The past three weeks

Last post on May 7th.  I had just had a very good 4 x 2k session on the water.

Wednesday – May 8th – 30 min L4

I had a busy day ahead of me and in the morning, when I got to work, I ended up getting distracted with emails.  I finally looked up and I only had about 45 minutes until my first meeting.  I zipped down to the gym and did a quick 30 minute L4.

5 x 6′, where each 6′ was 3′ @ r18, 2′ @ r20, 1′ @ r22

       Workout Summary - media/577a150d295c4f34_38173149.csv

Workout Details

I was aiming at a slightly lighter stroke, so I made my targets

  • r18 – 170W
  • r20 – 190W
  • r22 – 210W

bokeh_plot - 2019-05-27T104925.807

Thursday – May 9 – 8 x 2′ / 2′ L1 – On the Water

Back in Newton.  I was not trying to set any records and I haven’t done much work at higher stroke rates.  I did 4 intervals going down stream, then 4 coming back up.  Each set, I aimed at r24, r26, r28, r30.  The summary shows that I wasn’t all that great at hitting the stroke rates.

       Workout Summary - media/20190510-1638000o.csv
Workout Details

Good workout though.

Friday – May 10 – No Training

Don’t remember why.

Saturday – May 11 – Threshold 10K (on slides)

Down on the cape.  Started slow, and then pushed harder.  Nice to get through one without a bobble in the middle.

Sunday – May 12 – 3 x 20′ / 2′ L4

Down on the cape.  On Slides

Nice and easy.

Monday – May 12 – 5 x 1500 L2

At work.  Having all kinds of issues.  The workout ended up in 3 different files.  While doing the first interval, I discovered that I needed to go to the bathroom.  It was remarkably unpleasant getting through the last 300m or so.  I rushed off, too care of business, and then decided to try “rerow”, which I thought would just bring up a normal distance interval session.  I was wrong.  Since I had done one rep the first time, that what it did for the rerow.  So, I needed to reprogram the P5 for the last 3 intervals.  When I glued them together, the start time for the set of three intervals looks wrong.  I didn’t wait 20 minutes between the 2nd and 3rd interval.  I did however, you out too aggressively in the thrid interval and I needed to dial it back, which I did.

bokeh_plot - 2019-05-27T111721.367

Tuesday – May 14 – No training

I was hoping for a quick row in the middle of the day, but work got in the way.

Wednesday – May 15 – Alternating 2′ SBR or Slow roll ups / 2′ Steady State

Back in my single in Newton.  I would 2 minutes of square blades, then 2 minutes of steady state, then 2′ of slow roll ups, then 2′ of steady state.  And then repeat.

Felt like a very productive session.  Good to work on balance, and oar control.

Thursday – May 16 – OTW Steady State

Trying to continue to work on technique.  Needed to keep it to an hour to get to work in time for my first meeting.

        Workout Summary - media/20190516-1555460o.csv
Workout Details

Friday – May 17 – No Training

I was up until very late on Thursday night on conference calls.  My company is impacted by some of the new developments in the trade dispute between the US and China.  We were on the phone with our team there working out plans to deal with it.  I slept in a bit on Friday morning.

Saturday – May 18 – Mulching

5 hours and 47 minutes of mulching.  The process works like this.

  1.  Weed the bed, shovel out and excess soil along the edging
  2. load wheelbarrow with mulch
  3. dump and spread
  4. repeat 2-3 until bed is finished
  5. move to next bed, repeat 1-4

This requires about 5 cubic yards of mulch and about 8 hours of work.

On Saturday, I set out to get as much done as I could.  It turns out to be good endurance exercise.  Sub-UT2, but still quite taxing after you do it for hours.

Screen Shot 2019-05-27 at 12.08.22 PM

The span from 2:10 to 3:20, I was working but the HR sensor in the watch was dirty from the mulch.  You can tell that I was motivated to get done in the last hour or so.  You can also see a clear 3-4 minute pattern for each load of mulch in that last section.

Sunday – May 19 – More Mulching, then an aborted L4.

Just finishing it off, less than 2 hours.

Screen Shot 2019-05-27 at 12.15.33 PM

Then later in the afternoon, I thought I should do an erg session.  I was wrong.  I got 20 minutes in and decided to pack it in.  I was sore and tired.

Monday – May 20 – 2 x 20′ / 2′ L4

At work.  I was up until 2am on the phone with China.  I slept in and then planned to go to the gym at lunch.  I was pressed for time, so I only did a 4 minute session.  HR was quite high.  I think work stress is getting to me.

Tuesday – May 21 – Drills on the fives

A glorious day on the water.  Continuing to work on technique.  Today, I was doing 4 minutes of steady state, then a minute of drills.  They were

  • pause at body over
  • open hands on recovery
  • half slide
  • square blades
  • slow roll ups

Wednesday – May 22 – No Training

I was up at 4:15 to head to the airport.  I flew out to San Jose for an afternoon meeting and dinner.  Then I caught the red eye home.

Thursday – May 23 – 40′ L4

I came home after the red eye and slept from about 8 to 10am.  Then I was on calls just about the rest of the day.  Around 5pm, I decided to do a quick session.  I decided to just do a 40′ L4 without the break in  the middle.  It felt good.

Friday – May 24 – 5 x 4′ / 4′ L1(ish)

I’ve been thinking about coming up with a training plan that fits my current situation a bit better.  With the situation in China and various other things going on, I am finding it challenging to put as much time into training.  I am also spending more time on the erg this season (compared to water time) than in prior seasons.  I attribute this to the time constraints, plus the fact that I am now equipped with slides at home instead of the dynamic, which I hated using enough to avoid sessions.

Anyway, I am toying with a 40 minute version of the WP.  Basically, try to fit all the different types of sessions into a 40 minute block.  Keep it time based.

So, today, I was aiming for a session that was a little more aerobic than the 4x1k, so I decided to slice the session up into 5 – 4 minute intervals with 4 minutes of rest.  I would aim at holding splits below 1:50.

        Workout Summary - media/20190524-2140480o.csv
Workout Details

That was great!  Good choice on pacing.  I arranged it so I did the rest first, which was essentially a quick warmup.  Then the interval.  Easy programming a good change.

Saturday – May 25 – 40′ L4

Just like Thursday.  A bit better HR response.

Sunday – May 26 – Caprentry plus 8 x 1’30″/3’30” L1

Down on the cape.  Around noon, I set to work on replacing the stairs down to the water from our house on Cape Cod.  This winter (like last winter), there was pack ice that ripped the stairs away.  It ended up looking like this.

2019-03-31 11.51.15.jpg

I started 2 weekends ago and managed to replace the frame for the bottom platform.  This weekend, I wanted to get that planked and get the stairs back to the beach.

2019-05-26 15.24.36

The challenging part of this was anchoring the stairs at the bottom.  There used to be a pair of angle irons that I could bolt to, but the were destroyed last winter.  I decided to put in a bottom landing, anchored to the bank using snow fencing posts.  Snow fencing is put up on posts that you can drive into sand.  The posts are about 8 feet long, and I have a heavy tool that slips over the top of the post, and can be lifted and dropped to drive the post down through sand.  It looks like this.

post driver


So, I would drive 4 posts around a piece of 2×8 that would act as the landing for the stairs.  I would drive them about 5 feet into the sand, which I figured would at least hold the stairs for the season.  The finished product looked like this.

2019-05-26 15.25.03

Hard to believe each of those posts goes down 5 feet!  Driving the posts was hard!  Each one took about 200 blows, which I did in sets of 20.  My sons came and helped for the last 2, where we switched off to drive them in.

Once the base was in place, The rest was pretty easy, but it took about 3 hours.

Later in the evening, I decided to do an erg session.

Another adaptation of an L1.  This one aiming to be slightly more intense than a 8 x 500 by shortening the work period.

Lots of missing strokes.  Which messed up the summary.  But the workout was great.  Very challenging at the end.  By using the flex plot and suppressing all strokes below 24 spm and all strokes with a WpS below 200, I could get an idea of the interval power.  Here is is shown as an avg of 320.  (1:43 pace)

bokeh_plot - 2019-05-27T124945.115

I was happy with this session, especially since my upper body had gotten a good workout from the post driving.

Today, we are back in Hopkinton (It’s a three day weekend). I will do a 40 minute L4 later.


14K OTW – Steady State and Technique

Big day today.  Back in my Fluid, back on the upper Charles River.

It took me a little to get my boat reassembled, and I took my time.  The last thing I wanted to was to screw something up and flip when the air temp was 35F and the water was around 45F.

The despite it being a bit cold.  The weather was beautiful.  There was very little wind and it was nice and sunny.  It had warmed up to the mid forties by the time I had finished.

The water was nice and flat and I was able to just focus on trying to remember how to row.

The plan was pretty simple:

  • 4K to the dam just rowing steady state to reacclimate
  • 3K back upstream working on technique
    • 500m Square blades
    • 500m alternating SBR and feathered
    • 500m trying to row feathered without touching water
    • repeat
  • Same thing 3K down stream
  • 4K back to the dock rowing steady state to see if I made any progress

It’s funny, the first few outings in  the spring, my heart rate is quite high and my boat speed is quite slow.  After a couple weeks in the boat, I seem to get back in the groove.  Today was much the same.  In addition, there was a reasonable amount of current flowing, so I was about 5 sec faster downstream and 5 sec slower upstream on pace.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 11.10.13 AM.png

Workout Summary - media/20180329-1335260o.csv
Workout Details
00|00889|04:34.2|02:34.3|144.2|17.0|131.5|146.0|11.4 to the cut
01|02735|13:15.0|02:25.3|157.2|18.4|154.1|158.0|11.2 downstream ss
02|02815|15:54.0|02:49.5|136.3|17.5|148.1|161.0|10.1 drills
03|02768|14:43.2|02:39.5|133.5|18.6|143.7|155.0|10.1 drills
04|02881|15:22.2|02:40.1|145.0|19.4|151.0|157.0|09.7 upstream ss
05|00835|04:31.8|02:42.7|146.4|21.2|147.2|160.0|08.7 cut back to dock

I’m nursing a nice set of blisters on both hands, and I’m sore in lots of places.  And I’m happier than I’ve been in months!

Tomorrow:  Low Intensity day.  OTW 1x.  Depending on time and fatigue, somewhere between 60 and 80 minutes of rowing.  Main intent is to get in some ss meters, but I want to do some side video to see where I am from a technique perspective.  So that means I will probably throw in a few short rate ladders.


Mechanics Monday

Weather:  Blustery, about 60F.


  • repeat for roughly 60 minutes
    • 2′ square blade rowing
    • 2′ alternate square feathered
    • 2′ feathered
      • rate: 25-26
      • pace: ~2:15 or better
  • Technique focus
    • clean finishes.  Avoid touching my chest with my hands
    • blades off the water
    • knees together at the catch

The point of the workout today was to use the SBR and alternating sections to work on all the technique elements, then use the 2 minutes at head race rate to “apply” what I was working on.  I tried to focus on the technique at pressure, especially finishing early and keeping blades off the water.


The oarlock batteries ran out in the session.  Gotta replace those tonight.

The power pie chart is wrong.  The LT number is too big.

          Workout Summary - media/20171016-145520-Greg Smith 20171016 0846amo.csv
Workout Details

I really enjoyed this workout.  It was quite a challenge to row with square blades with the blustery conditions, especially when I was heading up river with it as a headwind.  It was delightful during the r26 chunks when I put together 2 or 3 clean strokes.  Of course, I’d be happier if I could routine put together 700 clean stroke, but I need to be happy with any progress.

This session will form the basis of my taper.  I will reduce the total rowing time and the number of 2 minute chunks of race pace rowing, but keep working on technique at race pace.  I think it the only thing that I can improve over a week.

Tomorrow:  My last hard session before the race.  4 x 2000 / 5′ rests at r26 and 2:15.


Friday: Groggy 10K of technique

The red eye was pretty miserable.  I was in a seat with extra leg room, but because it was in front an exit row, the seat didn’t recline.  I got some sleep, maybe 2 to 3 hours in fits and starts, but I eventually gave up and just read.

Boston was cloudy, drizzly and about 45F when I landed.  I wasn’t sure if rowing was the best idea, but it seemed to be clearing up a bit, so I went for it.  I’m very glad that I did.  It was glorious out there.  I wasn’t working terribly hard, and I wasn’t out for very long, but I felt a thousand times better when I finished.

The plan for the day was to just do 2 minute intervals of SBR, then 2 minutes of alternating SBR and feathered and then 2 minutes of r20.  It’s sort of become my go to low intensity workout.


I finished 1 lap of the river and had a little bit more time, so I did 6 minutes down river in the 2 minute chunks.  Then I turned around and rowed at r22 back to the cut.  It was about 6 minutes of high UT1 rowing, and it felt nice and clean.  I tried to row it to 190W or so.  I think I’m about 10w different between erg and boat (erg higher for the same HR repsonse).  When I got back to the lagoon when I launch, I did a 30 stroke set at r26.  It sure felt hard.  I was doing that for 30 minutes in head races not that long ago.

Tomorrow:  My big adventure row.

Friday: 90 minutes of near-bliss

I felt like crap all day Thursday.  My stomach was a little upset, and just felt lethargic and slow.  We went to bed early again and I got a good 8 hours of sleep.  I woke up this morning feeling a whole lot better.

The weather was gray and it rained off and on.  The temperature was in the mid-40s.  But there was very little wind and I was looking forward to just taking it easy and working on technique.  My morning schedule was pretty open, so I didn’t have to rush to much either.

I launched and got going.  My plan was:

  • 2′ SBR
  • 2′ alternating square / feathered
  • 2′ r20
  • repeat over and over again.

As I rowed out to the useful part of the river, I decided that today would be a good day to get the impeller mode of the speedcoach calibrated.  Right now there is enough current that my upstream and downstream speeds are different by 10 or 15 second per 500, and since the impeller is already mounted on the boat, I might as well use it.

I had never done the calibration with the speedcoach GPS, so I fumbled through the menus a bit until I found it under the advanced setup menu.  Once I found it, it was easy and intuitive to use.  Just start it up, it tells you to start rowing, and once you are up to speed, it uses the GPS to measure 500m of true distance.  Then it tells you to turn around and press start when you are ready to do the same thing in the other direction.  After all that, it tells you what the cal factor is.

So, I did 2 moderately hard 500m pieces to setup the cal.  I was suspicious that it might not be a good cal because my boat speed looked a bit too good.  :-/

After that, I just rowed.  I went all the way down river, back up to the cove, then back down to the dam.  The basin down by the dam is pretty broad and the I can do 500m without much of a turn, so I did the cal again.  The cal factor came out close to the first time (1.069 vs 1.061), but I did pull one massively bad stroke in the first 500, so I am wondering if I could get it better.  Maybe I’ll do it again on Quinsig this weekend over 1000m.

After I finished the second cal, I decided to row steady state the whole way back.  I was pulling really hard in the 2 minute chunks of r20, and I wanted to try to practice at a feathered at a lower stroke pressure.  This was very pleasant rowing.

The whole outing was about 17km on RIM, and I was on the water for 96 minutes.  It was glorious.

This is the GPS data from RIM.  You can see the extra loops at each end of the river where I did the cal pieces.  You can also see a place in the middle where the was some kind of glitch with the data.  I did not, in fact, row through the headland, not even close.

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 2.30.38 PM

Here is the same thing using the GPS coordinates from the speedcoach.  In this one, the cal pieces are missing, but look at how much smoother the path is.

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 2.40.14 PM.png

Here’s the summary plot from the speedcoach.  Still suspicious about the impeller based pace, but it sure is less noisy!  It is also missing the cal pieces.


Here is the summary plot from RIM.


In this plot, I have smoothed the pace data twice, and it is still a lot noisier than the speedcoach data.

I am trying to figure out the best set of parameters to have live in the boat.  Today, I setup the speedcoach to have pace, HR, effective length and wash.  On RIM, I had stroke rate and elapsed time.  This worked out OK, but I think I like using the RIM for HR.  For example, today I don’t have any HR data for the cal pieces.  In a similar way, if I setup the speedcoach for an interval workout, I would miss the rest data.  If I use RIM essentially as a logger, and the speedcoach more interactively, I think that would work out.

I think I will always want to see pace, stroke rate, heart rate and elapsed time.  And I would like to have two fields for empower related stuff.  Right now I am working on finishes, so it makes sense to have wash.  But eventually, I think I will mainly have work and effective length as the main screens.

Feeling so bad yesterday and so good today has gotten me thinking.

I have never really figured how much business travel interferes with training.  I used to just think of travel days as enforced rest days and tried to just hit my training goals working around the travel.  From that perspective, the only impact was essentially from reduced training hours when I couldn’t squeeze in the sessions.

Now I think it’s worse than that.  Spending 6 hours squeezed into a plane (or 15 hours) and shifting multiple time zones is nothing like a real rest day.  But it does nothing to improve my fitness level.  Right now, I am thinking that it puts the same stress on my body that training does, but without the beneficial training effect.

So the question is…what to do about it?  The answer is…I don’t know.  It seems pretty clear to me that maintaining a very regular training schedule helps me manage jet lag and stress.  It’s also clear that my performance in training sessions after travel is compromised.  So, I think I keep doing what I’m doing.  I will try to rearrange my schedule to put low intensity sessions after trips and I will focus on base endurance cross training or strength while I travel.

The other thing that is really clear to me is that the best thing I can do to improve performance right now is to lose weight.  Losing weight requires no extra time, it can be done while I’m at home or on travel, and every 10 pounds is worth a full second off my 500m split in the boat.  The problem with losing weight is will power.  It takes a lot of effort for me to lose weight and it’s easy to lose motivation.  But, I need to give it a try.  It will help my fitness, performance and health.

Tomorrow:  yardwork all day.  Time to mulch.

More catching up.

Last time I posted was April 5th.  It’s been a while.  Work has been keeping me very busy and I’ve been struggling to find time to workout, just not enough time to keep good records.  Which is a shame because I’m trying to remember what the heck I did way back on the 6th.

Thursday, 6 April: Flew out to San Diego on the 7:30AM flight.  No training.  Flew home on the red-eye.

Friday, 7 April:  Worked from home.  Felt really beaten up from the flight.  No training

Saturday, 8 April:  Slept for a very long time, nearly 11 hours.  I had to drive all over to try to organize what to do with my late father’s possessions.  No training.  I think this might be the first time I’ve taken three days off in a row in a long time.

Sunday, 9 April:  A glorious morning.  I took my boat out to Worcester for a row with my friends at Lake Quinsigamond Community Rowing.  It was an exciting day for us.  We bought a used WinTech Double from Saugatuck over the winter and today was the inaugural row.  I was in my single, Joe was in the new (to us) double with Gretchen, and we also boated a quad.

The northern end of the lake was off limits because it was being used for a collegiate regatta.  We snuck a little ways up the lake before things got going, but otherwise stuck to the southern 2/3.

Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 1.35.09 PM.png

I wanted to try rowing a bit harder with the Empower oarlock, so I decided to do rate ladder workout.

  • 4′ @ 18
  • 3′ @ 20
  • 2′ @ 22
  • 1′ @ 24
  • Repeat 4 times.


This was much harder work than it should have been.


But it was delightful. I used the speedcoach mainly to look at effective length, which was darn short.

I’m still trying to figure all this stuff out, so here’s a bunch of charts over the distance and versus stroke rate.  I blanked out the rest strokes from all of it.

After I got back to the dock, Joe asked me if I wanted to take a short spin in the new double.  I sure did!  It’s a big improvement from the vespoli we rowed last year.

Monday, 10 April: Back down in Newton on the Charles.  Sunny and nearly 50F.  Back to steady state work. My hands were a mess.  Blisters on blisters.  I decided to keep working on technical stuff like maximizing effective length.


I was rowing at at a consistent (albeit slow) power, dropping off about 10 watts during the session.  The interesting thing to me was how much the current effected things.  There was very little wind for the first half.  A bit of breeze picked up in the second half which was a tail wind for the downriver and had wind upriver.  The current was essentially making me 0:05/500 faster going downriver and 0:05 slower going up river.  And even more is certain places.

  • Power and work per stroke faded a bit over the workout as I stayed under my HR cap.
  • Length was reasonably consistent, effectively length faded.
  • Catch and slip was very consistent.
  • Finish and Wash told a real story.  The wash went through the roof as I did my last 4K up river.  I was not watching wash on the display and it got really bad toward the end.


Tuesday, 11 April: I had a meeting at 8:30 so I had to be quick.  I still wanted to get out on the water.  My hands continued to be an issue.  More light technical rowing.  I managed to forgot to start the speedcoach again.



Wednesday, 12 April: Another day, pressed for time.  Today, I decided to stick to technique stuff.  I did one of my favorite workouts.

  • 2 minutes square blade
  • 2 minutes alternating square and feathered
  • 2 minutes feathered
  • keep repeating


Thursday, 13 April: Steady State.  Watching wash on the speedcoach.


My technique was better today.

Friday, 14 April: Rest day

Saturday, 15 April:  Down on the cape.  Busy all day.  Just popped down to the basement for a quick 10k.


Sunday, 16 April:  Still on the cape.  60 minutes at 180W.



Wednesday: 15km OTW

Weather:  Cold and misty.  Around 37F.  Wind 3-5 mph from the North.  This was a head wind heading down river and a bit of a tail wind going up river.

Plan for the workout was the same as Monday.  Focus on technique and learn how to incorporate feedback from the EmPower oarlock into really focused practice.

I also  wanted to experiment with the idea of using my phone with RIM to complement the speedcoach display.  So, I hooked up my HR monitor to my phone instead of the speedcoach.

I spent the whole workout looking at the work per stroke screen and trying to keep my drive length greater than 100 degrees.

It was another really joyful row.  Up and down the river a couple of times focusing on form versus pace.  By having my HR on the RIM display, I was able to watch and try to keep the intensity in the aerobic zone.  I let it go a bit higher if I was comfortable and working on technique.

So, now I had one set of data on the phone and one set of data on the speedcoach.  How do I put them together.  Well, it turns out that has a feature called “Sensor Fusion”.  This feature let’s you take specific fields from two different data sources, align the start points manually, and create a workout entry that combines the two.  In the plot below, the SPM comes from RIM, and so it goes to the very beginning.  The pace and power comes from the speedcoach, and I started that about 6 minutes into the row.


There are some interesting features in the power part of the summary plot.  The blue bars showing the higher power levels are when I needed to apply a lot of port pressure to go around a turn in the river.

The pace shows the effect of the current.  Today is was a good 10 seconds difference on pace.  Notice how consistent the power is, even though the pace is very different.


It’s going to take a while to really know how to use all the data I’m getting.  Here’s a sampler.  A few thoughts..

  • Power is lower than I was expecting at 154W avg.
  • Finish angle was consistent, but Wash got progressively worse
  • Catch and slip were remarkably consistent
  • Effectively drive length is a short 80 degrees.  This is probably driven mostly by critical body dimensions (like my stubby legs), but it will pay dividends if I can figure out how to get a longer drive angle and less wash at the end.

I finished up and put away my boat.  When I looked in the car window at my reflection, I could see that a nice layer of dew had formed on my hat because it was so misty.

2017-04-05 08.03.49

Today (Thursday), I didn’t have a chance to workout.  I caught the morning flight from Boston to San Diego, had a few customer meetings, and now I’m on  the red eye heading home.  I’m going to pick up my boat on my way home from the airport and I might be able to go for a row in the afternoon.  Otherwise, it’ll be another easy hour on the erg.


Monday: Back On The Water!!!! 15km

Weather:  Cold and Sunny.  About 35F.  Basically no wind.  A beautiful morning.

Today was all about just getting back in the boat and trying out my new toys.

New iPhone, case and mount –> running RIM

New Speedcoach GPS (Model 2)

New EmPower Oarlock

The iphone case and mount worked great.  Much more rigid than the mount that I was using last year (and considerably cheaper).   I got them from Quad Lock.

The empower oarlock and HR monitor paired with the Speedcoach very easily.  I had done the angle calibration on Sunday.  The force calibration was easy and quick.

I was off the dock within 20 minutes of getting there.  The river is really high right now.  Right up to the top of the dock, and the current is visibly faster than normal.  I was the only person out on Monday morning.  I had a beautiful morning all to myself.

Our population of swans seems bigger this year.  There was a pretty good number of cygnets last summer.  I think they’ve grown up and returned.  Pretty to look at, but additional obstacles to row around.

I did my normal row, about 15km.  Starting at the docks, I row 4km downstream.  The first km is winding and slow.  After that, it’s lovely flat water and mostly straight for 2km.  Then I go under a narrow bridge and the last km is out across a small basin before the Moody Street Dam.  It’s a beautiful row and I was so happy to be back outside, enjoying the morning.

After I turn at the dam, I row back upstream.  This time of year, I row up into a long cove instead of completely retracing my steps.  There are some nice houses along the cove, and I get a little more distance.  It’s about 3km from the dam to the end of the cove.  Then I spin, and head back down river to the dam.  Finally, I turn back up river and row the 4km back to the dock.

The first and last km where it’s winding I think of as the warmup and cool down.

Now, for the toys.  I loved rowing with the EmPower Oarlock.  I tried out all the skill screens.  There are screen to show catch and with slip, finish angle with wash, power, and work per stroke.  I used one screen for each of the 3km sections.  Unfortunately, I was enjoying the row so much that I didn’t notice that I had forgotten to start the speedcoach.  The way the speedcoach works, it gives you a live screen, but just doesn’t accumulate data if it isn’t started.  Of course it does say “stop” right in the middle of the screen, but I just didn’t notice that.  I hope I don’t make the mistake again, I’m sure I will.

Of course, since I am obsessive enough about data that I run redundant systems, I had the whole row recorded with the Rowing in Motion app on my phone.

The skill screens on the Speedcoach are great, but I was bothered that I wasn’t able to keep an eye on my Heart Rate while I had those displays up.  I know from reading the NK materials that this was a concious choice to limit the chances of information overload, but I find it pretty easy to focus in on on number in a display and only look at other ones every few strokes.  I wish that HR and SPM were visible on the skill screens.

But, I have a solution to my problem.  Since I am running RIM anyway, I can get that info from my phone while I use the speedcoach for technique feedback.  The great part about that is rowsandall provides a cool feature to let me smoosh the data from RIM and Speecoach together before I analyze it.  (More about that in my next post).

Based on that conclusion, I will most likely pair my HR monitor to my phone and use the RIM display to show pace, HR, SPM and time.  I’ll stick to skill screens on the speed coach, unless I’m doing a workout where I want faster pace feedback, like short sprints.


You can see effect of the current on pace.  It was about 10 second delta

Here’s a view of just the speedcoach data for the last 30 minutes of the row.4-3c.png

And here’s a stroke profile for the section from 2000m to 2600m


I need to double check the angle calibration before I draw any conclusions from this.

I did a quick very of effective drive length and work per stroke to get a baseline.


The effective drive length has got me worried, so I wanted to compare it to total length.


I think I have some work to do to get a longer drive.

I also just looked a power for this chunk.


It’s lower than I would have expected. I guess I have some work to do on strength and fitness too!

So.  Much.  Data.  🙂

Wednesday: Steady State & Technique

Weather: started sunny, then clouded up.  A bit of a breeze sprung up, seemingly from whatever direction I was trying to row.


  • 4 x 2700m / 1′ rest
  • rate: 20 spm
  • pace: 2:25
  • HR limit: 155 (top of UT1)

myimage (61)

00020_|_1040_|_05:12_|_2:30.1_|_110___|_21.1_|_09.5_|_128___|_dock to island
01051_|_2150_|_10:14_|_2:22.8_|_208___|_20.3_|_10.3_|_146___|_downstream piece
03201_|_0082_|_00:36_|_3:37.1_|_009___|_15.2_|_09.1_|_122___|_stop to talk to bruce
03283_|_0664_|_03:10_|_2:23.3_|_062___|_19.5_|_10.7_|_137___|_rest of downstream piece
04011_|_2811_|_13:44_|_2:26.6_|_271___|_19.7_|_10.4_|_149___|_upstream piece
06886_|_2754_|_13:34_|_2:27.8_|_274___|_20.2_|_10.1_|_150___|_downstream piece
09714_|_0286_|_01:26_|_2:30.5_|_028___|_19.5_|_10.2_|_141___|_started upstream, decided I’d had enough
10000_|_0051_|_00:22_|_3:38.6_|_005___|_13.5_|_10.2_|_115___|_thought about life

08665_|_42:09_|_2:25.9_|_843___|_20.0_|_10.3_|_147___|_Main set
00335_|_02:13_|_3:18.8_|_034___|_15.3_|_09.9_|_121___|_rest meters
03685_|_21:26_|_2:54.5_|_390___|_18.2_|_09.4_|_136___|_cool down

I was quite stiff and sore this morning when I woke up.  I think I dug deep enough in yesterday’s session that I was not fully recovered by 5:15AM today.  But, since I had a planned a low intensity endurance session today, I wasn’t too concerned about it.

I was on the water before 6:30 and basically jumped right into a rhythm at r20 as soon as I was clear of the dock.  I slowed down to go through the cut, and then got back up to speed for the roughly 3K down river.

I noticed that I was struggling to get anywhere near the paces that I was holding easily on Monday.  And stupidly, instead of just accepting that and rowing for form, I worked harder to try to hit the pace.  It made the session a bit of a grind.

When I got to the bridge, I caught up to a guy that launches from the same place I do and stopped for a quick chat.  He turned around to head upriver and I continued downriver another 1000m or so to the dam.

I turned to head upriver and again was having trouble holding my pace target.  I experimented a bit and at times, I was able to get long smooth strokes and a good pace without a ton of effort.  But it was spotty at best.  I definitely felt like focusing on holding a body forward position during the drive, and then opening my back was more efficient.  It was a little difficult to focus on that and at the same time keep my finishes early and crisp.  I have issues chewing gum and walking at the same time, apparently.

I spun at the upstream end and headed down to the dam again.  Grinding it out.  When I turned at the dam, I had every intention of just finishing up normally, but within about 500m, I was sick of it.  I was working hard and not going very fast.  It didn’t seem very productive, so a change of plan seemed like a good idea.

I decided to finish up with some technical rowing.  500m of square blades, 500m of alternating square and feathered, 500m of feathered rowing focused on balance.  Five 500m blocks brought me to the upstream end of the river, then I paddled back to the dock.

Thinking about it, since I pushed so hard yesterday, I probably should have done the whole session as a UT2, technique focused row.

Tomorrow:  Schedule calls for another threshold row.  4 x 2700 at r24-26

Thursday: Easy Technique

Weather: Sunny, hot – in the 80s, light wind around 4 mph from the west, generally a head wind when going up river.

I was out late for dinner with a customer on Wednesday night, so I decided to sleep in, and maybe catch a row in the late afternoon after work.  I was able to get out around 4:30PM and I was on the water by about 5:15.

I was originally planning to do a hard threshold session, but I’m still feeling a bit worn down.  I’m also working through some lower back pain.  I was dreading the session enough that I found myself trying to come up with reasons to not row.  Once I figured that out, I decided that it was too nice a day to miss getting out on the water to enjoy it, and reset my plans.  I would do a low intensity technique session.

I didn’t have a ton of time, so I decided to just do one lap of river, about 9km.  It’s been a while since I did a bungee row, so I opted to row from the dock to the end of the river with the bungee and then take it off for the row back.  The main thing I try to do when I row with a bungee is to work on my form during the drive.  I want to accelerate smoothly while maintaining a body forward position, with my shoulders relaxed and my arms not bent at all, then swing my body through, and finish smooth and early and get my blades out of the water cleanly.  The big thing is avoiding opening up my back early.  Paradoxically, doing this session with a bit of lower bak pain was helpful.  Essentially, my back would remind me with a twinge anytime I opened early.

I was surprised by the pace I was getting with the bungee.  I usually lose about 15 seconds or more off pace, but today it was less than 10.  Once I turned the boat around and took the bungee off, I understood why.  I was rowing with a gentle tail wind.  Now I was rowing into the wind and frankly, it felt a lot like rowing with the bungee.  I tried to just stick at an easy 18 spm, and ignore the pace as much as I could to focus on getting the drive right and enjoying the sunshine.