Thursday: 3 x (1’/2′ + 1’/2′ + 2’/5′) at race pace

I felt tired this morning.

Weather was cool and misty.  A light breeze from the North was on and off.

The plan:

  • 3 sets of:
    • 1’ on, 3’ active rest,
    • 1’ on , 3’ active rest
    • 2’ on, 5’ active rest
  • Rest between: Continuous, no rest between sets.
  • Complete one set and then repeat the series.
  • The active rest is relaxed, low intensity, easy rowing.
  • Stop only briefly to rehydrate.
  • Rating /pace: Race effort, 1k pace (your best right now)
  • Notes: The emphasis is on high quality work and stroke efficiency. This speed workout aims to keep the lactic acid levels low by allowing enough recovery between pieces for it to clear. Do not cut the rest short. Feel fully recovered and psychologically ready to do the next piece. If the quality starts to drop dramatically, stop the workout.

Well, I blew that.  I misremembered the duration of the rests, so instead of 3 minutes between the 1′ work intervals, I took 2 minute rests.

I was actually having a good time with the workout.  Well, to be more accurate, I was enjoying the 1 minute blasts.  30 strokes.  Focusing on clean early finishes, outward pressure on the oarlocks, early body prep and rowing with the blades off the water.  I would get into the zone where I would have 4 or 5 strokes in a row that just felt great.  I always love seeing a 1:xx pace on the speedcoach and there is something about the fluidesign hull.  It gets super stable when you’re going fast.  It’s like riding on rails.

Interesting that comment about quality dropping.  I was doing well all the way through until the last interval.  And man did the quality drop like a stone.   I was breathing like a freight train and losing form pretty badly as I made the slight turn at the little island at about 1 minute.   Then a bit of phlegm started rattling around in the back of my throat.  With 10 strokes to go, it got stuck in my throat and I couldn’t breath.  I thought I was going to puke, flip or die.  Maybe all three, just to maximize the drama of my demise.

I guess I need to lighten up a bit!  I just hate being slow,

I did all the intervals in the big straight bit of the river.

Screen Shot 2018-05-10 at 9.24.05 AM.png

          Workout Summary - media/20180510-1240240o.csv
Workout Details
01|00258|01:00.0|01:56.3|250.5|28.2|154.3|163.0|09.1 - down
02|00244|01:00.0|02:03.1|268.2|29.5|156.3|167.0|08.3 - up
03|00510|02:00.0|01:57.6|249.6|29.4|163.6|173.0|08.7 - down
04|00246|01:00.0|02:02.2|236.7|29.1|152.1|166.0|08.4 - up
05|00250|01:00.0|01:59.8|241.5|29.4|158.1|169.0|08.5 - down
06|00480|02:00.0|02:04.9|209.2|29.8|167.2|177.0|08.1 - up
07|00251|01:00.0|01:59.3|143.5|29.7|154.4|163.0|08.5 - down
08|00248|01:00.0|02:00.7|237.2|30.1|159.0|169.0|08.2 - up
09|00496|02:00.0|02:01.0|235.6|29.9|164.4|175.0|08.3 - down

Again the power measurements were crap.  There were 237 missed power readings out of about 1200 strokes.  Worse, it seems that the missed readings tend to happen when I executed a work interval, so I had no real time feedback in the boat.  I’m in contact with NK and they are helping me figure out what’s going wrong.   Really strong technical support, I have to say!

Tomorrow:  I need to move my Saturday workout to Friday again.

  • 4 x 12’
  • Rest between: 6’
  • Rating/Pace:
    • 6’ @ Cat VI; target 18-20
    • 4’ @ Cat IV; target SR 24
    • 2’ @ Cat III; target SR 28.
  • Notes: Use a strong leg drive to define your transitions from one rating to another. Stay focused on a relaxed recovery rhythm as the stroke rate rises.

This weekend is an extensive endurance cross training opportunity.  I have 5 yards of Mulch to spread.  So all the flower beds need to be raked, re-edged, and then the mulch spread on them.  It usually takes about 6-8 hours of reasonably hard work to get done.



July CTC – Sprinting? What’s sprinting?

In an effort to get back to basics, I have been thinking about getting away from fancy training plans and just get back to doing the Wolverine Plan.  It was my mainstay for the run up to my first CRASH-Bs and it has the advantage of simplicity and flexibility.

My life is too hectic to try to implement meso-cycle based training, and while I might tailor my sessions a bit to focus on head race distance instead of 2K performance, doing the basic WP would probably get me in much better shape.

Over the past 6 months I have been trying to follow the Eddie Fletcher Marathon Training Plan.  I haven’t been very successful with it, but that is not the plan’s fault.  My lack of success is directly related to not having enough time to do the sessions, and having travel disrupt the progressions built into the plan.  Nevertheless, my endurance is much better than my sprinting ability right now.  It’s been a long time since I pulled any sessions at a pace faster than 1:50.

So, today was going to be a shock to the system.  At least I had the advantage of going in with very low expectations.

Here’s the CTC definition.

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 9.26.28 AM.png

I added a 2K warmup (with some power10s at 1:45 or faster), and a 2k cooldown at 2:15 pace.

Warmup:  The 1:45s were hard!  And I had a lot of trouble getting the rating up.  I haven’t really had my stroke rate much above 25 for the last 6 months.  It showed.


The into the main event.  I decided to target a 1:45 pace.  Mainly because I had no idea what else to do.  That proved a little too spicy in the 1000m piece, but otherwise it was a fine target.  Based on the HR data, I didn’t phone this one in.  I was working at very close to my limits.

My total time added up to 13:53.1 (1:44.1 pace), which puts me in Free Spirits Boat 3 and at 127 of 370 entries.  The last guy in Boat 2 is significantly ahead of me in the rankings (13:38.7, 1:42.3 pace), so that is not a good motivation to take another shot at this.  The other is that I probably won’t see another erg until I’m back in Boston.  Notice how horribly low the stroke rate is.  I guess sprinting is something you need to actually train for.  Who knew?

I was pretty shattered at the end of it, and I dialed up a 2k cool down.  I was originally thinking that I would do a happy ending cool down with 500m at 2:00, then 500m at 2:05, 500m at 2:10 and 500m At 2:15, but I got the feeling I might pass out or throw up during the first 20 strokes at 2:00 pace, so I backed off and just tried to hit exactly 9:00 for the whole thing.  I missed by 0.4sec.  Another thing I’m out of practice at, I guess!


Here’s the HR data for the whole workout.  That’s a whole lotta red!  Nearly 6 minutes of it.



I still felt a bit funny after the cool down.  I went to my room, and lay down for about 30 minutes.  After that I was feeling much better and was ready to start my day.

Tonight I fly to Taiwan.  I’m there for a day, then fly on Saturday to Macau.  My plan is to do a 60 minute endurance session tomorrow morning at the hotel.


Tuesday: Another shot at the February CTC

Sunday:  Flew home from Korea via Detriot.  21 hours door to door.  Didn’t sleep at all and was wedged into a coach seat the whole way.  Arrived home at 3pm.  No training.

Monday:  Slept in to try to make up for the lost night of sleep.  No training

Tuesday:  Woke up at 5:15am and felt pretty tired.  Dragged myself to work and after an hour of email, went down to the gym.  The goal for the day was to make another attempt at the February Cross Team Challenge and get all the rowing data onto rowsandall so we could try out some cool new team functionality.

But, I have to admit that I was not feeling too good about doing a hard workout.

I set up a 10 minute warmup.  I rowed a minute nice and gently, then I worked as 30 seconds on / 30 seconds off.  For the Ons, I did a rate ladder starting at 20spm, and going up by 2 spm in each one until I got up to 30 spm.  I’m sure the data would have looked really cool.  But, we’ll never know because painsled hung again about 6 minutes into the row and stopped storing data.  😦


I felt a bit better as I went along, but I was still not optimistic about the session.  I bailed on using painsled and reverted to using ergdata, and got myself setup.

Last time I did the CTC, I did it at 24 spm.  This time I figured somewhere between 26 and 28.  As for splits, I was thinking I wanted to improve on the 1:49.1 pace in Taiwan, so maybe around 1:47.

As soon as I started the first interval, I settled into a much faster pace.  I was worried that I would flame out in the later reps, but I just went with it anyway.


Workout Summary - media/Import_28998017.csv
Workout Details

After the second rep, I decided to try to aim at 1:45.  I managed to stay under it except for the 7th rep, where I struggled a bit.  Not a full blown crisis, but I coasted in the last few strokes to give myself a bit of a longer rest.

This was a big improvement and I’m very pleased with it.

Tomorrow:  2 x 40′ / 4′ rest






Friday: February CTC (@ r24)

I was pressed for time this morning, but I wanted to get a workout in.  I mean realy, how often do I get to stay at a hotel with a real erg?  It’s too good to pass up.

So, I thought I would try out the February CTC, but do it with a rate restriction.  The rests are so short that I wasn’t sure how to pace it.

I decided to try to target 1:50 at r24.

It worked out OK.




Pretty tough workout.  I can probably shave a couple seconds by rating up.  Next shot, I’ll do at r26.

Tonight I fly off to Korea for a day.  I will hopefully get a workout in tomorrow morning.  Something tame and endurance oriented.


Wednesday: August CTC

I was out late on Tuesday night for a work related dinner, so I decided to sleep in on Wednesday instead of rowing in the morning.  When I got home, I had a little time, so I decided  to give the August CTC a try.  This one is a sprinter’s dream.

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 11.30.42 AM

I started with a 2K warmup, including some 10 stroke blasts.

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 11.32.05 AM

Then I took a bit of time, got some water and setup the challenge as a variable interval workout.  I separated each piece with 5 minutes of rest, starting with the longest and going shorter in each successive piece.  In the rests, I did about 3 minutes of this paddling, and the last 2 minutes, I toweled off, grabbed a drink of water and let the flywheel come to a complete stop.

It was a fun session. It was challenge to get the start right and I didn’t get it right on the 300 and 200 and was staring at a very slow AVG split that took a while to get down to where I wanted it.  The 400 and the 100 were much better.  I knew I needed to rate up to make this work, but I haven’t practiced at high rates at all, so that felt a bit weird.

Despite those excuses, I had a blast doing it.  The 5 minute rests were plenty long and the pieces were short enough that I felt like I could go all out.

I used ergdata for the session.  This was sync’ed to the concept2 site, and then I exported the CSV data and massaged it with excel.

I like the power chart.  It makes me happy to see over 600W, even if it’s only for about 10 strokes.  The rate chart shows how my rate was tending to trail off during the pieces.  The pace chart is at the bottom.

I was using the wahoo tckr which let me hook up to the PM5 with ANT+ and to my phone with BTLE.  I used my phone to record HR through the warmup, the whole CTC session and a 2K cooldown.  This was done using the wahoo fitness app, and exported as a CSV file and analyzed with Excel to get time in HR zone data.


The sprint times were  plugged into the little online calculator and that spit out 5:50.6, which puts me currently in 91st place.  Looking at the names and times in the list, I really should be aiming at 10 to 15 seconds faster, but that seems like a lot of work!  So I think I stick with this score.




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.


Thursday: Cebu – Treadmill Intervals!

I was press for time and craving something with a bit more bite on Thursday morning.

So, I warmed up with 8 minutes of incline walking (15%, 5.5km/h).  Then I did alternating 2 minutes at 12km/h and 1 minute at 6kmph with the incline at 3%.  Sad to say that 12km/h on 3% grade is a pretty intense pace for a lumbering water buffalo like me.

My HR monitor began to misbehave in the middle of the session, but by all appearances, I was getting the right effect!

I did repeats until I had 5 minutes left and then I cooled down.  As near as I can figure it, that’s makes this a 9 x 2′ / 1′ rest session.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 8.24.51 AM

This is my first time visiting the island of Cebu in the Philippines.  I stayed at beautiful resort very near our facility here.

Now I am on my way back to Boston, on a 5 hour layover in Narita.  I think I will go for a nice walk in a little while to pass the time.

Saturday morning will be a traditional post-travel L4 session on my erg at home.

Thursday: 9 x 300 / 30″ rest – March CTC (Better)

I felt better today in the warmup and in the main set.  I set a target of 1:42 and I was able to beat it on each interval.  Mainly I focused on trying to keep my stroke rate pegged at 30 and my strokes long and smooth.

  • Last time, total time 9:15.4 (1:42.8 pace)
  • Today – Total time 8:58.2 (1:39.6 pace)

Very happy with this workout.

I also used Painsled, which worked perfectly.  I’ll do a separate post reviewing it, but here are the plots from the workout.

The warmup:

The main set:

The cool down


Tomorrow:  3 x 20′ / 1′ L4

Monday: March CTC – 9 x 300 / 30″ rest

I haven’t done a speed session since my aborted 2K time trial 9 days ago.  Since then I have missed a bunch of days training due to illness and travel.  And even before that, my training was pretty disrupted for the two prior weeks.  Basically, I blew my chance to peak.

That brings us to today.  I did nice steady state sessions Saturday and Sunday, and today, it was back to my normal schedule.  Up at 5:15AM, and working out in the gym first thing.

With too little sleep and a short turn around time after my session yesterday afternoon, there were a couple more excuse codes that I can draw on for today’s session.

Looking at some of the early CTC results, it looked like folks could do it at 2K pace or maybe 2K – 2.  So, I was hoping that I could hold a 1:40 pace.

So, how did that work out for you Mr. Smith?  Not well….Not well at all. But we’ll get there in time.

I started with a fletcher warmup, which showed alarmingly high heart rates

Then in to the main event.  I went out trying to hold 1:40 in the first rep and it hurt.  A lot.  I was barely recovered by the start of the second rep, and blew up half way through.  I reset to a target of 1:43, just to get a score into the CTC.  The rest was uneventful, but quote taxing.

I was pretty well shattered after that.  I did a 2K cool down and staggered to the locker room.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 8.47.51 AM

I think I will give this one another try later this week, maybe on Thursday.  I think I can probably pull off a 1:41 or so given the right attitude.

Tomorrow:  3 x 20′ L4




Saturday Sprints: 8 x 2′ / 3′ rest


  • Fletcher warmup (20′)
  • 8 x 2′ / 3′ rest
    • Pace target: 1:41
    • Rate target: 30
  • 2K cool down

What a great morning.  8 of us from our club met up at Regatta Point.  They are letting us move our ergs into a conference room for sessions on Saturday mornings.  I offered up my planned workout as a group session and I was stunned that 7 other folks were nuts enough to join in.  I offered the group a couple of options, either row the 8 as a ladder (24/26/28/30/30/28/26/24), or all at about race rate.  The cool thing about time intervals is that folks can do their own thing and stay in sync through the session.  By the sixth, we were all pretty beaten up.

I was in a bad way.  I basically treated the session like my normal 8×500/3’30” rest.  Of course, its about 20 seconds more rowing and 30 seconds less rest than that, so I dug myself in pretty deeply over the first half of the workout.  I backed off a bit, but didn’t give in to the HD demons.  I think I may have scared my neighbors a bit though.

I had some issues with my HR monitor, so all I have are monitor snaps

Warm up

2016-01-23 10.31.15

Main set

2016-01-23 10.31.27

I paddle the  7 3′ rests for a total of an additional 2773m over 21′.

Happy Ending Cool down

2016-01-23 10.31.42

Tomorrow: Should be a rest day, but I’ll be traveling on Monday, so I will do a 4 x 20′ L4 and not row on Monday.