March 5, 2021 at 9:22 am #10793
Hello all, thanks for considering my question.
After a couple of decades of running off and on as my major source of exercise, I was introduced to and fell in love with triathlon. I had been an age grouper triathlete at distances ranging from sprint to Half Ironman over a period of about 5 years. I sustained an overuse injury as I pushed to the full Iron Man distance and also developed a sensitivity to water in my nose that made any swimming a wholly unsatisfying task (didn’t matter if I swam in chlorine, salt, or freshwater, one swim would leave me blocked nasally for days despite nasal sprays, steroids, etc). I was so demoralized by the combination of the injury and swimming struggles that I essentially gave up training and sulked for about 2 years before I started back up again about 9 months ago. Of course I lost all the fitness I had and I’m reminded every day of how much I’ve lost by giving up… but that’s not the reason for the post.
Given my swimming problems (in addition to the persistent nose issues, the closest pool to me is about an hour drive and, although I did it for years, I have no interest in early morning drives through the snow spending 2 hours driving for one hour swimming), I have experimented with Row/Bike/Run triathlon and scheduled a race series in my basement through the winter as motivation. I’ve focused entirely on low intensity work while I get back in shape (quasi-maffetone) and am soon to finish my 2nd 3month block with an olympic distance test, which I’ve set as 5km row, 40km bike, 10km run, next weekend. With some aerobic endurance back, I feel like I’m ready to intensify my efforts and have been intrigued in the past by the 80/20 method so I’ve purchased an 80/20 plan and will be replacing swimming with rowing. I’m fully aware that they are different sports (rowing and swimming) and work different muscle groups and I have no intention of transitioning back to swimming, at least not in the next 1-2 seasons. I’m content with and enjoying this multi-sport mix for the time being. I’m just wondering if anyone has insight into how to modify the swimming workouts to be most appropriate for rowing. As it stands, in my past few months I’ve simply done 10 mins of rowing for every 500yards of swimming. I don’t know if that conversion is appropriate for interval training and hoped someone here might have more insight that could help me optimize my row training using the 80/20 swim workouts as a guide. Thank you in advance for you insights!March 5, 2021 at 12:33 pm #10803
Does your ergometer give you virtual distance? If so, I recommend going with a distance-to-distance conversion because in any modality–swimming, rowing, etc.–you cover more distance in equal time at higher intensities. For example, let’s assume it takes you about 10 minutes to swim 500 yards in Zone 2. Now what you need to know is how long it takes you to row 500 yards in Zone 2. Let’s say it’s 2.5 minutes. In this scenario, Every 100 yards of swimming (regardless of intensity) in the 80/20 swim sets converts to 400 yards of rowing.March 5, 2021 at 1:57 pm #10810
Thanks for the rapid reply Matt. I have a concept 2 and yes it does do distance. I’ve been using it since I started training again last summer so I have plenty of data with distance and heart rate. Although most of my efforts were intended to be easy I’m sure I’ve fallen into the trap of pushing into moderate and even high intensity at times. If I’m following your logic correctly then I should calculate my average rowing velocity in each of the heart rate zones and use that to derive a conversion for the target distance. That sounds much better than just 10min per 500 yards. My tower also displays power and I wondered if I could use it much like the power meter on my bike. For cycling I’ve really come to rely on and appreciate my power based training. In that case I could use power targets for specified intervals of time. I know you have workouts for running which are power based… would you happen to have similar for swimming or rowing?March 5, 2021 at 3:09 pm #10811
It’s even easier than that. You should be able to use a single conversion ratio for all five zones. If you’re four times faster on the rower in Zone 1, then you should also be about four times faster relative to swimming in Zones 2-5.
We don’t offer power-based rowing workouts, but if I were you I would indeed do power-based workouts on the rower. It would be pretty easy to at least create custom rowing power zones. Your average watts in a 6:00 time trial will be you VO2max rowing power, which becomes the top of Zone 4, etc.March 6, 2021 at 9:28 am #10828
Thanks again Matt. So if I’m following correctly, I’d then take a swim workout like STT2: 200 yd Z1, 400 yd Z3, 120″ rest, 200 yd Z3, 120″ rest, 200 yd Z1
And would use the converted distances (ie if I rowed 4 times faster on average like you suggest) and power zones from the training peaks rowing autocalculator (with threshold set at 150W as an example), then the workout becomes:
800yd at 85W, 1600yd at 135W, 2 min rest, 800yd at 135W, 2 min rest, 800yd at 85W.
If I’ve got it right, this is exactly what I was looking for. I’ll do a time trial to try to get a better idea of my FTP and then I should be off to the races. Thanks!March 6, 2021 at 11:42 am #10842
That’s the idea. Power zones might need to be a little different for rowing. I’ll look into that.
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