Missing mojo

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Paul Victory
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Missing mojo

Post by Paul Victory » Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:41 pm

I don't know whether it's the weather, or just a cyclical thing or maybe I'm just getting old, but I'm feeling a distinct lack of mojo right now. And I get the feeling that quite a few others are feeling the same way. Much fewer than usual participants in this month's CTC, very few people posting on the forum and just a general feeling that nobody's doing much of anything.

But maybe that's OK. Maybe we all need to take things easier for a while.

Having said that, I'd welcome any suggestions as to how to get things back on track. I'm thinking maybe I might start doing the Pete Plan again if anyone's up for it. I'm open to other suggestions.

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Re: Missing mojo

Post by plummy » Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:21 am

There will always be fluctuations in mojo flow but I'm one of those very much missing some too at present. I've been both worried and disappointed at the recent lack of activity on the forum and various challenges by Free Spirits (given we have nearly 300 names on the meterboard) and I'm on the cusp of thinking of stepping very much away from activities as I feel I'm swimming against the tide somewhat - that said, it then seems to be a bit hypocritical to want others to contribute more/more often when I'm stepping back myself (but then, I've been a bit front and centre for a long time and feel I've more than "done my bit") - it's a pickle.

It's been very hot (in the UK - and we aren't used to it), it's holiday season, there's little in the way of races and summer often sees people off doing more "outsidey" things (me too going hiking instead of rowing yesterday) so maybe it's only a transitory situation.

I think you are a bit like me Paul, in that you feed off the enthusiasm of the team and if that isn't there then you feel that you are floundering without purpose somewhat. I've quit far more rows than I've finished recently and mostly because I start to think (when it gets tough) - "what's the point in pushing?"

The Pete Plan with a reset start point might be a good idea as at least it will give you a structure to follow.
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by Paul Victory » Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:51 am

Thanks plummy. I think you've hit the nail on the head when you say that I tend to feed off the enthusiasm of the team and the lack of recent 'traffic' on this site is a factor in my current lack of mojo.

Like you, I've been HDing a lot. I did an initial CTC in a time that I would expect to be able to beat by at least 10 seconds, but I've only been able to psyche myself up to make one attempt since then and I bailed after doing one rep. I decided to do a 6k TT yesterday as I feel my current time is 'soft' relative to other distances, but HDed after just over 1500m for no good reason.

It rained overnight and it will probably be a bit cooler today than it has been of late, so that will hopefully allow me to do a better session today. I think however that I will need to lose some of the few extra pounds I put on during my recent holiday in Portugal before I can start challenging my current SBs. :oops: #-o

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Re: Missing mojo

Post by Stan » Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:00 am

I had found my mojo for a while and was steadily improving until beginning of the month, but been very busy at work (2 audits to prepare for) until just under 2 weeks ago (audits successfully dealt with) and then I fell onto a pallet and injured my left thigh (most people more concerned about the pallet ha bloody ha), then once that had got better, my elbow flared up and cannot bend it properly. Its better now than it was earlier in the week but still tender. I hope I can get a ctc in before months end but the time is going to be absolutely hopeless. The weather is definitely not helping, rowing after its been 30+ degrees all day doesn't work for me! While poor performance is demotivating, the thought of stopping completely fills me with horror. So continue popping ibuprofen and hopefully back into this it week.
I am sure once the weather has cooled off a bit things will get busier again. I like the idea of the pete plan from scratch - not tried the beginners plan before!
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by Paul Victory » Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:15 am

Ouch! It sounds like you've been through the wars Stan. I think you're right in not worrying about pace - I think I need to do likewise for a while.

Not sure about the beginners PP though. I think we've all been slaves to the metal mistress for too long to be eligible to be considered beginners. Having said that, I'm not sure I could handle the full PP right now - even if starting at a much slower pace than the last time I did it a couple of years ago. Decisions, decisions... :-k :-k
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by gregsmith01748 » Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:54 pm

I've definitely been more of a lurker than a poster recently, and I've also noticed the reduction in traffic.

I really enjoy the team and I like to feel like I'm a part of it, but things seem a bit flat at the moment. I hesitate to make suggestions since I spend more time on the water that on the erg, but I like the idea of trying to encourage some more group oriented activities. I need to lose some weight, so I think I will start posting on the weight loss thread. It might be a fun to start a couple of different sub groups for racers and meter munchers with some kind of common purpose. For the racers, a round of pete plan would be good, or we could try a different approach, like the Steve Roedde block periodization plan. For cruisers, it might be interesting to come up with a weekly challenge centered around distance rowing, but not just total meters rowed. It could be time in the saddle, a weekly long row (HM, 90', or something) that would get people engaged and rowing.

I certainly agree that plummy and paul (and others) have been stalwarts and have held the team together. You guys should be able to go through the normal "mojo" cycle and steo away without feeling guilty.
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by jhaveman » Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:16 pm

Sorry to hear about your troubles, Stan - take it easy for a bit and hopefully things will get back to normal soon. Agree with you about the weather, even now the 30+ temperatures have gone it still feels hot and humid. Today I tried to improve my 30 minutes SB (shouldn't have been too difficult) but about halfway through I got too hot and decided to slow down :( .

Earlier this month I had trouble getting back into a rhythm after 3 weeks of non-rowing on holiday, but I thought I was over that with a half-decent CTC for this month and an almost accidental 60 minutes PB rowed last Sunday :D . Not sure whether today's failure can be blamed on the weather, will try again some time next week.

The CTC is still a pretty popular common activity, and certainly up to June the FS participation was pretty constant (around 40). This month has been quieter, but there's still a week to go!

As for other common activities - I had a look at the Pete Plan earlier, but was put off by the 6 days per week rather intense exercises. I'd be looking for something more flexible, where I can take a day off to go hiking if the weather is inviting (anybody interested in a hiking thread in the sanctuary? :) )
I've never heard of the Steve Roedde plan, but will do a search for it later. Would be up for trying any mojo-boosting group activities though.

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Re: Missing mojo

Post by gregsmith01748 » Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:30 pm

The block periodization plan that Steve adopted was basically a 4 week cycle.
- Week #1: 5 HIT sessions. Alternating 5 x 6'/3' rest and 6 x 5'/2'30" rest. Plus ~2 hours of LIT endurance training.
- Week #2-4: 1 HIT session per week. ~6-8 hours total of LIT endurance training (on erg, bike, running, etc)

He repeated it 3 or 4 times before he went and kicked ass at the crash-bs. It is based on the following study.

https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... d_cyclists

The high intensity week is pretty nasty, but you have a lot of flexibility in the way you handle the rest of your time. I think moral support from a group would make the hell week a lot more bearable.

The idea behind the training is called supercompensation, where you go deeply into overload for a manageable time period and then give your body time to fully recover and come back stronger than before. I've never tried it, but I think I will after the OTW rowing season is over in November.
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by Rodger » Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:59 am

Ah yes, the mojo conundrum.

There are flows when the motivation is a given, something that's just there and you need not worry about. And then there are ebbs when you have to sit back and think: why am I doing this again? In those times of ebb, I think of my main goals:
- I want to be fit and healthy (in a medical sense, as far as achievable within circumstances)
- I want to feel fit (in a sporty, self-confident sense)
- I want to have a healthy weight (both to feel well and to keep further illnesses such as diabetes away).

In theory I can achieve these goals without torturing myself on the erg. Five light to moderately intensive workouts per week (on the erg or otherwise) would do the trick (although the weight part is mostly about intake and not so much about exercise). It's a known paradox: the last 10% to achieve the performance results you want, costs 90% of your time and effort. So why not leave it at the first 90% that is fairly easy to gain? The problem of course, is that it can be difficult to maintain motivation without setting some personal performance goals. And it's these performance goals (the last 10%), like striving for SB's or PB's all the time, that makes you suffer.

Especially since I crossed the lwt-hwt border to join the dark side late 2015, my personal performance will always be disappointing to me. Add to that some of the set-backs that we all have to endure from time to time (like injuries or lacking time) and it's easy to get dragged into a bit of a slump.

Other motivational factors, like forum activity and challenges, come with striving for performance as well. I see little point in being very active on the forum (aside from maintaining the CTC participation list and the meta-nonathlon) when I'm not really committed to my rowing.

So my first goal now is to lose a bit of weight (75.5 kg this morning, slowly getting there!). Then I will be looking to start a training plan again. I'm thinking of the 5k Pete Plan or an adjusted version of that. But I would be open to try something new like the Steve Roedde training. Warning: I'm one of those stickler for plans, which means I'd want to plan out the whole programme before I start it and then stick to it religiously. I have found that this attitude doesn't always merge well with a community dynamic, where others will have a more casual or free-er approach to training plans.
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by Draggon » Mon Jul 25, 2016 2:53 pm

I'm only a Season two'er Free Spirit, but I really appreciate the team. I have NOT been doing my part for the FS team this season (literally 0 meters), but I knew (and warned) that would likely be the case come summer here in the US. I just loves me some mountain-biking... :)

As a cross-country endurance mountain biker, this hot (HUMID!) weather has been literally draining me. I'd bet my gear was sporting 5 pounds of sweat when I changed clothes after yesterday's ride. I typically ride Fridays and Sundays and recoup the rest of the week. I keep thinking I could probably get a row in on say, Wednesday night, but it's tough to get excited about when I'm still a bit drained, and I'm likely not to see anything resembling progress when I'm only doing one row a week.

In any case, I hear ya, but as far as the team is concerned, but bet is that it's just a seasonal thing. I know I'll be back in the late fall when it's cooled off enough outside for me to think twice about venturing out. Yeah, I'm a fair-weather rider, but that's why I have a rower, right?? :)
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by BigWaveDave » Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:24 pm

Where to start. I have been part of the FS team for a number of years but have been very quiet on the forum side for a while now. The one thing that I do know is that I really appreciate all the time people have put in to keeping the website and associated forum going. In addition we have never stipulated what members should or should not do, they are free to take part in any challenges or to make comments on any thread on the forum - all are welcome.

Paul - don't been too hard on yourself, we all have times where we may loose that inner drive. From my own point of view it is about setting goals that are not necessarily time or distance related. At present I am getting over a back problem and can't do the sessions that I have done in the past, I also know that my best days are long behind, new PB's are just not going to happen. I am OK with that and now row because for some strange reason I enjoy it, no matter how hard it feels I am like Stan, frightened of what would happen if I stopped!

I now do a number of rows each week where I just count strokes or work to certain HR - I don't care about the distance or time. Working to a plan has definitely helped me by having a structure and not thinking of what shall I do today, but maybe you should just leave it at that and not worry for a while about improving PB/SB's - they will come when the mojo returns.
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by Paul Victory » Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:12 pm

Thanks for the comments folks. Dave, you're right about needing to set my sights lower (for now, at any rate) and that's exactly what I did today.

I set the machine to just row and decided to count strokes and do at least 1,000 strokes in total. Along the way, I decided to change this to a goal of covering at least 10,000 meters. I had no set pace per 500m in mind, but wanted to keep it below 2:05.

I ended up doing 10,553m in 43:02.1 @ 2:02.3 pace. First time in a few weeks that I've done more than 10k in a day and I'm going to try to just go with the flow over the next few days and try to get back into a frame of mind where I'm looking forward to erging instead of dreading it.

I may even have another go at the CTC before month end. Then again, I may not! :fswink:
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by BigWaveDave » Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:31 pm

That's good to hear Paul
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by Draggon » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:27 pm

Draggon wrote:I just loves me some mountain-biking...
Oh, and in case anyone wants to Follow me (if that's what it's called) on Strava, here's the link:

https://www.strava.com/athletes/rp-indy

If nothing else, it would keep me more honest... :D
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by Paul Victory » Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:47 pm

I did another 'just row' today. I did the exact same number of strokes as yesterday (1112) in almost the exact same time, but covered an additional 58 meters, so slightly faster than yesterday - 10611m in 43:00.8 @ 2:01.6 pace.

I might try to do a timed piece tomorrow - maybe the CTC if I'm feeling brave.
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by InlineJinn » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:32 am

I don't post much 'cause I don't have much to say, but I do read a lot of posts and really appreciate the group wisdom and give & take--although I wish there was a standard set of units because I can't figure out what people are saying half the time. Lactic acid levels, HR zones (3? 4? 5?), the 'dead zone', watts, calories, and many other metrics of effort and training. I do like the Pete Plan, in part because it's based on what I did last time, so all I have to do is better than the previous week (and I can destroy myself if I want to, but it's not required :-) ). Third cycle through the 3-week Advanced Pete Plan and I've made great progress in getting my interval times down which I think means I'm lots stronger, but getting close to topping out. Will probably try the Pete Plan 5k next. It is weird though; I pushed up to a new high HR (174) doing a 30 minute test, but to get to and stay in the UT1 zone takes more work than I think it should. Don't know if that means I'm weak, or just have a very efficient heart. After 4M meters in 1.5 years, I hope it's the latter. It's so different from inline skating, where I can hold the TR-AN zone for a couple hours, but in rowing I can stay in those zones for only 15-20 minutes at best before I die.

I enjoy the meterboard (22nd today hee hee). I'll never be strong enough to post great times, but I can pile up the meters--which is why I haven't bothered to figure out the CTC, but am always up for a Marathon challenge.

BTW, does it really take two strokes to burn a single calorie? I was watching the PM5 set to calories and was amazed at how much work a calorie will fuel.

But really the reason I row is so that I can watch an hour and a half of Netflix without having to explain myself, and sleep at night. When I don't exercise, I don't sleep, which has only gotten worse as I've gotten older--and rowing does a fine job of wearing me out. Completely off topic, but I just read and very much enjoyed "His Majesty's Dragon". My wife's about to ride her bike from Seattle, WA to Kalispell, MT (sans moi), including the Going to The Sun highway in Glacier National Park, and my two sons are rocking their summers at camp and school. I guess that means for me, mojo is a spectator sport =D>

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Re: Missing mojo

Post by danfennell » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:17 am

Paul your statement about "looking forward to erging instead of dreading it" seems to be the key to long term satisfaction. I made huge amounts of progress but ended up burning myself out by not heeding all of the signals my mind and body were giving me. I finally came to the point where I asked myself 2 main questions.

1. Why am I doing this?
2. Is what I'm doing balanced and sustainable?

The answer to the first was I was pretty much just chasing PB's (every workout) and using that as my only barometer of success and satisfaction.
The answer to the second was pretty obvious - NO!

After a 6+ month "off season" of longer, steadier, slower and more enjoyable rows I am easing back towards a middle ground. Although I lost a bit in the process - if things are only measured by splits - I gained a lot of insight and "look forward" to many more years and meters.
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by Recess » Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:28 pm

I completely understand the lack of desire to push. And I hope that's the key here.

I think we can all feel a little dis-satisfied going for a 10K endurance slog at 40 minutes instead of hitting it hard for a 36:30 PB attempt (my numbers) and it's easy to climb aboard with no real plan, and just release a few thousand junk meters.

But the bigger issue is the lack of desire to push hard on the 6Ks, the 2Ks, the CTCs etc that is where the 'RowJo' is needed most. That when the question is asked, we're able to answer the right way!

I know I certainly went through this last year, I had a period between May and August where I didn't know why I was on the erg. I'd gone through the SIRC's, BRIC's, the EIRCs, and Crash-B and figured I'd not be able to top those results so just floundered. Fortunately, I was re energised by the 1K thing - having a long term focus does at least give me a reason to strap in when I'm feeling a bit less inclined.

But it must be said, Sam's training plans have also been very useful in not making me question what i was going. I'd just blindly hop on, do his session as instructed without question, and then keep at it. It's only at times like this, between plans that I start to feel a little lost in a 'what to do next?' kinda way.

Actually what I'm going to do next is go back to his 5K / 2K plan - and do that all over again with slight tweaks to distance / stroke rate and times. I may not have the support of a whole group 'liking' my result each day - but the training itself will hopefully put me in a good place for the 5K in September.

If anyone wants to follow how I get on - I'm posting it all on my blog (www.johntherower.com). Or even better, add me as a friend (Recess) on LiveRowing and request the sessions, and you can do them too!

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Re: Missing mojo

Post by Paul Victory » Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:39 pm

That's a good idea about having another go at Sam's plan. I have all the spreadsheets and I might do likewise, possibly starting this weekend (I want to do a couple more days base building first).

How does LiveRowing work John? Is it an adaptation of RowPro or an entirely separate product?
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by Recess » Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:45 pm

Paul Victory wrote:How does LiveRowing work John? Is it an adaptation of RowPro or an entirely separate product?
It's an entirely different product. I haven't encountered any actual LiveRowing yet - but what it does offer is the ability to challenge people. So I can row a 1K - challenge you to do it, and then we'd see who'd win.

You either need a cable (which I think is bespoke to them?) or a PM5 to connect wirelessly to iOS or Android phones.

It's actually a good wee app. And Nick is developing it in line with customer's comments. I told him the text was all too small, a couple of weeks later, a new version came out with bigger text.

Best thing to do is get it and try it - if enough people use it from FS, we could set up an affiliation, and have a shared session area on it.

Any questions about it, ask and if I know the answer, I'll help as much as I can.

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Re: Missing mojo

Post by Paul Victory » Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:52 pm

I know I could probably find the answers by doing a bit of research, but do you get a bracket to mount your phone on top of the PM4 and how many people can take part in a single race? Also, how much does an iPhone cable cost (presumably a lot more than an Android one :roll: )?
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by Paul Victory » Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:43 pm

Not sure I should keep posting on this thread, but I did another 'just row' today. This time, I counted to 1200 strokes and covered 11,760m in 47:30.4 @ 2:01.2 pace.

Still don't feel up to doing a 'full on' session, but will try to have another go at the CTC before month end.
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by mark88man » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:10 pm

Paul - glad to see you are getting back into it. I for one am happy to see anything you (or others) post here. As you suggest we are not exactly flooded with content, but what there is is worthwhile

So at the moment my mojo is torn between
* trying to improve my PBs with my long term goals of sub 7 (may never happen), but I have the right build if I can do the right training.
* Doing LHR stuff for weight loss and conditioning

Anyway a couple of weeks ago, I was in my garage having a real dither, starting the CTC, then giving up, then rowing a slow 5k but getting bored, then deciding to go a bit faster and finally deciding (nice long warm up) to go for a 1K. So I made 3:37.1 which I was quite pleased with and regarded it as a successful session - except I hurt my wrist and it was sore (with shooting pains) all the way up to my elbow for the last 10 days

So now I have no mojo and an injury worry! I think the lesson I will learn is stick to long and slow. The pain has cleared up now and I am gearing up for long slow rows over the weekend. Do people find any sort of strapping helpful or do I just need to be careful
Mark, 52, 1.90m, was 125kg (on 12/1/2015), now 110kg having been briefly at 99kg in 2016
Used to be this good (2007/8 Seasons)
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Am now this good - (2017 Season)
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Paul Victory
Friend of the Free Spirits web site 2016
Friend of the Free Spirits web site 2016
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Location: Dublin

Re: Missing mojo

Post by Paul Victory » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:29 pm

mark88man wrote: Anyway a couple of weeks ago, I was in my garage having a real dither, starting the CTC, then giving up, then rowing a slow 5k but getting bored, then deciding to go a bit faster and finally deciding (nice long warm up) to go for a 1K. So I made 3:37.1 which I was quite pleased with and regarded it as a successful session - except I hurt my wrist and it was sore (with shooting pains) all the way up to my elbow for the last 10 days

So now I have no mojo and an injury worry!
I can certainly relate to that. I've often started off with one goal, failed miserably, moved onto another and failed that too and then decided to do some sprints to see if I can salvage anything from the day.

Sometimes it works. More often than not, it doesn't work and, as in your case, can sometimes lead to injuries.

I'm not sure if that story means that you and I are quite alike in how we approach training or maybe it's a fairly common occurrence among ergers. We are all a bit mad to begin with!
M 65 6'1" 124kg (May05), 92kg (Feb06), 122kg (Aug10), 95kg (Sep11), 117kg (Jun13), now 92kg
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mark88man
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Re: Missing mojo

Post by mark88man » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:38 pm

Paul

I am normally a bit organised, in that I have a Pete plan spreadsheet and aim to get through those, and I have rejoined the CTC which I wanted to do again as my only effort was HR limited, and I have "enriched" the PP with a number of longer rows. So I normally have pre decided my work out - but not this time, which is I suppose a lesson in itself

I think it was just the heat that put me off, I have a C-Breeze, but significantly reduces the drag factor and I have taken it off for now, which means I was baking. Should have just gone slow and done some junk - its all calories out the system!!

PS I loved the earlier comment that it was the last 10% of performance that causes 90% of the pain. I will remember that, and maybe have 1 week of 4 as a heavy week, and 3 from 4 as less demanding
Mark, 52, 1.90m, was 125kg (on 12/1/2015), now 110kg having been briefly at 99kg in 2016
Used to be this good (2007/8 Seasons)
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Am now this good - (2017 Season)
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