On being a prick (a steady one)

Sorry for the title. Couldn’t resist.

I tried to make an hour of steady state on the erg a bit more interesting. On Friday, I had tried to use Kinomap and wasted 10 minutes of precious exercise time trying to revive my Kinomap account. Didn’t work. I think I am going to uninstall Kinomap from my devices. It is never straightforward, and it is always taking more time than I want.

So I dusted off my lactate meter and decided to take measurements every ten minutes. I did a baseline measurement before the row, which gave me a nice 1.2 mmol/L value. That was slightly higher than expected, but OK.

Down to the erg room. Dialed up a 10 minute and rowed. I decided to aim for a 200W average, which is probably higher than I should row my steady state, but I wanted the lactate readings to tell me that. You basically want to see that the blood lactate concentration keeps rising steadily during the entire hour.



The dip after a few minutes is when I decided to stop erging and increase the volume on my radio. I was listening (again) to the BroShow podcast on training planning and the volume was too low to hear anything.

Measured lactate after 10 minutes and got an “Er1” value. Hm. Probably due to me learning to do lactate measurements again after almost a year. I tried with a new strip, and got the same problem.

So I did another 10 minutes.


I did hold 203W exactly. Somehow, 203W is a more attractive value than 200W, because it means that in 10 minutes you cover exactly 2500m (and row at 2:00 pace).

Did a lactate measurement (so this is now 20 minutes into the hour): 1.7 mmol/L. Phew.

So I had the feeling I was going to run out of Lactate strips before the end of the hour, so I dialed up 20 minutes and rowed for 20 minutes, average power 203W:


Heart rate is behaving nicely. Everything was fine. And steady. Fourty minutes done in total. So I perforated my finger another time and took a measurement: 5.6 mmol/L. WHAT?

Well, no time to think. Dialed up another 10 minutes and rowed.


This time the Lactate measurement gave 1.9 mmol/L, which seems more in line. So I had good hopes for the final 10 minutes.


And the lactate meters said … 3.9 mmol/L. Damn! I had one strip left of the set I took down to the erg room. I wanted to use that to measure after a five minute cooling down paddle, but now I used that one immidiately. The result: “Er1” error. Not good.

Well, I guess it was a good steady state session. Probably at a slightly too high power value. From past seasons using the lactate meter, I know that my steady state, stable lactate level is lower than the 2.0 mmol/L that people use. I also know that my feeling of how hard the row was correlated quite well with the lactate readings. So, I tend to conclude that the high values are due to incompetent measuring from my part, and the 1.7 and 1.9 values are correct.

I am wondering, however, if I should order a new set of lactate strips, and row with lactate this winter, or not. The only reliable use I got out of the device was checking my steady state. The other tests gave results that were hard to interpret. Just doing steady state to confirm my subjective feeling of hardness doesn’t seem to give a lot of added value. Lactate is always a measurement after the row, so you cannot use it to adjust the intensity during the row. Especially for steady state, I think it is important to adjust the intensity when you are feeling it is too hard.

Over lunch I watched the Poznan and Lucerne World Cup singles races on YouTube. I am really impressed by Manson’s boat skills at 38spm. He is my favorite for winning the world title in Sarasota, even though I live in the land of Synek. I am also going to cheer for Annika van der Meer (in the Mix 2x Para event) and Marieke Keyser (LW 1x), both from the Netherlands. For the eights, I am neutral. I think the Dutch eight is not good enough (yet) for a big win. But there are a lot of very good heavyweight sweep rowing men in NL. Hoping they can prepare something spectacular for Tokyo.

Oh, and I will cheer for the Czech Women’s 2x, and hoping the Dutch will take silver.