Sunday, June 09, 2013

Jogging, Rowing and Xootring

My arm is slowly returning to it's wimpy good looks. Must admit, it's taken much longer than I expected for the swelling to go down. The haematologist was happy with my progress when I saw her last Monday. The Ct-scan was good — showing no underlying abnormality. The blood test was also good, although my haemoglobin was low at 131g/L (historically, it's always been between 125 and 145 so I guess my body isn't keen on iron). The weekly volume of jogging is slowly increasing (40 kilometres this past week). I haven't been doing a lot of rowing on the Concept2 as I want to wait until the arm is feeling 100% before ramping up the volume.

I'm interested in the relationship between rowing and running — how 'good' rowers compare to runners. Some rowers say there's no relationship! You're either a good rower or a good runner. With rowing, it's an advantage to be heavier (up to a point) with elite male scullers being around the 90kg mark. For indoor rowing records there are two classes, with the lightweight class being for males under 75kg (I scrape in at 74.1) and females under 61.5kg. Records for masters rowers are much closer to rowing world records than similarly aged runners are to running world records. For example, the indoor rowing world record for 5000m is 14:58 (set by Rob Waddell, the Sydney Olympic gold medallist), while the M50 record is 16:24 (a difference of 1:26). The 5000m running world record of 12:37 is 2:16 slower than the 14:53 M50 world record. Running is faster than rowing, but at the moment I'd run 5k in about 24 minutes and can row it in 22:27. Think that means I'm more suited to rowing than running. Perhaps I chose the wrong sport 33 years ago!

As well as rowing, I've also taken up scootering for cross-training (and for fun!). I decided to purchase an 'adult sized' small wheeled scooter (rather than a kick-bike) — mainly due to the portability (it folds up and you can carry it with a strap over your shoulder). The "ultra-low-resistance polyurethane" tyres don't get flats! I can scoot on Canberra's bike paths and never have to stop to fix a flat tyre. See this short video of my first attempt — a bit wobbly, but I didn't stack so all good. My technique has improved and I can now scoot with either leg (and switch legs on the fly). Out of interest, the following graphs show my heart-rates for the three activities — a hard 5000m track race, a hard row and an easy scoot.

A 5000m race from last November (when I was fit!), a 5000m 'novice' hard row and a 5k 'easy' Xootr


Blogger Superflake said...

So you should have joined Sydney Rowing Club instead of Sydney Striders all those years ago. Glad the arm is getting back to normal.

8:16 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

Great that you are almost 100% again. All that cross training will make you stronger and give you lots of interesting conversation topics. I want to check out that xooter - it looks awesome in the video.

8:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a letsrun discussion of possible interest to you on the links between rowing & running here:

(I'm "BMA Rower" in that thread. Rereading what I wrote now, I'd say I still agree with most of it, but I might have worded some of it differently. I think that rowing has made me a better runner because it's expanded my ability to work hard and helped me get used to a higher total training load, but I definitely think it's difficult to parse out a correlation in ability/potential between the two sports. For some people, the physical gifts and mental toughness that make them good rowers are what also make them decent runners, but in my experience, there can also be no correlation at all! It really depends!)

I am so happy to hear that you are enjoying it. Rowing is such an incredible sport.

12:44 am  
Blogger Thomas said...

Glad to see you're on the mend again. You gave me a bit of a scare there.

7:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will be very interested to see how heart rate compares when the 5K rowing session is at the same fraction of your maximum capability as the 5K run. I suspect that the larger volume of circulating blood required to supply the larger volume of muscle employed when rowing will result in greater stretching of your heart, producing a larger stoke volume, so HR will still be lower despite a somewhat greater total cardiac output and greater oxygen consumption. But I think the comparison will work differently with the scooter. Functioning muscle mass will probably be less than either running or rowing, and I suspect you will not be able to work your heart to its full capacity, so HR will not reach the level achieved ether running or rowing. Have fun!

9:59 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Paul, yes! Or a surf lifesaving club - my cousin was a champion surf boat oarsman for Bulli back in the day.

Thanks Strewth. I'll give you a go - don't forget to bring your helmet ;-)

Wow SK, thanks for that link. Interesting read! I want to use rowing to supplement the aerobic side of running (think I'm weak aerobically as a runner), as well as strengthen the quads/core. Also for fun of course! And occasional indoor competition, which is taking off down here.

Thanks Thomas. If you ever have the same symptoms (swelling arm/leg) get to the doc ASAP.

Canute, good points - I'm interested too. At the moment I'm muscularly weak for rowing so have to pace myself through a 5k. I'll be using the Xootr for low HR training and a different muscular workout for the legs. Uphills are quite hard on the scooter!

11:04 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad you are getting better Ewen. Love the scooter! I want one! The artistic effects of the toe-level autumn leaves were great on the video. Cheers -- Miranda

5:32 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thank you Miranda! You'll have to put one on the Birthday/Christmas list. Plus a helmet, gloves and knee pads ;-)

6:50 am  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

Love the Zootr! But we need to see you riding it instead of the path! Not surprised those birds scattered as you advanced!! LL

1:37 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Luckylegs, I don't want to frighten any children who might be watching!

9:22 pm  
Blogger Sling Runner said...

The Xootr looks cool !!

I think doing rowing and scooting makes sense. Rowing for aerobic/cardio (decent HR levels) and scooting for low-impact leg push-off

1:59 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Sling, that's how I see it too. The scooter is also like a low intensity interval session - work up a bit of speed then coast and repeat. Uphills are quite hard work though and quickly elevate the HR.

10:29 pm  
Blogger Run, Karla, Run! said...

I'll be curious to hear how you get on as a rower! I was a much better rower than I am a runner. They're really different in that in rowing skill or technique comes into play (especially in a boat vs an erg) way more than running. It's like swimming in that respect. As a rower, just about everyone on the team could kick my butt running, but I'd win seat race after seat race in a boat--long arms and long legs are great for rowing leverage, but give you no advantage when running. But they're both great cardio workouts! My guess is your rowing will only help your running.

6:16 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Wow Karla - that's interesting. I'm realising already how important technique is with rowing. Maybe one day I'll try rowing on water, but for now the erg will do! I have long arms - legs, maybe not as long as a rower's, but yes, great to have the levers for rowing. Can't wait until I get stronger!

7:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved the video - quite mesmerising & you are so lucky to have such perfect bike paths for Xootr zooming around on! Sydney footpaths are crap in comparison. Be fun to see a video of you swapping legs & a few aerial tricks will probably be on the cards once you've had a bit more practice ;-)

Good news that your arm is improving so well.

I still haven't hopped on the rower at the gym yet but I can't wait to have a go when I've got a bit of time/energy one evening, not happy that I'm in the heavyweight class though. It will be fun to hear how you go in the rowing comps once you get fit/trained up!!!

7:37 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Fiona. I'm working on some one-handed jumps of the sculptures outside the National Gallery ;-) You'd be a fast rower if you're in the HW class. I'm bordering on that - should stay under as 72-3 kg is a good running weight. Hope rowing muscles aren't too heavy!

5:55 pm  
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2:26 am  

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