Wednesday: 6k Test On The Water

So for today the plan said “Row 2x3k full out, short break just to turn”. After yesterday’s nice trip to the castle, I thought why not make it a full 6k, starting at the castle? On Greg’s blog post of yesterday, there was a discussion on training full pressure turns, and I think it makes sense to train with the mirror as well. This trajectory:


So I set out to do a long (5.2km) warming up to get to the start line at the Veveří castle.


Then I set off for my 6k. The plan was to row at 25-26 spm for the first 2k, then 26spm for 2k, and finally increase to 28-29spm. In the spring, I did some theoretical mechanical rowing efficiency simulations for head race pace, and it seemed that 27-29spm is the ideal stroke rate for a single. I really have to work on rating up but staying light, from the beginning of the row. I think it also helps with the pacing. When I start at 25spm, pushing with long strong leg pushes, after 15 minutes my legs start to be “empty”. This is actually exactly what happened today.



The average drive force is an estimate (assuming a constant stroke length). I think I was pushing too hard in the first five minutes, then lacking strength in the final 10 minutes.

Did I do the turns well? I have indicated where they are in the second plot. Here is a zoom in to the “serpentines”:


I think that went pretty well. I slowed down only a little. With these turns, the idea is always to connect the turning points with straight lines. You have to look in the tiny rear view mirror and row towards the turning point, which is a few meters off the bank on the inside of the turn. Then you pass the turning point and head straight to the next one. It was hard, though, to find the turning points in the mirror. The bank is grey rock and green trees on a background of grey and green, and even the reflection of the forest in the water makes it green. Well, I managed, but I had to turn my head a few times to check. I would hate to run into the bank.

The other point I indicated in the graph is “wake”. At “Rokle”, I met a pair and two singles. Then, a few minutes later, with about 1500m to go, the coach’s launch passed me, going in the opposite direction. It wasn’t going fast and it didn’t throw a big wake, but because it was going at an angle to my trajectory, I ended up rowing in a small wake for a few hundred meters. At a point where I was really tired. The result was that I didn’t keep my technique up, started to row sloppy, and I slowed down a lot.

This broke me. I had been rowing with the aim to get the average pace under 2:10. The speedcoach had started counting a few seconds before I really started rowing at the start line, so I started at an average pace of 8:00, and gradually worked to bring that down. I was at 2:11.2 average pace when I entered the wake area, and 2:11.4 when I left it.

I finished in 26:11.0 minutes and an average pace of 2:10.9. Average stroke rate 26.3. Average heart rate 177 bpm. Pretty much a maximum effort but not well paced at all. I need to rate higher but row lighter in the beginning of the 6k.