8 Tips for Longer Workouts | Concept2

8 Tips for Longer Workouts

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Nov 02, 2021

Hoping to do more meters than last year for this year’s Holiday Challenge—and benefit from the improved fitness and increased Calorie burn for the holidays? Here are some tips and sample workouts for upping your mileage.

1. The PM5 is your ally

Take advantage of the variety of workout formats that the PM5 offers:

  • Automatic “Just Row” (or Just Ski or Just Ride modes) starts at zero and counts up. It’s automatic—no button-pushing required—and you can go as long as you like.
  • Preset time or preset distance modes have the advantage of encouraging commitment from the beginning. You choose a distance or time, and once you start working, the PM counts down until you finish. Only once do you face the decision of how long you want to go. Then you just do it.
  • Intervals are alternating between bouts of harder work and easy rest. These types of workouts add structure and help the time pass. Plus the PM5 records all your meters, even the rest meters, to your LogBook.

Try all three of these options to see what works best for you. In fact, rotating between them will add some spice to your regime, too.

2. “As the Flywheel Spins”

Tune in to our free podcast. Our in-house coach Cady leads you through a workout, and there are now more than 80 episodes to choose from. Or try an app. Our open source PM5 means there are plenty of apps to choose from. 

3. Bursts of Speed

A nice way to break up a long workout is to intersperse bursts of speed at regular intervals. These bursts add both intensity and interest and help the time pass.


  • Set a preset distance of 10,000 meters. Take 15 strokes/pulls hard every 1000 meters. (Double the distances for the BikeErg.)
  • Set a preset timed piece of 45 minutes. Row/Ski/Bike 1 minute harder every 5 minutes.

4. Vary Your SPM/RPM

This is a great way to structure a long workout, both for your head and your body. The key is to alternate between two or three different stroke rates/cadences.

Here are several examples:

  • Row 3 minutes @ 24 spm, 2 minutes @ 27 spm, 1 minute at 30 spm and then repeat until you reach your distance goal.
  • Ski 500 meters @ 38-40 spm, then 250 meters @ 42-45 spm, and continue to alternate.
  • On the BikeErg, pedal at 70 rpm for 3 min, then 80 rpm for 2 min, then 90 rpm for 30 seconds, and repeat 4-5 times.

5. Explore Units

The PM offers a choice of units—watts, pace, or Calories—which you can change at any time before, after or during your workout. The ability to look at a variety of units can add interest, especially if you set different goals in each of the units.

For example, start your workout in Pace/Meters. After your first 1000 meters, push Select Units once to get to Calorie mode. See what your total Calories reads and set yourself a goal of, say, 50 more Calories. When you reach that goal, press Select Units to get to watts. Take a look at your average watts. Pick up the pace slightly and go until you have taken a second off your average pace. Now press Select Units again to return to Pace/Meters. You can repeat the same series of goals, or set yourself new ones.

6. Change Your Location and View

A new location or view can help a lot. If the weather is nice, turn your indoor workout into an outdoor one. Or bring it upstairs from the basement (being sure the family knows it's just temporarily sitting in the middle of the living room!) so you can be closer to the rest of the family. Or, leave it in the usual place, but turn it around end to end.

7. Multitask

Try watching the news, listening to a podcast, or learning a foreign language at the same time as you get your exercise. Long, relatively low intensity workouts are the best ones for this. You may find yourself going even longer than planned if you just really need to hear the end of the story! Note that the newest member of our training family, the BikeErg, even makes it possible to check your email while exercising—if you so choose!

8. Work Out with Friends

Working out with others has been extra hard lately due to COVID. Maybe you can’t be in the same space with a friend, but it can still help to connect about your planned workouts. Commit to each other and check in with each other after the session. You can also become “Training Partners” through the Online Logbook.

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