In an effort to recommit myself to improving my fitness, I’m going to set myself a goal for the next 365 days. My goal is to row 500,000m (indoors) between August 1st, 2014 and July 31, 2015. I first got this idea when I heard that Rich Froning, 4-time CrossFit Games Champion, set out a goal of rowing 1,000,000m in 2014. I did the math and knowing I don’t work out for a living like Rich, I knew that 1,000,000m was not very reasonable. So I took Froning’s goal and cut it in half. I think that’s more reasonable for me.
Why Is It A Reasonable Goal?
- I’m lucky in that I have access to Concept2 rowers at all places in my day to day life. I have a Concept2 at home, there’s an old school original Concept rower at the gym at work and there are Concept2 rowers at the gym where I drop into here and there (CrossFit Calgary). With all this access to rowers, I should be able to be on a rower every day of the year with exception to the days I am away for vacation and rest days.
- I feel it’s unlikely I’ll get injured rowing 500k. In my experience, I’ve never been injured from rowing and I feel it’s a fairly low risk task from an injury perspective. I was even able to row lightly after a few weeks after spraining my ankle badly while playing basketball and I could barely walk at that time. If this goal was to run 500k in the next year, it would definitely not be attainable for me as I injure very easily while running. Obviously, I’d like to stay healthy while trying to attain this goal.
- It’s not a lot of time on a rower. I figure that I’ll be on the rower for 300 of the 365 days in the year (approx 30 days of vacation out of town and 35 rest days), that means I’ll need to row at least 1,666m per day on the rower. At a fairly leasure pace of 2:00m/500m, I could do that in under 7 minutes. That may not sound that bad but if you’ve ever been on a rower keeping a sub 2:00m/500m pace for 2k or longer, you know that it can get pretty uncomfortable.
- Lastly, I don’t mind rowing. Some people hate it because, let’s face it, it can crush you. But I like getting lost in the movement, listening to some music or a podcast and trying to be the most efficient with my strokes. I’m definitely not the strongest or faster rower but I feel like I can go hard, get completely exhausted and stay injury free while doing it.
An Added Wrinkle
I feel like anyone could obtain this goal by just spending a lot of time on the rower and rowing at a slow pace. Sure, you’ll obtain the goal but you won’t be pushing yourself much. I intend to push myself while obtaining this goal which why I added the following wrinkle to this challenge - at least 50% of the 500k needs to be rowed either for time or as a part of a workout. By doing this, I know I’ll be pushing hard in at least 250,000m of my goal. I’ll keep track of my PRs in the 500m, 1000m, 2000m, 3000m and 5000m. Will my times get better as the year goes by? We’ll see I guess.
What Will This Do For Me?
Will this make me a fitter person? Will I lose weight? I really have no idea. I think there are a lot of other variables besides rowing a lot that goes into answering those questions. I just want an attainable goal that I can work towards and we’ll see what the results will be. Rowing will just be the foundation of my workouts as I still intend to do a lot of CrossFit-style workouts on top of my rowing and also, I’ll play hockey in the winter and baseball in the summer. And yes, I’ll still drink a lot of beer and eat pizza.
How Will I Track My Progress?
I will track my progress honestly through a public Google Spreasheet that I put together. In the spreadsheet, I will log each day I row and if I was rowing as part of a workout, for time or a cool down row (at a slow pace). Using that, I can calculate the running percentage of rowing that I’m doing for time or as part as a workout so I can keep it above 50%. I’ll also keep track of my PRs in the same spreadsheet. If you’d like to follow my progress, I’ve embedded the spreadsheet below or you can see it here.
Shin splints start hurting after 2–3k, then knees after 5–8k and then my hip flexers in the 10–15k. In the 10–15k range, my pace is so terribly slow because of my injuries, not because I’m tired, then I’m a wreck after. I know this would probably get better if I ran more but I would have to go through a lot of pain and recovery. ↩
Don’t believe me? Row 2k as fast as you can and reconsider as you lay on the ground in a pool of sweat. ↩
I have some good 500/1000/2000 PRs from a year or two ago when I was in better shape but I’m going to reset and retest my PRs so I can better gauge my improvement throughout the year. ↩