Home Chat General Chat

Rowing in leau of running

This is a big year for me with the Outlaw Half and my 1st Ironman (Wales). Problem is 2 weeks ago I sprained my ankle. I haven't been able to run but I can use the rower in the gym without to much of a problem.

Here's the crux though, my perceived exertion level during rowing is far higher than if I ran with the same heart rate. Do I need to alter my HR zones like I have for cycling (i.e. subtract 5%)? Or is rowing just harder anyway.

Has anyone used rowing to maintain or build their endurance while injured and was it effective?


  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425


    It is unlikely that there is any research on this topic. However if you look at muscle actions it is most unlikely that rowing would maintain or build running abilities such as endurance, speed or whatever. Rowing would build rowing endurance. The only (and quite dodgy!) evidence I can give is for James Cracknell (quite a good rower you must admit and phenomenal all round athlete at Keswick Tri a few years ago). His swim time of 12:30'ish was 2:30 faster than me, bike time of 70:16 was 5:03 faster but come to the run and his 51:25 was a minute slower than mine

    There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that cycling can help maintain running abilities but that running doesn't help cyclists. If you can still cycle then swap your run time for more bike time. After all being still strong off the bike will make your race runs easier. Doesn't matter how how good a runner you are if you come off the bike with your legs fried you ain't gonna run hard

    Do you have access to a cross, also known as elliptical or Vario, trainer? If so use it but don't bob up & down like so many do. The American athletics coach Jack Daniels (yes, his real name) recons it would be about 66% equivalent to running, others put it closer to 95%

    Hope this helps


  • Hi Clivey. Unfortunately I can only echo Harry's sentiment. As a University Champion rower for four years I know first hand how little rowing training can translate into a good running ability. It serves to increase your overall fitness, which is always good no matter who you are. However, running is such a different sport and requires such a focused training to improve. I never saw any benefits in my running coming from rowing fitness. Rowing it much more likely to impact your bike split. Rowing will improve your core, which could help running, but not as much as a purely focused core effort. I'd stick to Harrys advice of using a cross trainer.

Sign In or Register to comment.