November, December and year overview

Year Overview

Did anyone have a normal training year this year?

Of course not, but allow me to summarize what was different for me:

  • The year started pretty normally, but then we had a global pandemic, featuring being in lockdown during March and April, then easing up, and back in lockdown from November until now
  • With gyms closed, I needed to find alternative ways
  • As a consequence, there was no racing, so I had to reset all my training targets
  • No travel since March, which in principle could have been beneficial for training hours
  • Changed job and moved to another country

So how does this year compare to other years in terms of training. Here’s a screen shot from the Strava/Elevate App data:

The absolute top years were 2016 and 2017. Those also happen to be the years in which I did play a lot with lactate measurements, and I put in pretty long indoor rowing steady state workouts during the winter. It’s actually my goal to get back to that level, as these were also the years in which I won the most races.

Looking at the total number of hours, 2020 was pretty similar to 2018 and 2019. One could say that without travel and without having to commute between work and how, I could have put in more training hours. But I guess these were reduced by having fewer races to prepare for (zero, actually) and the energy I put into starting my new job and moving internationally. Also, in the first half of October, I was in quarantine with my family, so I couldn’t go out to train. Let’s look at the year in detail.

So, on average, I was working out 5 hours a week, but in “good” months, I was doing closer to 6 hours. That means that if I could stick to only “good” months, I would be able to get 50 more hours of training in in 2021. So that should be my target (as well as finally competing in some races again)!

The other things I notice when looking at those charts: I thought I did much more swimming in the beginning of the year, but it is actually just a few sessions in January and February. After June I haven;t done much indoor rowing. I did more cycling over the summer months. I am making good use of the mild winters here, closer to the North Sea, and getting in a large amount of on-the-water rowing instead of erging, which I very much enjoy. My rower is in a storage until February, and unless we get some real winter weather, I have no intention of taking it out of storage.

A final way to look at the year is through the performance chart. The Performance Manager  is based on scientific literature on modeling human performance. A good description can be found here. You can see that I did a pretty good build up of fitness from January to the end of April. Actually, the second half of the first lockdown, when we were allowed to row OTW in singles again, was pretty good. From that moment on, I had some stress with finishing my old job and onboarding for my new one, moving house internationally, etc, and I am happy with every workout I got in. I completely stopped training when I was quarantined. After that, it has been a gradual build-up, taking a mini break around Christmas, and now looking at how to continue building my fitness. I think the most gains are to be had from making the workouts a little longer, not by adding more training days.

November and December

Much of November and December, I have been on a simple schedule. I start the week with a run, then a weights session, and close it off with one or two OTW sessions during the working week, a long row on Saturday (mostly in the single) and a technique row on Sunday.


Date Session Comment
17-11 Run I ran a 10k in Twekkelo
18-11 Hard 10K on the water It was windy, there was wind, I had a conflict with a angler, and a motor boat waked me.
19-11 Weights Session
21-11 Steady State I did 20k! Nice session
22-11 Weights Session
23-11 Lunch Run 12K I tried to do a new “regular” route at Buurser Zand but got lost a little bit
25-11 Weight Training
26-11 4x8min/4min OTW 208W, 2:12 pace, HR 168/180 (avg/max)
28-11 Steady 14km
30-11 Lunch Run At Buurser Zand, 9k had to cut it short because of time pressure
2-12 Weight Training
3-12 4x8min/4min OTW 197W, 2:16 pace, HR 172/181 – I am getting worse!
4-12 Morning Muddy Mountain Bike Ride 26K, my colleagues were putting me to the test, max HR 186!!!
4-12 Afternoon Slow Steady OTW 9.3K, still tired after the bike ride
6-12 Steady State OTW 10k
8-12 Weight Training
9-12 Steady Run 10.5K, finally did the Buurser Zand round as intended
11-12 A hard 8k OTW 2:22 pace at 23SPM, not very impressive. Strong wind from the east. HR 172/181 (avg/max)
12-12 Steady State OTW 12.5km in the single, low visibility
14-12 Steady Run Second complete Buurser Zand round
16-12 Steady 1x OTW Waked by freight ship, 12k
18-12 Steady 15k in 1x
19-12 Technique in the 2x 10.5K
20-12 Technique drills 8.5K in the 2x
21-12 4x8min/4min OTW in 1x NK Oarlock battery empty, had to stop early due to barge, forgot to wear HR meter
24-12 to 28-12 Various easy hikes Taking a mini break from training
28-12 Steady in the 1x 11.5K
29-12 4x8min/4min On mirror flat water, 210W, 2:15 pace, HR 169/178 (avg/max)
30-12 Steady in the 2x
31-12 17x1min/1min 285W, 2:01 pace, HR 163/180 (avg/max)
2-1 Steady state in the 2x Best row of the month.
3-1 Technique in the 2x Struggle to row well
5-1 Lunch Run Buurser Zand round

They closed the gyms in the middle of December. That made sense from a Corona perspective, but I am missing the weights sessions. The gym I go to was already pretty empty (there was a maximum number of visitors), and I cleaned my hands and the machine before and after every exercise.

Some random photos from my runs and rows:



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