Comparing Rowing to Running

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Phil_M
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Comparing Rowing to Running

Post by Phil_M » March 14th, 2015, 5:33 pm

Hi all,

Does anyone know of any analysis on the comparative "difficulty" of achieving a time in rowing vs achieving a time in running.

I am starting from the basis that the world record for the 5k run is 12:38, and the world record for rowing 5k is just under 15 minutes so on the face of it running is quicker than rowing.

I row and my mate runs, if we both did the same time for 5k, say 20 minutes, would that automatically mean I was "better" whatever that means at rowing than he was at running. I am going to assume not, I suspect there is a different effort curve for rowing than for running, and that to achieve a time that is say 125% of world record in one discipline can be a lot harder or easier than achieving 125% in a different discipline. (I am currently willfully ignoring my suspicion that the pool of runners in the world is a lot larger than the pool of rowers and so the rowing WR may not be as close to humanly possible as the running WR which obviously has an effect on this too)

Has anyone heard of any studies that cover this, or is there a way I could work it out, like using the dubious calorie calculation on an ergo vs a running machine?

Thanks,
Phil

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gregsmith01748
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Re: Comparing Rowing to Running

Post by gregsmith01748 » March 14th, 2015, 6:00 pm

Hi Phil,

Interesting Question. Here's one way to look at it. I did a quick comparison of world record paces for running and indoor rowing. The source for running paces was wikipedia. The source for rowing was the world record times for the 19-29, male , heavyweight group from the concept2 website. I might have missed a better record in a different catagory, but I think it illustrates the point.

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One thing to note. Since very different athletes set world records in sprints than in marathons, this plot would not be valid for any single athlete. Natural sprints would start faster and drop more quickly over distance. Distance athletes would start slower, but show a more shallow slope.

But you can see that both roughly follow a logarithmic decline and that running is about 20% faster. Again for very different athletes. If you took a world class marathon runner and dropped him on an erg, he would be way slower than the 20% difference. And if you took the rowing world record marathoner and asked him to run a marathon, I would bet his time would be nearly 20 behind the world class runner.
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Phil_M
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Re: Comparing Rowing to Running

Post by Phil_M » March 14th, 2015, 6:56 pm

Hi Greg,

Thanks for that analysis, I am amazed the results follow that closely as distance increases. It definitely lends weight to the idea that the difficulty of a speed increase is similar in both disciplines.

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Re: Comparing Rowing to Running

Post by gcanyon » March 28th, 2015, 6:14 pm

As you go slower, rowing gets easier faster than running does. Running a 5k in 15 minutes is easier than rowing a 5k in 15 minutes, but doing 5k in 30 minutes is probably easier on the erg than running it.

I saw a page once that equated running and rowing around a 6:20 mile if I remember correctly. Then he said that going out from that the equivalent rowing time went about half of the running time, meaning that rowing a 7 minute mile was about the same as running 7:40.
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jvincent
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Re: Comparing Rowing to Running

Post by jvincent » March 29th, 2015, 10:31 am

One other thing to consider if you are comparing your running/rowing times is that the record times are for people whose physiology is suited to there sport.

Generally speaking world middle or long distance runners tend to be long and lanky, getting skinnier as the distance increases. World class rowers are generally big, strong guys and would generally not fare well compared to a distance runner and vice-versa.

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Re: Comparing Rowing to Running

Post by Steve W » March 29th, 2015, 1:28 pm

jvincent wrote:One other thing to consider if you are comparing your running/rowing times is that the record times are for people whose physiology is suited to there sport.

Generally speaking world middle or long distance runners tend to be long and lanky, getting skinnier as the distance increases. World class rowers are generally big, strong guys and would generally not fare well compared to a distance runner and vice-versa.
Interesting that elite ultramarathon runners actually tend to have more muscle mass than elite marathoners. I'm one of the skinny guys as described, ran a 1:56:06 half marathon today, far from elite. Looking forward to giving a half marathon row a go. When I do, would be elated to have a time in the same neighborhood of breaking two hours :D .
63yo, 62kg, Erg 500m, 1:58.6; 1k; 2k 8:04; 5k 20:46; 30min 7096m; 10k 43:49; 1 hour 13578m; half marathon, 1:37:49; marathon, 3:36:47
Skierg 2K 9:10; 5k 24:30; 30 min 6075m; 10k 49:56.5; 1hr 11776m; half marathon, 1:52:43.2; skierg marathon, 4:04:14.

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hjs
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Re: Comparing Rowing to Running

Post by hjs » March 29th, 2015, 1:51 pm

jvincent wrote:One other thing to consider if you are comparing your running/rowing times is that the record times are for people whose physiology is suited to there sport.

Generally speaking world middle or long distance runners tend to be long and lanky, getting skinnier as the distance increases. World class rowers are generally big, strong guys and would generally not fare well compared to a distance runner and vice-versa.
Runners long? Not really, very light yes, but often also pretty short.

Toprowers are poor runners. Cycling on the flat is often good, but running and rowing have little on commen. Even lightweight rowers would be giants amongst runners.
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Re: Comparing Rowing to Running

Post by gcanyon » March 29th, 2015, 5:27 pm

Steve W wrote: ran a 1:56:06 half marathon today, far from elite. Looking forward to giving a half marathon row a go. When I do, would be elated to have a time in the same neighborhood of breaking two hours :D .
You'll almost certainly do much better than that. I'm thinnish, and the one time I ran a half marathon my time was about 2:15. My PB rowing a half marathon is something under 1:40.
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speedy
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Re: Comparing Rowing to Running

Post by speedy » June 11th, 2015, 11:38 am

Apples and oranges. There are many factors that dictate why one is more challenging than the other and in the end it's about what you want to do more if not both. I wouldn't compare, pick one or both and do it.
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