Feb 28 2016
Drive to Paseky nad Jizerou. Lunch. Then a first round of cross country.
Temperatures above the freezing point but still perfect snow. Skating about 90% of the way. Nothing hard.
Feb 27 2016
I haven’t run a lot from home lately. I have been doing my Saturday running session together with the girls, and that means running from the rowing club.
Today, the girls go to Olomouc for erg/lactate testing, so I was free to do what I wanted. I chose to run my “traditional” 12k loop. Somebody created a “two season” picture of the little pond next to the old railway station of Jehnice. I like it a lot, and it kind of illustrates why I love running in this area. There are short (but sometimes very steep) climbs, there are ponds and brooks. There are fresh water springs. It’s really a nice place to run.
I have no heart rate data today, because I forgot to “pair” it with the Garmin, after having unpaired it last week.
According to Strava, I have done this loop 15 times, but the last time I did it was in September.
My fastest ever time was 57:40 (March 2014). Today’s effort was 1:00:14. Not bad.
Feb 26 2016
Workouts this week
Monday: Waterfall 3k/2.5k/2k
Tuesday: 60 minutes of steady state
Wednesday: Nothing. Worked from 7am to 11pm.
Thursday: Strength training (45 minutes of “elasto” and body weight exercises)
Two speed test
After 4 weeks, I did the 4 speed test again. Same day of the week. Same time of the day.
The only difference being that we are in the “short final” of a very big pursuit. There was a problem with one of the partners, and I was expecting a phone call, roughly at the same time as the test. I sent my partner a message that I might be “driving” and unable to take his call, but would call back immediately.
First, a Fletcher warming up:
Then it was time for the main event, two 1ks with 15 minutes of paddling between. The first one at “6k pace” and the second one “2k pace or faster, preferrably max out”.
Workout Summary - Feb 26, 2016
01|01000|03:35.6|01:47.8|279.5|27.3|165.1|178.0|10.2|6.9? mmol/L (3.3)
02|01000|03:22.1|01:41.1|339.2|32.1|174.4|181.0|09.3|6.1 mmol/L (6.1)
I made a serious mistake after the first interval. My lactate taking routine is the following:
After the first 1k, I forgot steps 3 and 4. I measured 6.9 mmol/L lactate. I presume my blood drop was contaminated with sweat.
I did the measurement 3 minutes into the break and measured 3.3 mmol/L, so I guess my real lactate was somewhere around that value, or perhaps slightly higher. Lactate values above the threshold are not supposed to drop immediately after stopping the exercise, as the blood takes up the lactate from the muscles.
After the second 1k I did follow the correct protocol and measured 6.1 mmol/L. After 3 minutes (light paddle), I measured again. Again, 6.1 mmol/L. During the cooling down, I used the two spare strips to take some more measurements. Here is the entire series:
1 min: 6.1 mmol/L
3 min: 6.1 mmol/L
7 min: 4.5 mmol/L
10 min: 3.3 mmol/L
Intriguing results. Compared to a month ago, I observe
Here is the graph:
Not sure what to think of it. It’s really a pity I missed the first measurement. In the graph, I put the 3.3 measured after 3 minutes. I think it is quite close to the truth.
Feb 22 2016
The day started in an interesting way. I woke up at three, and couldn’t fall asleep again. Some work related issues, and such.
Drove to work early. Control light on dashboard alerted me that my headlight needed replacement.
Fine. I wanted to test that new Volvo shop in town anyway. This would be a nice simple thing, to check them out, and casually get a quote on some bigger repairs that I need to do.
I was welcomed by a “easy on the eye” blonde young lady. Offered coffee and some Swedish pastry. Got to admire a beautiful white Volvo 1800S in the showroom:
The friendly head mechanic took my car keys and promised to change the bulb in 10 minutes.
I waited 30 minutes. He came back to apologize. The light wouldn’t work. They were checking the cabling. Had already tried exchanging the left and right bulbs and other parts.
I agreed to leave the car there and they gave me a lift to work. Again, I casually mentioned the planned repairs and that I was interested in a quote.
A busy day at work. Lots of meetings. I didn’t drink enough water and too much coffee.
End of the day I called the shop. They apologized lengthily, saying that it was a mystery. The mechanic had spent the entire day trying to figure out what was wrong, but couldn’t find the culprit.
I need the car repaired soon. Should I pick it up and drive to the competition? Decided to give them one more day. See how they cope. I hope my car is not a training project for an unexperienced mechanic.
The session was the dreaded 3km/2.5km/2km waterfall. I have mixed results on this one. The door in my erg room has a record of a 1:51.0 average on slides (and on the rowing club, with people walking around behind my erg). The last session (this fall) was a 1:52.9 average. Decided to go for improving that. An “uninspired, grumpy Monday” approach to the session.
Averages were 248W/249W/250W for the 3000/2500/2000m respectively. That boils down to a 1:52.0 average (according to the PM) and a 1:51.9 average according to my spreadsheet.
It was hard work, but it wasn’t impossible. I think about this session as a “longish 6k with breaks” so I kept telling myself that pulling 1:52 was slower than my recent 6k. That helped me through the hard parts.
Feb 21 2016
The plan was to do some running training. This was a work day at the club. At 9, a few members would take our new dock out of storage. Then there would be a window of two hours during which there would be some preparation work for only a few people, and then we would be building our dock.
It turned out differently. The turn-up was so high, that it actually made sense to do some garden work in the “forest” behind our club house. So we cleaned up plastic bottles, cigarette packs, and other junk that people throw over our fence, then collected dead wood and leaves. That turned out to be a two hour quite physically heavy exercise. Sort of a very long circuit training. Raking the leaves on piles. Putting the leaves in big bags. Hauling the bags around the club house, empty the big bag on a big pile. Start again.
The two hours training window was filled with this exercise. At least we got our job done.
Then we concrete arrived and we could start building the pontoons. Unfortunately, everybody was busy and nobody was taking pictures. We bought very nice Easyfloat pontoons from Belrive, three two by six meter pontoons, each weighing 243kg and with a buoyancy of more than 2000kg (150 kilo per square meter). Here’s a picture from the easyfloat website, to give you an idea:
The work proceeded amazingly quick. Last week, we have built two concrete “cubes” for the ramps. As we approach our water from a very steep hill, we had to build ramps leading to the dock. Because we are on reservoir with varying water levels (winter level being 6 to 10 meters lower than summer levels, and plus or minus one meter easily during the rowing season), the entire design had to allow for the different water levels. The way this was designed left very tolerance for misplacement of the ramps. Luckily, everything turned out to fit with millimeter precision.
Now we only have to wait for the water level to rise. From Friday to Saturday, we measured a 40cm rise. We have another 3m to go. That meant we could build the dock with dry feet, but we have to wait one or two weeks to start using it. I guess we wish for rainy weather. The dock is now resting on pillars which we built from old car tyres.
I am so much looking forward to rowing from a normal, low dock. Our old one was a horrible steel and barrels construction that scratched boats, and was way too high for launching a single.
A 3x20min on the erg. I had planned for a 4x20min session, but I measured 1.9 mmol/L after 3x20min at 195W, so I called it a day. It’s supposed to be a light week.
Funnily, until the start of the third interval, I had the feeling I was OK and would do 4 intervals. Then, in the beginning of the third interval, I had difficulty holding 195-200W without going to too high perceived effort. That improved during the interval, but resulted in the mentioned relatively high lactate level (my target is to be between 1.2 and 1.5 for these sessions).
Feb 19 2016
Here’s my training plan. At the top you can see the dates. Then a the macro and meso cycle (numbered in roman numbers), then a crude bar chart indicating training volume in hours per week. The area with the different numbers refers to the number of sessions of different training types. Finally there is a row with races, and at the bottom the tests and PB attempts.
Early November, I did some testing:
Then, early December I did the 2 speed Lactate test. This week I am repeating the 6k and 1 minute test. Next week, the 2k and the 2 speed test. This 6k test is an indicator of how I come out of winter training, endurance wise. Also, the next to mesocycles will aim at improving my 6k, culminating in the Hořín head race over 6k on April 9.
Originally I wanted to do this 6k on Thursday. However, a full out 6k is a difficult test. In my opinion, there is a huge mental component to it. The 2k starts to hurt and then you have to survice a few minutes of pain. The 6k wears you out. In the beginning you don’t notice it. Then you slowly start to lose form and posture. And suddenly you find yourself thinking: “This is going to be impossible.” You check the monitor and you see:
That’s when you need to be on top of your game mentally. You have to continue pulling the paces you were supposed to pull, until you can start sprinting. That’s when the hard part is over.
The problem was, I wasn’t sure I was up to it mentally. On Thursday evening I wasn’t. The row was too close to dinner. I was tired after a long working day. It was too close to the end of a business trip, and I had DOMS from Tuesday’s strength training. So I just rowed through the 6k at slow pace, with a few bursts at PB pace here and there. Session total: 10k
Today, it had to be different. Unfortunately, I had a difficult night. Went to bed at 11pm. Something woke me up at midnight. Then something woke me up at 3am. I don’t know about other people in my age, but to me waking up at 3am is the worst scenario. I have real difficulty falling asleep again, usually falling asleep at 5am. Then, the alarm clock at 6 is very cruel, leaving you feeling lousy for the rest of the day.
On top of that it’s the period of the year when we have to do performance discussions. Luckily, I have been able to build a well performing team, so for me this shouldn’t be so stressful this year. Still, it is draining.
Luckily, I was able to stop early and row this row at 3:30pm, an ideal time between meals. Did a 2k with speed bursts. Started my favourite rowing SoundCloud playlist, and set up a few pace boats in RowPro. My row from November, a 2014 row which was a PB back then, and a 1:51.2 quick pace boat, which turned out to be quite prophetic.
Here’s the colorful graph:
And here are the raw data:
Workout Summary - Feb 19, 2016
In November, I rowed a 22:28.3, and my heart rate was in the red from 10 minutes into the row (average 177 bpm). Today, I rowed a (personal best) 22:13, and my average heart rate was 2 beats lower.
Here’s the comparison in power vs time:
The fall row was also after a long working day, so I am not sure if the graphs show an improvement in endurance or an improvement in mental fitness. I tend to believe it’s the former.
My PB calculator tells me I should be able to row around (or slightly under) 22:10. I believe that. In the coming 6 weeks I shall improve my 6k performance, OTW and OTE. I may sneek in a 6k hard distance training session just to see if I can do it.
Tomorrow will be a work day at the rowing club. We need all our “strong men”, and then a few weak lightweights like myself to build our new dock. Very exciting. That doesn’t mean I will go OTW from tomorrow on. There will still be some work to do on the dock after tomorrow.
For now, I will celebrate a PB improvement from 22:19.4 to 22:13.1. More than 6 seconds!
Feb 17 2016
Flight to Brussels. Sit in hotel room to prepare meeting. No training. Rest day.
Before work, I spent an hour in the hotel fitness. A thought crossed my mind: How many marathons have I run on these two treadmills in this particular hotel? Difficult to estimate. I ran for 20 minutes, then did a 40 minute strength session, partly exercise machine, partly body weight.
Tough negotiations at which I cannot say anything. Except perhaps that I personally managed to stall the negotiations for 4 hours. I won’t say what I think about the outcome. Mystery, mystery.
Dinner in Brussels with my sister. We had a good time.
Up at 4AM to catch the flight home. A long day.
Despite travel tiredness and noticable DOMS in shoulders, legs and arms from yesterday’s strength training, I decided that today was the day I would repeat the 1 minute test I did in november, described in this post. Here’s the graph from back then:
Here is the graph from today (blue curve today, dark green curve November):
Here is a table comparing the results:
The targets are from the “Rowing Faster” book and are an age-corrected range for lightweight male rowers. Still at the bottom of the range. Somehow my “peak power” has decreased, although I think it is more an artifact of the November test, where I basically hit 611 W in the first stroke and then dropped to 550W in the next stroke. Today, I started low (500W and then brought it up to 550 and held it for ten strokes. After about 30 seconds the two curves are suspiciously close. One could even call them “identical”.
Improved the average power by 17W. Not sure how significant that is. The drop off times and value are influenced quite a lot by the peak power. Perhaps I did the test wrong today. Not sure. Looking purely at the graphs, I think I should conclude I am slightly better in terms of “average power over first 10 seconds” and the overall level of the curve is significantly higher in the first 30 seconds.
Next test for this week: A full out 6K. Should be a PB attempt.