Baby, I was born to run-slash-row
March 29, 2012 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Can I integrate my erg into my half-marathon training?

I'm kind of old (39), kind of out of shape (5 km in 36:30, but hey, it's hilly) and determined regardless to run a half-marathon at the end of June. I've never run more than 10–12 km before, but my brother-in-law and sister are marathoners, know me, and are confident I can manage it.

I love my erg, though. I've just started this program this week to try to get myself up to snuff for the half-marathon, and I'm trying to do upper-body weight training on my "rest days" (nothing too extreme: about 15 minutes of bench presses, situps, curls, and alternating shoulder presses/pullups. More keep-muscle-while-losing-weight stuff than any attempt to get huge or anything).

I was wondering if swapping in erg work on some of the "recovery run" days would really impede my progress. It's still pretty shitty weather here, and not heading out in -8°C weather for a half-hour low-stakes run when I could happily hit the erg for 30 minutes would be an asset.
posted by Shepherd to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total)
Best answer: If your training paces are slower than your 5k time (which translates to about a 13 minute mile) your plan will peak at about 21 miles per week, which is at the low end of what most experts would suggest for half-marathon training. As a point of comparison, I peaked at about 36 miles per week in training for my last half. So I don't think substituting rowing for running would be the best idea. Can you find a treadmill?

The rowing machine will be about the same as running in terms of your cardio fitness, but in terms of your leg strength it will not develop the same muscles or be as effective training. You'll likely make it if you drop miles from the plan, but you probably won't like it very much.
posted by Lame_username at 1:39 PM on March 29, 2012

Few thoughts:

1) The general idea of cross-training (when you are training for a specific sport) is that there is a limit to the amount of sport-specific training your body can take, so if you want to do more training, do something else. For example, let's say you wanted to train 7 hours a week but thought that more than 5 hours a week of running would result in injury; then you do an extra 2 hours of low-impact exercise, like erg, bike, or swim.

2) If your brother-in-law and sister know running and know you, why don't you ask them?

3) The program has a 12 mile long run. It's probably a good idea, but if you can do a 10-11 mile training run comfortably, you should be able to complete 13.1 (albeit possibly uncomfortably).
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 2:42 PM on March 29, 2012

You can definitely manage a half in June even if you're out of shape now. But the thing is that you really want your legs to get used to running for 13.1 miles, especially if you're new to running. In fact, if this is your first half and you don't have much of a mileage base, I think it should be your priority to build up your weekly miles. The cardiovascular fitness will come -- or maybe it's already there since it sounds like you've been erging up a storm -- but getting your legs and body used to running for a couple of hours is sort of its own thing and I would be wary of swapping out that recovery run. It may seem like those couple slow miles aren't important, but I think they'll make the difference between enjoying the half and feeling strong throughout and potentially some struggle to finish or finish strong. I recommend not skipping that recovery run.
posted by Rudy Gerner at 7:10 PM on March 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers, all, and for pretty much talking me out of a bad idea!
posted by Shepherd at 7:58 AM on April 3, 2012

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