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.

More musings on Lactate

Comparison of two lactate tests.


Roughly similar, but lower readings for the powers below the aerobic threshold.  I think that’s a good thing.  4mmol power is about 5W higher now, also good.  HRs are right on top of each other which is just plain weird.

So I see this as a very hopeful sign.  I went from this baseline to setting most of my distance PBs using lactate based training.  There’s no reason I can’t do it again.


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.

Friday: 4 x 20 L4

Thursday was a “rest day”.  Up at 5am to fly home. Driving home from the airport sucked, nearly 2 hours in traffic.

I decided a good night sleep was needed and made the call to work from home.  That made my morning a lot easier.  I woke up at 8:30, had breakfast and was in a meeting at 9.

I worked until around 3:30 and then decided it was time for some training.


  • 4 x 20′ / 1′ rests
  • L4 format
  • Start slow, then push it a little harder than last weekend
  • 10W per stroke

Having a little issue with the interval editor, so no details on each 10 minute segment.

Lactate test at the end, after 80 minutes, 2.0mmol/l – right on the nose.

One other note.  It was nice and cold.  57F when I finished.

I think the key thing that I noticed is that my HR was following the power very closely.  I think that is the key for me, if I start to see more decoupling between HR and power, then I am pushing the session too hard.

By the way, I had a blast with the stroke sequence today.




Sunday: Easy 4 x 20′ L4

I like late afternoon workouts.  I seem to be much better.

Today, I started around 4:30 at home after we returned from Cape Cod.


  • 4×20′
  • L4 format
  • power target: 10W x spm
  • Slow start to warmup
  • HR limit: 155 (never got even close to that)
  • Lactate test at the end

Completely routine until about 12 minutes to go from  the end.  My phone rang, and the number that came up was my Dad.  I thought that I would call him back as soon as I finished.  But as soon as it stopped ringing, he called again. Now I was worried, so I stopped and picked up.  No emergency, thank goodness.  Then I picked up where I left off and finished.


I tested lactate when I finished….1.2mmol/l

Last time I did this workout, it was over 2.


Sunday: 3 x 20′ L4

We got home around noon.  I had a bunch of errands and other work around the house to do.  I finally had a window to erg around 5:30pm.  I just wanted a easy endurance session to keep things ticking over.


  • 3 x 20′ / 1′ rest
  • L4 format, 10W x stroke rate
  • Ease into over the first 10 minutes, starting at 160W
  • Thereafter aim for ~190W (18/19/20/19/18)
  • HR Cap at ~150
  • Lactate test at the end.


The workout felt good.  Nice low HR, and RPE was fine.  But when I tested Lactate at the end, it was 2.4mmol/l.  A bit too high.  Time to move the training power back to 185W.


Sunday: 3 x 20′ L4 w/lactate (morning)

The rest of Saturday was a blur.  We went out shopping, and had a little dinner, then came home and I did laundry, packed and did some paperwork.  Then we watched the season premier of Saturday Night Live.  It is intriguing that it requires nothing more than to repeat exactly what Donald Trump says to effectively parody him.  But enough of that.  On to the training.

I got up around 8:30 and hopped on the erg at 9 for a steady state session


  • Just like yesterday
  • 3 x 20′
  • 1′ rests
  • L4 format
  • target power 185
  • HR cap at 150
  • Measure lactate at the end

20:00   4813    181W 18
40:00   4894   190W 19
60:00   4861    186W 19

Basically the same session as yesterday.  I did a different sequence from 40′ to 50′ but otherwise exactly the same.  It felt harder, but the HR stats are very close.

Lactate level was 1.8mmol/l, so 0.4 higher than yesterday.  From yesterday’s results, it would be logical to increase training power a bit.  From today, it’s pretty close to the limit.  I guess I stick with ~185W for now.

For fun I compared yesterday’s session with today’s.  Looks like I had a slightly higher HR in general yesterday.


I am posting this from the plane.  I’m flying to Taipei and I’ll arrive Monday night local time.  I will be in Asia for through next Thursday, or about 12 days.  It’s a long trip.  I’m going to be trying to follow my training plan roughly but I am sure this is going to impact performance for the HOCR.  I think the most important things to focus on are:

  • Limit drinking
  • get enough sleep
  • avoid getting sick
  • maintain aerobic base.