Well the start of this week we did National team ergo testing. What can I say about where I am at personally. It would seem I am getting good return from the training over the last three weeks. Prior to the test I was a little anxious and somewhat like I recall feeling before ergo test back in school. Funny really because I had very little idea of what I should be aiming for it was strange almost to be going in blind.
Before I thought if I went under 5.50 I would be pretty happy. Now I should mention these were done on sliders. There are benefits in terms of score and I have had my estimates as to gains from stationary. So any way I figured if I was sub 50 that would be good. My approach was to get into the first 500-800m and not over cook it and be aware of what might be possible on the fly. So I sat comfortably around 1.28’s until I got through 800m and then thought from 900m or 1100m to go I would see what might be possible. Probably had a few surges with one at 900m then again at 1200m. This put me in reasonable place to then open it up some more.
So I start getting pretty focused on staying around 1.25’s and the predicted target started showing 5.45. At this stage I was now through 600m to go and was sensing the need to maintain but also watched as my rate was well into 39-40 spm range and then decided I would settle things to be sure about getting home well. Letting the splits back out to 1.28-29 not so much that I could have done more but rather I was unsure of what spinning along at such a high rate would do towards the end. Once I hit 200m to go I figured I was home and the target was hold 5.48-50 and with that I thought I would, could or should keep closer to the 48 mark.
When I finished it was 5.48.7 and my first reaction was it felt pretty easy. Load was light and the cost was different to stationary. My prediction from a few comparative tests from stationary to slides has me feeling it about 6-8sec in favour of sliders. I mention this as I figured I would have done about 5.54-56 normal ergo set up and I am happy with that at this stage. If the predictions of other hold true that the difference is less and more like 2-4 then great I am going better than I expected at this stage.
My perception of the sliders is it requires more front half of the stroke force. I can get away with rowing with less acceleration or at least I feel the benefit of second half force does not produce value in the split. Obviously being able to rate higher I think helps me as in the past on stationary the load would get heavy. My average rate was 39, with lowest being 36 but not for long and in the past I would have rated 30 at lowest and maybe average 32-34. The sense of fatigue is very different with slides feeling aerobic and neural and stationary being muscular and loaded.
I see merit in both forms of stimulus but also believe that rowing on water has a load to it. Water resistance is not wind and fan resistance. To move a boat fast requires many thing but leverage is a key element. Distance per stroke has an in build efficiency as less strokes means less stoping and starting. Less time the blades need to go in and out of the water which involves and messy process which the very best make look easy.
My ergo test was a good benchmark. I now have a score that can be compared Nationally to others. But it has taken away my previous benchmarking. Now I figure I have to go low or even sub 40. I have always been one to what a challenge and ergo testing I like as a way to find individual gains physically and mentally.
How all this transfers to water is less clear as I am not yet rowing as well as I would like, but I am improving.