Update on Aerobic Efficiency

Results from 10 minute test on Concept2 ergo at set heart rate. (Mar 2021)

In 2020, I posted on Aerobic Deficiency and how Always training in the middle can be costly. In fact, it can cost you your season and possibly your health. It is one of the more popular articles, so I thought I’d update you, with some of my data from the first 3-months of 2021.

In the preparation period of my annual plan, I focus on building strength and developing my aerobic base. This period starts after a break over November and unstructured training through December. January through February is a big block of aerobic work in zone 2 (70-75% peak heart rate), and in March I start to introduce some longer threshold work at least once a week.

I like to track the development of my aerobic base, and do so with a simple protocol on the Concept2 ergo. Every 2-weeks I ‘check-in’ on how my aerobic base is developing from a duration perspective, and efficiency, through monitoring the power output (watts). I did 8 tests between January and March, and over this period saw an average test to test improvement of +1.6% watts for the same heart rate. Over the 12-week same period, I saw a +13.7% improvement in watts for the same heart rate. See the graphic below.

I have noticed similar improvements in power and efficiency, with Masters Rowers that really focus on developing their aerobic base, and have the discipline to work in their zone 2, progressively over time, before introducing higher intensity work. It is hard work to stay focussed, day in, day out, grinding away on the machine or on the water. Yet the benefits to your health and performance can be amazing. This is the ‘hard work’ that many Masters Rowers don’t do, because it is so easy to be seduced into the high intensity ‘go hard or go home’ approach. Yet if your’e interested in a tried, tested and proven way to build the foundations for a great season, give it a try.

We are running a series of Master Classes this April, with world class instructors to help Masters Rowers to learn more about how to go Faster. Dr Charlie Simpson, and expert in training intensity and nutrition, will be sharing his insights into how to train and eat. Click here to go to the Master Class page to find out more.