Rowing speed vs running speed

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Carl Watts
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Re: Rowing speed vs running speed

Post by Carl Watts » April 6th, 2021, 9:06 pm

I'm totally the wrong build for any form of running.

My 10K rowing time, even without killing myself at age 54 is way faster than I could run it even at age 20.
Carl Watts.
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Cyclist2
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Re: Rowing speed vs running speed

Post by Cyclist2 » April 7th, 2021, 1:10 pm

When I was 30 I lived on the shore of the Charles River in Cambridge. I was into running at the time, not rowing (missed opportunity, dang!). My fastest race was a 10 miler at a 6:01 pace (that would be a 1:52 per 500 meters pace). There is no way I could row that fast for that long, even back then. The fastest singles row the Head of the Charles at around that same pace. I got into rowing about four years later and my best 2500m erg piece (that was when the erg races were 2500 meters) was 8:45 (1:45 pace) and my best head race time was about a 2:05 pace. So in my youth I ran about the same speed as the faster rowers, but myself couldn't row as fast as I ran.

Fast forward to now. Running -- due to sore knees, loss of interest, gain of interest in rowing and cycling -- is history and my best erg time for 2000m was around a 1:48 pace (2018). Even if I could still run, it would be nowhere near that kind of pace, even for a 100m sprint!

Bottom line, in my case at least, is that rowing (and cycling) is much more friendly to aging athletes. Once my shoulder is back to full strength next year, I hope to get back into a regimented erg (and OTW) rowing training program and try to get those times back down. I only run when my wife calls for dinner. :lol:
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

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OregonERG
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Re: Rowing speed vs running speed

Post by OregonERG » April 7th, 2021, 3:43 pm

Cyclist2 wrote:
April 7th, 2021, 1:10 pm
Bottom line, in my case at least, is that rowing (and cycling) is much more friendly to aging athletes. Once my shoulder is back to full strength next year, I hope to get back into a regimented erg (and OTW) rowing training program and try to get those times back down. I only run when my wife calls for dinner. :lol:
I do agree with that and I think there are two reasons why rowing is treating me better than running as I age: less pounding of the joints (weight bearing) and a more all-body workout.

Honestly though, I think running makes you suffer for each and every pound you gain (even muscle) while swimming, biking, rowing, etc. are not as tied to being super lean. Heck, my weight is up right now and I am still rowing better than ever...

p.s. When we say rowing on this forum, do people assume we mean erg'ing or do we need to say that? Obviously, in real OTW scenarios, the paces are totally different (and the weight issue is different). As a Concept2 person, when I say row I mean erg... sorry, if that isn't always clear. That's my fault.
48 years, 6'0 & 170 lbs. | 2km - 6:59.2 / 5km - 18:13.7 / 30 min - 8085m / 10km - 37:12.5 / Hour Best - 15,823m

Mike Caviston
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Re: Rowing speed vs running speed

Post by Mike Caviston » April 7th, 2021, 10:00 pm

Running by nature is more efficient than rowing, so we should expect the fastest runners to cover a given distance in less time than the fastest rowers. Years ago when I regularly attended the Head of the Charles regatta, I would run along the course from start to finish, picking one of the faster eights to "race". I had no trouble winning, even though my running route was longer than the direct path on the water. and I had bystanders and traffic to contend with. Individual comparisons between running and rowing speed would vary depending on body type, even for people who train equally for both. My best quarter mile, half mile, and mile (in high school) and best 5K and 10K (in my 20s) were all at faster paces than I've ever been able to achieve on the erg in my entire life, even though objectively you'd call me a pretty good runner but a very good rower. I never ran an official half marathon before I passed my prime, but I'm pretty sure I could have never run a half as fast as I've rowed on the erg, and my long rows were only training sessions, not PR attempts. So there was a crossover distance where rowing became faster. There was definitely a crossover for age - these days, I'm much faster rowing than running at any distance, even though I devote as much or more time in training to running than rowing.

I've always wanted to do the Central Catholic Biathlon in Pittsburgh, which features a 10K erg followed by a 10K run. From these results from 2019:
https://www.row2k.com/results/resultspa ... 15D7&cat=2
- we can see that most people rowed faster than they ran, though they did have to row first and it sounds like the running conditions weren't great. If anyone lurking has any first-hand info about the logistics of this race, I'd love to hear what the 10K course is like and how the row-run transition is done.

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Re: Rowing speed vs running speed

Post by jamesg » April 8th, 2021, 2:48 am

Four 8s rowed the Ouse course (4900m) near Ely in 16:25 (women) and 16:14 (men) last Sunday. Crosswind but not much stream I'd guess, and certainly no 3 knot Tideway.
08-1940, 183cm, 84kg. Last seen MHR 158 in 2k = 220 - 77% of age fwiw.
2021-2: ½k 1:55.5 - 1k 4:09.2 - 2k 8:42.2 - 5k-23:15 - 30' 6247 - 10k 49:36

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OregonERG
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Re: Rowing speed vs running speed

Post by OregonERG » April 9th, 2021, 9:22 pm

Mike Caviston wrote:
April 7th, 2021, 10:00 pm
Individual comparisons between running and rowing speed would vary depending on body type, even for people who train equally for both. My best quarter mile, half mile, and mile (in high school) and best 5K and 10K (in my 20s) were all at faster paces than I've ever been able to achieve on the erg in my entire life, even though objectively you'd call me a pretty good runner but a very good rower...
I agree with the "body type" part of it. But even more than that, I just think the range in which any row can happen is just much smaller. If you look at all the possible efforts that a healthy, young man could post in a 2km Erg race, they only range from 5:38 (WR) to, say 7:10 (last in my age-group) or so. In my limited experience, that is pretty much the range for the open men. I've never seen a man at an Erg comp pull a 9:28 2km or something like that. At Ergomania 2020 (a local race), there were only four men who weren't under 1:53 pace in the Hour of Power race. Could you imagine how slow some people would be moving in an hour long run?

If you go to a running race, you can see 5km times (the most common distance for a Park Run) between 15:xx and 27:xx --- such a huge spectrum. There are runners who race twice as slow as Mo Farah but there are no rowers who row twice as slow as Josh Dunkley-Smith. It is impossible to row that slow.
48 years, 6'0 & 170 lbs. | 2km - 6:59.2 / 5km - 18:13.7 / 30 min - 8085m / 10km - 37:12.5 / Hour Best - 15,823m

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