Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share yours.

From the CRASH-B's to an online challenge, discuss the competitive side of erging here.
AWAL
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Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share yours.

Post by AWAL » August 3rd, 2012, 9:05 pm

This is erg strategy is not really for rowers, unless you're a rower focusing on lowering your 2k split. After thinking about this, I wondered why everyone takes 2ks straight. I mean, in the end, one's 2k score is not based on consistency, but on the average of all 220 or so strokes taken.

If one were aiming at a 2k of 6:29.0, then one could execute this interval-racing strategy. I haven't heard of anyone doing this before, but here's what I think could work:

A rower could row 0:40 below 6:29.0 pace - that would be a min. of 1:34.1.

Then, he or she could take a break for 0:10, rowing at a 1:50.

After 7 rounds of this, the rower would just have to row 40 more seconds at a 1:34 or faster to achieve around a 6:29.

Do you think this would work, or would it tire you out too much? I mean, if one were to train using this kind of interval, I feel like someone could improve their 2k score greatly. Who can't erg at a 1:34 for 0:40 and then steady state for 0:10 and then do it again a few times, or 7 times?

This sounds simple. Please share what strange strategy has worked for you in the past, and comment on mine (not yet tested, but will soon - promise).

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Re: Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share you

Post by Bob S. » August 3rd, 2012, 10:49 pm

AWAL wrote:This is erg strategy is not really for rowers, unless you're a rower focusing on lowering your 2k split. After thinking about this, I wondered why everyone takes 2ks straight. I mean, in the end, one's 2k score is not based on consistency, but on the average of all 220 or so strokes taken.

If one were aiming at a 2k of 6:29.0, then one could execute this interval-racing strategy. I haven't heard of anyone doing this before, but here's what I think could work:

A rower could row 0:40 below 6:29.0 pace - that would be a min. of 1:34.1.

Then, he or she could take a break for 0:10, rowing at a 1:50.

After 7 rounds of this, the rower would just have to row 40 more seconds at a 1:34 or faster to achieve around a 6:29.

Do you think this would work, or would it tire you out too much? I mean, if one were to train using this kind of interval, I feel like someone could improve their 2k score greatly. Who can't erg at a 1:34 for 0:40 and then steady state for 0:10 and then do it again a few times, or 7 times?

This sounds simple. Please share what strange strategy has worked for you in the past, and comment on mine (not yet tested, but will soon - promise).
Big variations of pace are inefficient. Based on straight physics, the most efficient use of your energy is a steady constant pace. Psychologically, a slightly decreasing pace is more effective for many rowers, but the decreases should be only about 1 second per 500m split. On the water, some rowers feel that a fast start gives them a psychological advantage, but a study reported on this forum a while back showed that the fast start did not give any advantage - even on the water where the leading crews can see the ones behind. On the erg, it is best to row your own race until the last couple of hundred meters. In time trials it is not even an issue.

Bob S.

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Re: Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share you

Post by ArmandoChavezUNC » August 4th, 2012, 12:50 am

I'm fairly certain it has been shown by various physiologists and biomechanical studies that the negative split "strategy" is the best strategy by far. It has resulted in the best times throughout the years.

You can read up on it a bit in Volker Nolte's "Rowing Faster"
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Re: Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share you

Post by hjs » August 4th, 2012, 3:56 am

Chanceless, flat pacing will always be the best. Give or take little tweaks and this goes for any sport.
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Re: Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share you

Post by kayakr » August 4th, 2012, 8:35 am

The physics say wattage is an exponential function of pace, much as air resistance on a bike is much higher as you go faster. So flat pace should result in the lowest total watt seconds to achieve a certain time.

Compare C2 wattage calculator:

wattage per pace, notice fast time is +61 watts versus slower time is -42 watts from 2:00.
1:50 => 263.0 watts
2:00 => 202.5 watts
2:10 => 159.3 watts

Over 1000 meters, wattage saved with constant pace vs fast slow for same total time should be:
(263 watts x 1.8333 seconds + 159 x 2.1666) - (202.5 x 4) = 16.6 watt seconds.

So you'd need some non-linear effect, such as decreased efficiency of muscles due to lactic acid or reduced blood oxygen to compensate.

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Re: Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share you

Post by AWAL » August 5th, 2012, 12:35 am

Ok, can you explain how, despite your evidence, a negative-split strategy trumps the strategy of varying paces? Thank you! I'm learning a lot, and I've been rowing for almost 4 years now.

Also, can anyone please share more efficient strategies for taking a 2k?

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Re: Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share you

Post by ArmandoChavezUNC » August 5th, 2012, 10:11 am

What wasn't clear about why "varying paces" doesn't work?
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Bob S.
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Re: Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share you

Post by Bob S. » August 5th, 2012, 1:54 pm

AWAL wrote:Ok, can you explain how, despite your evidence, a negative-split strategy trumps the strategy of varying paces? Thank you! I'm learning a lot, and I've been rowing for almost 4 years now.

Also, can anyone please share more efficient strategies for taking a 2k?
The physical fact is that flat pacing is the most efficient. Since that is the best strategy from the view of straight physics, what other strategy would you need. The numbers provided by kayakr make that quite clear. The real key is in knowing what flat pace to use. That takes a lot of trial and error, but is critical. If your chosen pace is too fast (i.e. low time/500m), you will fade at the end. If it is too low, you will have too much left at the end - but will still be able to put on a strong sprint and salvage the piece to some extent. That is the rational for using a negative split instead of the ideal flat split. You do the first split at slightly (~1"/500m) slower than your estimated best pace. If that goes well, you try to hold it a tad faster in each of the next couple of splits and give the best you've got on the fourth split.

Pace variations of over 15 seconds (1:34.1 - 1:50), as you suggested would be destructively inefficient.

If you don't believe us - go ahead - give both strategies a try. You have nothing to lose but a lot of sweat and an idea that is indeed crazy.

Bob S.

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Re: Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share you

Post by Carl Watts » August 5th, 2012, 4:55 pm

Exactly as Bob has stated above.

The really hard part is selecting the constant pace you intend to maintain from the start so that you hit the wall right at the finish line and not before. If you have anything left near the finish to sprint, then you should have set yourself a faster average pace and you would have done an even faster time.

A few really hard strokes at the start to get yourself on the intended pace as soon as possible and then maintain that pace will give you your best possible result.
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Re: Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share you

Post by majikx » January 13th, 2013, 11:55 pm

Try the obvious answer first.

1. Constant pacing beats fast-slow because ACCELERATION is exponentionally more costly than maintaining speed. The exact same physics as getting better gas milage on the highway then in town.
2. Constant speed racing is stupid which is why nobody does it. Constant speed racing makes three false assumptions
a. That there is no store of energy that is present only at the begining of the race [Google Glycogen]
b. That the ability to mount a vastly inefficient and costly acceleration at the end of a race is inconsequential.
c. That sacrificing efficiency for slight incerases in speed in the middle of a race is of any real significance or value.

Up 500 even 1000 sprint 500.
Any crew that wins with four negative splits wins by more with a start and a sprint

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Re: Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share you

Post by Cyclingman1 » January 14th, 2013, 6:39 am

I'm fairly certain it has been shown by various physiologists and biomechanical studies that the negative split "strategy" is the best strategy by far. It has resulted in the best times throughout the years.
I wonder if that is true. In racing, where time is not really the point, the strategy of negative splits I see all the time. But in an individual time trial, I see a lot of this: 1st 500 below race pace; 2nd 500 at race pace; 3rd 500 slightly over race pace; and 4th bring it home as hard as possible, hopefully under race pace.

For example, let's say the target is 7:00 or 1:45. I would see the following: 1:44, 1:45, 1:46, <= 1:45 = <= 7:00.

With negative splits even a final 500 well under race pace can leave one gasping to make the time - too much to make up.

For example: negative splits: 1:46.5, 1:45.5, 1:44.5, 1:43.5 = 7:00. It would be hard to pull that 1:43.5, let alone get under.

I actually think that more racers like the advantage of a below race pace start; they like that cushion. If they don't quite have it, they can bring it home on target. If having a good day, they are ahead of the game and a fast last 500 can bring them well under target time. There is one interesting strategy:

http://concept2.co.uk/birc/training_race_strategy

The French Rowing Fed predicts and suggests that for a final 6:59.1 and pre race capability of 1.34/500m, a time trialer can/should do 1:42.2; 1:46.8; 1:46.8; 1:43.3 to maximize time. I think the 500m paces are too different. But this is decidedly not a negative split idea.

I also think that time trial strategy has something to do with experience. I suspect that beginners might do best with even splits. It takes a lot of mental toughness to do otherwise.
JimG, Gainesville, Ga, 72,184lb,76”. PBs since age 66: (.5,1,2,5,6,10K)1:30.8, 3:14.1, 6:40.7, 17:34, 21:18.1, 36:21.7;
(1,30,60’)332, 8337, 16237; (HM)1:20:25.

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Re: Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share you

Post by Rockin Roland » January 22nd, 2013, 11:48 pm

I'm fairly certain it has been shown by various physiologists and biomechanical studies that the negative split "strategy" is the best strategy by far. It has resulted in the best times throughout the years.
Last monday I did a 2000m time trial on a static C2 erg at our rowing club in order to meet crew selection criteria. Over the past couple of decades I've tried various strategies looking for the best result. Usually I stick to an even pace for the first 1500m and then go all out for the last 500m. That's what I did when I achieved my all time PB of 6:13.

However, last monday, which was only my 3rd 2000m time trial over the past 12 months, I tried the negative split strategy. I must say it worked beautifully for me.
Going on memory, these are how my splits fell:

500m 1:38.5 I started off rowing well within myself resisting several urges of wanting to up the pace a bit. When using a negative split strategy the first 500m is most important for setting up a rythmn which is sustainable and with enough in reserve to build on. It is also when you sort out your technique working as efficiently as possible.

1000m 1:38.0 In my view this is the most difficult 500m as latic acid and oxygen debt start to kick in trying to unsettle your rythmn. This is where you have to focus mentally and have the confidence to just increase the pressure on the handle. Only enough to bring the splits down by half a second is all you need. Focus mentally on maintaining pressure & breathing so that you can get over the hill(1000m mark).

1500m 1:37.5 Your over that 1000m hill now and this 500m is for getting ready for that final 500m big effort push to the finish. Don't go to soon (eg. 700m to go mark) as you risk hitting the wall too far out from the finish which would adversely affect your score. Concentrate on sitting up and looking up. Don't hunch over. Breath......breath. Get that oxygen in readiness for the last 500m.

500m 1:36.0 I do the last 500m in two surges. The first surge at 500m where you only increase the rating from say 31 spm to 33 spm but more so in pressure on the handle. Use strength rather than rating and really get on those legs. The next surge is with 300m to go. Its all out now, myself against the lactic acid demon. I saw some 1:35s on the monitor. With 100m to go I was spent and the 1:38s started appearing again. All I could do at this point was to increase the rating to 35 spm and just hang onto the finish.

End result was 6:29.8.

I achieved what I set out to do with negative splitting. To break 6:30. It worked like a treat and I believe that this is the best approach for experienced rowers ONLY.
Novices would struggle to negative split because they don't yet have the experience to pace themselves to be able to gradually increase the pressure along the way without burning themselves out.
It takes experience to know how to initially row within yourself. You have to know what your capable of so that you can set your limits for each 500m. It's not an easy thing to do.

There is always the risk of going out too hard at the start and going cactus after 1000m or going too soft at the start and not having the base already built for that big finish.
PBs: 2K 6:13.4, 5K 16:32, 6K 19:55, 10K 33:49, 30min 8849m, 60min 17,309m
Caution: Static C2 ergs can ruin your technique and timing for rowing in a boat.
The best thing I ever did to improve my rowing was to sell my C2 and get a Rowperfect.

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Re: Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share you

Post by Bob S. » January 23rd, 2013, 12:18 am

Good report, RR! It sounds like you really had it wired. My only quibble is that 300m to go is a tad early - just about a minute before the finish, so around 33 strokes total? My feeling is that it would be more effective to throw that special effort into the last 45 seconds, so maybe it would be better to wait for 250 or even 200m to go - 20 or so all out strokes. That might have stalled off the 1:38s.

Bob S.

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Re: Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share you

Post by PaulH » January 23rd, 2013, 2:31 am

Bob - I've always gone at 300 to go, and before I go any further I should qualify that by saying that my "go" is like most people's "warm down"! My reasoning is that, assuming for simplicity that my average pace is 2:00, the stroke that I complete at 1:55 after the finish line is a complete waste. Better to get in 20 strokes at 1:55 between 300 and 100m, and then fade to 2:00 with 10m to go and a final stroke of 2:05. Plus I find it marginally easier to resist a fade than to push my pace even lower.

Just a thought though, I've never been fast enough to know if it's a good idea at 'real' race paces.

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Re: Crazy new 2k erg strategy - what do you think? Share you

Post by Cyclingman1 » January 23rd, 2013, 7:15 am

I have to acknowledge that some individuals claim to do best with a negative split strategy for a time trial, but I still question whether it is the best strategy.

I would like to point out that I think there is a difference between a time trial, an individual event, and race where one is literally racing side-by-side. In a race, a negative split strategy makes a lot of sense, the hope being that enough energy is conserved to overtake a competitor at the end. But is that the same as trying for the best time? Maybe, maybe not.

As I pointed out earlier:
The French Rowing Fed predicts and suggests that for a final 6:59.1 and pre race capability of 1.34/500m, a time trialer can/should do 1:42.2; 1:46.8; 1:46.8; 1:43.3 to maximize time. One could quibble with the exact intervals, but I don't think that they can be readily dismissed.

With negative splits one has the psychological as well as the physical burden of rowing ever faster as one is tiring. With the French suggestion or some variation of it, one gets off to a good start and permits one's self to slow down as one is tiring and at the same time preserving some energy for the final push. Also there is usually less ground to make up with this strategy. That is what the faster start buys one. One might say that lactic will build up with a fast start. But if one has been training with 500m intervals a few seconds below race pace, one fast 500m at the start that is actually slower than the training 500m should not be that devastating.

I'm not going to argue with the success that is claimed with negative intervals for those who can pull it off. But I really do wonder if that is the "best" strategy. I know that it does not work for me for the reasons stated above. A quick start gives a cushion instead of having to battle uphill.

Just found this article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1725010/

I'm sure this topic has been debated somewhere in this forum. Every subject is recycled every so often.
JimG, Gainesville, Ga, 72,184lb,76”. PBs since age 66: (.5,1,2,5,6,10K)1:30.8, 3:14.1, 6:40.7, 17:34, 21:18.1, 36:21.7;
(1,30,60’)332, 8337, 16237; (HM)1:20:25.

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