Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

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SpottyGiraffe
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Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by SpottyGiraffe » November 7th, 2020, 1:44 am

Hello Everyone

I feel like I've entered a whole new world! I'm an international-level ultra runner and I've recently been diagnosed with arthritis in both hips, so I've got to back right off the running. It's been a huge blow but I'm staying positive. My sports doctor recommended I try rowing to keep up my fitness, so here I am and I'm excited to try something new. My gym is closed due to Covid restrictions but they have very kindly lent me a C2, so I have that thing of beauty in my hall (very long, isn't it?!). I wanted a benchmark so I did a 5k TT and having seen some of the PBs on here I am a bit embarrassed to say that it was a very humble 24'56. But beginners always improve quickly so I'm really looking forward to putting the work in and seeing what happens. I've been doing some reading about technique and I've found some great info on here, so thank you. Still getting to grips with all the new terms like drag and stroke rate :? Very encouraged to see that there are rowers of every age still smashing it, as I'm no spring chicken.

Going back to some of the PBs I've seen on here I can't actually believe that they are possible! Bravo, everyone. It occurred to me that there might be some similar benchmarks to running. Running a sub 20' 5k, a sub 40' 10k and a sub 3h marathon is a bit of a holy grail for decent club runners. Do you think that's the same with rowing?

Because of my endurance background I'm interested in doing some longer stuff and I want to 'row the Channel' in one go while I've got the C2 at home. I think I could do it apart from the massive discomfort I get from sitting on the seat for longer than 20 or 30'. I did an hour yesterday (11.5k) and got a completely numb backside with pins and needles. Like most runners I have strong quads but a weak posterior chain and my glutes are screaming at me when I row, so I'm not sure if the issue is with my glutes working harder than they're used to or if it's lack of blood flow or both. I've seen that there are seat pads available, but I know from cycling that adding a layer can actually make it worse. Any thoughts? Might it get better when my glutes start to get stronger?

Thanks in advance and have a good weekend, all.

Sarah

PS. I'm 47 and 169cm tall (5 foot 6) and my weight is currently 59kgs (130lbs), but I prefer to be 57kgs (125 lbs)

jamesg
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Re: Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by jamesg » November 7th, 2020, 6:15 am

You'll probably do best if you work on technique: rowing uses the legs most of all, but we have to learn how. This lady was or is an international too and has a very clean and simple style, as is needed:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ82RYIFLN8

Aches and pains will go away in due time, and if you work hard enough they get hidden anyway. A simple relaxed style can help. Of use initially and also with technique, some medium intervals such as plenty x 5 minutes with a minute or too rest in between, none of them too hard but maybe using slightly different techniques and ratings to see what happens.

Rowing has a specific characteristic that affects how we do things: boats don't stop between strokes. This means we can put a lot of work into each single stroke, via length and force, since we don't but need to rush to the next one. Oarsmen spend most of their time with the blades in the air: when they're in the water, it seems much harder stuff than we might like. Your flywheel, if you use low drag, acts the same way. It has to be accelerated with a long hard pull, but then will keep going. The end result is that we can work very hard using the legs in the stroke, but at low ratings (strokes per minute) keep the average power load low and doable for any distance.

Typical ratings used are 18-23 in training, 30 to 40 racing.
08-1940, 183cm, 87kg. Last seen MHR 162, in 2k (2020-05-16) 8.47.5@24

SpottyGiraffe
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Re: Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by SpottyGiraffe » November 7th, 2020, 9:20 am

Hello James

Thanks so much for all that great advice. I watched the video and she looks like she's in slow motion; it's all very controlled. I think I've been trying to go too 'fast' (25 spm) with poor technique. From what you've said it seems like the idea is to get some recovery between each stroke. Maybe that will also help with getting the blood flow back into my glutes!

Thanks again, very helpful indeed.

Dangerscouse
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Re: Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by Dangerscouse » November 7th, 2020, 9:21 am

Welcome to the forum Sarah.

First of all, I'd make strengthening your posterior chain, and core, a priority. Your lower back could be very vulnerable otherwise, especially as you get tired your technique will get sloppier, coupled with strong quads it could be a dangerous mix of unbalanced muscular dominance.

Your butt pain should subside as you get used to rowing, but it does depend quite a lot on physiology: I'm very lucky as it takes over two hours before it starts to bother me.

I'm far more suited to the longer distances, so let me know if you need any advice. How far is the "rowing the channel" challenge?

The only universal holy grail is a sub 7 2k for men, and probably sub 8ish for women: maybe closer to 8:30 for a LWT woman. Apart from that they are very subjective, and using the Concept 2 rankings is a better way of comparing your times / distances. What my

Finally, your 5k TT isn't embarrassing at all. You're more or less in the 50% percentile for this year, so that's a great start for someone with no rowing experience.
47 HWT; 6' 4"; 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:24; 6k= 21:09; 10k= 35:46 30mins= 8,428m 60mins= 16,331m HM= 1:18:25; FM= 2:45:49; 50k= 3:21:14; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

"You reap what you row"

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Nomath
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Re: Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by Nomath » November 7th, 2020, 11:04 am

SpottyGiraffe wrote:
November 7th, 2020, 1:44 am
... Running a sub 20' 5k, a sub 40' 10k and a sub 3h marathon is a bit of a holy grail for decent club runners. Do you think that's the same with rowing?
Have a look in the Concept2 rankings for your age, weight and sex category.
E.g. in the 5K 40-49 yrs ranking for lightweight women, the median time is 24:14.3 ; 90% is slower than 21:13.7. Only 3 out of 128 women in this group are sub 20 min.

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Re: Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by MPx » November 7th, 2020, 3:29 pm

Re the seat thing, I've found the standard C2 seat pad works for me for most sessions, although I do focus on shorter intervals and distances than you are looking at (less than an hour). If I do an hour or HM I use 2 seat pads stacked. That's just about OK, but my bum's still pleased when I get to the end of a HM and stand up! No idea how the many people posting here can erg all day and not crock themselves for days afterwards. Enjoy your erg.
Mike - 63 HWT 183

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Re: Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by SpottyGiraffe » November 9th, 2020, 3:03 am

Gosh, thanks for the lovely welcome and for the encouragement. I was just settling down to reply to you all properly but my daughter has just informed me that she needs her sports kit for school today so I'll have to pop back in later! Thanks and see you later.

SpottyGiraffe
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Re: Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by SpottyGiraffe » November 9th, 2020, 3:03 am

Gosh, thanks for the lovely welcome and for the encouragement. I was just settling down to reply to you all properly but my daughter has just informed me that she needs her sports kit for school today so I'll have to pop back in later! Thanks and see you later.

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Re: Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by SpottyGiraffe » November 9th, 2020, 6:40 am

Hello Dangerscouse and many thanks for the encouragement. I had already spotted that you have done at least one 12h row and it immediately made me want to do one too, but I think the thought of it might be better than the reality! I've done some 24h running and at least that's outside. Your distance is ridiculously impressive, well done. Great idea to do some strengthening work; I can feel that my back has been working harder than ever before. I used to do a lot of yoga but have fallen off the wagon recently so I think it's time to get back into it.

Hello Nomath and thanks for directing me to the rankings. So interesting! I live in France and not many people have posted their rankings from here, so if I look at it by country it makes me look better :lol: But thanks, it's all really encouraging.

Hello MPx and thanks for your reply. I took the plunge and ordered a seat pad thingy. It's quite a thin one but it's meant to be quite grippy and maybe it's just what I need. I figured I can take it to the gym with me when I have to hand the C2 back.

It will be hard watching other people in the gym use 'my' C2 when it goes back :lol:

I was going to ask another question about the foot straps getting loose but now that I've looked at the technical advice that James directed me to it has stopped being an issue. I think going down to 20spm has really helped in every way and yes, it's funny, but I'm going the same speed as I was before. I definitely need stronger glutes though!

Thanks for the warm welcome.

Sarah

Dangerscouse
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Re: Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by Dangerscouse » November 9th, 2020, 7:37 am

SpottyGiraffe wrote:
November 9th, 2020, 6:40 am
Hello Dangerscouse and many thanks for the encouragement. I had already spotted that you have done at least one 12h row and it immediately made me want to do one too, but I think the thought of it might be better than the reality! I've done some 24h running and at least that's outside. Your distance is ridiculously impressive, well done. Great idea to do some strengthening work; I can feel that my back has been working harder than ever before. I used to do a lot of yoga but have fallen off the wagon recently so I think it's time to get back into it.

Hello Nomath and thanks for directing me to the rankings. So interesting! I live in France and not many people have posted their rankings from here, so if I look at it by country it makes me look better :lol: But thanks, it's all really encouraging.

Hello MPx and thanks for your reply. I took the plunge and ordered a seat pad thingy. It's quite a thin one but it's meant to be quite grippy and maybe it's just what I need. I figured I can take it to the gym with me when I have to hand the C2 back.

It will be hard watching other people in the gym use 'my' C2 when it goes back :lol:

I was going to ask another question about the foot straps getting loose but now that I've looked at the technical advice that James directed me to it has stopped being an issue. I think going down to 20spm has really helped in every way and yes, it's funny, but I'm going the same speed as I was before. I definitely need stronger glutes though!

Thanks for the warm welcome.

Sarah
Thanks, I have only done one 12hr challenge and that was for charity, in memory of a very good friend. I have consistently toyed with the idea of a 24hr challenge, but I think I need to find another strong enough reason. As you will know, when your 'why' is stronger than your 'no', it can be remarkable what you can do.

Yoga will be useful to some extent, but I'd recommend Pilates far more as it strengthens and stretches, and I'm convinced that it has prevented so many injuries for me over the years.

Be a bit careful with the lower rates to start with. I always used to row at r28-30, and when I lowered it down to r20, I found my lower back was a bit aggravated for while to start with. So don't be afraid of slowing it down, lowering the drag, and just embedding the technique so it becomes automatic: a slight tense of the core when you're iniating the drive phase needs to be a automated part of the stroke.
47 HWT; 6' 4"; 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:24; 6k= 21:09; 10k= 35:46 30mins= 8,428m 60mins= 16,331m HM= 1:18:25; FM= 2:45:49; 50k= 3:21:14; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

"You reap what you row"

Instagram: stuwenman

SpottyGiraffe
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Re: Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by SpottyGiraffe » November 19th, 2020, 6:14 am

Thanks for that great advice again, Dangerscouse. Pilates, oh dear, I really don't enjoy it! But we never enjoy things that we find hard and sometimes we need to do exactly those things to improve.

12h sounds like a wonderful tribute to your friend. A 24h rowing challenge would be so tough but I guess the intensity would be very low and I imagine you'd have to take plenty of breaks. For running 24h the main issue is eating enough. It's gross but I rely heavily on sugar rather than 'real food'.

Ringing the PB bell today with 23'23 for 5k. Massive negative split but my form definitely got shoddy towards the end and I had to keep increasing the spm but sounds like that might not be a bad thing for my back.

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Re: Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by Dangerscouse » November 19th, 2020, 7:11 am

SpottyGiraffe wrote:
November 19th, 2020, 6:14 am
Thanks for that great advice again, Dangerscouse. Pilates, oh dear, I really don't enjoy it! But we never enjoy things that we find hard and sometimes we need to do exactly those things to improve.

12h sounds like a wonderful tribute to your friend. A 24h rowing challenge would be so tough but I guess the intensity would be very low and I imagine you'd have to take plenty of breaks. For running 24h the main issue is eating enough. It's gross but I rely heavily on sugar rather than 'real food'.

Ringing the PB bell today with 23'23 for 5k. Massive negative split but my form definitely got shoddy towards the end and I had to keep increasing the spm but sounds like that might not be a bad thing for my back.
A higher stroke rate is better for your back, especially when you get tired, so that is a good thing, and a natural consequence. Well done on the 5k, and it sounds like you pushed your limits today.

I found I had to rely on sweet stuff, as I had no appetite. A banana was about all I could consider for real food.

As for Pilates, sometimes it's about finding the right teacher, as it can make all the difference. I used to do spin classes at the gym, and over the years I probably had about six different teachers, and only one, possibly two, made me really enjoy it. You're also right, if it's hard, it's probably very worthwhile doing it, obviously assuming it won't cause injury.
47 HWT; 6' 4"; 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:24; 6k= 21:09; 10k= 35:46 30mins= 8,428m 60mins= 16,331m HM= 1:18:25; FM= 2:45:49; 50k= 3:21:14; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

"You reap what you row"

Instagram: stuwenman

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Re: Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by c2jonw » November 19th, 2020, 8:50 am

Welcome to the forum, Sarah, and to the world of rowing. I think you'll find rowing to be an excellent supplement to your running once you learn how to do it properly. I just watched this beginner tutorial and found it to be very informative and thorough.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBvHK0M ... hwqPLk61ZY

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Re: Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by c2jonw » November 19th, 2020, 9:05 am

......and I didn't see any idiotic questions.....
69 year old living in Waterbury Center, Vermont, USA
Concept2 employee since 1980! and what a long, strange trip it's been......and retired from C2 in October 2018!

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jackarabit
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Re: Hello from a newbie with a few idiotic questions

Post by jackarabit » November 19th, 2020, 9:13 am

A great lady, rowing coach and UCanRow demonstrator, Terry Smythe, talks about her sporting life. ⬇️ Her pic drill vid is worth the lookup.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2wsDN8OLns
There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data

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