From Running to Rowing
A beginner’s switch from one demanding sport to another
With gyms closed for the nearest concept of the future that the public could hold onto from day to day, it became apparent to many that fitness and workouts would need to be restructured and realigned to suit the current environment. From past purchases, I was lucky in having a home gym that would adequately maintain my current muscle mass. Even so, working out in quarantine had me think up about running again. Yet, at the same thought of running again came the memories of the frustration associated with the activity. At this point, I was brought to the thought of our — the families — rowing machine.
Set aside for later, the Concpet2 had been under-utilized its entire time. Brought into the household to appease the then fitness goals of my eldest brother, it has remained on the sidelines of everyone else’s radar. To this day, I can recall my brothers huffing and puffing with every stroke and row. I can distinctly picture his relief in finishing a session with the machine, almost as if he had beaten every goal he had going into it. With that and a friend’s continuous recommendation of the exercise, it was inevitable that I would give the sport a try.
Given what little running experience I had under my shoes, I was interested in seeing a potential rowing experience. In preparation for my virgin row, I casually watched a few videos on standard rowing form and stroke efficiency. Thinking that was sufficient, I propped up the kit outside at a crisp five in the afternoon and began my rowing session. The purpose of this session was to see my current statistics.
It was, and still is, my opinion to find a start point to kick off from. If nothing else, these statistics could be compared with later sessions in an attempt at identifying progressive or regressive trends. Indeed, the first session left no mood to be statistically jolly.
Maybe it was my excitement to try my hand at a new sport, but disregarding warming ups should not have been a part of my initial rowing session. Regrettably, my approach to the exercise was all over the place. 10 minutes into an ill-planned, erratic row, I gassed out — terribly. Physically contorting on the floor beside the machine, the first thought I had was not too far off the possibility of moving away from the sport.
I thank my similar baptism of fire into running as a reason for continuing my rowing journey.
A while after I caught my breath, and cooled down from the workout, I collected my thoughts on the move forward. I would resolve to a schedule that had me controlling a row of small distances. Subsequently, the objective of this style of workout planning is on fundamentals — building a strong base atop of movements required for future intense and demanding rowing distances. Additionally, the plan I set up would take into consideration pre-warm ups and post-warm up exercises for optimum muscle recovery. Quicker than I anticipated, my YouTube feed began to suggest videos tantamount to what you expect an Olympic rower to watch.
From experience, I can say that measurable progression plays an irreplaceable part in reviewing one’s aptitude in an area. Rowing is no exception. 2 weeks in and I am noticing habits in my rowing invaluable to progression. My mind and body are readily prepared for the battering that rowing brings about. Of physical note, I have seen my legs and quads begin to show signs of tone and conditioning. This is not say that dieting has not been am an important cog in the process.
Committing to a rowing regiment alongside an above-average home gym schedule has had my appetite increase too, all just 2 weeks in! Yesterday, I posted a sub 9-min 2km row at a 1:59min/500m split. Suffice it say, I have come strokes further than my first rowing session and am looking forward to the sessions to come.