How Rowing Can Make You A Better Runner

08 Feb

Improve your run…with rowing!

As spring gets closer so does race season in the Lowcountry.  For many of us, this winter’s cold weather has made it hard to start training.  Especially for those who made running a 5 or 10K a New Year’s resolution.

The Cooper River Bridge Run, Charleston’s largest race, is just a little over 8 weeks away and there are over 18 area races before then!

For most of us, training for a running race means running… a lot of running.   Unfortunately, every mile you put into training wears your body down.  Running is a high impact sport so with every foot strike on the ground your muscles and joints are feeling it.  A lot of you are probably training through an injury or joint pain already.

What if there was a way to train for a race that wasn’t hard on your body?
Would that possibly give you the ability to compete in more races this season, next year, or even beyond that?

Well, there is a way to successfully train for a race, whether it be your first 5k or your tenth marathon, without putting mile after mile on your body.

Cross-train with indoor rowing!

Indoor rowing is an incredible cross-training option for many sports, running included.  For example, Lori Gallon of Pennsylvania trained for the Boston Marathon on a rowing machine due to an injury sustained at the beginning of her training program – but she’s not the only one!

What does rowing offer the runner?  Indoor rowing is a power endurance sport that offers a low impact workout, uses all the muscles used in running (and more) and increases aerobic and anaerobic capacity.

How does this help your run?

  1. Increased power and muscle strength in your legs translates to a more powerful push-off during your run.
  2. Increased core strength gives you better posture and stabilization which translates to a smoother, less jarring run and enables you to keep a better running form even as you begin to fatigue…and good form makes you faster.
  3. Increasing your aerobic threshold will benefit you on race day by allowing you to run faster and/or longer before your body begins making lactic acid, which is what makes your muscles burn and fatigue quickly.
  4. Less impact on your joints reduces your chance of injury and increases your chance of running pain free.
There is a catch, of course! (no pun intended)  To reap all these benefits, you must use the proper rowing stroke.

The proper rowing stroke is made up of 4 parts:  catch, drive, finish, and recovery.  Your legs produce most of the power during the drive with your core being second.  Your arms produce the least amount of power.

Rowing is not hard to learn and is great for all fitness levels.  We encourage everyone to learn the proper rowing stroke from a certified rowing instructor, which is what you will find at Coastal Rowing Studio.

At Coastal Rowing Studio we believe in teaching proper technique and invite anyone to come try our Rowing 101 class for free.  Afterwards we can help you decide which rowing classes can best help you reach your race goals.

Make this race season your best yet!  Add some rowing into your training program and see the difference for yourself!

For those who need a training plan, join us for our 8 Week Row to Run Training Series.  This camp is great for beginners or those training through an injury.  Camp begins Monday, February 12 and runs for 8 weeks leading up the Bridge Run.