StravistiX – What going easier looks like

I like this tool.  The last 5 days, I’ve been going much easier and 9t shows in the reduction of my fatigue level (the grey area).  It also shows that my fitness is plateaued.  I think that has more to do with 6 rest days over the past 11 days.  I think if I can maintain 6 easy, 60-80 minute sessions a week, I will keep fatigue in check and make steady improvement in endurance.  That’s a good thing to do if I’m gonna row more than 20 miles in a race in July.

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 9.17.15 AM

Catching up – Way too busy

Last entry was on March 12th.  Holy cow, that’s a long time ago.

Monday, March 13th:  No Training, Doctor’s appointment in the morning.  My BP is running higher than it should be, and he increased the dosage of my meds.

Tuesday, March 14th: Apparently no training, but I have no idea why.  This is why I need to do this daily!….  Oh wait.  It’s coming back to me.  We had a blizzard and I slept in instead of training.  I did shovel the walk for about 20 minutes of light aerobic exercise, but otherwise I didn’t have time to train.

Wednesday, March 15th:  I had an 8 am meeting, so I needed to be quick.  I just did a 10K at 180W.  The ANT+ interface on my HR monitor gave up during the row and took down ergdata with it.  Luckily, I still had the the wahoo app running on my phone!  Hooray for redundancy.

Conclusion from this row.  I need to turn down the intensity for steady state.

Then On Wednesday evening, I headed off to the airport to fly on the redeye to London, and then on to France for a meeting.    I felt quite ill on the flight, and a bit under the weather the whole time I was in France.

Thursday, March 16th:  Arrived in Marseille around 11am, internal meetings all afternoon.  Conferece calls until  2:30am. No Training

Friday, March 17th: Up at 7:3oam to head to meeting at customer site.  Meeting concluded around 12:00pm.  Straight back to airport, caught a flight to London, and then back to Boston.  Arrived home at about midnight.  No Training.

While I was on the road, and a bit unsettled by how bad I felt on the flight over to France, I decided to take a step back from my current training plan.  I was not happy with how my HR has been so high in my endurance sessions.  I am also traveling too much to keep pace with the plan right now.  Finally, my job stress is basically through the roof.

I decided that I will bring the intensity down a notch.  I think it is critically important to my stress level and health to workout as many days as I possible can.  But I want the workouts to be more relaxing and less demanding.  I think it could actually be quite beneficial to focus on building my aerobic endurance for a few weeks, and then hop back on the plan.  The plan would be to row with a strict 155 HR cap, and turn the pace way down to 2:10.  I should be able to see incremental improvement in the power that I can hold with this heart rate constraint over a period of a few weeks.

Saturday, March 18th:   My Birthday!  I turned 54.  A relatively non-descript birthday.  Not much of a milestone.  Very weary from the travel.  Slept about 10 hours.  Late afternoon, settled in for a very easy session.

Plan:  3 x 20′ / 1′ rest @ 2:10 (160W)

It was a very pleasant workout.


Sunday, March 19th: More low intensity stuff.  I slept like a log for another 10 hours.

Plan: 4 x 20′ / 1′ rest at 160W

This was the opposite of the Saturday workout.  It felt like hard work and my HR was very high.  I slowed down like a good boy and just ground out the meters.



Workout Summary - media/Import_29209848.csv

Workout Details

Here is the comparison of Saturday and Sunday.

It’s like I’m two completely different people.

Monday, March 20:  Back to work.  Back on a static erg.  Only about 6 hours of sleep.  I did about 90 minutes of emails before I hit the gym.

Plan: 3 x 20′ / 1′ rest at 160W (2:10)

This was very a nice easy coast.  I’m letting my rate float a bit higher these days and it makes for nice fluffy strokes.


Almost the same as the Saturday session.  My HR response was a bit better.

Tuesday, March 21: About 6 hours sleep.  2 hours of email and then hit the gym around 8am.  Feeling pretty energetic.

Plan: 3×20/1′ rest at 168W (2:08)

I decided to push the power up a bit since my HR was nice and low, and I decided on a HR cap strategy for these rows.  I will try to cap the first rep at 145, the second at 150 and the third at 155.  Seems like a reasonable allowance for drift.

Another good workout.  Higher HR with the faster pace, but a nice plateau in the last 20 minutes.  I feared I would have to slow down, but I didn’t.

Comparing Monday and Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 22:  Whew, we’re up to today.  6 hours of sleep.  90 minutes of email, then hit the gym at 8am.

Plan;  3 x 20′ / 1′ rest at 168W (2:08)

Same deal as Tuesday.  I’d like to see the HR plateau a bit lower before I ratchet up again.

I really enjoyed the workout.  Just nice easy strokes.  I can feel my aerobic endurance returning a bit (probably entirely in my head)

This was bit better than yesterday.

Now I am off to San Jose for an all day meeting on Thursday.  Fitness center triathlon for me tomorrow, then a red-eye tomorrow night.

I think this is a good change.  I could feel myself burning out.  By focusing on base aerobic endurance, I feel like I have more energy and I’m more focused at work.  I’m also sleeping well.


Sunday: 2 x 3o’ / 2′

Easy session to finish off the week.



Workout Summary - media/Import_29133954.csv

Workout Details

Comparison to mid-February

  • same power and rate.  Better HR today.

Saturday: 4 x 15 (6′ @ 5kp, 9′ @ mp) at the lake

It’s been a long winter and I haven’t seen my friends from the rowing club since late fall.  They have been doing erg sessions on Saturday mornings down at boathouse at the lake.  I had intended to go last weekend, but I wasn’t feeling to great on Friday night and bailed out.  I actually made it this weekend.

I did a normal marathon training session.  I kept pushing the power from the last session and I felt OK throughout.


Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 12.48.07 PM

Good session.  Comparison to the one on Tuesday.

More power / higher heart rates.

Today: 2×30’/2′ @ 175W


Friday: 30′ Recovery Session

I got home on the red eye and, to quote the Beatles, “Man, I had a dreadful flight”.  I slept about an hour after takeoff, but after that I just couldn’t get comfortable enough to sleep.

I drove home after landing, and slept for 90 minutes before I had to get on a conference call.  I continued from meeting to meeting for the rest of the day, until around 4pm.

I knew my wife would be getting home in a little while, so instead of doing a set session, I decided to “Just Row” at 175W until she got home.  That turned out to be 33 minutes.  Good enough to work out the kinks.



Workout Summary - media/Import_29111777.csv

Workout Details



Thursday: San Diego. Recovery Session

I’m here in San Diego, and one of the things I like about it is that there is nearly constant military air traffic in the area.  I had lunch outside and we had trouble carrying on a conversation because F/A-18s were tearing up the sky above us.  It’s a beautiful plane.

Back to training.

  • 20 minutes elliptical (level 15, rolling hills)
  • 20 minutes treadmill (15% grade, 3 mph)

I wanted something easy, and that’s what I got.


More fun with Stravastix

I am really grateful for a post over on RowingMusings that introduced me to an add on to Strava called StravistiX.

It is an online tool that essentially does a version of TRIMP (Training Impulse), a method to measure total training load that uses both the duration and the intensity of a session.  Intensity is measured as a % of HRR.  (HRR is the delta between your maxHR and your RestingHR).

StravistiX has implemented a flavor of this as a pretty seamless add-on to Strava.  So, now I routinely upload each session to Strava, either directly, or as an export from rowsandall, and every week or so, I sync it to StravistiX.

This is the output I get.

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 10.01.27 PM.png

So, you can see in one chart the story of my training since January 15th.

On Januray 16th, I was cleared to get back to training after my knee surgery.  I’ve had a greater number of rest days than I normally plan (14 vs 8), mainly due to an insane business travel schedule.

Despite this, I have tried to keep on track with the Marathon training plan, and it seems to be paying off.  By the measures here, I am in overload right now.  I’m not sure if that is a bad thing or not.  And it seems to think that my fitness is improving.

I’m planning on reviewing this weekly and probably posting something about monthly.  Right now I’m doing it to learn.  Eventually, I might use it to guide the intensity of the training sessions I have planned.


Wednesday: Slow HM with High HR

It’s workouts like today that really spark my curiosity about exercise physiology.

I’ve been having a great string of workouts, and I’ve been feeling pretty sharp.

I will admit that I was feeling tired when I got up this morning, but I got a good night’s sleep.  But I was looking forward to a nice long, easy cruise.

The plan called for a 2×45’/4′ rest.  I decided to substitute a half marathon at the same power just to change it up a bit.

What happened in the workout was very strange.  My HR started low, and just kept going up.  I didn’t feel like I was working extra hard, but my HR just never plateaued.


Just look at the difference between this and the 2×45′ session I did on Sunday.

  • Same power
  • Same Stroke Rate
  • Wildly different HR

So, what’s going on?  A few theories

  • Accumulated fatigue?
  • Warmer today than Sunday
  • Fasted vs not fasted
  • Morning vs Afternoon

I’d love to understand this stuff better.

3 x 20′ / 2′ (mp, 10kp, hmp)

I didn’t sleep too well.  I had a conference call that went until 10:45 last night which was still on my mind when I went to sleep.

I woke up before my alarm, but I felt pretty tired.  Both sore from yesterday’s session and just plain tired.

I got to work around 6:15am, and ended up responding to email until nearly 8:00, then I headed to the gym.


7-Mar M2 3 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP 90.0% (167)

I decided to push the envelope on target power.  These are 5W above the top of the bands I started with.

  • mp: 200W
  • 10kp: 230W
  • hmp: 215W

The session was hard!  Well, the first 20 minutes was easy.  The second was hard, and the third was just annoying.  Too hard to recover much, but not hard enough to provoke a crisis.


Workout Summary - media/Import_29074482.csv
Workout Details

I did this workout 3 weeks ago on 2/14.  Today’s session was way better

  • ~10W Higher power today in each segment (201 vs 192, 231 vs 221, 216 vs 205)
  • Lower HR, 173 vs 176 peak
  • roughly the same stroke rate

This looks like progress to me.

Tomorrow:  Plan calls for a rest day, but I think I will do an endurance session.  I will be flying out to San Diego in the afternoon and I’m not sure what training I can do on the road.

2 x 45′ / 4’30” MP or slower 80.0% (149)


Monday: 4 x (6′ @ 5kp + 9′ @ mp) / 4′ rest


6-Mar M1 4 x 15′ / 4′ 6′ @ 5KP, 9′ @ MP 92.5% (172)

Target power

  • 5kp: last session I did ~240W and that was for 8′.  Target today: 250W
  • mp: stick to 195W

I did my session yesterday from 5pm to about 6:30pm and it was a long one.  I felt lethargic this morning and I wasted time doing email to avoid going down to the gym.  I finally got up the motivation and headed downstairs around 7:30am.

I started with a 4 minute warmup and I felt short of breath.  I was worried that things might go very badly.  They didn’t.

I settled into 250W and 25 spm for the 5kp bit and just counted strokes.  I hit 150 strokes right at 6 minutes, and downshifted to 195W.  My HR stayed nice and low during the 5kp and came back down quickly at mp.

The second interval was hard work, but I had no trouble.  Same with the third.  My HR was no where near the limit, so I decided to push the last one faster, up to 265W.  This did the trick.  It pushed my HR up to about 170bpm.  It still settled nicely after the downshift.

Pretty great session.


The last time I did this was in late January.  There is really no comparison.  Today was way better.

  • Higher power every segment
  • stroke rate the same
  • HR response was way way better
Workout Summary - media/Import_29062564.csv
Workout Details



7-Mar M2 3 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP 90.0% (167)

target power:


  • MP: 200W
  • 10KP: 230W
  • HMP: 215W