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Discussion: Speed work

in: chitownclark; chitownclark > 2015-12-28

Dec 28, 2015 1:29 PM # 
I certainly couldn't do 1:30 pace for more than, say, 18 seconds, which was how long 100M took, and my average was 1:32, mostly because it took me about 4 or 5 pulls to really get rocking, However, there would have been some seriously diminishing returns if I had tried to hold that pace even 3 or 4 strokes longer. Try some shorter bursts than a minute, like 10 or 12 pulls, if you want to work on top speed. Not to say 1 minute bursts aren't good, or maybe even optimal for overall strength and fitness. It's just amazingly hard to hold a sprint for that long. Like trying to run a 400M race by starting out as fast as you possibly can run.
Dec 28, 2015 4:58 PM # 
Thanks Charlie! But you're certainly in better overall condition than I am right now. I'm sure you're thrilled that your forearm has healed up and you can row strongly this season. The times you've put up so far are impressive...and motivating! I may be wrong, but I think coach is getting motivated too. This morning he did ten minutes at a 2:04 pace!

Do you recall your cadence or turnover for that 100m piece? Were you doing that one strong and slow? This morning, I relapsed into a faster pace: 27 spm.
Dec 28, 2015 8:15 PM # 
I think my average pace was 45 for the 100M. In contrast, my pace for the 500 I did shortly before that was 32. My normal pace for just rowing is in the range of 24-25, but I do like to slow it down sometimes. If I am rowing for time, though, I don't much think about the pace.

The forearm is doing pretty well right now. I put some time in stretching it, trying not to overstress it. I felt a twinge in the elbow the other day doing pull-ups. At least I am getting smart enough to stop what I am doing when that happens.

Coach is a pretty tough competitor, amazing athlete. If he gets motivated to do so, I think he could put up some pretty good times.
Dec 29, 2015 12:02 PM # 
Wow! Can't imagine how you get your long body folding and unfolding 45 times per minute. I'm experimenting with pace and drag, just to see what seems appropriate. With an eye toward coach's 'pro's' advice...she's gotta know a lot more than I do!
Dec 29, 2015 12:53 PM # 
Well, coach's pro is the highest authority, for sure. Meanwhile, when I psych myself up for a sprint, I plan out how many strokes I think it will take. I used to plan on 60 for a 500, but the one I did last week took 55 or 56. I was allowing 15 for the 100, but ended up needing 16, which was psychologically hard to adapt to, since I was feeling pretty done after 15. When I am trying to go fast, I pull against the straps with my feet to hasten the forward part of my stroke.
Dec 29, 2015 2:35 PM # 
Good info. But if you needed 16 strokes for the 100, that means you were only getting 6m out of each stroke.

So you must have drastically increased your stroke rate...and decreased your stroke length. And maybe developed the leg drive, and decreased arm and back involvement for those 16 strokes?
Dec 29, 2015 6:48 PM # 
I don't know all the mechanics, just that I was going as fast as I could. Seems reasonable that the stroke length was shorter. Seems reasonable also that the big muscles (relatively speaking only) of the legs would have taken more of the load, but I think I tend to use my legs a lot anyway, certainly more so than when I was younger, stronger and faster, but with inferior mechanics
Dec 30, 2015 8:56 PM # 
Well this morning I tried to work on that theory...shorter, faster strokes with more leg drive. And I think it worked. I'm going to inject a few of those fartleks into my daily rows, as you do, and see if I can strengthen my leg drive. I think I've been allowing my legs to do too little.
Dec 30, 2015 10:11 PM # 
Last year when I was constrained to left leg only rowing for a time, I found it very instructive. It took a while, but I developed some pretty strong single leg drive and some good balance. If I were really serious about this stuff I might try some alternating single leg sessions. Of course there are a lot of workouts available through Concept II, and a person who followed them would doubtless improve.
Jan 1, 2016 2:40 PM # 
Well I've been reluctant to do 'off-balance' exercises...every since my Korean physical therapist bawled me out for skate skiing (another off-balance exercise) after I turned 65.

According to her, older bodies can develop permanent imbalances, which do not occur when younger and more flexible. I had just spent a wonderful two weeks in Austria skate skiing in the Dolomites and doing The Dolomitenlauf...60k of mountain ski trails. But overuse developed a twist in my spine that it took her a couple months of therapy to work out. After that, I went back to classical XC skiing, which is totally balanced...and have never had another problem.
Jan 1, 2016 11:40 PM # 
matzah ball:
Charlie didn't say 'off balance' he said 'good balance'. My guess is bodies generally have inherent imbalances....which single leg kind of balancing can help correct.
Jan 1, 2016 11:48 PM # 
My personal training guru, Eric, is a big believer in balance, has me doing a lot of single leg stuff, BOSU, etc. always striving for good posture and balance.
Jan 2, 2016 12:39 AM # 
matzah ball:
yeah, my physical therapy contact also. very much in play in running: strengthening tendons - bettering push off - reducing inefficiencies and eccentricities and so on, cant speak to rowing at all but seems like there might be some carry over from overall fitness point of view. Maybe even more for golk - balance and power in the swing?

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