Indoor Sport Services Training Guide
Our Indoor Rowing Training Guide is the ultimate training resource for the Indoor Rower. Written by top education and coaching specialists, it includes information on technique and training, with programmes on cross-training, 2,000m and marathon race training, weight management and keep fit. There are guest chapters written by top names such as Jurgen Grobler and Chris Shambrook as well as dedicated sections on psychology, nutrition and weight training.
Preset Programmes - Marathon Training Plans<< Estimated Marathon Pace Based On 5,000mMarathon Programme Notes >>
by Frank Birch
These training plans cover a period of six months, terminating on the day of the London Marathon and National Indoor Rowing Marathon Day. Two plans are shown, referred to below as the 110,000m plan and the 80,000m plan. The number of metres being the maximum number of metres you intended to row during the peak week of either plan. The 110,000m and 80,000m plans assume a training baseline of at least four weeks at 40,000m and 30,000m per week respectively.
Training Principles Underlying the Plans
An indoor rowing marathon is a fairly new event so it is sensible to look at longer established endurance events and draw on their experience whilst being mindful of the differences between indoor rowing and other endurance disciplines. For example, training for and running a marathon is a high impact activity which introduces constraints into training schedules that are imposed to minimise the risk of injury. It is reasonable to expect that these constraints can, to an extent, be relaxed when participating in a lower impact activity such as indoor rowing. These training plans are built so as to:
- Exercise and improve the different energy systems utilised when rowing long distances (see Your Body in Section 3: Physiology).
- Progressively increase the training load (overall kilometres being rowed) over a period of time.
- Prepare your body (and mind) for rowing long distances.
With these points in mind the training plans build progressively to a weekly total of 110,000m and 80,000m respectively.
Weekly Distances Rowed in the 110,000m and 80,000m Plans
The build up is based on the principle used in distance running of not increasing distance on successive weeks by more than a set percentage. The rule generally used in running is a maximum of 10% for experienced runners and less for others (typically 5% for a novice). As rowing is not as stressful as running this rule, although applied in principle, is not always adhered to rigidly.
The maximum weekly distance is planned to take place four to five weeks before undertaking the marathon as is typically the case when preparing to run the distance.
Additionally, within each week a long set piece is scheduled. This progressively gets closer to the full marathon distance, helping to prepare both physically and psychologically for the demands of the event.
The training plans are structured using meso- and micro-cycles that alternate placing a training load on the body whilst providing recovery time to allow adaptation to take place. The meso-cycle length chosen is four weeks, consisting of three hard weeks, followed by a recovery week. The micro-cycle is seven days consisting of a mix of hard and recovery sessions (including rest days). The 110,000m plan is based on training for six days in most weeks. There are five training days during a typical week for the 80,000m plan.
The plans are based on six (four week) meso-cycles followed by a two week taper immediately prior to performing the marathon. For the first four week cycle, emphasis is on general endurance. This provides a platform for moving onto other forms of training in subsequent cycles. During cycles two to five VO2 max, strength and lactate threshold training are introduced as indicated in the following table.
|Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4|
|Cycle 1 (m)||40,000||45,000||50,000||35,000||30,000||33,000||36,000||25,000|
|Cycle 2 (m)||50,000||55,000||60,000||45,000||36,000||40,000||36,000||30,000|
|Cycle 3 (m)||60,000||67,500||75,000||55,000||45,000||50,000||45,000||40,000|
|Cycle 4 (m)||75,000||82,500||95,000||70,000||55,000||60,000||55,000||50,000|
|Cycle 5 (m)||95,000||100,000||105,000||85,000||65,000||70,000||65,000||60,000|
|Cycle 6 (m)||105,000||110,000||95,000||80,000||75,000||80,000||75,000||60,000|
Training Plan Structure
During the final cycle, some power based training is added to improve underlying speed and help make marathon pace seem easier. Information about the effects of different intensities of training are included in Your Body in Section 3 : Physiology.
|Marathon Training Programme Structure|
|Weeks 1-4||Weeks 5-8||Weeks 9-12||Weeks 13-16||Weeks 17-20||Weeks 21-24||Weeks 25/26|
The Long Weekly Row
The single most important ingredient to marathon success is the long session. You are preparing for a long row and the best way to prepare for a long row is to do long rows. The benefits of doing progressively longer rows, approaching the marathon distance include:
- Teaching your body to utilise both fat and glycogen to produce muscular energy. Exhaust your glycogen supplies and you've run into that infamous wall. Long rows will train your body to utilise fat more efficiently and reduce the rate at which glycogen is consumed.
- Allowing you to test your body's reaction to water and various sports drinks taken whilst rowing and to eating different food in the hours preceding the row. They also provide an opportunity to find the best way of taking on liquid during a row. During a marathon taking on liquid is essential, and the food you take on in the hours before and during the row (sports drinks) can make a significant difference to your final performance.
- Preparing your mind for the event. The further you know that you can row, the stronger and more confident you will feel.
How to Use the Plans
These plans can either be used as is, or as a model for constructing your own plan based on your specific needs and aspirations. When using these plans you will, as a minimum, need to decide when to have rest days. These don't need to be the same day(s) each week and can be used to best fit your training plan into a week around other commitments. Beyond this, many variations are possible.
The "long row" in each week's schedule is intended to be aligned with the weekend (say Sunday) because this is frequently the day when there is most free time. But for some people this will not be the case. You may want to reschedule the daily sessions within a week so that the long sessions can be tackled on the days that you have most time available. In general, when shuffling sessions try to alternate long sessions with short sessions, and try to alternate types of training.
There is nothing sacred about the four week meso-cycle. Three week and five week cycles are also often used. Which works best depends on a number of factors, for example, how hard the "hard weeks" are. One of the reasons for choosing a four week cycle is that this is the unit of time chosen for focusing training at different energy systems. However, it may be convenient if certain weeks aligned with the easy weeks in the plan. For example, if you are going away on holiday for a week it may be sensible to schedule this as an easy week. Christmas week falls on week 11 of the plans as shown Table 5.17. By making weeks nine to 11 a three week cycle, and weeks 12 to 16 a five week cycle you can force Christmas week to be an easy week.
Training Plan Calendar
The fourth week in each meso-cycle is intended to be an easy week. Its main purpose is to allow your body the chance to adapt to the load you placed on it during the previous three weeks. When you start the next meso-cycle you should feel ready for the challenge. The kilometre target for these weeks is just for guidance and it is better to do less than to start the next cycle exhausted.
Although the two plans are based on five and six days per week this can, to an extent, be varied to fit your plan with other commitments. In fact, in the early weeks of both plans an extra rest day is sometimes inserted in a recovery week or immediately following a particularly challenging session (or sessions).