Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

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SFCurley
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Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by SFCurley » August 28th, 2011, 9:36 pm

I've been pondering on the question of equivalent distances / pacing for running vs. rowing, as much as anything because I tend to think about "fitness" in terms of running pace per mile (a hangover from the days when my knees would let me run). Obviously, it's a tough apples-to-oranges comparison, but for rough fitness calculations, I came up with what I think would be a way to (again, roughly) compare the two: base it on V02 Max as a gauge of output. Yes, I know that rowing or XC skiing is likely to produce a higher VO2 uptake due to the greater number of muscles used, and that with rowing the work output increases with pace, etc. That said, here's what I did:

I started by looking at the record best times for both activities, rowing and running: 3:45 or so for a running mile, and 5:37 for a 2k on the erg. Using the calculator on the C2 website, I calculated what the V02 Max would be for 194lb person (my weight) rowing a 2k at the 5:37 record-best pace (answer: 82 ml O2/kg-min). Then, using the V02 Max vs. 1 mi pace running calculator at RunnersWeb (http://goo.gl/yHypv), I compared the world record mile's time and the calculated V02 to go with that (also 82 ml 02/kg-min, interestingly and coincidentally enough).

From there, using the C2 V02 Max calculator, I did the same thing for varying erg paces, taking the C2 calc'd V02 Max and then trial-and-errored on the RunnersWeb calculator, to figure out what the running pace and associated V02 Max that would correlate to the C2-cacluated V02 Max. That gave me what looks to be a reasonable comparison based on my experience (n=1, unfortunately). Finally, I calculated the number of meters that one would have to row at that pace to complete the distance piece on the erg in the same amount of time as it would have taken to run a mile at the corresponding V02-Max-Equivalent pace. This means that a 3:45 running mile equivalent on the erg at ergometer world record pace would be about 1339 meters in that time (a 1:24 pace for 3:45), whereas a 7:30 running mile would equate to 1815 meters in 7:30 (a 2:04 erg pace), and 9:30 running mile would equate to 2176 meters in 9:30 at a 2:11 pace.

Here's the chart. Would be interested in any comments, or suggestions for improving, and also thoughts on whether or not it jibes with others' best running pace vs. best rowing pace experience.

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*** Note that the equivalent rowing distance increases as the running (and rowing) pace slows. So, just as an example, by this chart, if you wanted to row for a distance, and at a pace and time, equivalent to running a 7:30 mile, you'd have to row 1815m on the erg at a 2:04 pace, which would complete the piece in 7:30. That would require a V02 Max comparable to the calculated V02 max for running mile in that same time.

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Re: Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by comictimes » December 2nd, 2011, 1:14 pm

i think it's very interesting, and something I've wondered about myself. You've done a good job using VO2 Max to correlate running and rowing times.

One issue I have, however, is with the last couple columns. What I think you're trying to get at in the last couple columns (and correct me if I'm wrong) is how far/fast you would have to row to do an equivalent amount of work to the given running time in the same amount of time. The calculated VO2 Max for rowing is based on 2000m. When you row a shorter piece you can row faster (obviously). So if you could row a 2k at a 1:24 I would assume that you could row faster for 3:45, whereas the person who runs a 3:45 mile can't go any faster than that, making the 1339m that you calculated not actually equivalent with regard to work being done.

Perhaps you could use Paul's Law to modify the splits (Every doubling of distance = +5sec to split)? I'm not sure really.

But again, this is a fantastic way to do this, I think.
28/male, 6'4", 200lb.
2k: 6:20, 10k: 34:49, 1hr: 16,711, marathon: 2:41:31.7

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Re: Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by comictimes » December 2nd, 2011, 1:23 pm

Oh one other thing- I would guess that these numbers would only be close to accurate for people trained in both running and rowing? Because while I could row a 2:00 split all day, easily within steady state pace, I would be very hard pressed to run at a 6:45 pace for more than a few miles.
28/male, 6'4", 200lb.
2k: 6:20, 10k: 34:49, 1hr: 16,711, marathon: 2:41:31.7

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gregsmith01748
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Re: Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by gregsmith01748 » December 2nd, 2011, 3:16 pm

I think taking the best of both sports and equating it doesn't give a very accurate picture. The ideal physiology of a rower and a runner is very different, and at the top of each sport, you see very similar physiques. Runners are extremely lean with small frames, and rowers are much more muscular, and height is a big advantage.

I do think your approach has a lot of merit, but I think you'd need to base it upon a set of athletes who have scores in both rowing and running. For example, I can row 2K in 6:40, by your chart that suggests that I should be able to run at a 4:40-4:45 pace. In my dreams, maybe. I doubt I could get much below a 7 minute mile (I am a really slow runner).

But the idea of using equivalent Vo2 pace has a lot of merit on an individual basis. I do this informally, just using heart rate bands.
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Re: Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by Bob S. » December 2nd, 2011, 5:03 pm

gregsmith01748 wrote:I think taking the best of both sports and equating it doesn't give a very accurate picture. The ideal physiology of a rower and a runner is very different, and at the top of each sport, you see very similar physiques. Runners are extremely lean with small frames, and rowers are much more muscular, and height is a big advantage.
The quick twitch vs. slow twitch issue is also a factor in this. The movements of rowing are relatively slow compared to other sports, so a high ratio of slow/quick is not a disadvantage in rowing. I have known a lot of people who have taken up rowing because they were not particularly adept the usual sports that benefit from a reverse ratio. There is also a matter of reflexes. Except for bad weather conditions, slow reflexes are not a disadvantage in rowing - in contrast to sports like ball handling, boxing, and fencing. For running, I suppose that quick reflexes are important only for the sprints. There may be a connection between the reflexes and muscle twitch, but I have never seen a discussion of it.

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Re: Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by mweeda » January 7th, 2012, 6:04 pm

My main activity is running, but I've cross trained on a model B on and off for 20 years. Typical cross training is 3200 m three times a week. The rowing gives a more intense workout than would otherwise be possible on "easy" running days.

For comparison, I think my 5k times on the erg and on the road would be pretty close. Running time for a 5k these days (age 59) is about 22 minutes. Under 14 min for 3200 m is a good time for me on the erg. Extrapolated to 5k, that is 21:52. Its unclear how much slower pace from moving up to 5000 m from 3200 m would offset the faster pace of race motivation, but I'm guessing about break even. Maybe sometime I will "race" 5k on the erg.

From looking over this topic (and the earlier one), it seems like most folks "row" (erg) a 5k faster than they run it, but most are bigger than I am, so maybe that is why running and rowing are about the same for me. At 5.6 ft (1.7 m) and 130 lb (59.0 k), whenever I've looked at rowing rankings I've felt "handicapped". I wonder if anyone has ever handicapped rowing based on weight or height?

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Re: Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by Goldenbough » March 31st, 2012, 9:18 pm

Interesting, but doesn't work for me. On a treadmill stress test my VO2 max is estimated in the low-mid 50's. My best VO2 max when rowing only reaches the mid 20's. Average watt output doesn't exceed mid 20's: mets on the treadmill exceed 14! I'm off the charts for my age running, but close to the bottom of my age group rowing. True, I'm a newbie rower but the wide discrepancy doesn't make any sense to me, particularly since my heart rates during the two activities is not that all different. Don't understand it at all, but still get a great workout rowing.

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Re: Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by Goldenbough » March 31st, 2012, 9:23 pm

Sorry, average watts are in the mid 80's. Highest output reached is in the low 100's.

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gregsmith01748
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Re: Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by gregsmith01748 » March 31st, 2012, 10:44 pm

Sounds like a technique issue on the rowing. You've obviously got the aerobic engine to do much better. Something in how you are rowing is wasting a lot of energy.

Could you tell a little about yourself (age, weight, height). Also, what stroke rate and pace you are rowing? I bet there is a simple mechanical fix hat will boost your erg scores by a ton.
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Re: Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by bepah » April 1st, 2012, 1:34 pm

gregsmith01748 wrote:Sounds like a technique issue on the rowing. You've obviously got the aerobic engine to do much better. Something in how you are rowing is wasting a lot of energy.

Could you tell a little about yourself (age, weight, height). Also, what stroke rate and pace you are rowing? I bet there is a simple mechanical fix hat will boost your erg scores by a ton.
Agreed! Wattage is a great way to see how your power (or lack of it) is applied....

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Carl Watts
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Re: Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by Carl Watts » April 1st, 2012, 7:15 pm

That table is just miles out for me. Running is so much harder than rowing. In fact the last time I ran a 2.4Km (1.5 x 1mile) there was no one in the entire field of runners regardless of age running at the equivalent of my 2K row time and thats an old PB ! Are you saying a Sub 7 row is about the same as running 2.4Km in about 7:30 ? didn't see anyone come in faster than 9:30 and my PB for the 2.4km is 12 min flat which would be classed as "Jogging" by any decent runner. :lol:

I would agree however that every bit of cross training is a benifit if it is additional to your current level of rowing training.
Carl Watts.
Age:51 Weight: 98kg Height:183cm
Concept 2 Monitor Service Technician & indoor rower.
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Re: Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by Goldenbough » April 1st, 2012, 9:44 pm

Thanks for your response. I'll be 74 in two weeks, weigh 146 and am 5'10". Lean but pretty toned. Stroke rate is usually about 29-30. When I drop it down, watt output drops. Suspect I'm relying on my upper body too much and not enough on my legs, but can't figure out how to fix that.

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Re: Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by Bob S. » April 1st, 2012, 10:16 pm

Goldenbough wrote:Thanks for your response. I'll be 74 in two weeks, weigh 146 and am 5'10". Lean but pretty toned. Stroke rate is usually about 29-30. When I drop it down, watt output drops. Suspect I'm relying on my upper body too much and not enough on my legs, but can't figure out how to fix that.
Make sure that your legs have straightened before you start to pull with your arms. Otherwise you have the muscles of the arms trying to compete with the much stronger muscles of the legs.

Bob S.

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Re: Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by Goldenbough » April 1st, 2012, 10:38 pm

Thanks--haven't been doing that. I've been pulling just after starting to unbend my legs. Will try it tomorrow.
HG

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Re: Running and Rowing Equivalent Distances - 2

Post by runner527 » May 12th, 2013, 6:06 pm

of course, as with everything, this doesn't really work with everyone. the top rowers on my HS team row around 6-7 minutes 2k but run around a 7 minute mile or more. for me its the opposite. my 2k time is way higher than what it should be compared to my mile time

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