Logging the Meters
Here’s an updated post from a few years back – worth the revisit since we’re currently at the start of the World Erg Challenge!
Cool Ways to Chart Your Progress in Workouts
Most folks have a love/hate relationship with the C2 monitor. They either become obsessed with the numbers, or they can’t stand to look at them. Personally, I think that learning to live with the screen (no matter what!) is an important part of the training process. Good day or bad day, you are missing out if you allow yourself to flip back that monitor and row without feedback. The monitor can be your best friend, even on your worst day.
At Flywheel Fitness, we like to use WATTS to measure power. I find this setting to be more sensitive than Average Split, and gives better feedback about the effectiveness of your technique. Yes, I said TECHNIQUE. Trying to push hard is the easy part. It’s how you do it that counts. And the monitor will show you what a slight change in posture, focus on the leg drive, or smooth change of direction at the catch can do for you. When you row better, your watts will increase.
It’s important to be aware of what your typical wattage is at each stroke rate, what max you can get to at each stroke rate, and what you can expect to hold for a long time at each stroke rate. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to increase by roughly 10 watts each time the rate increases by 2 beats. Not making it? You’re probably losing some technique as the rate goes up. Or, you need to work on your fitness.
So how do you remember all of this? First, just pay attention while you’re rowing. Over time, you’ll get used to what you see and you’ll “just know.” But there are other ways to track your meters, and here are a few options…
1. Keep a notebook. Most simple thing to do. Keep a monthly calendar with all your workouts. I like being able to flip through the pages and see how many off days I took, and what my workouts were. I also keep track of meters rowed, average splits, workouts, etc.
2. Good ‘ole Excel. I’ve seen people go nuts with the Excel spreadsheets. It makes it easy to compute averages over days, weeks, months. You can chart, graph, track to your heart’s content. Nerds and people with too much time on their hands love this option.
3. Online. There are several options and ways to track your meters online, or even on your phone. Many online sites are fun because you can see what others are doing. You can also use social media to tell your friends how far you went, and who doesn’t love bragging to their friends? Especially if you’re working out and they aren’t. Some examples include, Beyond the Whiteboard, LogsItAll, The Rowers Logbook, and Map My Fitness.
4. Concept2 Online Log Book. C2 has their own online log book. Unlike the above sites, here you are in a ROWING community. You can track meters and times, and compare notes, workouts and results with rowers from all over the world. C2 also provides several fun challenges, for both individuals and teams, that keep you motivated and allow you to compete for prizes. Sure, I’ll row more for a free t-shirt.
5. Concept2 Log Card. This handy card can be purchased at Flywheel Fitness and allows you to track your entire workout, then download it onto your PC using an ROHS card reader. (also available through C2) The “smart”, portable LogCard also allows you to program and store your own favorite workouts for instant set-up. Each LogCard can store information for up to 5 different users and stores approximately 300 workouts for each user. You can’t get much more detailed than this.
6. Sit next to someone! Last but not least, let’s not forget the good old fashioned benefit of training in a group. Come to a class, sit next to someone. I’ll bet you can glance at their monitor every now and then and see who’s winning. Over time, you’ll become familiar with how you stack up to your teammates, and what it takes for you to do your best in class. The more you show up to class and push yourself, the sooner you’ll see improvements. It’s simple. The workout that gives the best results is the one you actually do. In an Advanced class, we complete specific workouts for time or distance, and track results. But you can do this on your own at any Indoor Rowing class.
One final reminder, now that you are recording your distance and tracking your times, go easy on yourself. Compare your good days to your other good days, and compare your worst day this week to your worst day from last week. Not even elite athletes improve on every single workout, this is impossible. Your graph of improvement will not be a straight line. But keep working at it and eventually, your worst day this week will be better than your best day from two months ago.
Do you have a good workout tracker? Add it to the comments below!