workout Details

So, I think right now I have about a 2 split difference between dynamic and static, maybe 10-15 watts.

Monday’s session:

  • 4 x 12′ / 1’30”
  • Rate: 22
  • Pace: 2:01 – 2:05
  • HR Limit: 155

Tuesday: 4 x 20′ / 1′


You might be noticing a trend by now.  I’m looking at it as a rebuilding period.  In this period I have a few goals

  • Get competent medical advice about lower back pain and fix any issues with flexibility or imbalances.  This includes stretches and exercises
  • Get competent coaching to improve my rowing form for better efficiency and injury prevention.  This includes drills.
  • Rebuild my base aerobic fitness by doing lots of easy rowing

Today, I got to work on all three.

I started by doing my normal pre-rowing routine.

  • 10 SI exercises on  my left leg
  • foam roll my quads
  • use a lacrosse ball to get after trigger points around the front of my hips and pelvis
  • 2 x 40 sec glute bridges on an exercise ball
  • 4 x 10sec torso twists

After that, I did a couple of drills that were recommended to try to improve my posture at the finish.  Here are links to the drills.

Since I wanted to review it after, I taped my attempt at doing it and took a few easy strokes afterward trying to maintain the posture.

I found the drill to be very useful.  I was able to remember what the position felt like and try to hold it during the row.  By sitting the erg next to a mirror and looking at the hands back position, and then a proper finish position, I was get that picture in my mind and then look every once in a while during the row.

After that, I did my 4 x 20.  Today, I started off aiming at 175W, but HR was really high, so I backed off slightly to try to keep it under 150.  Remarkably, just a few watts was enough to do that.  I did a lactate test at the end, and it read 5.3, which I thought had to be a mistake.  I retook it and it was 3.0.  Still much higher than I would have expected, but at least plausible. Rowing while focusing so much on posture was a lot harder and felt very unnatural.  I imagine it will take weeks to start feeling natural.  I think next time I will stick at this 170W-175W range.

         Workout Summary - media/20171114-2005300o.csv
Workout Details
03|04718|20:00.0|02:07.2|169.7|18.6|148.7|153.0|12.7 - 3.0

Lactate Log

Tomorrow:  I’m getting tired of all this base building, I need a little bit of intensity, so I think I will return to an old classic, 8×500.  Pace target around 1:45.


Sunday & Monday: 4 x 20′ / 1′


On the cape in the basement, around 10AM

Same session as Saturday.  Much different result.  Higher HR, higher Lactate (3.3).  I felt much more tired.  The main difference is that Saturday’s workout was after a rest day, Sunday’s workout was only 18 hours after Saturday’s, so I need  to move my training power a bit lower to stay in the right range.

          Workout Summary - media/20171112-1540290o.csv
Workout Details
05|04828|20:00.0|02:04.3|183.0|19.1|152.2|157.0|12.6 - 3.3

Here is a comparison of HR for Saturday vs Sunday.  I started at lower power, so the HR starts off lower, but it never plateaus!



In the fitness center at work.

I spoke to Marlene last night, and she has sent me the details of my fitness assessment.  The gist of the assessment was:

  • My 1K is my strongest score
  • My peak power is OK, but could be improved
  • My anaerobic and aerobic thresholds are relatively weak.

She sent along her recommendations for training paces.

  • Cat VI – 2:06 – 2:11
  • Cat V – 2:01 – 2:05
  • Cat IV – 1:55
  • Cat III – faster than 1:51
  • Cat II – faster than 1:47

Today’s session was supposed to be a Cat VI session.  I was instructed to row no faster than the fast end of the band, so, of course, that is what I aimed for.

         Workout Summary - media/20171113-1345290o.csv
Workout Details
03|04753|20:00.0|02:06.2|173.8|18.7|141.4|145.0|12.7- 1.8


Lactate Log

4 x 20′ / 2′ and 2 x 1′ / 1′

The goal for today was to fine tune my aerobic training power.  Despite the lousy workout on Thursday, I thought 180W was about right.

In the basement in the house on the cape.  Nice and cool.

I settled in to a groove at 183W.  My HR did about what is should do.  At the end of the first interval, my lactates were a bit high 2.3mmol/l.  I really wanted to see something way below 2.0.  But I was interested in seeing what would happen from this point forward at this power.  So I kept going at 183W through the second interval.  Still my HR was fine and I was feeling good.  At the end of that one, 2.8.  Way too high, but science compelled me to keep going at the same power.  In the third interval, things suddenly felt a little easier.  I’m not sure why, but my HR stabilized and it was easy to hit the power.  At the end of this one, my lactates were 1.4.  Well, that was unexpected.  So, 20 more minutes at 183W and now it was 1.6.

During the row, I tried to focus on fast hands away, and keeping my knees down during the first part of the recovery.  I’d do that for a little while and then my mind would wander and I’d fall back into to old habits.

Conclusions?  183W is about right, but I think I need to get back to the habits that I was doing when I started doing lactate based training.  Which are:

  1. Train in a fasted state.  Today I trained soon after lunch.  There is research that says that if you have eaten recently, especially carbs, that it impedes fat metabolism.
  2. Warm up.  When I started doing this before, I found that my HR would rise more slowly and my lactates would be lower at the end of workout if I started at a low power and ramped it up over the first 10 minutes to the target power.

          Workout Summary - media/20171111-2245290o.csv
Workout Details
00|04836|20:00.0|02:04.1|182.7|18.9|136.6|144.0|12.8 - 2.3
01|04822|20:00.0|02:04.4|183.7|19.2|143.0|149.0|12.6 - 2.8
02|04816|20:00.0|02:04.6|181.5|19.0|143.8|148.0|12.7 - 1.4
03|04833|20:00.0|02:04.2|183.1|19.0|143.9|148.0|12.7 - 1.6


Then, after finishing that, I did a couple of 1 minute intervals.  Not as good as the first ones, but a nice little blast to finish things off.

Tomorrow:  Same thing, but in a fasted state and with the warmup.  I’ll do a lactate test just at the end.

I am not a machine? 3 x 20′ + 2 x 1′

In California.  At Precision Crossfit in Agoura Hills.  Once again, I was delighted by the experience dropping into a crossfit box.  The ergs work, there are lots of people around, and everyone is really friendly.

I picked my erg and set it up off  to the side so I wouldn’t get in the way.  I didn’t have time for a full 80 minute session because I needed to be in a meeting by 8:15 and the box opened at 6am.  So, I decided on 3 x 20′ + 2 x 1′.

I could tell almost from the first pull that today was not going to be a good day.  There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with the erg, but it seemed to take a LOT of effort to pull 180W.  Sitting on the erg, my HR was normal before I started, but it climbed fast, and it didn’t stop.  I hung in with 180W through the first interval.  I brought it down to 175W in the second interval, but it didn’t help.  Then in the third, I decided to go as slowly as I needed to so I could keep my HR below 157bpm.  Strangely enough this was 157W.  30W lower than I could hold at this HR yesterday.

Then I setup for the 2 x 1’/1′.  This was equally ugly.  I pushed the first minute hard, but this was still a lot more feeble than the hard minute I did a week ago (319m vs 330m).  And I was pretty shattered.  I tried to do the second rep, but I bailed out about halfway through.  I paddled out the rest of that rep, took another minute rest, and then did a less aggressive minute (304m).



Bad days happen, my wife has a pretty nasty cold.  In the past I have seen cases where I have lousy training results before I show any illness symptoms, so that might be it.  It could also be jetlag, or some other mysterious reason.

Tomorrow, I fly back home during the day.  I guess we’ll call it a rest day.

Edit:  I just did a quick check of my training log.  This is the first week after my the fitness tests, and it represented a strong shift toward long duration, low intensity work.  The volume increase was pretty dramatic.


Maybe I’m just tired!

4 x 20′ / 1′ @ 186W

Back at base building.  The mission today was to hold exactly 185W and measure lactate after 80 work minutes.  I want to have a consistent training power that will yield 2.0 mmol/ml lactate readings at the end of a session.

It appears that lactate levels over time during endurance training can be different from person to person.  What I have seen is that mine tend to stay at a reasonable constant level below 2.0mmol/ml for about 60 minutes, and then as I get fatigued, they start to rise.  My Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) follows.  I start to breath more heavily, and it feels like a lot more work in that last 20 minutes.

So, I aimed for 185W and I got 186W.  In terms of my HR limits, it was right on.  I measured lactate at the end…2.7mmol/ml.  So, I need  to back off the power, just a little bit.

I plan to aim at 180W for the next session and see what that gets me.

I’m at the airport now heading for LA.  We’ll see if I can find a crossfit gym to drop into tomorrow, or else I will crosstrain in the fitness center.