Dec 23 2018
Endurance / Meso III / Week 51
A nice swimming session. Since I added swimming to my winter cross-training about a year ago, I’ve never looked back. One could of course question whether it is an effective way to cross-train but here are my observations:
- It’s an easy session, in the sense of the 80%/20% polarized training philosophy. My breast stroke speed puts me roughly in lane 2 or 3 out of the 4 lanes available for non-affiliated swimmers in our Olympic size pool, and I am happy there. I feel no urge to go harder and try to out-swim the faster swimmers. My heart rate is typically between 120 and 130, which even if corrected by about 10 beats to compensate for the water’s cooling factor, ends up on the UT2 low, light end of the spectrum. But haven’t studies shown that it is good to spend a significant amount of training time there?
- It’s a zero impact activity and it’s good for my back. I really enjoy a swimming session the day after a high intensity rowing session. The static erg is hard on the back.
- It’s very easy for me to weave this session into my daily routine. The pool is a five minute drive and it’s between my house and the office, so I really don’t lose any time there. Getting ready for a swim session doesn’t much longer than the time to get undressed, put on swimming trunks and goggles and take a shower. The positive habit-building potential of an exercise mode is, I think, very important. I am now at the level where I really don’t have to convince myself to go swimming. It’s part of my morning routine and I just end up in that pool without thinking about it.
- Time goes fast. I swim about 2km per session, which is 20 full laps. I occupy my mind with remembering which lap I am in, enjoying looking at the water surface, and sometimes doing some mental math based on the clock. This last thing is something only number geeks appreciate, but at the turning point I take a quick look at the clock. I see, for example “07:34:49” and then I spend a quarter of a lap multiplying 34 and 49 in my head (this is an easy example and the answer is 1666). Twenty laps is a very good number. You feel that you are making progress, and each lap is a nice bit of work. Doing 40 laps in a small pool is not good. Translated to erging, I guess it would feel easier to me to do a 20x4min/10sec steady state than a 4x20min/1min steady state. I should try that one day.
- It’s good training for shoulders and arms. On the erg, these are underused compared to OTW rowing.
So, enough reasons to be happy with the swimming sessions.
This was an interesting session by our coach. I am not sure what to think about it. The instructions were:
Warming up 3000m.
19 minutes as 4min/3min/2min/1min/2min/3min/4min at 20/22/24/26/24/22/20 spm
4 minutes rest
6 minutes as 1min/1min/1min/1min/1min/1min at 20/22/24/26/24/22 spm
The additional instruction was to row as many meters as possible in the pieces.
I am not sure I really maximized the meters. Perhaps I should have pulled harder in this session. The 6 minute interval was much less hard than I expected. This workout also scored 20 points lower in terms of TSS than I had anticipated.
This was the first full session with the new handle (and new shock cord), and I did get some blisters. The new Concept2 handle is a bit rougher than I am used to, and apparently my fingers are moving more. Not sure I liked it … It’s interesting how I don’t have this problem with identical handles at the rowing club ergs. Perhaps it’s just the newness factor.
The dreaded 30 minutes at 22 spm. First, I did a nice long (15 minutes) warming up. Then I set out to row the 30 minutes. I had taken a conservative target of 1:58, allowing myself to row 1:59 split for the first 12 minutes, then accelerate.
The plan failed. I didn’t stick to 1:59 but pulled 1:58 and 1:57 in the first 10 minutes “because it feels good” and I expected naively to be ahead of the plan. Then, when it was time to stick to 1:58 or faster, suddenly that became harder, and when it was time to speed up (at 10 minutes to go), I actually slowed down and had difficulty keeping my splits under 2:00. I did manage to speed up to 1:55 – 1:54 eventually, but only in the final minute.
Workout Summary - media/20181221-1136030o.csv
My handle issues continued. Actually, a blister burst around 10 minutes into the row. Here’s how my hand looked immediately after the 30 minute (I’ll make that a medium sized picture):
I finished with a very slow 15 minute cooling down.
I made this row part of an on-line indoor rowing challenge, where you can sign up on rowsandall.com and compare the results. Here is the comparison with Greg Smith, who struggled through this workout as well:
So even though he HD’ed twice, he still was faster than I. It’s not fair! At least I beat him in the heart rate comparison.
The fixed stroke rate sessions are also interesting from a rowing data perspective. It enables you to look at how work per stroke is affected by fatigue. Normally, as we get tired, we rate up to compensate for that, but this is not possible in a fixed rate row.
So when I dropped my pace, I got a bit shorter on the drive length and work per stroke droppped, but what surprised me was the change in the Average/Peak force ratio. Here is a look at average and peak force:
So peak force remains pretty constant, but the average force drops. Two things could cause this:
- Less strong catch position
- Less strong finish position
Both are about keeping form and sitting strong. I don’t have video evidence but I do believe this is what I need to work on, keeping a strong position even when fatigue sets in. I could have gained a few meters with that.
Two sessions in series. First, a nice 40 minute run. I ran with Dominik, my son who is 14 year. It was great fun, because he is now a faster runner than I, so we were both enjoying that. He liked to be faster and be asked to slow down a bit, and I liked how he enjoyed being faster than his father.
Unfortunately, the GPS recording of this run was crazy. I am using Polar Beat on the Android phone and it takes ages to lock into a GPS position. When I start running before it locks the position, it never catches up. According to Polar Beat, we ran 49 kilometers in 45 minutes. Unbelievable!
The funny thing is that the same phone has no trouble locking the GPS position when I use any other app, be it Google Maps or their local equivalents or a route planning app like Waze. I should make a note to stop using Polar Beat. It’s no use.
Average heart rate 149 beats per minute (mostly between 145 and 160).
After the run, I did a 30 minute “CORE exercises” session with my wife Romana. Given my remarks above about erg posture, paying attention to core strength is not a nice-to-have but a real need. Romana’s core session is tough, but it’s a really good strength session for arms, shoulders, and especially core muscles.
5x1min PLANK / 30 sec
5×40 sec Side Plank / 20 sec
5x 40 sec Sit-Ups / 20 sec
5x 40 sec deep, slow squats / 20 sec
5x 40 sec Push-ups with legs on Pezzi ball
5x 40 sec/20 sec of something we call “Torch” and it really “torchures” your belly.
Feb 3 2019
Lots of snow
My last blog post was from January 16th, which is a long time ago. On Thursday, the 17th, I did an easy hour of swimming, and on the 18th Romana and I drove to Vienna after work. We slept in a hotel at the airport, and continued to London on Saturday morning. We had a great day in London, and on Sunday I presented at the Rowers Conference 2019. It was a great weekend filled with rowing, but there wasn’t any exercise.
Monday, 21 Jan
I did a warming up, a full out one minute row (because of an online challenge) and then some cooling down, and that was about all I could manage. We had arrived home very late on Sunday evening, and let’s say my working day wasn’t easy either. But as this was the last day to complete this challenge, I did at least that.
Tuesday, 22 Jan
An hour of swimming. Nothing special to record here. It was fun.
In the evening, Romana and I went to a ballet performance in the newly reconstructed Janáček theater.
Friday, 25 Jan
Thursday was somehow too busy to get in the weights session.
I wanted to do an hour at power, i.e. a full out hour effort. I stopped rowing after fifteen minutes. The combination of a travel/presentations weekend with a working week with a couple of social/cultural events in the evenings really messed up with my training plan.
In the evening, we went to a party/ball organized by my daughter Lenka and her school class.
Saturday, 26 Jan
I spent the morning packing for the cross country ski training camp. At 10AM we were picked up by the bus. It took about two hours to drive to the mountains. Then we had to put the luggage on the snow scooter and hike the final part to our hut. All was well.
In the afternoon, I did three 5km loops next to the hut:
Average heart rate 157, max 177. I think it was pretty decent.
A few photos from the training, featuring our head trainer Adam:
The kids went to Švýcárna, a small hut at about 40 minutes of cross country skiing from our hut, to drink hot chocolate. I stayed outside and shuttled between Praděd (the highest mountain in the region) and Švýcárna. Here is a picture of me in front of it. You can see that the visibility was pretty low.
Here is a picture of Romana and the girls when I met them on their way back:
In the afternoon, my daughter Lenka joined me. We skied to Švýcárna, where we had some tea, and then back to the hotel, and we even did the 3k loop below the hotel. It was great, especially because Lenka was really enjoying it.
The plan was to ski in the direction of “Červenohorské Sedlo” (Red Mountain Saddle) but turn after one hour to be back in time before lunch. We were with the head trainer Adam, our club president Tomas, and a bunch of Juniors. The first part, I stayed with Lenka, then left her behind at Švýcárna, thinking I was far behind the main group. After about one hour, I met some friends, who told me that the juniors were not far ahead of me. By now I was about 60 minutes on skis, but I decided to go for another 5 minutes. That is where I met our head coach, who reported that they had made it all the way to the Sedlo. I turned with them and started the way back.
There is a very long steady climb that slowed us down by a lot, especially because it had started to snow. The group broke up when some people decided to pause half way on the climb. I proceeded and completed the climb, then paused to drink a bit and eat a cookie. Checking the watch, I realized that I had only 30 minutes to make it to the hut or I would be without lunch. So I continued. Conditions were very poor. Lots of new snow, and very low visibility. I passed Švýcárna, doing skating where I could and falling back to classic cross country skiing when the climbing was too steep or the snow too heavy. There were no trails.
I made it just in time for the lunch. The soup was already on the table. I had to sit down in my wet clothes to eat it, but I can report that at least I managed to secure three extra lunches for the poor juniors who were still on the track. All returned safely. All had lunch.
As I had done more than 80% of my daily training load in the morning, I just skied to the Švýcárna hut to have a tea and check some emails. The hut where we stayed was hosting us and a football club, and those 60 kids completely overloaded the wifi network. Švýcárna proved to have reliable and fast free wifi, so I could upload some pictures to Facebook and read a few emails.
Here are a few pictures inside the hut:
Tuesday Morning – Race day
On Tuesday morning, all camp participants did a 5k race. I skied a bit more doing a proper warming up and cooling down. I started as the sixth skier (with a starting order determined by estimated speed), but I passed two guys during the race and ended as fourth overall.
Our last day on skis. We all skied up to the top of Praděd and took pictures. Then I skied to Švýcárna, and then back to the hotel, but with a coffee stop at Ovčárna.
The tower and building on the top are actually a hotel and a radio tower. It was built to resemble a starting rocket.
On Wednesday the bus took us back to Brno. It was a great few days with lots of exercise.
By sanderroosendaal • Uncategorized • 0 • Tags: cross-country ski, cross-training, rowing, training, XC