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The Pete Plan blog

Targets, drag factor, drinking while erging

Posted by thepeteplan on March 7, 2009

Training Friday:

30mins = 8082m / 1:51.4

Thursday’s intense session left me tired for training last night, so I just did a fairly short session to aid recovery a little.

I finished off with 60 Jamie’s and 3 x 12 Waddell’s. I still plan to post a video of these so that everyone can know exactly what they are, and comment on them.


Jeff Brock responded to my “Boston and beyond” entry asking how I set targets to maintain motivation with something to train for. In the UK we have a lot more indoor rowing races through the year than you have in the US, so that makes it much easier. We don’t have as many as we used to when I first started erg racing though, and the last three have been cancelled for various reason, which is why I’m organising my own 5k race. Other than the organised races there are a range of ways I motivate myself:

CTC – the Cross Team Challenge is a monthly inter team challenge –

C2 Challenge series – This has been running for the past 7 months and I have been taking part –

Nonathlon – I haven’t taken part in this for a few years, but a handicapped season’s best ranking system that lets all ages, weights and genders compete together –

And then of course there is the World Rankings compiled each season by Concept2 US –

On top of these I also coach (or write training plans for) 20 erg athletes. Each one of these 20 athletes have then own motivations and goals, and often I try to organise them into groups of some sort so they can help motivate each other with their performances in training, and I can go along with them. My motivation is also to try to keep one step ahead of them – I never set a training session that I wouldn’t do myself.

And finally just setting personal best times is good motivation, so at any one time I can just pick a distance to aim for, and train for that. The past two years I’ve simply worked from long to short through the year starting with a marathon and working down to 2k.

Drag Factor:

Jeff also asked if I have a philosophy for drag factor during training. I race at 130 drag, and in the past I have generally done all my training on 130 drag too. This always seemed to make sense to me as the speed of movement changes on the drive when you change drag, and so it’s hard to become efficient if you’re doing something different each session. However, at the moment I’m looking towards longer distances, and I wonder if my performance at these long distances would be better at lower drag? Also a couple of people I coach, who are experienced rowers and ergers, like to do some sessions each week at very high drag, and I wonder if that could benefit my training, as a specific power type workout. Does anyone reading this have any views on drag factor during training?

Drinking while erging:

Finally, on the subject of looking at longer distance ergs how do you drink while doing longer training rows? I’ve done a couple of marathon, and am happy with drinking when going for a fast time at a long distance, but I wonder if this is the best method is training, or if I would be better to allow myself to take on more water.

The options I see are:

  1. Pre set drink stops, eg setting 5k reps with a 30second rest to take on water.
  2. Simply allow the clock to keep running during drink stops – the average pace will be slower than the pace rowed, so perhaps not reflect the effort of the session.
  3. Row on “just row” and allow the clock to stop counting while you stop to drink.

I don’t think 2 is a good option for me as I get too obsessed by the average pace, and I would end up chasing the average pace back, or not drinking enough – I will need to practice drinking this way before doing a fast marathon though. Any views?

My targets on the long distance erg are:

  1. Marathon – ultimate aim sub 1:50 pace, though beating my pb 1:52.3 will be good (though I did no specific training for that).
  2. Individual 100k – three people in my work gym are doing individual 100k’s in December 2009. I thought this was nuts, but…. The 30-39hwt record is 1:54.9 pace for the 100k, which for over 6 hours on the erg is probably completely unrealistic for me to train up to, isn’t it?

One Response to “Targets, drag factor, drinking while erging”

  1. Tim said

    If you have a sturdy all in one, you can sling a camel bak bladder on the back. That way, you can fit the tube so that you can drink when you like without having to stop. A large camelbak can hold up to 3 litres, which, depending on the rate you sweat and the intensity you row, can get you between 18k-24k at 1:48 splits.

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