This is the way to row…with a smile on your face!

Next Monday, May 6, we will do a 2K row during the 8:30 am CrossFit Row class.  This is an important measure in the rowing world and it is key information for our rowers to have, especially when we talk about “split times” or pace in our workouts.  Many of my morning rowers have done the 2K…(remember 2K Fridays in January?) but with a number of newer rowers on board, I think it’s time we did it again.  And for you veterans, it’s always good to retest and see how much you’ve improved.

We will set our monitors to a single, 2000 meter distance so it will count down as you go.  It’s always nice to see the meters tick away.  Before you start, make sure your foot stretchers are set where you like them (strap across the part of the foot where your toe cleavage stops).  Check your damper setting and adjust it to your preference, probably between the 4 and 5.  You don’t want to go too high or the erg will feel too heavy and your legs will burn out.

Consider how fast you’d like to row your 2K and what that means each split should be.   A 2K is basically made up of 4 different 500-meter rows and each one has unique characteristics and poses different challenges.  Your goal is to be consistent with your pace throughout.  For example, if you are shooting for an 8 minute 2K, that means that your average split will be 2:00/500m.  You will want to be consistent with your stroke rating throughout the body of the piece while maintaining a consistent split or pace.  This is a much better plan than the “fly and die” approach with an erratic pace and stroke rating.  Efficiency is king and the best way to attain it is through good, solid technique and consistency with your splits.  Think about what your pace typically is when we are rowing hard in class (that big number in the middle of your screen).   If rowing a 2:10/500m  is a very hard effort for you, then you might be looking at an 8:40 2K.  (2:10 x 4 = 8:40)  If this will be your first time, your best bet will be to pick a pace and be consistent with that throughout the race.  Then, for the last 300 meters, if you have a lot left in the tank,  pour on the speed and use it up!    You’ll know better for the next time how to pace yourself.
The Pace Calculator can show you what kind of pace you’ll need to finish in your goal time or how long it will take you to row, depending on your known pace.

When you look at your monitor, depending on the screen, you will have info for your stroke rate (ex: 26 S/M), meters rowed, the time, your average pace per 500m, and your pace per stroke.  With each pull or stroke, your computer will give you your pace.  You want to keep that pretty tight from stroke to stroke.  There is one screen that will give you your estimated finish time so you can adjust your stroke rate depending on your goal finish time.

This screen above is the display we often use in class.  It shows meters at the top, your pace on the second line, time elapsed third, and finally, stroke rate at the bottom left.  For the 2K, we will use the display below that gives you much more information.

This is the display we will use for our 2K.  Top left is the meters counting down from 2000.  Top right is your stroke rate (how fast you slide back and forth).  The big number in the middle is your current pace.  You want to keep this number tight.  The third line (1:14) is the time elapsed.  Now, below the heavy black line is your average split for the 500 meters you are currently rowing.  It will change again with every 500 meters of the 2K.  Below it shows how much time you are into each 500.  Bottom line is an expected finish time based on your pace.  It’s always motivating to watch that line and see how low you can keep your time.  So for this screen, the person was currently pulling at a 2:07 pace for their last stroke, but their overall pace for the first 500 meters is 2:51.8.  To bring that overall pace down, they will need to continue to keep their pace fast.

The Race
Start:  Begin the race with a racing start.  Remember, it’s 1/2, 1/2, 3/4, and a full stroke, then 7-10 hard, powerful strokes at a higher stroke rating than what you will settle into.  This gets your flywheel going and gets you set up for the first 500 meters of the piece.  Begin to lengthen out that stroke and don’t forget to breathe.  Once you settle into your planned pace, resist the urge to go faster because you feel good.  The rower has a way of breaking you so you will pay with lactic acid later.  Stick to your plan.

1500 meters to go-
You are entering the second 500 of your row.  You need to focus on consistency and strong technique.  You will be getting tired but you have to stay mentally tough.  You still have a ways to go.  Have a mantra in your head…”legs, back, arms, arms back legs”.  Don’t let your knees bend too early or your pelvis slide ahead of your shoulders.  Keep that back strong and swinging from 11-1.

1000 meters to go – OK, this really stinks.  This is the red-headed stepchild part of the piece.  Your legs and lungs are burning and you are only at the halfway mark.  You must, however, remain positive.  Here’s where a killer instinct comes in handy.  You find out what you are made of in the 3rd 500.  They say to get a good 2K time, you need to have the speed of a sprinter and the endurance of a marathoner.  You are working in all the metabolic pathways and efficiency is important.  Don’t waste energy with excess layback or dipping your head.  Stay focused and be a robot…drive, recover, drive, recover.  The meters continue to click away.

Last 500 – You are in the home stretch.  You need to keep your pace consistent and don’t let it slip because you are tired.  Fight for this.  When you get to the last 300 meters, try to pick up your stroke rating and give it all you’ve got.  The last 100-200 meters are a full-on sprint.  Finish strong and earn that good score.  You are an athlete.  Show that erg who’s boss!

Must Read Links
Here are two great links to articles about how to prepare for a 2K and what to expect.  I would have loved to plagiarize both of them, but you’re better off just reading them for yourselves.
How to Prepare for a 2k
Winter Training: How to Tackle Your First 2k
Both of these articles will be extremely helpful in helping you to make and execute a plan for your 2K.

If you have any song requests, post them in comments or Facebook me and let me know.  Music makes a big difference.  Otherwise, it will be Skrillex and Super Mash Bros!  Good luck and I’ll see yall on Monday.  You can run, but you can’t hide.  Oh, and don’t have too many margaritas on Cinco de Mayo the day before.  Aye dios mio!