The Dog Days of Summer

… winter is around the corner. At least in my mind.

It is still summer, and the weather is beautiful, but I am preparing a training plan for the 2016/17 season, which starts with a preparation for a Head Race in the first weekend of October, and after that it will be back to base building, and probably a lot of erging. I am not changing my plan radically from last year, just refined my planning spreadsheet a bit, and planned out the coming 7 weeks until that head race. This week is a freewheeling week, just doing the sessions that I like (and finally get the August CTC in), but after that I will be doing some lactate testing and then it will be steady state and threshold workouts in a 2×3 week mesocycle.

One or two erg races, one in January and maybe one in December. And then an important head race in the beginning of April.

So this week is free form. I have registered for just the Masters 1x in the local races in Břeclav coming weekend, but I will do the sessions that I like and let the race happen without any special preparation.

Today, I left work slightly early to head to the lake. The session I chose was an “intensive Steady State” from the book about Masters Rowing. It was:

4x(4’/3’/2’/1′)/3’Rest @ 20/22/24/26spm

Actually, “das Buch” calls this an extensive endurance session, but I wasn’t entirely sure if that was the right categorization. The plan was to do the session without a paying too much attention to the paces. Just hit the SPM and focus on technique. As I will explain below, I wasn’t entirely successful.

The other thing I wanted to do was play with my new SpeedCoach by running the workout in parallel in CrewNerd and in the SpeedCoach. In the SpeedCoach I programmed it as a 4×10’/3′ rest. In the SpeedCoach GPS 2, you can actually plan out the detailed workout as I did in CrewNerd, but on the water it turned out that I am too unfamiliar with the interface to manage that. Lesson learned. Program workouts on the shore, next time.

I set both devices to “auto/start” at factory settings, and started the workout with a 30 second count down. On both devices, the sessions started simultaneously, or at least the time difference was less than 0.2 seconds (estimated).

Using the power or, I could compare the workout results from both tools. There was one caveat. It turned out I could pair my heart rate belt only to one device, and as soon as I started CrewNerd, the SpeedCoach automatically lost heart rate info.

Here is the comparison of the “raw” data:

download (19)
CrewNerd (blue line) raw data vs SpeedCoach GPS (red data) comparison for Pace vs Time. The SpeedCoach doesn’t record data during the rest periods (but I heard that they will add that in a next firmware upgrade)

The raw recorded data look a lot more noisy than what the CrewNerd display actually showed in the boat. On the CrewNerd display, the pace values were jumping around by +/- 5 seconds around the more stable value shown on the SpeedCoach. Rowed distance and time were equal on both devices (within 5m for distance). Using the power of, I smoothed out the CrewNerd data a bit.

Same plot as above. CrewNerd data smoothed
Same plot as above. CrewNerd data smoothed

I think this shows that the smoothing function on is very useful, especially if you smooth the data before exporting to sports sites such as or, and to the Concept2 logbook.

Here is the comparison plot for SPM:

CrewNerd vs SpeedCoach - SPM vs time
CrewNerd vs SpeedCoach – SPM vs time (just a snapshot, not the full session)

On the water, I had the impression that the CrewNerd SPM was jumping around a bit more, and the SpeedCoach GPS seemed to react a bit faster to the stroke rate changes. The SpeedCoach display has a SPM resolution of 0.5 spm, so you can actually get values of 19.5 spm or 23.5 spm. Unfortunately, the export to FIT format rounds this to integer values, because of the way Cadence is defined in the FIT format, I guess.

Here is the colorful plot of the main workout:

Pie chart:

I wouldn’t call this a “extensive endurance” session. The way I did it today, it’s more a threshold session. Here is the workout summary:

Workout Summary - media/20160823-180537-2016-08-23-1723.CSV
Workout Details
01|00867| 04:00 |02:18.2|19.5|154.0|160.0|11.1
02|00688| 03:00 |02:10.5|21.7|168.0|174.0|10.6
03|00477| 02:00 |02:05.3|24.1|178.0|181.0|09.9
04|00238| 01:00 |02:04.7|26.2|181.0|183.0|09.2
05|00839| 04:00 |02:22.5|21.3|176.0|190.0|09.9
06|00615| 03:00 |02:25.8|22.4|183.0|190.0|09.2
07|00442| 02:00 |02:14.9|23.2|181.0|184.0|09.6
08|00234| 01:00 |02:06.3|25.4|185.0|187.0|09.4
09|00873| 04:00 |02:17.4|20.8|167.0|175.0|10.5
10|00672| 03:00 |02:13.1|21.8|176.0|178.0|10.3
11|00467| 02:00 |02:08.6|24.0|180.0|182.0|09.7
12|00237| 01:00 |02:06.4|25.0|182.0|184.0|09.5
13|00780| 04:00 |02:33.7|20.0|166.0|171.0|09.8
14|00638| 03:00 |02:21.0|22.7|176.0|180.0|09.4
15|00442| 02:00 |02:15.4|23.6|181.0|182.0|09.4
16|00232| 01:00 |02:08.0|26.2|183.0|185.0|08.9

And the same data from the SpeedCoach:

Work Details
01|02267| 600.0 | 2:12.3|21.7| 000 | 000 | 10.4 - tailwind
02|02127| 600.0 | 2:21.0|22.4| 000 | 000 | 9.5 - headwind
03|02244| 600.0 | 2:13.6|22.2| 000 | 000 | 10.1 - tailwind
04|02092| 600.0 | 2:23.4|22.1| 000 | 000 | 9.5 - headwind
Workout Summary
--|08730| 40:0.0| 2:17.4|22.1| 000 | 000 | 9.9

Looking at the totals, 10 meters difference in recorded distance. I have to look into why the average pace is so different. The correct average pace is 2:17.4 (SpeedCoach) and 2:17.3 (CrewNerd). I guess a bug fix is needed for my processing of the CrewNerd summary file.

Looking at the graph, you notice there is a lot of red in the second (head wind) interval. The reason is the following. During the first interval, I rowed behind a Lodni Sporty (that is the “evil” 🙂 club on our lake) quad. When I turned, they turned as well, and they passed me during the rest period. About a minute into my second interval, a coach launch speeded from the Lodni Sporty club towards the quad, creating an enormous wake in which I rowed my 20spm piece. By the time I had moved a bit to the right to be directly behind the launch and out of the wake, the quad (and the launch) suddenly slowed down.

I passed them and there was the following conversation between the Lodni Sporty coach on the launch and me:

Me: “What’s your name?”

Coach: “Who are you? I don’t have eyes in my back.”

Me: “Try to have a bit more consideration for other people trying to row a workout.”

Coach: “I told you I don’t have eyes in my back.”

Me: “You are supposed to look around. Like rowers do.”

Coach: Told me something I didn’t understand.

The English translation loses a bit of the sharpness. I used the informal (in French “tu”, in German “du”) form, even though this guy was evidently more than 20 years older than I. In the Czech culture, this is a very impolite thing to do without getting permission from the older person to use the informal forms. My questions were not so offensive, but using “tu/du” instead of “vous/Sie” was.

Anyway, apparently the guy was offended, because he threw me a nice big wake at the start of the third interval. For the fourth interval I took a course passing our club house, far away from his launch.