Long ride, outrowed

10377377_10153419898372841_340175084283779063_nThis weekend I finally got some endurance training in, something I have not done at all since my latest 3 weeks of illness and in general not much in 2014. The 24 mile bike ride pointed out that I don’t have much endurance.    My legs were already feeling dead by mile 5.  Luckily dropping to a lower gear and a faster cadence on the way back made things manageable.

Today I consumed most of my time rowing after another disappointing attempt at putting pull ups, push ups back to back to back in somewhat rapid succession.

I was on the second Concept 2 rower.  The first one was occupied by a guy I have seen there before.  He is probably at least 20 years older than me but is quite tall and has a lanky yet powerful build.  He was the only other guy I have seen at the gym that will row for a duration longer than 5 minutes.

Since I was right next to him I got a clear view of how he was pulling.  The first thing I noticed was his strokes per minute were lagging behind mine.  I normally hold right around 30, he was a rock solid 24.  However the next thing I saw was his 500 meter pace was less than 2:05 where I was more like 2:20.  So of course I started to analyze what the difference was between us.  He obviously was getting significantly more bang for the buck, pulling at a 20% lower rate than me stroke wise but going almost 10% faster.

There were a few things I noticed.  His overall stroke seemed longer.  On his return stroke he was really leaning forward, to the point where the handle was almost hitting cage that the chain retracts into.  On his pull he leaned back further than I do.  I only lean back slightly.  Finally, it seemed like he was pulling the handle harder into his body than I typically do.

So I started tweaking my form a bit.  The most noticeable change came when I pulled harder during the last foot of the movement.  My 500 pace dropped almost 10 seconds from that change alone.  The backward lean didn’t feel very natural and sort of screwed my rhythm up. Things weren’t helped by the foot straps on the second rower which are worn and will not stay secured during an entire session. Still, even with those changes, this old dude smoked me.  The only saving grace was I had my air vent set at 8 while he was dialed down to a 4 which certainly helped him move the handle a bit easier.

Today’s Workout

5 minutes cardio/stretching

18 pull ups

40 push ups

10 dips

20 minutes Concept 2 rower – 4294 meters covered

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