Tuesday: 3 x 20′ / 2′ L4

Just a really nice workout.  On static, I was trying to hold:

  • 16spm – 160W
  • 18 spm – 180W
  • 20 spm – 200W
  • 22 spm – 220W

        Workout Summary - media/20190205-1325420o.csv
Workout Details

Sure was more comfortable on a static erg.

One fun comparison.  I used the Trend Flex Plot to look at the power versus stroke rate for today’s L4 and Saturday’s, which was the same stroke sequence, but shifted up by 2 spm, and down by 10W. (Saturday on the left)

Tomorrow:  Hard Distance – 30′.  Last time I did this session, I managed a 1:53.8 pace.  Tomorrow’s target pace 1:53.0

New plan!  There is an online 10K race on rowsandall that opens up tomorrow.  I’ll do that for my hard distance piece instead.  Last time I did a 10K, my avg pace was 1:57.2, but I was holding 1:56 through a lot of it.  I think I will aim at that.  stroke rate 24.



Weekend L4s and Pyramid Monday

I am feeling very grateful.  Over the past week, my work schedule has been reasonable, my various injuries are getting much better, and I’ve been able to string together some good training sessions.

Saturday – February 2 : 3 x 20′ / 2′ L4 Dynamic

Started a bit too aggressively at 160W/18spm.  I should have stuck with 150W/18spm like last weekend.  I dropped back in the second 20 minute piece and it was a lot better.

        Workout Summary - media/20190203-1800500o.csv
Workout Details

Sunday – February 3: 3 x 18′ / 2′ L4

Sunday was my scheduled rest day, but I’ve been missing so much training that I wanted to get a lightish session in.  I was also worried about sleeping Sunday night if I didn’t exercise.

I did 6 minute sequences today, and at a bit higher intensity.  I ran out of gas in the last 9 minutes.  I was fine with easing up in this session.  I had my eyes on the Monday session.

        Workout Summary - media/20190203-2330370o.csv
Workout Details

Monday – February 4 : 250/500/750/1000/750/500/250 – Pyramid

I really like this session.  The 1k and the second 750 are really tough, but the last 500 and 250 are a blast.  I set a pace target of 1:45, and I ended up beating it.

Started with a 2k warmup and finished with a 2k cool down.

My HR monitor didn’t work right in  the last 500.  I’ve seen this in other workouts, when my HR rises very quickly, the HR monitor gets confused.

        Workout Summary - media/20190204-1316240o.csv
Workout Details

1:42 will be a very challenging target for the next time I do this workout.

I did a quick flex plot of power and pace versus stroke rate.

bokeh_plot (69)

I was surprised to see my stroke power increasing as steeply as it is.  The slope is roughly 18W per SPM.  In endurance workouts, I am a lot closer to 10W per SPM.

Digging deeper, I could see that the stroke force was getting a bit higher as the rate went up, and I was able to maintain consistent drive length.

As the result of the steep slope in the power vs SPM curve, my work per stroke was increasing as I went faster.

bokeh_plot (72)

I am not sure how I feel about this.  I like the fact that my stroke length stayed consistent, but I think I need to lighten up a bit at higher rates to be able to maintain them for longer pieces.

Tomorrow:  3 x 20′ / 2′ L4


Monday: Exactly one hour

Well, vacation is over.  This morning at 5:15, my alarm went off.  The alarm was loud enough to wake up my wife, but not me, so she nudged me awake.  I was so tired that I felt nauseous, so I just shut it off and rolled over to go back to sleep.

But my brain had other ideas.  There were so many different voices in my head.  “Get up, do the session”  “You need more sleep” “When’s my first meeting”  “Do I have any free time blocks to go catch a quick workout on the erg?”  “Should I even be rowing with my sore back?”  After 9 minutes of this jabbering, I gave up, got up, and stumbled through my morning routine.  The bathroom phase of the routine took a bit longer than normal.  There is nothing worse than trying to row when you need to poop (sorry, but it’s true)

By the time I got on the road, I knew that my workout would be time limited.  Luckily, traffic wasn’t too bad and i was on the water by 7:03am.  I knew I needed to be on the road by 8:15 to my 9:00am meeting on time (allowing a generous 12 minutes to shower and change).  So, that provided a window exactly one hour long for my row.

The plan:

  • 60 minute recovery / endurance session
  • stroke rate target: 18 spm
  • target effective length: 80deg
  • target WPS: >450
  • HR limit: 150

My plan was to row until the elapsed time was 29:30, then turn around and retrace my path.  This ended up being about 1/3 of the way back to the start from the dam in Waltham, right before the s-turn.

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 4.11.40 PM.png

My heart rate was stubbornly low today.  I’m coming to think that this is related to very hard efforts the day before.  After about 15 minutes, I got up into the UT2 range, and I was able to hold my heart rate right at the top of the ut2 range with very small changes in stroke pressure.  It was only in the last quarter when I felt a bit of time pressure did I push hard enough to get into the meat of the ut1 range.

Of course, I wish the splits were faster, but this was a good workout.  It was nice to be on glassy flat water, and I felt like I could take long, smooth strokes.  I am not enjoying the back issues though.  Most strokes felt fine, but some strokes, especially when I was  turning, or not well balanced at the catch provided not very subtle form feedback through my frayed nerve endings.  I’m worried that this could get worse before it gets better.


        Workout Summary - media/20170821-193402-Greg Smith 20170821 0703amo.csv
Workout Details
00|01095|06:00.0|02:44.3|128.9|16.9|112.7|124.0|10.8 - slow turny bit
01|02932|14:47.2|02:31.3|149.7|17.7|136.1|144.0|11.2 - down to dam
02|01393|07:12.0|02:35.0|151.1|17.7|141.8|146.0|10.9 - back to 29:30
03|01395|06:52.8|02:28.0|157.6|17.5|141.2|146.0|11.6 - back to dam
04|03078|16:04.8|02:36.7|146.6|17.8|145.4|151.0|10.7 - back to start
05|00946|05:05.5|02:41.5|128.5|18.6|149.0|152.0|10.0 - slow turny bit

So, how much difference does nice flat water make?  Here is a comparison of the stroke profile for work strokes yesterday and today.

So, with slick flat water I get higher peak and average force, an extra degree on the catch, a degree on slip, 3 degrees on the finish.  Together it ends up increasing my effective length by about 7 or 8 degrees.  That’s about 10% more length!  The peak force angle also moved about 4 degrees to the bow.  I guess more work in choppy water would be a good idea!

Here are some more stroke metrics.  Nothing really weird in the data.  The averages here do not exactly match the stroke profile because I pruned all strokes with WPS below 350J to get the turning strokes out.

Tomorrow:  The plan calls for an L1 session.  The Pyramid!  OTW in my fluid.  Stroke rate target is 30 SPM.



Wednesday: 40′ L4

Tuesday:  Rest Day.  I was in some pain.  I have a pinched nerve in my lower left back / hip.  I’ve had this injury before.  I can row with it, but it is very painful to get up to a standing position, and doing something like bending over slowly to touch my toes is really painful.

Wednesday:  My hip was still quite sore.  Late in the day, I decided that a short L4 session might help loosen it up.

  • 40′ L4 format
  • 168 / 172 / 176 / 180
  • rate / power
    • 16 / 155
    • 18 / 175
    • 20 / 195
    • 22 / 215


       Workout Summary - media/20170817-0055250o.csv
Workout Details


My plan worked.  I felt a lot looser after the session.  Nice low HR too.

Tuesday: 80′ L4 1x

It was so nice getting back in my fluid that I stayed out extra long.  I did over 18km in the session including warmup and cool down.

The plan was to do an L4 session, adapted for OTW

  • L4 format
  • 10′ sections
    • 4′ at 16 spm
    • 3′ at 18 spm
    • 2′ at 20 spm
    • 1′ at 22 spm
  • Take 1′ breaks when I needed to turn, roughly every 14 minutes or so.
  • No HR limit
  • No target pace or power to just set a marker for future sessions.


Workout Summary - media/20170808-154104-Greg Smith 20170808 0642amo.csv
Workout Details

Average by stroke rate:

  • 16: 2:39.8, 134W
  • 18: 2:34.7, 149W
  • 20: 2:28.8, 157W
  • 22: 2:24.6, 179W

A few fun charts.  The only insights I got from this was a gradual reduction of effective length as I got more tired.  This was caused by my wash getting bigger.


Ugh. Jet Lag. 40′ L4 plus some junk meters

What day is it?  Oh yeah, Friday.

So, let’s back up.  I got to Tokyo on Wednesday afternoon, and had a very nice dinner with a customer on Wednesday night.  I entertained notions of working out on Thursday morning, but decided to sleep instead.  I headed off to the office at 8am, had a bunch of meetings until about 3 in the afternoon.

At 3,  I headed off to the airport.  I caught a 7 pm flight to LAX.  The flight was flawless.  Left on time, arrived on time, and the food was good.  I even got about 6 hours of sleep.  I arrived at 1:30 Thursday afternoon, five and half hours before I left (I am endlessly fascinated by flying east and getting in before I leave).  At LAX, I grabbed a rental car and drove 3 hours south to San Diego.

I checked into my hotel and made it to a conference call with about 1 minute to spare.  Total travel time from office in Yokohama to Hotel in San Diego… 16 hours.

I went to bed around 9 and slept great.  Until 1:00.  Then I didn’t sleep any more.  Not even a little bit.  I didn’t even doze.  I was WIDE AWAKE.  The time from 1:00 to 5:00 was the longest 4 hours of my life!

At 5, I got up and headed off to Cross Fit Del Mar.  They were accommodating as usual.  I was rowing by 5:30.

The plan was for an 80 minute L4 as 2 40′ chunks.  It all seemed to be going OK until I got about 25 minutes into it.  I was doing my usual 168/172/176/180 routine.  I was in the middle of the 176 and I shifted up to the 20spm section.  It just felt so hard.  It took a long time to recover as I came back down to 18 and then 16 spm.  Then when I did the 180, my HR started blasting off as I shifted up to 18, and it felt very hard.  I stuck to it knowing that I was going finish the forty minutes.

I had some water and decided to just do 168/172/168/172 for the second 40′.  But it was tough even rowing at 16 spm.  I was just out of energy.  I basically just piddled along trying to keep my HR below 155 for 20 minutes and then called it a day.

Oh well.  Chalk it up to travel related fatigue, lack of sleep or whatever.  I’m still glad I went and rowed.


80′ L4

In an episode of a podcast called “browshowpodcast” (which is really quite good and available on soundcloud), they talk about the difference between beginning of the week watts and end of the week watts.  I feel like I experienced that today.

I did the exact same session as I did on last Wednesday in Shanghai and it felt a whole lot harder.  Today’s session was the third day in a row of training and yesterday’s L2 workout was pretty intense.  I also did the session on 18 hours of rest.

But anyway, I did the session and I’m glad.

The plan was the same.

  • 4 x 20′ / 1′ rest
  • rate / power
    • 16 / 155
    • 18 / 175
    • 20 / 195
    • 22 / 215
  • rate plan


The results…

Target power for the 20′ sections was 165W and 173W.  Stroke rates were right on.  But the HR was a lot higher.


Here are the HR pie charts for today’s and last week’s session.  The good news is that I spent longer in sub-UT2.  The bad news is that I spent longer in AT and TR.

Gotta say, I am enjoying getting back to basics on this training.

Tomorrow:  L3.  10K.  According to the plan, an L# should be done at about 85% to 90% of 2K velocity.  I am working off of paces for a 7:00 2K, so a 1:45 pace.  90% of that is a 1:56.6.  85% of that is a 2:03.5.  I think I will aim at a target pace of 1:57 and see how it goes.

Blessed be, another erg! 60′ L4

This has turned out to be a pretty nice day.

My ride to the airport was smooth, well, except for the part where I discovered that I was short of money to pay the driver and had to run inside the terminal to an ATM to fix that little problem.

My flight from Taiwan to Macau was delightfully short and very comfortable.  Customs was a breeze, and the shuttle to the hotel was easy to find and extremely well air conditioned.  I’ve never been to Macau before.   If it wasn’t for the humidity, I would swear that I am in Las Vegas.  The hotels and casinos are nearly indistinguishable!  I am staying at the Sheraton, which boast of having 4000 rooms.  I can tell you that 4000 is a lot of rooms in a hotel.  The front desk had about 40 clerks working and the queue was quite long.  Luckily, I’m a member of the sheraton frequent guest program and they had a nice, special check in desk for us away from the hoi poloi 😉

I went to my room and this was the view from my window.


Basically what the brochure promised.  I settled in, did some work, and around 3:30 I decided to check out the fitness center.

My plan was to do an easy workout to see if my stomach would give me troubles.

It took me about 10 minutes to walk to the fitness center.  (Did I mention that it’s a large hotel?)  Lo and behold, what did I see?


Yep, a brand new Model E rowing machine complete with a PM5 monitor.  Alas, I couldn’t get the monitor to link up with my phone, but still, two ergs in one trip.  I felt extremely lucky!

I settled in for an L4 session.

  • 2 x 30′ / 2′ rest
  • 10′ sections
  • rate / power targets
    • 16 / 155
    • 18 / 175
    • 20 / 195
    • 22 / 215
  • rate plan


I was hoping that this would be a reasonably easy workout and for the most part it was.  My stomach was a bit grumbly in the middle of the first 30 minutes, but settled down.  My hr climbed a bit higher than I was hoping it would as the workout wore on, but nothing weird.  All in all, a very pleasant session.

So, the stroke rate for the first 30 minutes should have been 17.2 and the second 30′ should have been 17.6, so that’s OK.  The power target for the first 30 minutes was 167W and the second was 171W, so I was 3W ahead of m=plan.



Now it’s about 5:30 and I’m trying  to figure out what to do tonight.  I guess find some dinner and do some more work.

Tomorrow:  Sticking with the WP theme, I think I will do a very tame L2 workout.

5×1500/5′ rest

At my best I could do this workout at a 1:45 pace.  In general, I’m closer to 1:50.  Since I’m just restarting, far from home and not in the mood to try to hard, I’m going to do it at 1:55 with a faster last.



Hooray, the hotel has an erg!

Monday, July 24 and Tuesday, July 25:  (No Training)

I woke up at the ungodly hour of 4:30am to get to the airportfor my 7am flight.  I was flying to Shanghai via Chicago, total flight time 17 and a half hours.  Total travel time 22 and a half hours.  With the time zone changes, I got into my hotel room at 3:00pm Tuesday afternoon.  I took a shower and went to work, then a customer dinner.

I was back in my hotel room by 9:00pm and asleep at 9:01pm (approximately)

I guess you’d call that 2 rest days, but it didn’t feel very restful.

Wednesday, July 26:

I slept pretty well considering the jet lag.  I woke up around midnight, but got right back to sleep.  I woke up at 3:00am and slept fitfully until 5am.  I was in the gym by about 5:30am and what a gym it was.


I’m staying in the Kerry Hotel in Pudong and the fitness center is incredible.  The main gym has ceilings two stories high, there is a spinning room and a group room off to the side.  They have lots of treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, weight machines, TRX, free weights, kettle bells, all in brand new condition.  And they had 2 perfectly maintained concept2 Model D rowing machines with PM4s.  I couldn’t believe my good fortune.

When I arrived there was someone using one of the rowers, and so I settled into the second one.


  • 80′ L4
  • 4×20’/1′ rest
  • rate/power
    • 16 – 150W
    • 18 – 170W
    • 20 – 190W
    • 22 – 210W
  • stroke sequence:  I decided to go for my all time favorite classic L4 sequence.  In shorthand it’s a 2x(168/172/176/180).  That means 168 strokes in the first 10 minutes, then 172, then 176, then 180.  So, here’s how that looks.


I had a blast!  The intensity was just about perfect.  The fastest bits pushed me above the top of my UT1 zone, but my HR dropped back in the slower pieces.

I really should get a USB cable so I can use ergdata with the PM3 and PM4, but for now all I get is HR data.


Tomorrow:  I think I’ll stick with the Wolverine theme and do this month’s CTC.  It will be slow, but I’d like to put a score on the board.



Off to China

Once every calendar quarter we have business reviews.  As an engineering company, we are naturally enthralled with applying acronyms to everything, so the weeks of reviews is QBR week.  I am in a position where I am the principle reviewer for a set of them, and then later in the week, I try to put together a summary review for my supervisors.  At the same time, we have to prepare for board meetings, get ready for employee communications meetings, and also actually take care of business.

Tuesday, 18 July:  No training

I managed to find a brief window to exercise on Monday, and I was hopeful that I would be able to do some OTW rowing on Tuesday morning, but that was spoiled by a bit of a stomach bug that hit me Monday night.  I was up for a lot of the night and I needed to be at work for an 8am meeting.  After that, I was in meetings until 8pm.  After that, I worked until 10pm catching up on email.  I got home around 11:00 and didn’t get to bed until nearly 1am.

Wednesday, 19 July: No training

I slept until 7am and hustled off to work for more business review meetings which started at 9am.  These went straight through to 6pm.  After that, I needed to prepare for meetings with my boss that were happening on Thursday.  I was at work until 10pm again, and got to bed after midnight

Thursday, 20 July: No Training

I was up at 6am, and right out the door.  Thursday was a bit less stressful, with only 7 hours of meetings, but 4 of those hours were with my boss, so I needed to be on my toes.  I needed to get right out the door at 6pm to get to an appointment.  The evening was filled with domestic chores because I’d be leaving right after work for Cape Cod.  Again, it wasn’t until after midnight when I got to bed.

Friday, 21 July: No Training

Again up at 6am, and quickly out the door. Meetings from 9 to 4.  At four, I bolted out the door and headed home.  I picked up my stuff and continued on to the cape, arriving at about 8pm (having picked up pizza right near my destination).  Needless to say, I was eager to get to bed early, and I slept a long time.

Saturday, 22 July: 3 x 20’/1′ on the erg.

My schedule wouldn’t work out for a coastal row today, so before breakfast, I snuck down to the basement for a easy endurance session.  I purposely kept the power really low since it had been 4 days without training.

I did the first two 20′ sections at 180w.  At the end of the second, I was seeing my HR going a bit high, so I decided to do the last 20 minutes as 2×10′ L4 rate ladders

  • 4min / r17 / 160w
  • 3min / r18 / 170w
  • 2min / r19 / 180w
  • 1min / r20 / 190W

This was very entertaining, and I didn’t much mind that my HR spiked up a bit with the rate restriction and ladders.

myimage (90)

Workout Summary - media/20170722-1545410o.csv
Workout Details

That was good fun.  I think I’ll do some more of that.

Sunday, 22 July:

I was planning on a coastal row, but I was stymied by weather.  It was grey and blustery when I got up, so again, I opted for an erg session.  Today’s plan

  • 80 minute L4
  • 4×20’/1′
  • Same rate vs power as Saturday
  • Keep it nice and easy.

Nice low HR, easy row.  The low rates started to bug my back by the end though.

I notched up one stroke per minute after 30 minutes to make it a bit harder.

myimage (93).png

Workout Summary - media/20170723-1435180o.csv
Workout Details

Now I’m off to Shanghai, the first stop on a two week trip with 4 different destinations.