Where are my gains?

General discussion on Training. How to get better on your erg, how to use your erg to get better at another sport, or anything else about improving your abilities.
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ampire
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Re: Where are my gains?

Post by ampire » August 28th, 2020, 5:12 pm

winniewinser wrote:
August 28th, 2020, 4:34 pm
I was going to chip in earlier but don't want to assume that what works for me will work for others. As others have said it's very personal and HR training doesn't seem to benefit all.

Personally I've found it useful and have dropped from 2:17ish to 2:08ish with a 130 HR cap. It's coincided with my need to avoid anything much harder due to suspect heart issues. BUT what I've lost is the resistance to pain having not done any hard sessions. Anything over blue 💙 zone feels a lot harder than it did before.

So swings and roundabouts for me.
Thats a pretty remarkable gain. Nice work. Your safe heart zone ends up quite fast indeed. :o Have you looked at Dr John Mandrola? https://www.drjohnm.org/ There is a lot of information on Afib in athletes.
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Re: Where are my gains?

Post by mitchel674 » August 28th, 2020, 6:31 pm

winniewinser wrote:
August 28th, 2020, 4:34 pm
I was going to chip in earlier but don't want to assume that what works for me will work for others. As others have said it's very personal and HR training doesn't seem to benefit all.

Personally I've found it useful and have dropped from 2:17ish to 2:08ish with a 130 HR cap. It's coincided with my need to avoid anything much harder due to suspect heart issues. BUT what I've lost is the resistance to pain having not done any hard sessions. Anything over blue 💙 zone feels a lot harder than it did before.

So swings and roundabouts for me.
Actually, you're part of what got me questioning where I stand. I've watched you make remarkable gains with heart rate capped sessions over the past few months even as you've been having your heart issues evaluated. I normally don't like to compare, but it's hard not to notice. You are definitely the volume machine and a bit taller than I am, but I'm no slouch in either department.

I'll just keep toiling along!
55yo male, 6ft, 154lbs

Dino
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Re: Where are my gains?

Post by Dino » August 28th, 2020, 7:15 pm

I have found myself in the same boat last couple of months. The power I had (and there wasnt much to start with!) has somewhat evaporated.
The pace I could generate at r20 is more like r22 now. I am carrying the usual niggles to work around but I am not using this as an excuse.
I think I have been doing too much slower stuff this last couple of months and need to mix it up. I have mostly stuck to hour sessions but although these aren't generally all at one pace, the average at the end is slower than I was doing before.
This summer I also have done nothing else but row on the erg with a few walks thrown in.
I have also been playing around with HR workouts since getting a HRM.

I don't have any athletic or sporty background. I was probably at my fittest at 25 but that's a lot of years ago now! I was the kid getting kicked up the backside during cross country at school (when the games teachers were allowed to do this!), last to be picked and so on. Soon as I got into 6th form and could go and play squash, badminton, go sailing etc I was off!. So this erg thing and the performance of where I sort of am now I have largely accepted will probably be as close to where I ever get to (although of course I would like to keep improving I know my curve has flattened out to almost being horizontal :lol: )

So my plan is
Ditch the HRM. I don't need it. I know what I feel like and sometimes this it at odds at what the HR is telling me.
Go back to the workouts I was doing before with harder interval sessions in between the SS.
Try to mix up the rowing with other sessions and try to introduce some light weights again niggles permitting.
Overall train smarter without putting more hours in.
Go back to looking at where I am on the percentiles again for age group and be happy to gain a few places rather than look at absolute times.
Sleep more - not an easy one to fix.
Also eat more!

Re this last point - I don't think anyone else has mentioned it, but 154lbs seems very light for a 6' frame? Have you lost too much weight?

Good luck with deciding course of action to break out of where you are now.
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Re: Where are my gains?

Post by mitchel674 » August 28th, 2020, 8:45 pm

Dino wrote:
August 28th, 2020, 7:15 pm


So my plan is
Ditch the HRM. I don't need it. I know what I feel like and sometimes this it at odds at what the HR is telling me.
Go back to the workouts I was doing before with harder interval sessions in between the SS.
Try to mix up the rowing with other sessions and try to introduce some light weights again niggles permitting.
Overall train smarter without putting more hours in.
Go back to looking at where I am on the percentiles again for age group and be happy to gain a few places rather than look at absolute times.
Sleep more - not an easy one to fix.
Also eat more!

Re this last point - I don't think anyone else has mentioned it, but 154lbs seems very light for a 6' frame? Have you lost too much weight?

Good luck with deciding course of action to break out of where you are now.
All good points, Dino. Thanks for your candor.

I realize now that I was at my fastest and strongest on the erg when I started out on the BPP over 2 years ago. This past year I challenged myself to do longer rows with the goal to complete a marathon. With this goal in mind, I stopped doing most interval training and focused on longer pieces. Obviously I sacrificed power which only got worse when I started to focus on my HR after my marathon row was completed.

Perhaps I just need to mix it up more and do some more interval work along with my long rows and focus less on HR.

I probably am a bit to thin right now. I was doing more weight training twice weekly before covid.
55yo male, 6ft, 154lbs

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Ombrax
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Re: Where are my gains?

Post by Ombrax » August 28th, 2020, 9:18 pm

Mitchel,

If the gain you're looking for is a faster 2k, then it looks to me like you aren't going about it the right way.

I'm no racer, but I can guarantee you that long, steady pace, HR capped rows are absolutely not the way to train for a 2k. They're great to build a base capability or to lose weight, but won't do much to make you a fast rower.

If you really want to do that, then you need a more appropriate and structured training plan, say something like the Pete Plan, which I'm sure you've seen discussed here. Or, your own tailored version of that. Bottom line is that you need more shorter, harder efforts.

Good Luck

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Re: Where are my gains?

Post by jamesg » August 29th, 2020, 1:24 am

My endurance for other sports (skiing, biking and tennis) has improved significantly. Now where are my gains?
That's your gain and is the main purpose of the erg. With that type of fitness, hiking and swimming can be highly satisfactory too. And of course you'll stay alive and kicking and doing them all for another 40 years.

Technically, your curve shows a slightly slow catch, which could mean your sequences need adjusting, to engage the legs sooner and maybe reduce loads on the smaller muscle groups.

If you want to race, you already have the endurance, so would only need to go through a race training schedule, in which distances decrease and ratings increase, taking you anaerobic. Typical 2k race programs are in the C2 IR training guide.

In a 4 day level 2 schedule (one of the easiest) we find
Week 13: 40'UT2, 15'AT, 2*12UT1, 3*2'TR
Week 20: 20'UT1, 2*10'AT, 8*45sAN, 3*3'TR
Week 26: 1*3'TR, 2*1.5'AN, 3*45sAN, Race.

All plus warmup.

The various bands can be Watt- or Rating-defined, based on your last 2k test, so you don't need to test for AT HR, which by now is probably close to MHR anyway.
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Allan Olesen
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Re: Where are my gains?

Post by Allan Olesen » August 29th, 2020, 5:17 am

I think there may be some confusion here on the expected outcome of low intensity base training. It is not supposed to prepare you for (short) races. It is supposed to build a foundation. If you never build anything on top of that foundation, well, then you have a good looking foundation and nothing else.

(But as you have already discovered in your other activities, this foundation is actually pretty nice, even if you don't build anything on it.)

There are different philosophies around the purpose of the base training:

A famous running coach once said that you need the base training so you can cope with the training for the training for the race. In other words, to cope with the necessary volume of hard and medium intensity training before the race, you need endurance, not only low intensity endurance, but also medium and high intensity endurance. Training each of these endurance levels requires the level before it to be in place.

Another philosophy simply looks at it as a cooperation between energy systems. Your muscles have several chemical energy conversion and transport mechanisms working in series and parallel when you do a race. Each of these needs targeted training because they need different combinations of intensity and duration to achieve maximum improvement. The energy system, which you train during long duration low intensity training is important in competition, because it is responsible for "cleaning up" incompletely combusted glycogen, which would otherwise be converted into an accumulation of lactic acid.

Regarding output gains at a given heart rate:
It is nice to see this happening. It certainly happened to me in rowing, though not so much in running (when adjusting for the improvement from the weight loss which happened simultaneously). However, this is not the only indicator you should look at.

Another indicator, which may say more, is how hard you can work for a given duration without your heart rate starting to drift too much. Some coaches, such as the now deceased Hadd and the guys at uphillathlete.com, was/are very systematic about this, regularly testing if the athlete can start doing slightly higher intensity work at a higher heart rate without the heart rate drifting more than a given percentage during a training session. The idea is that the closer you can bring your "non-drifting" heart rate (considered a proxy for your aerobic threshold) to your anaerobic threshold heart rate, the more ready you are for the hard training.

And finally, it is worth noting that even Maffetone believes in hard training. People seem to stop reading when they have reached his age based formula and think that he requires all training being done at this heart rate. He doesn't. He only puts a lot of emphasis on this training being a necessary foundation for the harder training, which will follow.

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Re: Where are my gains?

Post by mitchel674 » August 29th, 2020, 7:54 am

jamesg wrote:
August 29th, 2020, 1:24 am
My endurance for other sports (skiing, biking and tennis) has improved significantly. Now where are my gains?
That's your gain and is the main purpose of the erg. With that type of fitness, hiking and swimming can be highly satisfactory too. And of course you'll stay alive and kicking and doing them all for another 40 years.

Technically, your curve shows a slightly slow catch, which could mean your sequences need adjusting, to engage the legs sooner and maybe reduce loads on the smaller muscle groups.

If you want to race, you already have the endurance, so would only need to go through a race training schedule, in which distances decrease and ratings increase, taking you anaerobic. Typical 2k race programs are in the C2 IR training guide.

In a 4 day level 2 schedule (one of the easiest) we find
Week 13: 40'UT2, 15'AT, 2*12UT1, 3*2'TR
Week 20: 20'UT1, 2*10'AT, 8*45sAN, 3*3'TR
Week 26: 1*3'TR, 2*1.5'AN, 3*45sAN, Race.

All plus warmup.

The various bands can be Watt- or Rating-defined, based on your last 2k test, so you don't need to test for AT HR, which by now is probably close to MHR anyway.
James, thanks for the great post.

You're right that my rowing work has given me gains in other parts of my life. I was able to ski much longer than my buddies on our annual trip to their chagrin.

I've been meaning to post a video. Perhaps I have baked in a flaw in my technique during these long easy rows.
55yo male, 6ft, 154lbs

mitchel674
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Re: Where are my gains?

Post by mitchel674 » August 29th, 2020, 7:57 am

Ombrax wrote:
August 28th, 2020, 9:18 pm
Mitchel,

If the gain you're looking for is a faster 2k, then it looks to me like you aren't going about it the right way.

I'm no racer, but I can guarantee you that long, steady pace, HR capped rows are absolutely not the way to train for a 2k. They're great to build a base capability or to lose weight, but won't do much to make you a fast rower.

If you really want to do that, then you need a more appropriate and structured training plan, say something like the Pete Plan, which I'm sure you've seen discussed here. Or, your own tailored version of that. Bottom line is that you need more shorter, harder efforts.

Good Luck
Thanks. Likely the right answer. If you train to be steady and slow, that's how you wind up.

I don't want to race, but I would mind some faster times with more power in my stroke. Perhaps the way for me to get their is to train for a 2k or 5k TT. I haven't tried either in well over 18 months.
55yo male, 6ft, 154lbs

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hjs
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Re: Where are my gains?

Post by hjs » August 29th, 2020, 8:07 am

mitchel674 wrote:
August 29th, 2020, 7:57 am
Ombrax wrote:
August 28th, 2020, 9:18 pm
Mitchel,

If the gain you're looking for is a faster 2k, then it looks to me like you aren't going about it the right way.

I'm no racer, but I can guarantee you that long, steady pace, HR capped rows are absolutely not the way to train for a 2k. They're great to build a base capability or to lose weight, but won't do much to make you a fast rower.

If you really want to do that, then you need a more appropriate and structured training plan, say something like the Pete Plan, which I'm sure you've seen discussed here. Or, your own tailored version of that. Bottom line is that you need more shorter, harder efforts.

Good Luck
Thanks. Likely the right answer. If you train to be steady and slow, that's how you wind up.

I don't want to race, but I would mind some faster times with more power in my stroke. Perhaps the way for me to get their is to train for a 2k or 5k TT. I haven't tried either in well over 18 months.
Just try a block of 6 weeks. Even if you don’t race it can be fun to do some faster stuff.

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Re: Where are my gains?

Post by lindsayh » August 30th, 2020, 12:04 am

mitchel674 wrote:
August 29th, 2020, 7:57 am
Thanks. Likely the right answer. If you train to be steady and slow, that's how you wind up.
I don't want to race, but I would mind some faster times with more power in my stroke. Perhaps the way for me to get their is to train for a 2k or 5k TT. I haven't tried either in well over 18 months.
My $0.02 - your gains in the past 2 years have been in cardio/aerobic fitness which is where you have been training (and there is nothing wrong with that of course).
you don't have to be a racer to develop a strong stroke. I would add some harder sessions to your current plans. Some sessions into the AT would be good - say 80-85% based on HRR - interval sessions around 6x 5'/2'R and the like are useful. Then aim for some where your Hr is in the 90+ range (5k to 30') or use 110-120% of 2k watts in hard intervals around 1'/1'R and the like. Concentrate on SPI >10w per stroke and some SR20 capped pieces too
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Re: Where are my gains?

Post by mitchel674 » August 31st, 2020, 8:53 am

lindsayh wrote:
August 30th, 2020, 12:04 am
mitchel674 wrote:
August 29th, 2020, 7:57 am
Thanks. Likely the right answer. If you train to be steady and slow, that's how you wind up.
I don't want to race, but I would mind some faster times with more power in my stroke. Perhaps the way for me to get their is to train for a 2k or 5k TT. I haven't tried either in well over 18 months.
My $0.02 - your gains in the past 2 years have been in cardio/aerobic fitness which is where you have been training (and there is nothing wrong with that of course).
you don't have to be a racer to develop a strong stroke. I would add some harder sessions to your current plans. Some sessions into the AT would be good - say 80-85% based on HRR - interval sessions around 6x 5'/2'R and the like are useful. Then aim for some where your Hr is in the 90+ range (5k to 30') or use 110-120% of 2k watts in hard intervals around 1'/1'R and the like. Concentrate on SPI >10w per stroke and some SR20 capped pieces too
Good advice.

I need to push myself to do some tougher intervals and get out of my steady state comfort zone. Did a 6x1k, r2 yesterday. My average pace was 2:00 but my average stroke rate was 28. This gives me a pretty weak SPI. I don't think there is much point in just making up the pace with increasing SR. I need to work on strengthening my stroke as well.
55yo male, 6ft, 154lbs

Meek
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Re: Where are my gains?

Post by Meek » August 31st, 2020, 10:30 pm

Just to agree with the others, you have a nice, solid base now. To go faster/stronger you need to throw in some harder efforts.
Enjoy.
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