I was having a discussion with a friend over the weekend that is also doing the Ironman UK in 2014 about the training that we are currently doing. My friend mentioned that she is not doing any swimming, cycling or running over the winter months and will only start to concentrate on these about 20 weeks out from the Ironman itself. This has obviously got me to thinking about my own training.
I am currently concentrating on running and swimming with the odd ride out on my mountain bike. This is due somewhat to my road bike currently being out of action as mentioned in my previous post but also due to running generally being the best way for me to keep the weight off over during the upcoming Xmas period. I am going to continue down this route in the short term anyway but I did find one article of interest after following up what my friend had said around using an indoor rower as part of her weekly training plan.
The article titled The Amazing Benefits Of Training For A Full Ironman On The Indoor Rowing Machine And Indoor Cycling Bike is from a website called roworx.com which run indoor rowing classes in Long Beach, Los Angeles so, of course, if heavily biased toward rowing and its training benefits. However, within the article an US Olympic Rower, Jack Nuun (who also happens to own the owner of the fitness centre) describes his career from Olympic Rower to two-times Ironman finisher siting that 90% of his training was done on a Concept2 Rowing Machine and indoor cycle.
One of the big advantages that seem to be had by using the indoor rower, other than its cardio benefits and low impact nature, is that ‘the muscles used in rowing and the muscle endurance in the latissimus muscles from rowing Jack was never tired while swimming and pulled his way through the swim in just over an hour’. This is something that I have never considered before and something that I am going to take on board.
I current plan to undertaken two swimming sessions per week. One session which is a coached ‘drills’ session which incorporates warming up, followed by numerous drills and repeat sets of various distances as the weeks progress. The other session is usually one that is aimed at the endurance side of swimming in which longer intervals or one long distance swim is undertaken. I don’t think that I will totally replace the second endurance type session but if I am struggling for time to get to the gym to hit the pool I can substitute this by using the rowing machine in the local gym close by to work on my way home!
I will not be adapting the 90% use of indoor cycling or rowing but will definitely be doing a lot more of this over the winter months and will continue to use the rower right through the session to hopefully gain the endurance benefits in the water. Jack finishes the article with his three top indoor rowing sessions which I have summarised below.
Top 3 indoor rowing workouts:
1) The ’30/30/30′ listed as :”30 / :30” on the custom list on the monitor. Described as rowing for 30 seconds on, then 30 seconds off, times 30 intervals. Row as hard as you can with the best technique you can at 28-32 stroke rate rating. Rest, drink, get ready and repeat!
2) The ‘Pryamid Workout’ listed as “V 1:00 1:00 … 7” is approx. a 32 minute workout. The machine is pre-programmed to begin with 1 min on and 1 min off of rowing going up to 4 min and then back down to one minute seeing how many meters you can row in each segment.
3) The ’140/20 Workout’ listed as “1:40 :20 … 9” is a rowing workout that provides a maximum amount of time to row with minimal rest in order to produce the ultimate effect in High Interval Training and give your heartrate and endurance an amazing challenge. This workout is 20 minutes and has 9 intervals with a 2:00 minute rest after 5 intervals. A good goal could be to hold an average Watt output of double your bodyweight.
You can find more on indoor rowing in The Complete Guide to Indoor Rowing.