8 Classic Running Workouts to Row

Oct 09, 2019

Running training plans incorporate a variety of workouts to help you build up to your goals: daily runs build base fitness, track workouts improve speed and pacing; fartleks vary intensity; long runs build endurance; hills improve strength; recovery days address fatigue and rest.

Some of our favorite running workouts translate nicely to rowing.

  1. Go for a row. Looking for a comfortable aerobic workout? Try a 5k row at a pace where you can maintain a conversation. Aim for a stroke rate of 24–26 spm.
  2. Join a virtual group session. Try working out along to the Concept2 podcast. Our in house trainer, Cady Hart-Petterssen provides coaching and tips.
  3. Track day. Runners use a 400m distance as the basis for track workouts, which is one full lap. In rowing, 500m is an approximate equivalent. Try 500m rowing repeats instead of 400m running repeats: 4 x 500m with 1 minute rest in between. Keep your stroke rate up to work on fast twitch muscles (stroke rate 28–36 spm).
  4. Fartlek. The Fish Game challenges you to vary your intensity as you eat up smaller fish and avoid the big black sharks. This 4-minute long game is a great warm-up or cool-down.
  5. Long run. Build up slowly to longer and longer rows. A 10k is a great distance to aim for and can be ranked in your online logbook. Work up to a half marathon (21,097m) or full marathon (42,195m) and receive special recognition from Concept2!  
  6. Hills. The indoor rower allows you to vary your intensity on each pull. Experiment with damper, drag and intensity with this interval workout:
    3 x 6 Minutes (with 2 minutes rest in between):
    • Interval 1: Damper setting 3, 2 minutes at 22 spm, 2 minutes at 24 spm, 2 minutes at 26 spm.
    • Interval 2: Damper setting 5, 2 minutes at 24 spm, 2 minutes at 26 spm, 2 minutes at 28 spm.
    • Interval 3: Damper setting 7, 2 minutes at 26 spm, 2 minutes at 28 spm, 2 minutes at 26 spm.
  7. Rest and recovery. Rowing is low-impact and can be a great way to keep the blood flowing while you take the pressure off your legs and feet. Try an easy 30–45 minutes or 4 x 1500m with 3 minutes rest in between.
  8. Race! The Olympic distance for rowing is 2000m. We provide first time race advice, whether you join an official event or try a time trial on your own.  

For most athletes, running and rowing workouts won’t be an exact comparison. Comparisons will likely favor the primary sport for which you train. While running has a technique and form to it, rowing is arguably considered more technique driven. In rowing, you also glide each “step,” earning a bit more distance per “stride.” These workouts are meant to complement your running and overall fitness. Enjoy the row!

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