May 27 2015
May 25 2015
Greg had a very nice comment on yesterday’s blog. Of course, the GoPro videos from behind, with suggestive music, are a little flattering. So he didn’t notice some imperfections that were there. Still, it was a good session.
This morning I wanted to do a side video, to get a little less flattering picture and learn something about my rowing. Showing side videos, disclosing the weak points in my stroke, can be quite painful … but I was ready for it.
The schedule prescribed fast intervals, and the Masters double that uses the same 6:15am training time had a 15-20x 20 strokes on / 20 strokes off session. I decided to join that. It is always nice to row these things with another boat next to you.
So I mounted my GoPro on an old forestay, launched and did a 10 minute warming up. There was pretty strong wind today. The north end of the lake was calm but the south end was a little choppy. About 2 out of 5 on a scale where 0 is oily calm, 1 is slight ripples, and 5 is what our lake is capable of with unfavorable wind strength and direction.
We turned around and set off for the tailwind part of the session. During the tailwind we would cap the stroke rates between 25 and 30. In the second half, the headwind, we would do free stroke rate, which usually ends up in a frantic 36+ spm sprint. I was looking forward to that.
Here’s a video of the warming up and the first few intervals. I stayed closer to 30spm than to 25spm, just because it felt right and I wanted to feel the boat run at 30spm and tailwind. Enjoyed that.
(Note that I probably have mis-synchronized the Garmin data and the video by a few seconds. The splits seem to follow with a few seconds lag. This applies to all following videos. It’s been a long time since I last worked with DashWare … )
The second video shows the remaining tailwind intervals. You can see the chop become slightly stronger in each interval. In the last one, the forestay with the camera somehow moves a bit bow-wards. I turned it back but I was slightly worried about the bolt coming lose slowly.
Then we turned around and I waited in anticipation of the headwind intervals. Did a few tapdown drills before the double started to move. Then we went off in the first interval. It went well. The only problem was that the forestay moved again, so after this interval I stopped, took my 13mm key and repaired it. It was a quick repair, so the perspective changed slightly.
The camera was secured and I was ready for the next interval. Luckily the double had waited for me. I set off for another interval, and then came the fatal one. I prefer if you watch the video before you read the final paragraph:
So that was it. Training cut short at 7km and a very painful back. I suspect it was a combination of being slightly off balance due to the weight of the GoPro, which I probably corrected with my trunk. Then, during the choppy part I had to correct even more. That combined with fanatically trying to not lose ground to the double created the circumstances for a muscle or nerve to become angry at me and bite back.
Luckily it is not the spine but about 10cm to the right of it and I believe it is just a muscle, not a nerve.
After the training I headed straight to the pharmacy to buy a warming gels based on hemp extract. At work I proclaimed that I would be going on the force of Cannabis for the rest of the day. At lunch the pain was maximal, then it started to ebb away.
Will take a warm shower in the evening (I have been warned that taking a bath is at the risk of not being able to get out of it) and skip tomorrow’s training in the eight. It was supposed to be a light week anyway, with races planned for coming weekend.
Here’s some pictures from RIM:
Quite happy with the paces achieved. Yes, it was in tailwind, but I wasn’t working very hard, the stroke rate was very controlled and there was some chop.
The video blogging turned out to be more painful than I expected, though … Still, looking at the technique, I see improvements. I am much stronger in the second half of the stroke than a year ago. My tap-down is still sloppy and barely visible. Also, I should sit a bit more straight.
Finally, to end on a positive note, here is Marieke Keijser, the 18 year old girl from NL that won the European Championship with an effortless easy stroke. Proof that rowing is not about strength, but about repeating flawless strokes, one after the other. When I grow up, I wanna row like she does:
May 24 2015
Perfect outing today. Very dramatic clouds but the north wind is not capable of making big waves on our lake, so relatively calm water. Some problems with calibrating RIM, apparently it doesn’t work on Sundays. The part that was calibrated well yielded pretty good metrics. Not sure what the stroke acceleration profile means in a double.
I always have very low heart rates doing steady state in the double. The peaks are when we did a 20 stroke set at a higher rate. Some of that is visible in the video. Apologies for using the same background music again. Couldn’t find anything better.
I think we are pretty good. Kudos to Romana for copying my stroke perfectly.
In the afternoon we watched the 2015 European Junior Rowing Championship on internet live stream. From our club, two guys in the Czech 4- finished in 5th place and one guy in the Czech 8+ came in 4th in a very exciting race. I was very impressed by the Dutch 1x girl who won her final with very nice technique. Her 34spm looked effortless.
May 23 2015
After my morning training on Thursday, I worked from home, then took the 15:21 train to Vienna airport and flew to Toulouse with a short stop in Frankfurt. Arrived after 11pm.
Friday was an interesting day. Meetings from 9 to 12, then a nice lunch in the garden of La Flambée, at the end of the runway of Toulouse-Blagnac Airport. We just didn’t have time enough for the ice cream desert. Then meetings again, and then running to catch a flight home.
The flight was delayed so I got my delayed ice cream.
Then the Swiss flight to Zurich. They served swiss chocolate ice cream as a snack. I had a coffee with it.
I felt well when I left the plane but the terminal building was heated to about 30 degrees C, and I suddenly started to feel bad. I had the feeling I would either faint or throw up or do both at the same time. With my hand in front of my mouth I rushed to a toilet as fast as I could. I found a toilet about 500m from my gate.
Interestingly, it was a little cooler there. I removed my tie and jacket, and I felt better immediately.
Probably a case of low blood pressure or something, combined with getting up quickly to leave the plane, and the heat in the terminal building.
Uneventful flight to Vienna. Delayed arrival at 11pm.
I was home in bed by 1:45 am.
Then up at 8 to join breakfast with Romana and the kids, and headed to the rowing club around 9:15.
Romana took the girls out in a quad. I took the single. The plan was
- Row steady state
Do a 1000m with the following race plan: Fast start, then focus on technique for 600m, then all out in the final 300m
Somehow the 1000m didn’t go entirely according to plan. I did the focus on technique but I ended up doing a slow motion 29spm, not the 32spm I had hoped for. There was a tail wind building up from no wind at the start to medium sized waves at 700m into the test.
Not good. I blame the tiredness from the trip.
|Dist_|Time_|_Pace__|avg HR|max HR|Remarks
|05074|30:05|02:57.9| 133 | 149 |steady state
|00101|00:22|01:48.6| 143 | 162 |100m #1
|00101|00:23|01:53.7| 165 | 167 |100m #2
|00098|00:23|01:57.0| 169 | 171 |100m #3
|00106|00:25|01:58.4| 172 | 173 |100m #4
|00097|00:23|01:58.9| 174 | 174 |100m #5
|00103|00:25|02:01.3| 174 | 174 |100m #6
|00086|00:20|01:56.5| 174 | 175 |100m #7
|00107|00:25|01:57.0| 176 | 176 |100m #8
|00106|00:25|01:58.3| 176 | 176 |100m #9
|00098|00:24|02:01.9| 176 | 177 |100m #10
|03802|21:53|02:52.7| 143 | 173 |steady state
The stats above are from the Garmin. I forgot the Wahoo heart rate belt so I took the Garmin belt. But after the 2km warming up I realized I had to pair it again with the Garmin. So add 2km to the session.
A 3:55 effort with average stroke rate of 29.9. Again: Not good, but good enough given the circumstances. I believe that doing these 1km things regularly gets you used to the thing.
May 21 2015
Finally some time for proper L4 rate ladders in the single. It was a drizzly morning, but not too cold. The lake was rowable, but I preferred to go to the castle, where I found super flat water and no wind. The cost is having to steer through a few narrow and sharp turns, which inevitably slow you down and remove the focus from technique.
However, given that I would be rowing in a forest canyon, along a medieval castle and some very beautiful rocks, that was an easy price to pay.
I used the RIM app to keep track of my technique. I like to watch “stroke efficiency”. It’s a bit of a funny metric the way it is defined, and I can’t really get a hold of why, but it seems to correlate strongly with what I believe I should be improving in my sculling. It’s also a sensitive metric so you can monitor it from stroke to stroke and usually when it changes I can understand why. So the goal was to have stroke efficiency above 2 for as many strokes as possible.
I chose to row 4min/3min/2min/1min at 18/20/22/24spm. Here are the pretty pictures:
The conclusion: Yes I did succeed in working on technique.
Here are the data:
And all the gory details (broken up in the same way as the RIM analytics graphs above):
| Dist_ | Time_ | Pace__ | _SPM | avg HR | max HR | DPS | Remarks
| 02194 | 12:00 | 02:44.1 | 18.8 | 136 | 149 | 09.7 | WU
| 00772 | 04:00 | 02:35.5 | 18.4 | 139 | 146 | 10.5 | 4min @ 18spm, steering
| 00636 | 03:00 | 02:21.5 | 20.5 | 152 | 159 | 10.4 | 3min @ 20spm
| 00439 | 01:59 | 02:15.5 | 22.3 | 163 | 165 | 09.9 | 2min @ 22spm
| 00219 | 01:01 | 02:19.0 | 22.5 | 167 | 168 | 09.6 | 1min @ 24spm
| 00790 | 03:59 | 02:31.2 | 18.8 | 154 | 166 | 10.5 | 4min @ 18spm
| 00621 | 03:00 | 02:25.0 | 20.9 | 159 | 162 | 09.9 | 3min @ 20spm
| 00428 | 02:00 | 02:20.1 | 21.9 | 164 | 166 | 09.8 | 2min @ 22spm
| 00206 | 01:01 | 02:27.8 | 22.7 | 167 | 168 | 08.9 | 1min @ 24spm, steering
| 00236 | 01:59 | 04:12.4 | 17.1 | 138 | 163 | 07.0 | rest, turn
| 00797 | 04:01 | 02:31.2 | 19.3 | 151 | 157 | 10.3 | 4min @ 18spm,
| 00607 | 03:00 | 02:28.2 | 20.7 | 159 | 162 | 09.8 | 3min @ 20spm, steering
| 00437 | 02:00 | 02:17.3 | 22.3 | 164 | 167 | 09.8 | 2min @ 22spm
| 00219 | 00:59 | 02:15.0 | 23.6 | 169 | 171 | 09.4 | 1min @ 24spm
| 00822 | 04:01 | 02:26.6 | 18.5 | 163 | 170 | 11.1 | 4min @ 18spm
| 00644 | 03:00 | 02:19.8 | 21.0 | 165 | 170 | 10.2 | 3min @ 20spm
| 00445 | 02:00 | 02:14.9 | 22.8 | 170 | 173 | 09.8 | 2min @ 22spm, steering
| 00215 | 01:00 | 02:19.5 | 24.1 | 173 | 173 | 08.9 | 1min @ 24spm, steering
| 02228 | 12:33 | 02:49.0 | 19.2 | 151 | 171 | 09.2 |
May 20 2015
Not quite a good training in the eight. I am advocating for doing steady state and technique exercises before doing any “real” training, but we have some team members who don’t believe in the training effect of steady state.
So we started doing a number of 2 minute pieces with 3 minutes rest, but half way the second interval our nr 2 seat called a stop and gave his opinion on the quality of our rowing. After that we did steady state and technique, mainly rowing in 4s, with 4 holding balance, and rowing with pauses during the recovery.
Focus. Focus. Focus.
Tuesday was an evening training, which was followed by a restaurant dinner for a team celebration (work related). In bed at 11pm, alarm clock at 5:30 to be in time for our morning training in the double.
The plan was 2x(250m/R1 + 500m/R2 + 750m/R3 + 500m/R2 + 250m/R1)/R5 and we were rowing alongside another double. These trainings work best with a sparring partner. The problem was that we didn’t realize that if you mix distance exercise and time based rest, and the two boats are not equally fast, the speedcoaches/CrewNerd will start to get out of sync. Good training anyway.
Radek and I were the slower double. However, because of working on technique we didn’t go higher than 30spm, while Eda + Ludek were doing the shorter pieces at 35spm and the longer ones at 26spm. So you could say that we were rowing more effective. 🙂
|Dist_|Time_|Pace__|_SPM__|avg HR|max HR|DPS|Remarks
|02018|14:44|03:39.0| 20.5 | 123 | 157 |06.7|warming up
|00250|00:55|01:50.0| 30.0 | 140 | 160 |09.1|250m
|00499|01:48|01:48.2| 27.8 | 167 | 172 |10.0|500m
|00748|02:46|01:50.9| 27.4 | 166 | 176 |09.9|750m
|00500|01:54|01:54.0| 26.9 | 155 | 171 |09.8|500m
|00249|00:56|01:52.3| 26.9 | 152 | 165 |09.9|250m
|00247|00:56|01:53.2| 27.9 | 153 | 166 |09.5|250m
|00504|01:56|01:55.2| 28.2 | 167 | 175 |09.2|500m
|00753|02:50|01:52.9| 26.6 | 165 | 176 |10.0|750m
|00504|01:49|01:48.1| 28.5 | 164 | 176 |09.7|500m
|00251|00:54|01:47.7| 31.2 | 164 | 177 |08.9|250m
|02633|14:06|02:40.6| 19.5 | 144 | 177 |09.6|cooling down
May 18 2015
Last weekend there was a frenzy of activity on our club, because we were host to three Prague clubs visiting Brno for the youth regatta. As our club’s chairman and I were enjoying a cup of coffee on the balcony overlooking the club grounds and the lake, the best place for smart-ass comments and other wisdom from Masters rowers, our eyes fell upon this neat little trailer:
Our club owns a big trailer, which needs to be towed by a driver with a “big” driving license (class E in CZ, not sure if this makes sense on the other side of the pond). I have been thinking about buying a small trailer which can be towed by a normal car, for towing around doubles and singles, for example for our Masters races, or when our youth has to go to Prague for some selection races, or for a mini training camp at the end of the winter, where we would load a few pairs and singles and find a place where the ice has already melted.
This particular trailer caught my attention because the smart design. It can carry 9 boats, with space for 3 fours on the top. The oar container is long enough to fit long oars. We asked the owner about the price and it doesn’t sound too expensive.
So my mind is now racing through the options, because I see a win-win situation for the club and myself:
- I buy the trailer, park it at the club and “rent” it to them for a very fair price. Pros: Clear ownership. I control who takes it and who doesn’t. In a year or two I may sell it to the club for a reduced price. Contra: I have to take care of all repairs, make sure those who drive it are properly insured, etc.
I lend money to the club to buy the trailer. The club pays me back in two years (without interest). Pros: I don’t have the burden of ownership. Contra: I have to coordinate with the club about who uses it, when.
Club buys it itself. Contra: Club needs to invest in boats and in the boat house.
Any other thoughts?
Today’s training was “limping on two purposes”. I thought yesterday’s training in the eight would be steady state, which would have made sense given it was the first proper training together. It turned out to be a 20 strokes on, 15 strokes off affair at stroke rates between 28 and 38. Hm.
Normally Monday is for fast intervals in the single, but I really have the feeling I need to work on technique. On the other hand, I didn’t do the planned “hard 1km” on Saturday.
So a funny compromise was born. I did a hard 1km after 7km of steady state.
|Dist_|Time_|Pace__|_SPM__|avg HR|max HR|DPS|Remarks
|01999|11:17|02:49.3| 20.6 | 136 | 160 |08.6|warming up
|04958|27:07|02:44.1| 20.0 | 146 | 165 |09.2|steady state - technique
|00997|03:49|01:54.8| 30.2 | 171 | 177 |08.6|1km
|01073|06:45|03:08.7| 19.9 | 140 | 176 |08.0|steady state - technique
|01268|07:16|02:51.9| 19.9 | 138 | 146 |08.8|cooling down
I noticed that the RIM app meter counter gave me 10.7km, while I was sure it was closer to 10. The numbers I am giving here are from the RIM app, but after I recalculated the distance rowed using the coordinates from the TCX file. It was still 15m more than what I recorded on the Garmin, but that’s close enough. Both Garmin and RIM recorded a 3:49 time for the 1km. Happy with that. Conditions were cross/slight tail wind and some waves in the second 500m. I would have liked to rate up a bit more, but I was focusing on technique and nice long strokes, and that was a higher priority.
I want to be sub 3:40 in neutral weather as a stretch goal.