Race to Your Potential

By Alex Dunne

In Rowing

June 01, 2008

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Back in February of 2007, Concept2 co-founder Peter Dreissigacker wrote an article in the CrossFit Journal (issue 54) about how to prepare for an indoor rower test. That article concentrated mainly on the type of workouts to include in a training schedule in the final few weeks leading up to a race. It also touched on the basics of how to construct a race plan.

Over the years I have witnessed many people who have failed to race to their potential because they didn't pace the race correctly. This is either because they didn't know how to, or because they got carried away by the excitement of race conditions. Having the right race plan--and sticking to it--makes a big difference both for your performance and for your enjoyment of the experience of indoor racing. In this article I will look in more detail at constructing a race plan and how to avoid making costly mistakes.


I will use the 1000-meter distance in the examples below (in part because at the CrossFit Games this July there will be an opportunity to win an indoor rower by taking part in a 1000-meter race), but the same basic principles could be applied to any race distance.

Your pace The first question you need to answer is what time are you realistically capable of for the given distance? If you have never raced over 1000 meters before then you will need to use the results of your training sessions and performances over other distances to approximate a time. If you have ever raced over 2000 meters, then a reasonable starting guideline is that your pace (that is, your pace per 500 meters as shown on the monitor) over 1000 meters should be around five seconds faster than your pace for 2000 meters.

Alex Dunne works with international markets for Concept2. He is a former English lightweight oarsman who rowed competitively on the water throughout the 1990s. Alex plays a variety of sports and he continues to compete on the indoor rower. In 2006 he won the 2000-meter race in the Master Men's age 30-39 lightweight category at the C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships with a time of 6:44.5.

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