Forced back indoors

Up at 5:15.  Felt pretty tired.  Ramping back up to normal training volumes is a bit of a shock to my system, I guess.

Downstairs and straight into the core workout.  I still hate it, but doing the 10 jumping jacks between each set of each exercise breaks it up and makes it a bit more tolerable.  It takes about 12 minutes, and I just start to break a sweat by the end.

Then I drove to the river.  On the way, there was a bit more drizzle than yesterday, but it seemed OK.  When I got there, I grabbed my broom to sweep the goose poop off the dock.  While I walked to the dock, I noticed 2 things.  First, it was raining harder.  It was still very fine mist, but at a higher volume.  Kinda like a shower in a cheap motel.  And the wind was pretty strong, around 10mph with gusts to 20.  There is a tropical storm about 150 miles offshore and the wind field is overspreading eastern Massachusetts.

Anyway, just the walk to the dock was enough to convince me slogging into a headwind with a soaking rain would not provide a magically rewarding fitness experience.  So I walked back to the car, drove to work and headed to the fitness center.

The Plan:

  • 15′ warmup – treadmill death march (15% grade, 3mph)
  • 3 x 15′ static erg
    • 20 spm
    • 2:08
    • HR limit: 155 (hopefully lower)
    • Work on knees together

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 10.28.16 AM



Workout Summary - media/20170920-1231170o.csv
Workout Details

So far, my back is holding up well.  I still feel a bit of pain first thing in the morning and I get some warning twinges if I take a bad stroke, but it is tolerating the increased volume without any more pain or stiffness.

It’s time to take stock of where I am and what to do now.  The first and most pressing decision is what to do about the HOCR, which is on the morning October 21st.  32 days from now.   Seeing where I am now, versus where I was last time I rowed the HOCR, I would certainly do a lot worse.  Back then, my 2.0 mmol power was around 185W on the erg.  Right now, I would bet that it’s around 165W.  So, my guess is that I would be about 5 sec/500 slower than last time.  So, tack another 50 seconds on my finish time.  So, I’d go from a 22:15 to a 23:15, dropping from 25th place to 37th place (out of 58).

I wouldn’t be delighted with that, but its better than DFL.  I sure love rowing in this race.  I think I want to do it, even though I would not be at my best.  The question is: What is the best way to prepare for it?  I’m obviously not going to improve my aerobic fitness much over 32 days.  I will get some of that fitness back quickly just by regaining some blood volume.  But the main focus has to be on head race pace rowing.  Actually the main focus has to be on injury prevention.  After that I can focus on head race prep.

So, the mini plan is.

2 UT2 sessions per week 60 to 80 minutes of work per session.  Interval based.  No longer than 15 minutes continuous on the erg with stretching

1 UT1 session per week 60 minutes of work hopefully on the water

1 head race simulation per week.  Starting at r24 and moving up in rate.

1 long interval session per week.  basically 4×2000 type stuff with nice long rests

1 short interval/short rest per week.  concentrate on technique at r26 and r28

Daily core exercises (ugh)

In all sessions work on keeping knees together, limiting layback, and keeping my spine straight.

Tomorrow:  Hopefully back on the water.  Long intervals.  4 x 2k.  Should be a disaster.


Back on the water

Sunday, September 17th

We hung out down on the cape until mid-afternoon and then headed home.  There was still no AC in the house.  But around 8pm, I settled in for a sweaty erg session.  Today, painsled decided to cooperate.

The same session as Saturday.  4 x 15′ / 2′ rest with stretching in the rests.  HR limited at 155.


        Workout Summary - media/20170917-2005310o.csv
Workout Details

Monday, September 18th

Yet again I had to be home in the morning to let workmen in and get them setup.  That killed any chance for a morning workout.  I finally had a window around 5pm.  I headed down to the fitness center.  I’m worried about too much rowing, so I decided to start off on the treadmill with a 20 minute death march (15% grade, 3mph).

After that I was planning to jump on our brand new Model D indoor rowing machine.  But someone beat me to it!  While I waited, I jumped on a elliptical machine to get a few more aerobic minutes.

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 4.44.05 PM.png

Now the rower was open and I hopped on.  The PM5 picked up my HR monitor and linked with Painsled with no issues.  I set up a time based interval session.  15 minute work and 2 minute rest.  I intended to do 2 intervals.


        Workout Summary - media/20170918-1720320o.csv
Workout Details

I was interested to see how it compared to the dynamic.  Same stroke rate.  I think about a 4 second pace differential, not as much as I would have thought going in.

Tuesday, September 19

I was so excited to get back on the water, I woke up before my alarm and just lay there imagining how awesome it would be.

Since this was my first early morning workout since my injury, I wanted to put in place my new protocol.  I got up and went straight into my core routine (curl ups, side planks, bird dogs).  Man, I am coming to loathe doing ab exercises.  I stretched before and during and did some jumping jacks and stuff.  Hopefully it was enough to squish some of the extra fluid out of my disks before I went rowing.

The drive to where I launch is about 30 minutes.  I was on the water by 6:30.  The weather was less than perfect.  It was around 65F, with a fine misty drizzle and a bit of wind from the northeast, maybe about 7 mph.  This was a headwind going downriver.

I was really happy that my balance wasn’t terrible.  I felt comfortable almost immediately.  The plan for the day was pretty simple:

  • steady state
  • r20
  • heart rate limit: 150.  lower is better
  • no pace target
  • technique focus:  keep knees together at the catch.  rock hips over at the catch and keep spine straight.  focus on isolating the back swing.

I was using the speed coach the whole workout but because I stopped right at the beginning to change what I looked at in one of the display fields, it stopped and I forgot to restart it.  I didn’t realize what I had done until I went to upload the session and saw that it was for a total distance of 8 meters!

But, as an experienced speedcoach user, I have my backup.  No heart rate, but at least I have the whole session on RIM.


        Workout Summary - media/20170919-193028-95635o.csv
Workout Details
01|00821|04:07.2|02:30.6|000.0|19.8|000.0|0.0|10.1 - To the cut
02|03019|15:10.2|02:30.7|000.0|20.0|000.0|0.0|09.9 - To the dam headwind
03|02865|14:00.0|02:26.6|000.0|20.4|000.0|0.0|10.0 - Back to the cut Tail
04|02013|10:25.2|02:35.3|000.0|20.4|000.0|0.0|09.5 - to the bridge
05|02178|10:34.8|02:25.7|000.0|20.5|000.0|0.0|10.0 - back to the cut
06|00905|04:22.2|02:24.8|000.0|20.7|000.0|0.0|10.0 - Back to the dock

I think the paces are overly optimistic.  I can see the jaggies on the map

(map provided by rowsandall using the latest and greatest navionics overlay!)

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.12.32 AM

It’s more obvious in a close up of the s-turn.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.12.58 AM

I was so happy to be back on the water, I can’t even begin to describe how much better the rest of my day was.  I was just walking around grinning.


A little bit more rowing

So, I was delighted to find that my back was not hurting more than usual this morning.  It might have even felt a little bit better.

I had a conference call from 7 to 8:30, and then I headed to the gym to squeeze in a workout before my flight home.

I am trying to keep in mind the warnings that I have read about injury risk first thing in the morning, and wanted to be careful about how much I do, so I decided to do a 15 minute treadmill death march as a warmup and then a 30 minute row.

As it turned out, after I finished my warmup, somebody else was actually using the rowing machine. :-O

I had to wait 7 minutes for them to finish flailing about ineffectually.  I also had to resist the urge to go offer coaching tips 😉

So, my time window was closing, but I still had 20 minutes.  I thought it might be good to do a toned down version of a Fletcher Warmup.  I’d do it at a slower pace, and focus on keeping my knees together.

The 15 minute death march (15% grade, 3mph) was the usual UT2 slog.  My HR was just hitting the top of the UT2 band as I was finishing up.

While I waited for the erg to free up, I puttered along on an elliptical trainer, trying to keep my HR in the UT2 zone.  So, tack on another 7 minutes or so of warmup.

Then the machine freed up, and I settled in for my fletcher.


I was doing it strapless, and I was pretty focused on both keeping my knees together, avoiding over compression at the catch, and avoiding too much layback at the finish.  Rowing that way really kind of limited how high a rate I could do to around 25 spm.

The other limiting factor was how hard it was!  I was gassed after the initial ramp up.  Way too gassed.  I have lost a lot of fitness over the past few weeks.  Oh well, it is what it is.  I have to take it slow and try to come back cleanly.

        Workout Summary - media/20170913-1150310o.csv
Workout Details

Tomorrow:  I think I will try to do another hybrid workout.  Probably a 30′ run/walk as a warmup and 30′ UT2 on the erg, keeping the stroke pressure low.

Thursday: 2 x 30’/2′ – easy fitness center session

The plan called for:

M3 2 x 30′ / 3′ MP or slower 75.0% (140)

Today, I started with 30 minutes on the treadmill at maximum incline (15%).  I adjusted the speed to slowly get me into the UT2 zone and keep me there.

Then I moved over to the stationary bike and did the same thing.  I fiddled with the resistance to keep my HR right around the boundary between UT2 and UT1.



Now I am at the airport in Incheon waiting for my flight.  I fly to Dallas, and then connect to Boston, getting in at 11pm local time.

I will try to squeeze in a short row, either open water, or on the erg on Friday, but we have house guests so I’m not sure if it will happen.


Marathon Training – Korean Style

I’m in Seoul, staying at the JW Marriott.  The hotel has a fantastic fitness club, it has tons of treadmills, stair climbers (some with real stairs), banks of those machines with straps that vigorously vibrate your muscles, machines that you stand on that wiggle to and fro, and the famous electric horse.  But no rowing machine.

The training plan called for this session…

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

Often when I travel, I just use the fitness center and do maintenance type aerobic training.  But since I’m on the road a lot, and I have less than a month to my race, I thought it would be better to try to replicate the HR response of this workout, even if it wouldn’t be on a rowing machine.

Here’s the HR response of this workout in a boat.  I was pretty happy with this workout at the time.

myimage (72)

So, on a treadmill, the objective would be to get my HR up into the TR zone reasoably quickly during the 6′ portion of the piece, and then slow down enough so that my HR settled into the high UT1 or LT range.

On the treadmill, I decided to set the incline to a 5% grade.  This would hopefully allow me to work my lungs harder and put less strain on my knees.  During the first interval I did the fast bit at 10km/h, and the slow bit at 7km/h.  In the subsequent intervals, I slowed down by about 0.5km/h for each one to try to fine tune my HR.

It was pretty hard work.  The gym was a reasonable temperature, but quite humid.  The treadmill was drenched by the end, and so was I.


It took a little while for my HR to climb in the first interval, but after that, I think it worked out pretty well.  I certainly was praying for the end of each 6′ piece and the time was crawling.

During the rests, I set the incline to zero and walked at about 5km/h.

Tomorrow:  I will attempt to adapt this workout

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

To the elliptical trainer.

The goal is to have it look like this…

myimage (73)

Long, slow burn in the fitness center

Still in Seoul.  At the JW Marriott (the fitness center with the mechanical horsey, but no rower)

I had time to kill this morning.  I woke up around 5:30AM, and I didn’t need to leave for the airport until 10:30.  So, I did some email, did a crossword, surfed the web, and around 7, I decided to head to the gym.

The plan for today

  • 4 x 20′ endurance
  • 20 minutes max incline treadmill
  • 20 minutes flat incline treadmill jog
  • 20 minutes elliptical (intervals, level 15)
  • 20 minutes stationary bike (rolling hills, level 8)

Holy hell it was boring.



Now I’m at the airport waiting to get on my flight.  I’m connecting through Hong Kong and getting back to Boston around 10:30PM.  Ugh.

I just sync’ed up StravastiX.  I’m certainly not putting a challenging load on myself these days.  I think I need to ramp up the volume AND the intensity if I want to make much progress.  It says that my fitness is improving, but I think it is deceived by the fact that I only started logging after my return from my knee operation.  It had my fitness starting from zero, but it was actually pretty good prior to my layoff.  I bet that I would be hovering versus slowing improving if that was the case.  I think I need to get a good 6 months of activity recorded before I really trust the trends.

It’s almost time to restart the marathon plan.   Except this time on the water!

Thursday: San Diego. Recovery Session

I’m here in San Diego, and one of the things I like about it is that there is nearly constant military air traffic in the area.  I had lunch outside and we had trouble carrying on a conversation because F/A-18s were tearing up the sky above us.  It’s a beautiful plane.

Back to training.

  • 20 minutes elliptical (level 15, rolling hills)
  • 20 minutes treadmill (15% grade, 3 mph)

I wanted something easy, and that’s what I got.


Saturday: 40 minutes at the Spoarts Club

Not a typo.

I was staying in a hotel in Incheon called The Charis.  It did not have a fitness center, but they had a deal with the sports club across the street to let their guest go work out there.

I headed over and there was a sign for the Spoarts Club on the door.  Some clever indication that they focus on rowing…Sp..oar..ts?  Afraid not.  Not a rowing machine in sight, and the place was a bit shabby.  They had a bunch of working tread mills and I managed to make one of the ellipticals to work, but I could not find a working stationary bike.  So, I ended up doing 2 – 20 minute pieces.

  • 20 minutes treadmill (15% grade, 5.1 kph)
  • 20 minutes elliptical (random profile, level 15)



As boring as it looks.