Korea Day 2 – Another modified Marathon Plan session

Today’s workout was planned as:

M2 3 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP 90.0% (167)

No rowing machine, so I used an elliptical trainer.

I usually do endurance stuff on an elliptical at a resistance of 15 (on a 1 to 25 scale), so I decided I would try doing the first 20′ at 15, then move it up to 19 for the 10kp, and back to 17 for the hmp.

I would watch HR and if it looked like I was way off track, I’d adjust.  it turned ut I didn’t need to.  The settings worked out great.



Compare this to the same session on the erg.

myimage (73)

Just a little bit lower intensity today, but it didn’t feel like it!  Man it was humid again.  The sweat was flowing freely.  While I was waiting for the elevator back to my room, a lady walked over to the elevators, took one look at me dripping in front of the elevator doors, and turned and walked away!

Tomorrow:  Easy session.  Probably 2×30/2′

I catch a plane tomorrow afternoon.  I’m very eager to get back home again.  This was a short trip, but I’m kind of worn out.


Catching up and slowing down

Wow.  I haven’t posted since last Monday.  It’s been a busy week.

If you recall, Monday’s workout was terrible.

6/20 – Tuesday:  The plan called for a massive workout…

M2 3 x 30′ / 3′ MP, 10KP, MP 90.0% (167)

I was up late on Monday night and slept in instead of trying to go on the water.  I thought I could do the workout on the erg later in the day when my schedule was freer.  I was wrong.

It ended up that I didn’t have time to do the whole workout, so I thought I would change it to be 20′ @ MP, 30′ @ 10kp and 20′ @ MP.

I had hopes that my workout on Monday was just a fluke, so i set out with aggressive power targets.  200W for MP, and 230 for 10KP.

I didn’t last.

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I did the first 20 minutes per plan, but my HR was too high and I was struggling.  I backed off the 10KP to the bottom of the power range (210W), but I busted through the HR cap within about 8 minutes and was flailing around and struggling for breath.  I handled down.  I tried to start again, and HD’ed again.  I decided to just paddle it out to 20 minutes and then pack it in for the day.

Workout Summary - media/20170620-183745-sled_2017-06-20T13-28-55ZEDT.strokes.csv
Workout Details
01|01791|07:00.0|01:57.3|218.1|23.5|158.6|168.0|10.9 -HD
02|02834|12:07.4|02:08.3|179.2|21.1|160.4|166.0|11.1 - paddle it out

Very Frustrating.

6/21 – Wednesday:  Tuesday night I was up late yet again.  Again, I decided that missing sleep to row was a bad call.  But on Wednesday, in an attempt to find my bliss, I left work a bit early, blew off the training plan and just went rowing.  The goal to keep my HR under 150 and just enjoy being out in the sunshine.

It was glorious.  It was quite windy, and there was a lot of kayaks and canoes out on the river.  I haven’t had a chance to upload the speedcoach data, all I have handy is the RIM data, without HR.

It was slow, both because of the breeze, and also because of the HR cap.  I am still getting used to the new oars.  This was a very nice, easy way to get some strokes in.

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Workout Summary - media/20170625-222721-89865o.csv


6/22 – Thursday:  I was up until 1:30AM on Wednesday night, getting my car packed.  We are getting the house down on the cape ready for visitors.  I slept until 7 and rushed off to work.  I was going to take Thursday as a rest day.  I was due for a rest day.  I worked until around 4 and then headed off to the cape.  The traffic was horrifying.  I didn’t get there until 7:30!

6/23 – Friday:  Open water rowing seems to be a probabilistic endeavor.  The tides are really big right now, so I wanted to avoid low tide, which was just before am.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 7.17.29 PM

So, I slept in and I thought I would go in the early afternoon.  That’s when the wind changed my plans.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 6.38.43 PM.png

Around noon, the wind just started building, and building.  By seven pm the sustained wind speed was over 40 mph with gusts nearing 50.

Instead, I got busy with a bunch of work around the house.  The most involved of these chores was repairing the bottom 8 steps of the stairs down to the beach.  The bottom 3 or 4 steps are actually submerged at high tide and they take a terrific beating during the winter.  On Friday, I jacked up and braced the stairs, fixed the handrails, and fixed 4 steps.  The steps I’m talking about are the ones below that final platform you can see at the end of stairs in this picture.

2016-05-29 12.57.52.jpg

There was a bit of aerobic benefit from going up and down the stairs about 6 times, but beyond that, there was no training on Friday.

6/24 – Saturday:

Again, I was hoping for a late morning row.  But again, the weather did not cooperate.

In the morning, when I got up, the wind was blowing and the sky was grey and angry.  It got steadily worse.  The weather log tells the story.

The wind howled overnight, with gusts up to 50mph.  The wind stayed up above 30 mph all morning and there was intermittent rain.  Right around 11:00, dark storm clouds rolled in across the water and the sky opened up.  It rained hard for about an hour.  During that hour I decided to erg.  When I came back upstairs, the sky was clearing, the wind was dropping, and I had other stuff that needed to get done.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 6.48.25 PM

The session was an easy one.

3 x 20′ / 1′ rest @ 180.

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This went better than the workouts earlier in the week, but was still a sweaty slog.  I guess the 90% humidity took a bit of a toll.  I had to back off in the last interval to keep my HR below 155.

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Workout Summary - media/20170624-1825210o.csv
Workout Details

6/25 – Sunday:  This morning I was up early-ish because I wanted to get a quick session in before I headed off to the airport.

2 x 40’/1′ rest @ 180.

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Workout Summary - media/20170625-1255220o.csv
Workout Details


So now I am on a plane to Tokyo, then connecting to Korea.  I’ll be there through Thursday.  It’s a challenge to maintain a training plan with summer vacations and work travel.  I just have to play it by ear, be flexible and try to focus on having some fun with it.


Wednesday: 2 x 20′ (10kp,hmp)

No time for a session in the morning, and none of the windows I had in the day were big enough to accommodate the planned workout, which was 86 minutes long.

By the time, I came up for breath, it was 5:30 pm, and I really wanted to workout, but I also didn’t want to be too late going home.  The original plan was

M2 4 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP, MP 90.0% (167)

I decided to just do the two harder chunks in  the middle for a 4 minute workout.

It didn’t work out so well.  My HR was high and I my RPE was through the roof.  I HD’ed in the second piece.

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Workout Summary - media/20170614-2220190o.csv
Workout Details

I did push the power a little beyond the target band, but it was the same powers as I used in a session last week (mp,10kp,hmp).  Here’s a comparison of my HR in the two sessions.

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Oh well, at least I did some training!


Thursday: 3 x 20’/2′ (mp, 10kp, hmp)

On Wednesday night I had a business dinner that went quite late, and I had an early meeting on Thursday, so no chance for an OTW session.

But, I managed to get stuff finished up by 5 and I had some time to do the session on the erg.

Plan:  Push it hard to see how I’m doing.

  • 3 x 20′ / 2′ rest
  • Target power
    • 1st:  mp (80 to 195).  Target 200W
    • 2nd: 10kp (210 to 225). Target 230W
    • 3rd: hmp (195 to 210). Target 215W
  • Nominal HR cap at 167.  But I planned to ignore that.

Well, I survived.  I went significantly over the cap.  The last 20 minutes were brutal.  The 20 minutes at 230W were pretty damn brutal too.

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Workout Summary - media/20170608-2225210o.csv
Workout Details

So, I actually pushed another 3 watts beyond the targets.  I sure paid for it though.

It was good to dig the deep hole and keep plugging.  Whenever I race, I worry about blowing up and embarrassing myself.  These sessions where you slow down, but don’t give up are a pretty good way to show some grit for that kind of situation.

I will probably do a 20 minute warmup only a little later today.

Race plan for Saturday.  The race is 2 laps of a 4km closed course.

  • Aim at a rate of about 22-24 depending on wind and wave conditions
  • Focus on steering and rowing clean
  • Try to keep HR below 170 in the first lap.  That’ll be an early sign that I’m pushing too hard.
  • I have very little idea what kind of pace I can sustain.  Probably about a 2:30 pace, but that’s a total guess.

Tuesday: 3 x 20′ (MP,10KP,HMP)

Weather: Overcast, cool, humid.  Light wind, headwind going upstream.

Felt very low energy in the morning.  Got up anyway.


M2 3 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP 90.0% (167)

Power targets:

  • MP: 158-171
  • HMP: 171-184
  • 10KP: 184-197

So, I had two different thoughts in my head.  One was the memory of the awesome workout I did on Saturday where I pegged the watts above the top end of the band.  The other was the empty legs feeling from the aborted workout Monday night.

For the first interval, aggressive Greg was dominant.  I rowed it at an average power of 176W (including the s-turn, but not the spin).  Or 6 watts above the top end of the power band.

Same thing in the second interval.  I rowed the first five and a half minutes at 196W watts avg, spun the boat, rowed another 3 minutes at about the same power, hit the HR cap, tried to slow down, and then bailed on the interval. I rowed the rest of it out at sub marathon power.

Chastened, I rowed the final interval smack in the middle of the power band, but it was massively hard to do.

I annotated the summary plot with the turns, rests and failures.

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The pie charts show elevated HR, and overly ambitious power.

There should be no 2kp and very little 5kp, basically just from starboard turning strokes.  There should be around 20 minutes of 10kp, 20 minutes of hmp, and 20 minutes of MP.  And then the balance sub-MP, about 15 minutes.  Lousy pace discipline.

I’m finding it hard to row to a target power.  It seems to bounce around a lot from stroke to stroke.  Perhaps that is an indication that my rowing is inconsistent. Perhaps, it is a characteristic of the measurement method.  I wonder if there is a way to have the speed coach show a running avg of the power over a few strokes?

Alternatively, I could try to row to a specific work per stroke and stroke rate.  That seems to be a bit let noisy on the display.

Workout Summary - media/20170530-172024-Greg Smith 20170530 0643amo.csv
Workout Details
01|02771|13:13.8|02:23.2|179.0|20.5|149.4|156.0|10.2 -1st mp
02|01431|07:04.8|02:28.4|172.5|20.3|155.2|159.0|10.0 -1st mp
03|01162|05:31.8|02:22.8|194.5|23.6|160.2|168.0|08.9 -2nd 10kp
04|00607|02:52.2|02:21.9|192.2|24.3|161.6|167.0|08.7 -2nd 10kp
05|00262|01:15.0|02:23.1|174.3|23.3|154.5|157.0|09.0 -2nd ease up
06|01664|08:13.2|02:28.2|154.9|19.2|147.5|160.0|10.6 -2nd post bail
07|03927|19:39.0|02:30.1|176.1|22.8|162.0|171.0|08.8 -3rd

I was wondering what the heck was wrong.  Why was I so tired.  I decided to do an experiment.  My HR monitor didn’t work on my long row on Sunday.  But, my guess was that I averaged about 150 for the 2 active hours of the row.  I manually doctors the CSV file for the row to insert 150 for the active part of the row and reimported it to Stravistix.  Turns out that a 2 hour workout at 150bpm is a TRIMP of 256.  It pushed me into overload.

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 11.51.09 AM

Then my aborted session and the Tuesday session kept me right on that line.  I’m not sure that this is exactly right, but I do think that rest will do me more good than working out right now, so I decided to sleep instead of rowing on Wednesday morning.

In the Eddie Fletcher Marathon Plan, he says that you may need extra rest days and you should not hesitate to take them.  Despite the fact that it I still have trouble believing that I can make more progress by doing nothing than by doing something, I should let the evidence and data guide my actions.  The important thing to me right now is to be able to do quality sessions, and especially to be ready and eager for the open water long rows that I do about once a week.  Those are the pinnacle sessions.

Wednesday: Rest Day


On the water

M1 4 x 15′ / 4′ 6′ @ 5KP, 9′ @ MP 92.5% (172)

Power Targets:

  • 5KP: 184-197
  • MP: 158-171

Monday: I shoulda taken a rest day

I was wiped out all day after my 20k adventure.  (Maybe I pushed a bit harder than I thought).  Monday was a holiday, but the weather was terrible, so my wife and I decided to head back a bit early.  Apparently everyone on Cape Cod decided to do the same thing because we were in a massive traffic jam and it took us over 4 hours to get hour (vs the normal 2 hours).

Once we were home, I decided to do the  next M2 session.

M2 3 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP 90.0% (167)

I was doing this on the dynamic (and I am beginning to really dislike the machine).  I felt awful.  Just rowing the first 30 minutes at marathon pace was torture.  My HR didn’t climb that much but my RPE was through the roof.  I decided to bail after the first 20 minutes.

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Part of the problem was that I didn’t respect the fact that I get more watts on the static than I do on the dynamic, but really, the big issue was that I was just spent.


Wednesday: 3×30’/3′ (mp,10kp,mp) – A whole lotta rowing

Weather:  Overcast, 55F, no wind, humid (The Dew Point was 54F!).  Nearly perfect for rowing.


M2 3 x 30′ / 3′ MP, 10KP, MP 90.0% (167)

OTW Power Targets:

  • MP: 155 to 165W
  • 10KP: 180W to 190W

The main problem of this session is doing 30 minute intervals on a stretch of river that is about 15 minutes long.  Each of the intervals had one or two turns in it.  I tried to do these turns as quickly as I could.  I was generally back to full pressure strokes within 40-50 seconds of my last stroke in the other direction.  And the turn itself was reasonably aerobic (or stressful), so my HR stayed high through it.  I tried to extend each of the 30 minute intervals to account for the time lost in the turns, but it seems I shaved a little time off of each of them, based on the collected data.

It was basically 3 complete laps of the river.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 1.31.16 PM.png

The first interval took me down to the damn and most of the way back.  I paddled the 3 minute rest upstream and then turned about 500m from the start.

The second interval took me downstream.  This interval was at higher stroke rate (22) and higher power.  I turned at about 12 minutes, then rowed upstream for 14 minutes, turned again and finished the last 5 minutes or so going downstream again.  I finished in the middle of the s-turn.  I doubled back to before the s-turn during the rest and spun to go back downstream.  The turns were hard to pull off when I was going faster and breathing harder.

The third interval took me down to the dam in about 9 minutes.  Then I turned and rowed all the way back up past the boat house for another 20 minutes.

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Workout Summary - media/20170524-145648-SpdCoach 2182533 20170524 0639amo.csv
Workout Details

I think that I should decrease my OTW slack factor.  Right now I have it at 15% and in today’s session, I was consistently above the band.  The middle interval was 100% above 10kp, evenly split between 5kp and 2kp.  The two mp intervals were similarly above the target zone.  I think that today’s power should be in the middle of the zones.

Todays powers:

  • 10kp : 191.9, 188.6,206.5 –> 192.8W (weighted avg)
  • mp : 177,167.9,171.1,169.4 –> 171.7W (weighted avg)

Changing my slack to 13% brings the 10kp roughly in line.  I am still overachieving a bit on mp.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 1.55.35 PM

The power pie chart was generated with the 13% slack number.

Here’s a collection of stroke metric plots.

  • Power is noisy but pretty consistent through the session.  Pace is all over the place.
  • Drive Length and Effective length is consistent over time and stroke rate

And here are box plot of my sessions so far this spring.  I excluded all open water and technique sessions.  The main thing that jumps out at me is how little change over time I have seen.

Tomorrow:  On the water.  Another long session.  This one a bit easier.

M3 2 x 45′ / 4’30” MP or slower 80.0% (149)


Power target: 160W to 170W.

Monday: 3 x 20’/2′ (MP, 10KP, HMP)

Sunday:  Busy.  No time to work out.

Monday:  Did sunday’s session.

M2 3 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP 90.0% (167)

Power targets were:

  • MP: 180 to 195
  • 10KP: 210 to 225
  • HMP: 195 to 210

I aimed for the lower end of the ranges.  I ignored the HR cap.



Tomorrow:  This session on the water

M1 4 x 15′ / 4′ 7′ @ 5KP, 8′ @ MP 92.5% (172)

I will row it to power

  • 5KP: 225 to 240
  • MP: 180 to 195

3 x 20′ / 2′ (mp, 10kp, hmp)

I didn’t sleep too well.  I had a conference call that went until 10:45 last night which was still on my mind when I went to sleep.

I woke up before my alarm, but I felt pretty tired.  Both sore from yesterday’s session and just plain tired.

I got to work around 6:15am, and ended up responding to email until nearly 8:00, then I headed to the gym.


7-Mar M2 3 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP 90.0% (167)

I decided to push the envelope on target power.  These are 5W above the top of the bands I started with.

  • mp: 200W
  • 10kp: 230W
  • hmp: 215W

The session was hard!  Well, the first 20 minutes was easy.  The second was hard, and the third was just annoying.  Too hard to recover much, but not hard enough to provoke a crisis.


Workout Summary - media/Import_29074482.csv
Workout Details

I did this workout 3 weeks ago on 2/14.  Today’s session was way better

  • ~10W Higher power today in each segment (201 vs 192, 231 vs 221, 216 vs 205)
  • Lower HR, 173 vs 176 peak
  • roughly the same stroke rate

This looks like progress to me.

Tomorrow:  Plan calls for a rest day, but I think I will do an endurance session.  I will be flying out to San Diego in the afternoon and I’m not sure what training I can do on the road.

2 x 45′ / 4’30” MP or slower 80.0% (149)


Tuesday: 3 x 20′ / 2′ rest (MP / 10KP / H

I’ve missed quite a few entries.  Last week was quite crazy at work, and I left on Friday for a quick vacation.  Now, it’s Tuesday and I’m on my way from Aruba to Taiwan for work.

But the one thing I was able to do last week was do some rowing.  My fitness is not where I wanted it to be because of last week’s travel, but at least I am getting the sessions in.

Tuesday’s plan called for:

M2 3 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP 90.0% (167)

Power ranges for MP, 10KP, and HMP are:


And I did so well before my trip that I decided to aim for 5W higher, so:

MP target : 190W

10KP target: 220W

HMP target: 205W

This, and the time spent cross training last week made the workout a bit more challenging.


Comparing this to the last time I did this workout shows how much harder I was working for the 5 watts