How much steady state is too much and how do you know if you’re pushing too hard or not enough? Currently I’m doing: 70′, 17s/m, 2:05-2:10/500m three times a week (Heavyweight male U23). Thank you!
This is a fairly common debate amongst rowers and coaches – how much is too much and is there actually such a thing as too much steady state. When rowers do steady state, the focus is typically on improving endurance, which is controlled by the aerobic system. This usually does result in endurance gains but the effectiveness of your anaerobic system declines. It changes the makeup of your skeletal muscle and converts fast twitch fibers to slow twitch fibers. This change in your muscle makeup leads to a decrease in speed and power production. To use the example I used in the post I linked to, think of marathoners and sprinters. Marathoners are primarily made up of slow twitch fibers (their races are run “slow” and steady) whereas sprinters are primarily comprised of fast twitch fibers (they’re speed demons). Rowers need to be an equal balance of both, hence why I said rowers are the hybrids of marathoners and sprinters.
To sum it up, volume-wise, I don’t think you’re doing too much. The other one or two days a week, you should add in some interval work at or near your 2k pace. In terms of knowing whether you’re going hard enough or not, my biggest suggestion is to invest in a heart rate monitor so you’ll be able to more accurately see if you’re staying within the various training bands (UT2, UT1, AT, etc.).