This was actually written by Leo Young a few years ago on a UK thread during an exchange about how he did his 1:10.4.
Hopefully adds to the discussion - Leo was very disciplined guy it seems.
Sorry it is a bit long - "Navigation Hazard" is Jon Bone (NY and a legend) a huge sprinter in his time as well (60+ and comeback this year I think/hope)
To perform optimally over 500 meters, you need a base of good strength (developed primarially around lifts like deadlift variations, squat variations and seated rows, or similar movements), decent speed (best developed with very short max speed sprints on the erg at very low drag, with 2 to 3 minutes rest between sprints), as well as a very good maxVO2 (I had a maxVO2 of 7.6/L min at a HR of 158 and a weight of 90kg, prior to specifically building my strength levels and lactic power in my lead up to my 1:10.5 for 500m), but most importantly you need great lactic power as well as lactic acid tolerance.
The more muscle mass you have (I added 12kg of lean muscle to attempt my 500m), the greater your lactic power potential, which you then need to develop with max effort intervals on the erg in the 20 to 30 second range, with 5 to 10 minutes active recovery between intervals. Lactic acid tolerance (LATol), on the other hand, is then well trained with slightly longer intervals (e.g. 30 to 45 seconds) with shorter rest intervals (30 to 45 seconds), as well as also being effectively trained doing maxVO2/HR efforts.
20 to 40 minute low intensity aerobic workouts 1.5 to 2 mmol lactate) on the days in between the high intensity strength, lactic and maxVO2 workouts will aid recovery and actually indirectly help improve your lactic acid tolerance potential. However, avoid doing too many long slow distance workouts, which will have too much of a detrimental effect on your critical fast twitch fibers. it's critical to do no more than 3 high intensity workouts a week, which includes any strength training, maxVoO2, anaerobic threshold, lactic power, or lactic tolerance training. So clever programing is critical.
Do maxVO2 training by doing intervals at max HR pace (either 3 to 5 minute intervals with 3 to 5 minutes active recovery, or alternatively over 3 to 5 minutes build HR and pace to up around your anaerobic threshold or max lactate steady state pace and then sit at max HR pace for for 1.5 to 3 minutes, depending on fitness level), as well as doing some training sessions where you spend 15 to 30 minutes at your anaerobic threshold (AnT) or max lactate steady state pace (MLSS). A good combo AnT/maxVO2/LATol session is after a 15 minute warm-up, do a 20 minute effort where you build to AnT over the first 3 mintutes or so, then spend 15 minutes at AnT/MLSS pace and then go to maxVO2 (max HR) pace for the final 1.5 to 3 minutes.
Navigation Hazard wrote:- if there's one thing Leo left out, I'd say it's advice on trialling. IMO 500s are short enough that they can be repeated fairly frequently, albeit not 100% trial efforts (these need to be built up to and recovered from).
Leo Young wrote
Whilst I think that's true for most competitive rowers, as a 500 meter time trial will be far less taxing than a 2000 meter effort, if you train specifically and effectively for sprint distances, then a 500 meter time trial becomes far more taxing as your lactic power and consequently your ability to produce lactate improves.
Whilst rowers certainly tend to have superior lactic power (the maximal energy producing capacity of the lactic energy system) compared to many other endurance groups, their lactic power is nevertheless is severely blunted due to the high volume of endurance training they do. This is not to be confused with lactate tolerance (the ability to buffer lactate and tolerate high accumulated lactate levels), which is generally exceptionally well developed in rowers.
But as you incorporate substantial maximal intensity short duration intervals (5 to 30 seconds) into your training, with significant active recovery (3 to 10 minutes), as well as increasing strength training and muscle mass, whilst simultaneously reducing the volume of endurance training, then your lactic power is maximised and providing you also maintain a good maxVO2 and also develop high lactate tolerance, then your 500 meter times will improve significantly, but consequently so will the amount of pain you are potentially capable of suffering increase and the necessity for more recovery. Unfortunately, with great lactic maximal lactic power comes great pain.
When I trained specifically for 500 meters, I rarely did maximal efforts over 250 meters (of which I did many), with only a single one minute time trial in the three month lead up to my successful record attempt.
Navigation Hazard wrote: The quicker you can get down to the pace you want to be at over the bulk of the 500 the better. Thus it's to your advantage to work out a short-slide start sequence that'll allow you to trade rate for pace, and practice it until it's second nature. My experience suggests something more extreme than you'd use in a boat: 1/4-slide/ 1/2-slide/ 1/2-slide/ 1/2-slide/ 3/4-slide/ full or some such. But exactly how that works is likely to depend on your limb length, the DF you're using in your trialling, your upper-body strength vis-a-vis your legs, and your ability to get back up the slide quickly on the recoveries. If you're reading this, Leo, what did you use?
Leo Young wrote:
I think I probably did my 500 meter start with something like: 3/4, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, full stroke, but I had to be careful not to go below 1:07 on the model B erg, which I hit on the 3rd or 4th stroke, before slowing settling back to sitting on 1:08 to 1:09 for the rest of the rest of the effort, with the odd 1:10 stroke.
The model B didn't have the ability to give you a drag factor readout. I did my 500 on the highest gearing (small cog / vent open), which I believe supposedly produces a drag factor at least as high or perhaps a little higher than what can currently be achieved on the model C, D or E, so 200++. But I did a lot of my training on the lowest possible drag (including almost fully covering the cage), in order to improve speed and technique efficiency.
The optimal setting is specific to the user though, being influenced amongst other factors, by bodyweight (positive correlation, due to higher potential power), limb length (inverse correlation, as longer limbs increase the effective gearing, whilst shorter limbs lower the effective gearing), muscle fiber twitch profile, technique/catch efficiency (the better your technique and the faster your catch, the lower the drag you can use), rating (inverse correlation), stroke length (inverse correlation) strength (positive correlation), speed capacity (inverse correlation) and of course gearing familiarisation. That all being said, you should use the lowest drag factor you can develop sufficient power with and you certainly should include plenty of training at very low drag factors, in order to refine your technique efficiency and the speed of you catch.