Faster, stronger, longer

It’s summer, which means our Florida weather is unstable again.  Already we’ve faced a Tropical Storm and the last several days been full of high winds and puffy storms floating in off the gulf.  After two years of bone-dry, burning summers, it is refreshing to have summer rain again.

Unfortunately it’s cramping my water training. Getting consistent on-the-water practice time is a challenge.   In the winter, I look at temperature and tides.   Now when I check the weather, it’s wind direction, humidity, rain in vicinity, lightning in vicinity, possible direction of storm cells, temperature, and tides.

In the meantime, there is a huge push to get faster and stronger for longer periods of time.   I don’t often mention our actual workouts–no reason to give my competition an edge!  But we have been working through pieces and syncing up as a boat.

I think most of the boat is focused on addressing personal weaknesses.  Mine is reaching the lactic acid threshold and having the willpower to push through it, followed by rebuilding speed for the final push.

To that end, I’ve been on the erg machine knocking out some ugly, fast pieces with little recovery time.  Three days ago I rowed 250-meters with 1 minute rest for 12 reps, treating each set of 4 like a 1000-meter piece.  That means every four pieces I executed a start around 45 strokes per minute, a high 10, and a shift.  The middle segments I kept high and furious at our ‘settle’ rating.  The final segment I started at the settle and once reaching 200 meters to go, tried to push the stroke rating up two beats every ten strokes.

It’s a short workout, but the heart rate soars and legs burn.  The goal is to execute each piece in the same time, which increases the challenge with each 250 meters.  I started by rowing the segments in 54 seconds and finished number 12 in 57.4 seconds.

Yesterday I opted to do the Concept 2 Workout of the Day and complete a 500-meter test piece, followed by three sets of 3 minutes on, 3 minutes steady pace.

On my first test attempt, I jumped my seat at seven strokes. I scratched the piece and started over with my seat pad. For the first 100 meters, I kept up a 45-48 stroke rate and then I settled into 38 strokes per minute. At 250 to go, and settled back down to a 34.  At 100 to go I tried to amp it back up.  The fatigue had set in about then; I had to fight for every up.

I believe my score was good, but I maxed out too quickly. My heart rate definitely exceeded maximum and I felt bile rising from my guts.  I couldn’t execute the three minutes on/off. Instead, I shifted the workout into weightlifting.

Without the pesky activity called work in my way, I’ve been making serious progress with weightlifting.   On the assisted chin-up, I only need to take 30 pounds off as opposed to the 56 off I started with, and I expect that within three weeks I will be leg pressing twice my body weight.

In the meantime, the goal is to continue with the down and dirty nasty fast pieces to increase my tolerance to lactic acid.  I’ll be alternating between 250, 300, and 500 meter sets and on occasion, throw in long and low pieces for cardio base maintenance.  I hope to pick running back up soon–like before Nationals!

I’m struggling to get my diet back under control to whack off the three extra pounds I’ve been carrying around. Sometimes, I ask myself, “Is it my diet, or those extra pounds actually muscle I’ve added?” Without a body fat measurement, I don’t know. While it is clear that I have lost some body fat, and some gluteus maximus in the process, I’ve lacked the tools to measure myself throughout this process.   I have to remind myself that food is fuel.  The key question is, “Will eating this make me faster?”

Row on!

About camckenna

I write; I row.
This entry was posted in Training and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Faster, stronger, longer

  1. Jen Huffman says:

    Just curious – what is your stroke rating in a race? Do you really need to be at a 45-48 stroke rating and do the body of the piece at a 38 on the erg? If you brought the rating down some and put more power into your strokes it might help with the early fatigue.

    • camckenna says:

      In the 1000 meters, the start will be around a 45 and we aim for our base race pace to be at 34-36. So the higher rating is about building lactic acid tolerance. Power is not my issue; I struggle, and always have, with high intensity cardio and fighting the pain that comes with quick, rapid movements. I have to train my body to get over the hump and back into a place where I can apply power.
      Hence why I like head racing better…I was a distance runner because I prefer going lower but stronger over a period of time. Sprinting is short, vicious, and nasty.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s