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.  😦



Tuesday: 9 x 2′ / 1′ in the double

I needed to drop off my car for service out in Shrewsbury for service at 7am.  So, I dropped a text to my friend Joe to see if he wanted to take out a double with me before I dropped off my car.  We met at the boathouse at 5:30am, and the eastern sky was just starting to lighten up.  It reminded me of last fall when we would do a couple sessions a week like this when we were getting ready for the HOCR.

It was cool, only about 50F and there was a lot of mist on the water.  There was a bit of wind blowing from the North, maybe 6 mph of so.  Just enough to make the boat feel heavier when we were rowing up lake.

My plan called for an L1 workout today.  An 8×500 sprint session.  I decided to dial it back a little bit and change it to more of a head race type session since I didn’t think it would be good to try to rate up too much.  It takes a few good practices together before you can really get the timing down well enough to sprint together.  I figured by cutting back the rests ad bringing down the stroke rate it would be a good threshold workout and it would fit into the trip up the lake.  That would leave us the trip from the boathouse down to the south end of the lake to warmup and get used to rowing together, and the trip from the north end of the lake back to the boathouse for cool down.

So, the Plan:

  • 8 or 9 x 2′ / 1′ rest
  • Target stroke rate: 26-28
  • Heart Rate Limit: None
  • Pace Target:  Who knows.  Maybe 2:15?



       Workout Summary - media/20170829-131818-Greg Smith 20170829 0546amo.csv
Workout Details
01|03364|16:00.0|02:22.7|000.0|22.3|143.9|162.0|09.4 - warmup
02|00414|02:00.0|02:25.0|000.0|25.1|144.7|158.0|08.2 - rep 1 - waked
04|00416|02:00.0|02:24.3|000.0|28.5|163.3|168.0|07.3 - waked
11|01932|09:52.7|02:33.4|000.0|23.9|151.3|160.0|08.2 - cool down

There was a ski boat out at the same time as us.  He nailed us in the middle of our first interval, and then again with 30 seconds left in the third interval.  We were free and clear after that.  With the head wind we were a bit slower than I thought we’d be, but I was also rowing a bit lighter than I normally would, trying to be careful of my back.

My back was really touchy this morning before we set off.  If I bent wrong, I got shooting pains in my hip and lower back.  I stretched a bit before we launched and worked my way out to full length during the warmup and it felt much better by the time we finished.

It was a great workout.  I really like rowing in the double.  I like stroking and not having to worry about steering and its nice to be out rowing with someone literally in the same boat.

Tomorrow:  The workout plan calls for an 80′ L4.  I am going to continue to substitute r20 endurance sessions for L4s for the foreseeable future to minimize risk of aggrevating my back injury.

For reference, here’s the link to the google sheet with my workout plan and daily summary.


Tuesday: OTW Pyramid

Weather:  Perfect.


  • L1 Pyramid workout
  • 250m/500m/750m/1000m/750m/500m/250m
  • Roughly 1’30” of rest per 250m rowed
  • stroke rate target: 28-32
  • pace target:  Not really sure, maybe around 2:00
  • Technique:  Work on improving efficiency at high stroke rates.  Try to maintain length and form.  Especially keep finishes clean.

I was not feeling good about this workout.  My back hurt and I debated whether it was wise to risk to row with it hurting.  I’ve had mixed results, some days rowing doesn’t seem to cause any problems and other days, I feel much worse afterwards.  (More about that later).  I decided to give it a try and bail out if I felt too compromised.

I did a short warm up while heading through the twisty bits to the start of the good section of the river.  Since I am training for head races, I eased into each interval with a rolling start, not a racing start (also a bit easier on my back).

I did the intervals by distance.  This was a bit of a challenge because I wanted the 4 fields on the speedcoach for pace, HR, effective length and work per stroke.  I used RIM for distance and stroke rate on the boat acceleration screen.  Analyzing the data later, it looks like there is some innaccuracy in how RIM starts measuring meters because even though I rowed through the full distance by the display, the data on the speedcoach shows I cheated each interval by up to 50 meters.  I think I’ll go by time delimited intervals from now on when I’m on the water.

I pounded out the first interval and, frankly, it felt awful.  Well, it’s more complicated than that.  I really enjoyed the feeling of getting up to speed and seeing the speedcoach dip down into the 1:50s on pace.  I love the gurgling noise the boat makes when I’m going fast.  I also like the skinny smoothies at higher rates.  I felt more stable, and under control above 30 SPM with the longer oars and I felt like the softer shafts made the drive smoother.  So, that was what dominated my thinking for the first 20 strokes.  Then it hit me.  The last 10 strokes really hurt.  Whoops.  I guess I need to be a little more conservative.

So, I backed off a bit for the 500m.  That went OK.  The 750m was basically the same deal.  I was now struggling a bit with intestinal issues that hit pretty hard after I finished each piece.  The back was feeling OK though.  I was not looking forward to the 1000m.

For the first 2 intervals, I had rowed back to the start after each and rowed them downstream, but for the 1000, I rowed it in the other direction.  There wasn’t much current, but there was a light breeze blowing down river and it surprised me how much slower I was going on the 1000m in the other direction.  But I made it through it and it was pretty clear sailing for the rest of it.

I didn’t realized how tired I was getting, but I had a bad case of tunnel vision in the last 250m and nearly ran myself into the riverbank with some very poor steering.  I had to do one of those full stops where you jam both oars in and reverse feather to avoid it.

I rowed back to the dock with feet out and tried to work on perfect finishes.


When you look at it on a pie chart it looks a lot easier than it felt.

You can see how the intervals all got shaved down a bit.  Very disappointing for a completist like myself.  i probably would have been close to the 2:00 target if I hadn’t been working against the head wind in the 1000m piece.

        Workout Summary - media/20170822-151706-Greg Smith 20170822 0636amo.csv
Workout Details

I did a lot of metrics charts.

  • power and wps: pretty consistent through the workout.
  • stroke rate and pace:  I tried to hold 28 for the 750s and 1000.  I tried to push it up to 30 or higher for the 500s and 250s
  • peak force:  I think it’s interesting that I was most consistent in the last 500m interval.  I bet that’s a good thing.  The prior 750 looks much sloppier.
  • length:  Very happy that my effective length was consistent as I got more tired.

The bads news was that I could barely stand up after I got back  to the dock.  My lower back was VERY irritated.  Well to be more precise about it, the area at the top of my left glute, right around where my pelvis is.  It is not very painful once I find a reasonable position, but bending over and getting up from sitting cause me problems.

Since then, I’ve been on a diet of ibuprofen and rest.  I skipped yesterday’s L4 and today’s L2.  I’m not sure how long this will take to heal, but I think I will avoid rowing for a few days.  I’ll give the stationary bike a go to see if I can at least save a bit of aerobic fitness.


Thursday: 4 x 1000 / 5′ Open Water

Weather:  Sparkling sunshine, perfect temperature, around 70F.  Light wind from WNW which built from nearly calm when I launched about 9:15 to about 10mph by the time I finished.  This was a cross wind.

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 10.13.23 AM.png

The tide was ebbing.  This was against me on the odd intervals and with me on the even intervals.


  • 4 x 1000
  • 5 minutes rest (roughly.  I paddled 500m and took a drink.  I didn’t actually measure how long the rests were.
  • Stroke Rate Target: 28spm
  • Pace target:  I wanted to be faster than the 15×3′ session (2:34)

I rowed out to Buoy 10.  This seems to be a good starting point for these kinds of workouts.  I did some 10s and 20s to get used to rowing at 28.  My hip/back felt a bit tight and sore through the warmup, but seemed to be loosing up by the end.

I got lined up and started the first interval with 2500m on the speedcoach.  Doing these intervals in a Maas Aero is a different experience from doing them on an erg.  On an erg, they are over in a about 3:30-3:40.  In an Aero, it’s a lot closer to 5 minutes.  So, I found that I had to pace myself a bit more.  There is also a lot to think about.  Steer a good course, react to the waves, look for boats, row with good form (especially, clean finishes and getting good clearance o recovery).

I felt like I was pushing hard, but my HR was lower Thursday than it was on Tuesday.  Not that it mattered much, this was a good workout.

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 10.24.22 AM

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 3.52.14 PM.png



        Workout Summary - media/20170817-194615-Greg Smith 20170817 0919amo.csv
Workout Details
03|01000|04:59.4|02:29.7|000.0|28.0|164.6|175.0|07.1 - not sure what happened here

I was pretty tired when I finished, and I took it easy rowing back to the beach.  I took a couple pictures of the beach where I launch.

Later Thursday, we headed back home.  We might head back to the cape this weekend.  On Friday, I think I will do an L4 maybe 60 minutes or so.


Wednesday: 8 x 2′ / 2′ 1x

A beautiful morning.  Sunny, warm, dry, hardly any wind.


  • Long warmup to re-acclimate to higher stroke rates
  • 8 x 2′ / 2′ rest
  • Stroke rate target: 26 (head race rate)
  • Pace target: better than 2:15 (a pretty easy target for this workout)
  • Do work sections in line down the river, do not avoid turns
  • Technique work after

The basic thing I was trying to do today was to row at Head race rates and slightly higher than head race pressure to start getting my head wrapped around what I need to accomplish over the next 9 weeks before the HOCR.

I was really happy with how the workout went.  I am liking the new smoothies at higher stroke rates.  I feel like the softer shafts are helping me manage the drive better and the extra length is providing more stability on recovery.


Workout Summary - media/20170809-133817-Greg Smith 20170809 0633amo.csv
Workout Details
01|00456|02:00.0|02:11.7|247.1|26.7|154.4|167.0|08.5 - vs current
05|00479|02:00.0|02:05.2|236.8|26.7|161.3|175.0|09.0 - w/ current

A few metrics plots.  I held things very consistent throughout.  Lifted stroke rates on purpose in the last interval and allowed it to creep up in the turns.

Tomorrow:  I have an 8am meeting, so no OTW.  I will try to squeeze in an erg session during the day, but it might not happen.


January CTC : 4 x 4′ / 4′ rest

Well, if I wanted to test how far my sprint fitness has declined, this would be a good way to do it.  Also, it would be a good way to see how well my knee works for full pressure rowing.

I figured that it would be a stretch to do this session with an average pace of 1:45.  To try to make myself a little less obsessive about the pace, I did the challenge with the watts screen up.  1:45 is just about 300W, but somehow, I figured I would do a better job backing off if I wasn’t looking at the pace sliding away.

I set up the session as a simple time interval session.  I used the first 4 minutes as a warmup with 4 power 10s close to my target pace.  Then 3 minutes of paddling.  I let the flywheel stop completely before the first interval to stay legal.

The plan was to try to hold 10W per stroke, but I found that I was having trouble getting my rating up above 28, even with the power above 300W.  I just went with it, but it sure felt like hard work.  I finished the first interval 303 watts (1:44.6).  I felt pretty toasted, but I recovered pretty well in the rest period.

I figured I should probably back off the 300w target a bit, but I set out in the second interval at 300W, but I needed to back off a bit in the second half and I ended up at 297W (1:45.6).  This one really stung and I was desperately counting down the strokes to the end.

For the third interval, I targeted 280W and I hoped that would be enough slack.  This one started pretty well, but I sure felt it in the last minute.  I beat the 280w, but just barely with 283W (1:47.3).

The last interval was going to be very difficult.  I decided to back off some more to 260W and see how it went.  I really wanted to just make it through without putting the handle down.  I did, 262W (1:50.0).

I did a progressive cool down, and then paddled enough meters to tick over 10km.

The summary graph shows that I was pushing this one close to the edge.  My max recorded HR is 185 and I matched that the last interval.


This workout shows how using power is a better way to manage intensity for hard workouts.  HR lags power in shorter intervals, so here, you can see that I was pushing anaerobic power levels for about 14 minutes, which was the whole workout execpt for when I faded in the middle of the last interval.  By HR, it only shows 6:38.

This workout provides a good example of how the stroke based statistics of rowsandall can have errors that have a pretty big impact on shorter intervals.  I parsed the workout data to select just the 4 work intervals, and the summary data from there was.

Workout Summary - media/20170108-2130110o.csv
Workout Details
01|01146|04:00.0|01:44.8|302.8|27.3|165.1|176.0|10.5 - +2m
02|01130|04:00.0|01:46.2|297.0|27.2|169.7|181.0|10.4 - -6m
03|01113|04:00.0|01:47.8|283.3|27.5|171.9|184.0|10.1 - -5m
04|01084|04:00.0|01:50.7|262.5|26.4|172.4|184.0|10.3 - -6m

This is close enough for analysis purposes, and to provide a good definition of work and rest strokes, but for challenges, you definitely want to use the PM directly.

Tomorrow:  10 min warmup, 40 min steady state, 10 min cool down


Wednesday: 8 x 750 buried in a half marathon

First thing in the morning, fasted.  It was the only time I had to get any training in today.  All my kids are coming home (with a couple of significant others) for Thanksgiving and the rest of the day is a blur of driving, baking and talking.  It might be one of my favorite days of the year.

Today’s challenge was to massage a sprint workout into a half marathon.  I want to stick to a polarized workout plan, and I also want to keep working on the Crazy Bear Challenge.  So here is today’s workout plan:

  • Fletcher warmup.  20 minutes, usually comes in just over 5000m.  This gets me to ~16070m.
  • paddle until I get to 15750
  • 8 x 750m/750m rest.  so, 15×750 is 11250 (leaving off the last rest), which takes me down to 4500m
  • paddle down to 4000m
  • happy ending cool down.  1000m at 2:00, then 2:05, then 2:10, then 2:15

It worked out fine.  I didn’t lose any intervals or miss any transitions.  The cool down was a bit long, but I was entertained by the fact that I could aim for exactly 1:30:00 by a coincidence.  This kept me very focused as I tried to keep the projected finish 10 seconds ahead during the 2:10 and right on 1:30:00 during the 2:15 bit.

The intervals themselves were perfectly miserable.  I would have expected to be able to do these below 1:45.  But my legs were completely trashed from my strength session last night.  They felt empty at the beginning and were burning in the second half of each interval.  I really felt like I was working with a lot less power today.

But, I’m pretty happy that I stuck it out.  I experimented with different stroke rates and ended up feeling most comfortable at 26/27 and I worked to lengthen my stroke after the first three intervals.  You can see that in the drive length plot.


Heart rate was not that high, but I was pushing about as hard as I could.  The rests were nice and long.

A few metrics.  First the drive length.  On the left, showing it versus time, on the right versus stroke rate.  You can see the change in the fourth interval when I settled into a longer stroke at r26.  You can also see that the drive length is definitely getting shorter with higher stroke rates.  Interesting because it gets longer from 18 up to about 24spm.

Here is the work per stroke.  The notable thing here is the increased stroke power in the fourth interval when I consciously pulled down the rate.  It’s also interesting (at least to me) that the work per stroke is pretty constant versus stroke rate through this range of rates.

Finally, here is a view of peak and average force, and the ratio of these values.  It seems logical that the higher the ratio, the more efficient the stroke.  But I gotta say, there is really no trend in the intervals or relationship with stroke rate across this workout.

And finally, just because I like the way it looks.  Here’s the power versus stroke rate.


Here are the splits:

Workout Summary - media/20161123-205340-sled_2016-11-23T08-50-06ZEST.strokes.csv
Workout Details

Tomorrow:  Thanksgiving.  I’m giving thanks by taking a rest day!

Sunday: 6 x 750 / 4′ rest on Quinsig

It was a lovely morning.  Temperature started around 65F and was 75F by the time we finished.  Wind was light from the south, about 2mph with gusts to 5 mph.  It seemed to be strongest during the first 3 intervals (2 with head wind and 1 with tail wind) and then died down.  Very sunny, I was glad I wore a hat.

The plan for today was hard intervals.

  • 6 x 750
  • 4 minute rests
  • standing starts
  • rate:  original plan was to start at 26 and work my way up.  But I changed my plan when I was able to tempt Bob from my club to do the 750s with me.  So, no rate cap.
  • pace:  As close to 2:00 as I could manage without dying
  • technique: Work on getting a clean start, and rowing clean and light.  Try to keep the blades off the water.

When I launched, the HR was working on CrewNerd, but not the Speedcoach.  Then the Crewnerd HR blinked out.  Time for a new battery.

We started with a warmup for about 1500 meters or so.   Some 10 strokes bursts, and then a few practice starts.  Once we were past the narrows, We set up for the first interval.  I setup Crewnerd for the workout.  I guess I must of splashed a bit in my start, because a drop of water strategically hit the crewnerd screen right in the right place to take me to the “Live Tracking” screen.  So, I didn’t have a view of how many meters remained.  Since I was responsible for the interval distance for both me and Bob, I counted out strokes, and when I got to 95, I called it done.  Turns out I stopped about 10 meters short.

Looking at the weather data, it seemed like the wind was very light, but it was hard to get down to target pace.  A 2 mph wind is about 1m/s.  This will add about 3 seconds onto the split.  It felt more like a 6 second adder.

The second interval was unremarkable.  Still the light but pernicious headwind.  And it really hurt!  If the goal of this workout is to provoke the lactate wave, it was certainly doing it’s job.  I felt like I was going to shit myself after this interval.

Now we turned and headed up lake.  By now we had calibrated how much time to leave between us starting so that we would finish just about even.  This ramped up the level of intensity.  The third interval was nice and fast with a bit of tail wind.

The fourth was interrupted at 400m by a gigantic, boat stopping wake.  We picked it back up and did 250m to finish it off after the wake had rolled through.

The fifth and sixth were just damn painful, which was  the point.  To provoke the lactate wave, and push through it.  In each of the last two, the wave hit at about 400m, and I just counted down the strokes to the end.  Each of them took 91 strokes.

From there, we paddled to the north end of the lake, with square blades.  Then we spun, I took my feet out of the shoes and worked on nice clean finishes for the 2500m back to the boathouse.  I was really tired.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 11.16.20 AM

The whole workout, pace and rate, from the speedcoach.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 11.10.56 AM

The fifth and sixth intervals.  I need to remember that the pace gets messed up at 10m per point and use strokes for hard workouts.

Tomorrow:  Steady State rate ladders

Monday: 3 x (6 x 1′ / 1’r) / 5’r

Inside, on the erg.  I originally planned to do it on slides, but I couldn’t get them set up so they were sliding freely.  They kept binding so that I would end up banging against the end while I was warming up, so I took the erg off of them for the rest of the workout.

The plan was

  • 4 x ( 6 x 1′ / 1′ rest ) / 5′ rest
  • Rate target: 30
  • Pace target: 1:40

While I did the workout, I had enough time to think through the plan.  That would be 24 minutes at faster than 2K pace.  Even with the generous rests, that seemed a bit excessive.  Compared to other sprint workouts like a 4 x 1k or 8 x 500, they have about 14 minutes of work.  Anyway, during the first 5 minute rest I decided to stop after 3 sets.  It certainly felt like enough.

I wasn’t all that sure about pace, since I haven’t been doing many sprint sessions on the erg lately, but 1:40 turned out to be a good pick.  I was able to beat it by a bit, but the last set really stung.


I am very happy with that.

Now I am over Germany, about to descend into Munich. I’ll be connecting over to Stuttgart, and then going straight into meetings all day. So no training for Tuesday.  Hopefully, I will be able get a workout in tomorrow morning.


Crushed by the lactate wave. 750m intervals

Weather: sunny, warm mid-70s, basically no wind. A great day for rowing. 

Pity it was such a shitty workout. 


  • 8×750 / 4′ rest
  • Rate: 28-32
  • Pace: 2:00
  • Standing starts
  • Paddle in the rests

I am feeling the effects of a big increase in Volume. I got my boat back last week and I’ve rowed everyday since last Friday. I’ve also done longer sessions this week. Last night, I got enough sleep, but I woke up feeling very sore and lethargic. I also had stomach issues which forced me stop for an unscheduled pit stop on my way to the boathouse. 

By the time I got on the water, it was nearly 7am, and I had less than an hour for the workout. I did a quick warmup and then attempted to start the first interval. I got 5 strokes in and noticed that I hadn’t pushed start on CrewNerd. The second attempt at the start actually worked and off I went. I took a little too long to settle down to a realistic pace, and I felt the familiar “Lactate Wave”. Nausea, feeling like I’m drowning. This is a feeling I hate, but I need to get used to in order to well in sprint races. It’s kind of the whole point of this workout. 

The problem is that I was not mentally prepared for what this workout demanded. I made it through the wave in the first interval by slowing down. The second interval, I powered through it and was happy that I hit the target pace, even while steering to the bridge. This one really hurt after I finished. I nearly puked, but by the end of the rest I thought I was better. 

Twenty strokes into the next interval, I discovered that I wasn’t. I bailed out the interval approaching the bridge, and then slowly picked back up to a reasonable pace for about the last 400m. I was pretty annoyed with myself. 

I paddled through the s-curve during the rest and decided to hold the rate a bit lower during the next interval. The result was a slower split and a more manageable wave. 

I quit on the next interval and frankly, I’m not even sure why. It was after about 20 strokes, and this time I picked back up pretty quickly and pushed through the rest of the piece. This was not going well. 

I was running out of time and so I decided to make the next one my last. No quitting allowed on this one. I managed the wave and finished reasonably well. 

I rowed feet out back to the dock. I have to come back and do this workout again soon. 

Workout Summary – media/20160616-173853-2016-06-16-0646.CSV–|Total|-Total-|–Avg–|Avg-|-Avg-|-Max-|-Avg



Workout Details


01|01240| 07:56 |03:11.9|16.4|117.0|132.0|09.5

02|00000| 00:10 |0000:00|00.0|0.0|0.0|0nan

03|00750| 03:07 |02:05.1|28.1|154.0|165.0|08.5

04|00750| 03:00 |02:00.6|30.2|164.0|174.0|08.2

05|00750| 03:41 |02:27.7|23.8|146.0|161.0|08.5

06|00750| 03:09 |02:06.2|28.8|165.0|176.0|08.2

07|00750| 03:15 |02:10.4|27.0|158.0|174.0|08.5

08|00750| 03:11 |02:07.7|29.1|165.0|178.0|08.1

09|01579| 09:21 |02:57.7|20.1|138.0|147.0|08.4

Tomorrow: “rest day”. I’m flying to sandiego in the morning and back on the redeye. Some rest day.