Apr 30 2018
Monthly Archives: April 2018
Apr 30 2018
I did body weight and core exercise during a 4 hour conference call marathon. There were enough low information density moments that I could listen and “work out” at the same time. It gives a new dimension to “Plank” when at the same time you are following the conversation.
I am entering a low volume training cycle, and I didn’t find time to completely plan out each session for this cycle, so I had to improvise a bit. Fartlek, “speed play”, is, for example “sprint all out from one light pole to the next, jog to the corner, give a medium effort for a couple of blocks, jog between four light poles and sprint to a stop sign, and so on, for a set total time or distance” (quote from breakingmuscle.com). I basically allowed myself to play with the boat speed as I felt fit.
Romana was training the girls, but had to jump in a double with a less experienced girl, so she asked me to row with Iva, who was doing 500m intervals. So I rowed with her and coached her by rowing my single next to her and shouting instructions.
And, I recorded all that with my GoPro Hero Session 5 camera.
Here is the result:
In the video, I am showing my (long) standard warming up drill starting with arms only. Then a (not so well executed) technique drill, then some snippets from 500m intervals, and finally a very short race pace piece.
All in all I am pretty happy with the row. By the way, this was the first real video taken with my new camera.
It’s now a bit over a month since I have started to row on the water again, so time for some analysis.
I made these charts using the Box Chart functionality on rowsandall.com. Click here to read the tutorial on how to use the Box Charts.
I am not going to make any conclusions based on these box charts now, apart from the things I mention in the image captions. But it show that this is a good tool to monitor progress.
Apr 27 2018
I hesitated whether it made sense to go to the lake. In Brno-Slatina, where my office is, the flags indicated a strong wind. I called Romana, and she reported normal chop, nothing unrowable. When I arrived at the lake, the normal chop had changed to high chop, but by the time I was launching, it was getting calmer again. This was going to be a short, but intensive workout:
2k/4min + 1k/4min + 500m @ 28-34spm
Again, I lowered the SPM by 2 because I row in a single.
The low power section 4 minutes into the first 2k is caused by a turn:
On this map, it’s the turn to starboard just before I row through the “Brněnská přehrada” text (after crossing the boat line connecting U kotvy to Osada.
This is also where tailwind turned into tail/cross wind and I had to turn the single slightly to compensate for being blown into the buoy line. This is what that did to Wash:
A jump from 12 degrees to 14-15 degrees. It confirms my feeling that Wash is very sensitive to water roughness and other external factors.
Drive length and effective drive length were pretty OK, and at least consistent. Intervals 1 and 3 were rowed in tailwind and the middle 1k in strong headwind. I was afraid that would be visible in the drive length (being shorter in headwind), but it isn’t really.
Workout Summary - media/20180426-1735460o.csv
Pretty happy with the numbers here, considering the strong tail/head/crosswind and chop. I aimed at 26, 29 and 32spm and it seems I succeeded. Pretty hard work but pretty consistent, I think.
Back at the dock after 42 minutes, including warming up and cooling down. That was good, because I did have some accumulated fatigue from earlier sessions this week.
Apr 27 2018
It’s a pity we didn’t train on Wednesday, because it was pretty nice weather initially, although it would have started raining lightly by the time we arrived at Rokle at the end of the warming up. But then we would have quickly rowed back to the south part of the lake, because it really was a small and local cloud.
We would have rowed a lot of technical drills and be able to really focus on our timing. We also could have done a couple of 3 minute efforts at slightly higher stroke rates.
And finally, we could have done my favorite technique drill “Sweden”:
- 10 very light strokes arms only
- 10 hard and fast strokes arms only
- 10 very light strokes arms and body
- 10 hard and fast strokes arms and body
- 10 very light strokes at half slide
- 10 very hard and fast strokes half slide
- 10 very light full slide strokes
- 10 very hard and fast full slide strokes.
We could have reached 48 spm on those final full slide strokes. Those SPM spikes on the chart are not noise. This is a great exercise to get the timing right in any boat size larger than 2x.
Really, a pity. But we are the eight that doesn’t practice.
This row was done in an older Empacher eight, and I was seated in 2. There is no NK SpeedCoach holder at that position, so I rowed using BoatCoach (which is now working perfectly, after the developer made a few updates based on my suggestions), running on a Samsung Galaxy A3.
Products from Amazon.com
That phone is waterproof, and BoatCoach has a nice splash guard function which works in all circumstances except the roughest. I mounted this to my foot stretcher using an assembled RAM mount
Products from Amazon.com
Regarding the RAM mount, I linked to Amazon’s related products, but do take care to create a compatible selection. I used the following:
Of course, BoatCoach connected to my Polar OH1 arm band to get heart rate information.
So, that’s the hardware and software out of the way. I really start BoatCoach and then don’t worry about it any more, except for quick glances at the stroke rate info.
After the row, when exiting BoatCoach, it asks me if I want to export the data. I believe it is one of the settings you have to set, but while I am writing this, I don’t have the phone with me, so I don’t know for sure.
Anyway, at that moment I select Email, and send the “Raw BoatCoach Data” to email@example.com.
Power Data Estimate
On Rowsandall.com, in the Advanced Edit of the Workout, Rowsandall Pro members can go to “Geeky Stuff” where they can download the wind strength for the row, and then start a power estimation calculation. This takes about 10 minutes, and adds an estimate of power to your rowing data. Better than nothing, but you have to take into account that it is an estimate for the average power per rower generated for the entire boat, so if you row with Gorillas (like I do), this may be a slight overestimation. I mainly use estimated power to generate power based Workout Effort Estimates, which I use to gauge my training volume, and for that purpose it works pretty well.
A small glitch in the GPS data capture gave me this one stroke excursion to Algeria. I guess I could update the filters on rowsandall.com to prevent that.
Apr 25 2018
This was the day that I really benefited from zipping around town on a scooter, as opposed to being stuck in traffic.
After a few meetings at the office, I had to go to the Medlanky airfield for some flight tests involving drones. This airfield is very close to the lake, so I could fit in a training session after lunch, before going back to the office.
To outsiders, the whole action at the airfield must have looked like a scene from Men in Black, and definitely had conspiracy theory fueling potential. The drones arrived in unmarked jeeps and a minivan. A gang of guys in dark suits and sunglasses jumped out of the jeep, while a bunch of “IT types” jumped out of the minivan. They set up some satellite dish and other equipment, then launched a couple of drones, which didn’t seem to do much. Just hovered around a bit. Then, everything was cleaned up and the group disappeared.
It was a pity I had to go on the business lunch with the Men in Black, because in the mean time the wind had become stronger. I decided to row towards Veverska Bytiska, taking shelter in the river gorge.
The workout was 4x10min (done as 4/3/2/1 minute at 22/24/26/28spm) at three minutes rest. After a 15 minute warming up which brought me past the twisty part of the gorge, I stopped to set up my SpeedCoach. The advantage of the gorge is that there is no chop, but that doesn’t mean it is not windy. To me, the SpeedCoach user interface is not intuitive, and the whole programming took a long time, during which I also had to make correction paddles to avoid being blown onto a rock, and because I wanted to set up the intervals as variable intervals 10min+3min (as the SpeedCoach doesn’t record strokes during the rest). I guess I have high demands in terms of data collection.
Well, in the end I managed to get my SpeedCoach set up and I set off. First interval straight into a headwind, ending close to the castle. Then three minutes of paddling, and the second interval as the SpeedCoach started counting down 10 minutes again. I was a little worried that the interval would take me further than where the river is rowable, but a good stiff headwind helped me there.
As I eased up into the second 3 minutes of rest, I noticed that the SpeedCoach was immediately starting a 10 minute count down again. What the heck? I stopped the SpeedCoach, turned the single, and took a rest of approximately three minutes, then continued.
The third and fourth interval were rowed with tailwind, and I ended up doing the third interval’s 28spm bit in the middle of a sharp turn and the fourth interval ended in the twisty part of the river. Apart from that, everything was fine.
Sixteen kilometers of quality training, what could one wish more?
Of course, I was slightly bothered about my SpeedCoach, which was still running its workout countdowns while I was doing my cooling down. Arriving at the dock, I stopped it. Now, would it save my strokes? Looking at the menus, it seems that the only option I had was to continue rowing until it had finished the programmed workout, or do something that the SpeedCoach called “Cancel Workout”.
After uploading the workout to rowsandall.com, I noticed that I did lose some data. See the map, with the arrows indicating a straight line where my trajectory jumps over the forest. More about that in the How To section below.
Here are the charts for the first and third interval. Notice the funny heart rate jumps caused by the data loss:
- NK SpeedCoach GPS 2
- NK Empower Oarlock (connected to SpeedCoach through BlueTooth)
- Polar OH1 optical heart rate sensor worn on starboard upper arm, connected to SpeedCoach through BlueTooth
So this is my basic setup in the single. I have a Empower Oarlock on starboard side. This oarlock measures force and oar angle, and from those measurements you get a couple of useful metrics on your SpeedCoach:
- Maximum and average force
- Work per Stroke
- Catch and finish angle
- … and more
Look at the chart in the main part of this post. Rowing in strong wind on a windy river, the boat speed was basically an irrelevant parameter. What is important is to compare the power levels for the different intervals. (Although to be honest, power levels would have been better if I had two oarlocks and could measure the average, as during turns the power through one oarlock is not representative to the total mechanical power.)
Having power in addition to heart rate gives a very complete picture of the training.
Today, I used the programmed workouts function of the NK SpeedCoach. As you understand from the blog post above, this is not without risk. The NK SpeedCoach does not record rest data. I think that the default behavior should be to include rest strokes in the data records. It is easy to remove part of the data after the row, but you never get the stroke data back if the hardware didn’t record it in the first place.
How Not To
Here are screenshots of the NK SpeedCoach where I tried to program a 4x10min/3min workout in such a way that I would also capture the data during the three rest minutes.
The mistake I made is that I overlooked the “rest between sets”, which was set to 10 minutes. So that is where I lost 20 minutes of training data.
Apr 25 2018
It’s been warm weather for a few days, and it hasn’t rained much. Also, all trees are in bloom. Finally, Monday saw a change in pressure and wind direction.
For Hay Fever guys like me, that means taking precautions. A daily sniff of nose spray, and at high risk days also a tablet.
I forgot all that and just hit the road unprepared.
In the afternoon, I had to run some errands (bank, notary, post office), and I used the public transport, so I spent some time in trams and buses with open windows.
By 6pm, my immune system decided it was time to go into full emergency action against the pollen dose.
Painful, inflamed eyes and nose, feeling tired, etc.
It is hard to do a training in this state. Energy wise, I felt like even a light steady state would be too much. But, I also know that actually doing the exercise helps reduce the symptoms. As soon as I start sweating a bit, the symptoms seam to ease.
So I did just that. An hour of steady state on the erg. It was hard in the beginning, but I gradually got into it, and the symptoms really did ease up. Glad I did exercise.
I was rowing the session on Painsled, connected to Zwift for some virtual company. I let Zwift chose random courses for me. This time it was two loops in some city environment, with a few short cobblestone climbs in the second half of the loop, which really helped me to get through the entire hour. The nice thing about rowing on Zwift is that the loops give you some kind of “completion point” which keeps you going until you have reached it, as opposed to allowing yourself to stop erging at a random point.
Apr 22 2018
Another beautiful and sunny day. Romana and I went to the rowing club immediately after breakfast, to avoid having to row in the middle of people renting kayaks or pedalos, with no clue of traffic patterns.
We found that the wind direction had changed to North wind again, but there was hardly any wind. The lake was mirror flat, except from a bit of wake from the Rescue Service.
The workout we did was:
2x(3x3min/3min), then 3x1min/1min.
Rest between sets 6 min. The three minute pieces at race stroke rate, the 1 minute pieces +2spm
We deciced to take the stroke rates down a little. Our 1k racing takes a little over three minutes, so I couldn’t imagine us doing 6 of them, followed by three 1 minute efforts.
Also, we need to row together and we haven’t been above 24spm this year.
So I rowed the 3 minute pieces around 28spm. In the final 1 minute efforts, we did them at 32spm, then 32-33spm, and then I told Romana that we should do the final one at not higher than 33spm, because that is high enough.
About fifteen seconds after I said that, I started the piece at 34spm, increased to 35-36spm and kept it like that. It was a great row.
A shower, and then a coffee on the bench in front of the club house, overlooking the lake, listening to birds’ songs.
There is nothing wrong with our boat speed!