Testing continued: end of winter 6k

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.

Training plan detail. From top to bottom date, meso cycle, training volume, training type, tests.
Early November, I did some testing:

  • 1 minute
  • 6k
  • 2k

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:

  • 9 minutes gone (so roughly 13 minutes to go still)
  • 2400 m rowed (not even half way!)

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
Workout Details

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!

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