New Rower intro

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New Rower intro

Post by johnboyuk » December 7th, 2015, 9:36 am

Hi All

JohnBoy here. I've just bought myself a C2 model D with PM5 to do a bit of cross training on.

My main sport is running and I do a bit of cycling too. I have run 5 marathons in the last 18 months and am looking towards spring now when I finally get to run my first London Marathon.

I've done one 30 min session so far. Clocked 6,100m with an average stroke rate of around 32 s/min. From reading on the forums here, am I correct in saying I should be looking to row with less strokes per min but keeping each stroke longer? I was planning on building up to rowing for 1hr at a time, as I do on my turbo trainer with my bike. I was surprised how much 30 mins took out of me on the erg. The plan is to run 3-4 times a week, erg on 2-3 days a week and then have a rest day.

Any advice gratefully received.

For the record: I'm 39, weight 193lbs, max HR is 186, resting HR 48. Running PBs: Marathon 4:24, Half Marathon 1:56, 10k 51:56.


Bob S.
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Re: New Rower intro

Post by Bob S. » December 7th, 2015, 6:05 pm

Height? 193# is quite high for a runner, especially a distance runner, so I figure that you must be pretty tall. In any case, 32spm for long training pieces is definitely on the high side. The key to rowing at low rates is taking your time on the recovery phase. The drive should be long, as you said, but long in distance, not in time. The rowing stroke consists of a hard, quick drive followed by a slow, relaxed recovery. The time ratio of recovery to drive can range from about 6/1 at the extreme low of practical stroke rates (10-12spm) to 1/1 at the top at the other end of the practical stroke rate range (around 45spm).

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Carl Watts
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Re: New Rower intro

Post by Carl Watts » December 7th, 2015, 6:51 pm

Very interesting and really highlights the major difference between running and the Erg.

I cannot run round the block let alone a marathon but can row a 7625m 30 minute at under 20 spm just for training five days a week.

32spm is flying for that sort of pace, try slowing it down and check the drag factor on the Erg your using to make sure its not too low.

What you can expect with your base fitness is some really good gains on the Erg if you stick with it and your other upper body muscles that are required adapt.

I'm figuring your also pretty tall so if your like 6ft 5 your going to be smashing your current times on the Erg in a few months time.

Focus on less strokes a minute but more power per stroke.
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Re: New Rower intro

Post by jamesg » December 8th, 2015, 4:58 am

done one 30 min session so far. Clocked 6,100m with an average stroke rate of around 32 s/min.
This means that you were delivering about 110W to the flywheel. Fine for a beginner, keep at it. However at 32 it implies a short weak stroke: you're not using your legs much (which presumably could take it), so unsurprising that it took a lot out of you, you're spending almost the same amount again of energy just going fast up and down the rail.

Rowing is different from other sports, it's the boat that has to go fast, not us. This means we have to learn how it's done. There's no hurry to take the next stroke, boats don't have to go uphill, have no brakes and so don't stop (nor the flywheel if you set the drag low). So take your time and pull a long stroke; the long ones are the ones with work in them.

When in London if you go down to the hard at Putney you'll see lots of people who can show you around if there's not too much fog. The old men ashore in caps and scarves with funny colours are the coaches. There may even be a few ergs in the boathouses there and they're always looking for volunteers.
08-1940, 183cm, 87kg. Last seen MHR 162, in 2k (2020-05-16) 8.47.5@24

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Re: New Rower intro

Post by johnboyuk » December 8th, 2015, 6:10 am

Height, I'm dead on 6ft!

So yes, I'm probably carrying a good 10-12lbs more than I should be. I should be back around 182 by the beginning of April when I start putting the miles in again. Hopefully the cross training will help. My main problem has always been my diet but I use the My Fitness Pal app to help me with that. Just need a little self discipline!

Thanks for the comments. I'm like a fish out of water at the mo. Ran 10k on Sunday at around 52 mins which was more than ok (for me, anyway) but then get on the rower last night and its a completely different ball game.

Managed 6,440m in 30 mins. Average 32 strokes per min and I was ruined by the end. My HR was up around 150bpm. Running 10k, my HR is usually up around 165bpm so it was more than a useful workout.

So, I need to take my time and slow down. Noted. Will try to do that tonight. I'll check the drag factor too. What value should I be looking for? Is there a magic number?!

I watched the technique video and think I'm following it ok. When I've used the erg in the Gym in the past, I had it on 10 and think I found it easier. Might be more the case that I was actually fitter and stronger then!

I cycled with a rower a few years back. He was a real modest guy. Turns out he was the erg world record holder for the marathon in his age category. He was as strong as an ox. Wish I knew more about the erg back then, he would have been a great help!

So I need to keep the boat moving. Can I assume the drag factor is what slows the boat back down?

Apologies for the questions :)

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Re: New Rower intro

Post by hjs » December 8th, 2015, 6:21 am

Rowers are poor runners and vice versa. Reason, rowing is a power endurance sport, running is just endurence and the less mass you have the better.
For rowing you need to develope and strong stroke, most work should be done at lower rates. Think 18/24. 32 is race rate for a 2k.
But looking at your runnings times you lack overall fitness/speed. So at this stage the rowing should help your running.

Yes drag is what slows the boot down. High drag means, a slow big boat, so a slow heavy stroke. Low drag means a fast sleak boat with a light fast stroke.

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