Training Volume

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.
KeithT
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Training Volume

Post by KeithT » April 1st, 2019, 10:09 am

Most of you are familiar with me but I will provide some quick background as I ask my question.

I started getting more interested in rowing/erging a couple years ago as I found I was pretty good at it thru CrossFit. Have been an athlete and/or worked out since I was young and was competing as a CF athlete. At first I started to dedicate a little more time to rowing by doing it three days a week and made a lot of improvement and even completed a Indoor Rowing Instructors course. As my times improved I decided I wanted to compete at the WRIC and set some goals for it and started to row 5 days a week. Then pretty much stopped all weightlifting and CF the last 2 months before the WRIC and just rowed. The whole time getting tons of great advice here on this forum.

Well, it all worked, my rowing fitness improved and I hit my goals with all the rowing. Now since the WRIC I went back to rowing just 3 days a week and started back into CF and weightlifting and I am preparing for comps there. The good news is my strength has come back quick and I am back to where I was before, the bad news is my rowing seems to be suffering. I did have to fight a cold/flu but I think the impact of that should be gone by now and I am starting to wonder if I can truly make gains or even maintain my rowing fitness with 3 days a week. Some of the splits I could hold fairly easily just 2 months ago now seem super hard and I just don't have the same "feeling" on the ERG.

So my long winded question is - do I need to go back to rowing 5 days a week if I want to continue to improve and hit some lofty goals? Is there some optimal amount of rowing required to make gains in your opinion? I am willing to sacrifice my CF stuff and go back to more rowing and do some weightlifting to support enhance but is that the answer.
51 yo, 6'3" 205#
PBs (all since turning 50):
1 min - 373m, 500m - 1:23.2, 1K - 2:59.8, 4 min - 1265m, 2K - 6:29.9, 5K - 17:27, 30 min - 8277m, 10K - 36:30, 60 min - 16036, HM - 1:20:22

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hjs
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Re: Training Volume

Post by hjs » April 1st, 2019, 10:16 am

For the shorter work no, strenght is more important here. Longer 100%, you can keep a certain level on three sessions a week, but rowing is an aerobic sport, no way getting around aerobic training. There are no shortcuts.
For my training see twitter @Hjsrowing

KeithT
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Re: Training Volume

Post by KeithT » April 1st, 2019, 10:28 am

That's where I seem to be struggling - the longer stuff am I just not able to keep the paces I was just a couple months ago. Even when I am going at SS pace it just seems way harder than it did. I may be overreacting or analyzing too much as well but I can feel a difference.
51 yo, 6'3" 205#
PBs (all since turning 50):
1 min - 373m, 500m - 1:23.2, 1K - 2:59.8, 4 min - 1265m, 2K - 6:29.9, 5K - 17:27, 30 min - 8277m, 10K - 36:30, 60 min - 16036, HM - 1:20:22

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hjs
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Re: Training Volume

Post by hjs » April 1st, 2019, 10:36 am

KeithT wrote:
April 1st, 2019, 10:28 am
That's where I seem to be struggling - the longer stuff am I just not able to keep the paces I was just a couple months ago. Even when I am going at SS pace it just seems way harder than it did. I may be overreacting or analyzing too much as well but I can feel a difference.
You where sick, that really does not help either, if you only row 3 times and do crossfit, forget about speed stuff, but do three longer sessions. That could work, but you can,t expect to improve, for that you need to focus on more rowing again.
For my training see twitter @Hjsrowing

Dangerscouse
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Re: Training Volume

Post by Dangerscouse » April 1st, 2019, 10:38 am

I'm thinking it must be very subjective as I only row four times a week, sometimes three, and it's never affected me. I might already have a decent aerobic base so I'm just maintaining it?

Don't underestimate the affect a cold can have on you and that you will go through micro and macro cycles of training. Micro can be within a week but I always find I have macro performance dips that can last about a month and they occur over a longer period of time. Notably too, a lot of people remark about performance dips after a big competition. I'm just breaking out of a macro slump (low motivation and higher RPE) after the English Indoor Rowing Championships although there were anomalies in some of my sessions so it's not an exact science

I think you need to find your sweet spot of training, as I could contemplate training every day but I know of a few who do it.

It can be a self fulfilling prophecy as well: you think it feels harder so it does become harder. You might have forgotten how you felt previously so you start to undermine your efforts and assume it used to be easier.
45 HWT; 6' 4"; Liverpool 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:27; 6k= 21:23; 10k= 36:21 30mins= 8,356m 60mins= 16,317m HM= 1:18:40; FM= 2:49:39; 50k= 3:28:18; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

"You reap what you Row"

Instagram: stuwenman

KeithT
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Re: Training Volume

Post by KeithT » April 1st, 2019, 11:13 am

Dangerscouse wrote:
April 1st, 2019, 10:38 am
I'm thinking it must be very subjective as I only row four times a week, sometimes three, and it's never affected me. I might already have a decent aerobic base so I'm just maintaining it?

Don't underestimate the affect a cold can have on you and that you will go through micro and macro cycles of training. Micro can be within a week but I always find I have macro performance dips that can last about a month and they occur over a longer period of time. Notably too, a lot of people remark about performance dips after a big competition. I'm just breaking out of a macro slump (low motivation and higher RPE) after the English Indoor Rowing Championships although there were anomalies in some of my sessions so it's not an exact science

I think you need to find your sweet spot of training, as I could contemplate training every day but I know of a few who do it.

It can be a self fulfilling prophecy as well: you think it feels harder so it does become harder. You might have forgotten how you felt previously so you start to undermine your efforts and assume it used to be easier.
The cold/big comp/slump I thought about but then thought maybe I was just making excuses. The last part of your statement scares me as I had the same thought that I may be expected things to be harder now too since they have been for a month. Maybe I will go in between the 3 and 5 days and settle on 4 and focus it mostly on longer stuff and see if that works - worry more about just maintaining the CF stuff and still improve the Erging. I wish I had it in me to just be content with where I am and be happy with my accomplishments but that's not how I work, I always feel the need to do better and reach new goals and keep Father Time at bay.
51 yo, 6'3" 205#
PBs (all since turning 50):
1 min - 373m, 500m - 1:23.2, 1K - 2:59.8, 4 min - 1265m, 2K - 6:29.9, 5K - 17:27, 30 min - 8277m, 10K - 36:30, 60 min - 16036, HM - 1:20:22

mitchel674
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Re: Training Volume

Post by mitchel674 » April 1st, 2019, 12:05 pm

Keith, I'm not as highly trained as you are, but I can relate. You are not imagining the decrement in your rowing as you decrease your rowing frequency and focus on your crossfit goals. I had the same experience when I went from rowing 5-6 times each week down to 3 times each weak when I started my barbell weight training program several months ago. Sure, I'm getting stronger with my weight training, but my rowing has suffered with fewer sessions. Yes, even my long steady state rows are not what they once were.

I am still trying to find the best balance for my own personal goals.
54yo male, 6ft, 162lbs

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Gammmmo
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Re: Training Volume

Post by Gammmmo » April 1st, 2019, 12:10 pm

Specifity. You are trying to juggle (as I am) two conflicting signals to your body. When you do cardio the AMPK signal instructs your body to adapt (to a greater or lesser degree, could even be maintenance depending on currrent level and the session you did). This lasts only an hour or two. Conversely when you lift there is a signal that tells your body to adapt to that - this goes on for longer and is called MTOR. You have to choose your balance between being aerobic and being strong. Now, giving some thought, as I have done, to cardio/weights scheduling will help maximise your gains for both, but obviously you still won't be AS GOOD as you could've been by putting all your eggs in one basket so to speak.

This concept of scheduling is something I am very interested in at the moment.
Paul, 47M, 5'11" 78kg (all PBs done as a LWT tho'), ex bike time trialler.
1min=350m Image
Targets: 1:27(500m), 3:11(1K), 180kg deadlift

Erg on!

dsoucek
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Re: Training Volume

Post by dsoucek » April 1st, 2019, 12:31 pm

I'd like to echo what Gammmmo and mitchel674 have said. I've been interested in finding a balance between gains in strength and gains in erg fitness for a while too. For myself, I learned that one of the two has to go on maintenance mode while I focus on the other. I spent a couple of years getting "strong enough", and now am working on aerobic fitness on the erg while the strength remains at a plateau.

Check out Paul Timmons on instagram. He seems to have found a way to be strong and fit. I don't know what his training is like.
Dave
48 yo, M, 5'9", 179 lbs
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KeithT
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Re: Training Volume

Post by KeithT » April 1st, 2019, 1:41 pm

Gammmmo, mitchel674 and dsoucek - thanks for your replies.

Everyone seems to understand my issue and have dealt with it themselves. I think why it was a surprise to me is that I originally made good gains on 3 days a week of rowing but looking back that was new and added training at the time and I got some "newbie" type gains as well. So then the 5 days just made it more so but that definitely impacted my strength/CF work.

I know its all a balancing act and I guess I have to decide on some priorities. I have to admit CF is hard on a 50 (almost 51) year old and the ERG provides a lot less chance of injury. I am starting to think I will lean more back to the ERG - I will still lift weights but maybe more to just maintain and keep most strength and muscle mass. I am not ready to call it quits on CF but I do think I would prefer to concentrate less on it in order to keep improving rowing.
51 yo, 6'3" 205#
PBs (all since turning 50):
1 min - 373m, 500m - 1:23.2, 1K - 2:59.8, 4 min - 1265m, 2K - 6:29.9, 5K - 17:27, 30 min - 8277m, 10K - 36:30, 60 min - 16036, HM - 1:20:22

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Gammmmo
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Re: Training Volume

Post by Gammmmo » April 1st, 2019, 2:02 pm

KeithT wrote:
April 1st, 2019, 1:41 pm
Gammmmo, mitchel674 and dsoucek - thanks for your replies.

Everyone seems to understand my issue and have dealt with it themselves. I think why it was a surprise to me is that I originally made good gains on 3 days a week of rowing but looking back that was new and added training at the time and I got some "newbie" type gains as well. So then the 5 days just made it more so but that definitely impacted my strength/CF work.

I know its all a balancing act and I guess I have to decide on some priorities. I have to admit CF is hard on a 50 (almost 51) year old and the ERG provides a lot less chance of injury. I am starting to think I will lean more back to the ERG - I will still lift weights but maybe more to just maintain and keep most strength and muscle mass. I am not ready to call it quits on CF but I do think I would prefer to concentrate less on it in order to keep improving rowing.
I think the only way you can "hit the heights" is to periodise/prioritise your various training aspects. When I started concentrating on stuff <1K on the erg (in terms of setting PBs/SBs) Henry quite rightly told me to not test the longer the stuff in earnest because I'd be disappointed. I still occasionally do a hard 5K and can generally come in at around 18:20 but I do that simply to get some quality work in as I think a hard aerobic session should still be included if your schedule allows, and I don't put too much emphasis on the fact that that's 25s off my best when I was much more aerobic.
Paul, 47M, 5'11" 78kg (all PBs done as a LWT tho'), ex bike time trialler.
1min=350m Image
Targets: 1:27(500m), 3:11(1K), 180kg deadlift

Erg on!

Dangerscouse
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Re: Training Volume

Post by Dangerscouse » April 1st, 2019, 4:48 pm

I agree with Paul about the specificity.

In terms of mental training, quite simply you need to tell yourself you want it to be tough as then it's worthwhile. I usually repeat "no one said it was meant to be easy" when I'm struggling with tougher sessions. Focus on how you will feel afterwards not how you feel in the moment.
45 HWT; 6' 4"; Liverpool 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:27; 6k= 21:23; 10k= 36:21 30mins= 8,356m 60mins= 16,317m HM= 1:18:40; FM= 2:49:39; 50k= 3:28:18; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

"You reap what you Row"

Instagram: stuwenman

ukaserex
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Re: Training Volume

Post by ukaserex » April 1st, 2019, 6:20 pm

<sniff> Keith, Is it wrong that I looked your times and wished I had that extra 5 inches of height?

Crossfit is just plain hard, but the WODs are too short (at least 95% of them) to do you much good aerobically. If I were you - and I'm too short to be you, but I'm a couple years older, with similar row times and I also "attempt" to do Crossfit - I would recognize that aerobic conditioning takes about 6 good weeks. Strength takes years.

The worst thing about most Crossfit workouts is they don't seem to give two hoots about recovery from the prior day's WOD. They seem to feel if a construction worker can carry a stack of boards or bricks every day, then we should be able to power snatch or deadlift or devil press whatever the programmer throws our way. After 40 years old for most guys, and over 50 for even more of us, that recovery time is critically important to see gains. At least, that's what "They" say.

What I do is Crossfit on Tuesday and Friday. The days after Crossfit,(Wednesday & Saturday) I'll do steady state rows that vary with rate and pace, and try to get in at least 30 minutes of them, twice a day. Once in the wee hours of the AM, and once after work, but before supper.

On Monday's and Thursdays, I do the speed work - like the 8 reps of 500M per the Pete's Plan, or the 5 sets of 1500m, or 3x 2k at my 2k PR+3,+4, +5 with 3:00 rest in between. Or something crazy like "Death by 10 meters" and set the rower up for 1:00 intervals with no rest - start at 150 meters per minute and work up to as many minutes as I can, increasing 10 meters each minute. By 16 minutes in, I'm having to get 300 meters per minute, which isn't that easy when your winded and wiped out.

Sunday will be an "active recovery" day, where I'll work on things I couldn't get to during the week, like Ring Muscle-ups (which I still can't do) and long bike rides.

You just have to find your balance.
100M - 16.1 1 Min - 370 500M - 1:25.1 1k - 3:10.2 4:00 - 1216 2k 6:37.0 5k 17:58.8 6k - 21:54.1 30 Min. - 8130 10k - 37:49.7

5'10"
205 lbs
52 years old

Tenshuu
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Re: Training Volume

Post by Tenshuu » April 1st, 2019, 8:31 pm


Sunday will be an "active recovery" day, where I'll work on things I couldn't get to during the week, like Ring Muscle-ups (which I still can't do) and long bike rides.
I once did a single ring muscle up, with the worst form ever, surprised I didn't throw my shoulder out. I have it on video, and it's super ugly, looks like I got ever-so-little help from the excess ring strap. Shaky as hell at the top.
https://youtu.be/apHRYjlxIys

Seeing myself do this does make me miss my old Madcow 5x5 program though, because that was my main line of fitness, with regular jogging and bodyweight CrossFit stuff.

Now you are all reminding me that I'm getting older and I have to be now careful with recovery and volume lol, anyone got a time machine?
30M 5'7" 190LBs

ukaserex
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Re: Training Volume

Post by ukaserex » April 1st, 2019, 8:40 pm

Tenshuu wrote:
April 1st, 2019, 8:31 pm

Now you are all reminding me that I'm getting older and I have to be now careful with recovery and volume lol, anyone got a time machine?
At 29? You're just getting warmed up!
100M - 16.1 1 Min - 370 500M - 1:25.1 1k - 3:10.2 4:00 - 1216 2k 6:37.0 5k 17:58.8 6k - 21:54.1 30 Min. - 8130 10k - 37:49.7

5'10"
205 lbs
52 years old

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