Most of us have been there: On the indoor rower (or SkiErg), wanting the workout to be done, but the elapsed time is just 22 seconds. Unless you’re doing a 30 second piece, the chances are you still have a long way to go.
Some days you can hop on and every stroke feels great, every push of the legs feels so powerful, and other days you would rather be eating a pizza while watching your new favorite show. So what to do?
Through trial and tribulation I’ve found a few methods of pushing through the lack of motivation. These methods don’t apply when you’re trying to PR or hold a specific pace or stroke rate, but they can be helpful tricks for logging more meters.
- Put the monitor down; just don’t look at it. Instead, focus on your breathing and the perfect stroke. The more I focus on each and every stroke, the faster the time goes by.
- Count your strokes. I like to count ascending hard and easy pulls: 1 hard, 1 easy, 2 hard, 2 easy etc. If you’re rowing (or skiing) 20 strokes per minute, it doesn’t take long before minutes are flying by.
- Create a pyramid. This is my favorite for when I don’t have the motivation, but I know I should row. Row/ski 100m easy, 100m hard, 200m easy, 100m hard, 300m easy, 100m hard up to 500m and then back down (repeat as many times as you want). The 500m easy piece (60–70% effort) feels like it flies by, so you want nothing to do with those hard 100s (80–85% effort). I find I can tick away 20–30 minutes pretty easily playing this little game. You can also do this with time, Calories etc., just give yourself a goal pace for your hard 100 meter pieces and stay steady for the easier ones.
- Focus on negative splits: Start off fairly easy and work your pace down. This can quickly turn into a hard workout if you don’t game it right. If your 5k time is 20 minutes, your average pace is 2:00/500m. If you want to row for 20 minutes (or more), choose a pace 2–3 seconds above that and really focus on holding that and knocking a second off your pace every 1000m. You can continue until you can’t hold negative splits any longer or when you’ve reached a distance or time you’re pleased with.
These are just a few examples of how to help the time go by and give you other things to focus on besides the clock. All these suggestions can be adapted or changed to meet your desired workout and goals. Just remember, if you are getting on the indoor rower or SkiErg, you’re already well ahead of the game!