CONLEJM wrote:And there's probably a Cap'n Izzzmeister Plan; if there isn't, there should be.
I'm fairly certain it's something along the lines of "Row like hell till you puke".
Why stop then?! What kinda wimps are ya?!
I hope you never row without a bucket next to you, and have already learned to hit it on the fly!
Seriously, though, the basics are the same, regardless of sport:
You have to train your aerobic system to grow a few extra miles of capillaries, to use as much of your oxygen intake as possible, and to produce energy from fat stores + oxygen quickly and efficiently - so you do long rows.
You have to train your anaerobic system to efficiently store lots of glycogen in your muscles & glucagon in your liver, not to build up lactic acid too quickly, and to convert that glycogen to useable energy efficiently - so you do tough middle distance rows.
You have to train your neural system to signal your muscles to repeatedly contract at "race pace" or faster, so that your mind can concentrate on strategy during a race, so that you don't strengthen only your slow-twitch muscles, and so that you can sprint at the beginning and end of a race - so you do repeated short intervals or "fartlek" (alternating fast & slow laps) sessions.
You have to train your ATP/CP system (This is your "bottom line" energy system. It's sort of "atomic energy" - the heat/energy is produced by popping a phosphate off of an adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) molecule, leaving it as an adenosine diphosphate (ADP) molecule. Except there's little "atomic waste" - the body uses fuel from fat or glycogen to repair it back to ATP status for the next pop.), the system used for sudden punches, all-out sprints, lifting the front end of the family SUV off of Fluffy, etc. This is so that you can get up to full speed in seconds, and get 10-15 all-out strokes at the beginning instead of 7-8 - so you do very short sprints.
Those are the basics. If you're training for ultras, you might do 2 very long, slow distance (VLSD) rows a week, 2 longs (LSD), 1 endurance row & one sprint session of longer sprints. If you're training for a 500m race, you might do 2 longs, 1 endurance row, 1 long sprint session, 1 or 2 sessions of short sprints.
In other words, these are the basic building blocks, and you need them all no matter what distance you're aiming for - you just weight the pieces in favor of your chosen race length.
Good supplemental activities are weights/resistance training, plyometrics, careful eating, cross-training, stretching, Pilates, and befriending Lance Armstrong.
WARNING: The workout that most correlates with overtraining is the "endurance", "AT", "Anaerobic Threshold", "L2", or whatever they happen to call the workout at which you're going at the effort level where you just barely cover your energy needs with oxygen. These should be done once a week, rarely twice.
The next hardest workouts are the long sprints & the VLSD. You can burn yourself out on those too, because you're again pushing yourself to the limit.
If you only take off one day a week, it should be after your hardest workout and/or after the one that is closest to what you're aiming to achieve. Don't do 2 hard workouts back-to-back, except maybe when you're near the peak of your training cycle. Take an easy week every once in a while (if it's just a little easier, every 4 weeks, but if it's a lot easier, every 13 weeks), and take a full week off once a year. For the faint of heart, you can bike or run during that week off, just not too hard.
As to training specific to rowing...