Training thoughts on Cycling plans alongside rowing (indoor)


I’ve just come off the back of a rowing routine Pete Plan 5km and after 12 weeks I got down to a sub-7min 2km which achieved one of my goals. I then needed a break from rowing and looked at cycling which I started and unsurprisingly got hooked and really enjoyed it, got a Kickr Core and after looking at the options available settled on TR as my choice application.

Anyway so Im a couple of weeks into Sweet spot mid vol and its tough but achievable, the over/unders Ive struggled with the last couple of the routine. In fact as an update I did McAlpine (Week3) and I couldnt complete - Not sure if this was down to doing an outdoor ride of saturday then doing the over/unders Sunday anyway Im not shying from hard work just was tough. Ive never really been a cyclist but really enjoy getting out in the sun and seeing the country side

Im committed to completing SSBV1M and was intending to move to 2, Sustained then I wasnt too sure Gran Fondo perhaps or rolling road. Anyway :

I enjoy upper and lower body workouts and am wondering rather than 26 or so weeks if I should pivot and incorporate different disciplines in the training (I dont race, and my goals are recreational push the pedals harder, and to lose weight and to stay healthy).

So I was wondering about dropping the medium volumes and going for a low volume but incorporating a couple of days rowing maybe one day steady state, a short burst 500m 1 min rest or 1500 4 mins rest etc

Anyone had much experience of doing this

Sorry little rambly:)

Have mixed rowing and cycling pretty effectively before, the fitness between the 2 sports transfers pretty well and rowing is certainly more complementary to cycling than sports like running or swimming.

I don’t think that doing a TR plan and then adding on rowing with intensity is a good idea though. The low volume plans already incorporate a lot of intensity to compensate for the fact that you’re not doing much volume. So if you add on high intensity rowing intervals that are hitting a lot of the same muscle groups (quads, glutes, lower back) you’re likely to just shred yourself and impact your ability to complete the TR workouts. Suspect that’s what you’ve already run into.

I would do one of:

  • Follow a TR plan and then add on steady ~Z2 rowing to give yourself a bit of an upper body workout and increase your aerobic base without shredding yourself; or
  • Follow a TR plan and replace cycling workouts with similar rowing workouts. Don’t think this works very well for more complicated workouts like over unders, but it’s pretty easy to do for simple blocks of intervals. E.g. 3 x 12 minutes of SS intervals can be replicated easily enough on the ergo, the power will be a little lower but coming from a rowing background you’ll have a pretty good idea what pace/power you can repeatedly hold for those kind of durations.

My personal experience is that on the ergo I prefer getting off and having a stretch in between intervals rather than recovering while rowing lightly. Put this down partly to the extra skeletal load that rowing puts on you, partly just force of habit as in my rowing days that’s what we always did (on the water you were generally turning around and/or getting coaching in between sets!). Exception being short shorts (e.g. 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off) which is actually a workout we used pretty frequently in my rowing days, where I’ll do the short recoveries on the erg and then get off for a stretch in between blocks.

Other thing I’ve done which works quite well if you’re in the lucky position of having a C2 and a bike trainer sat next to each other, is to do brick style workouts. I.e. do the hard intervals on the erg, then switch onto the bike for a Z2 aerobic block. Only problem being the extra laundry as I don’t like rowing in cycling shorts…

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Thanks for the response Cartsman.

Thats a good point on intensity that I hadn’t considered and if I was to undertake 3 additional workout my recovery time suddenly is very minimal and Im likely to crack and I want a sustainable regime.

Swopping out Wednesday for a Steady State feels doable, and as you say I can probably find a fit for an endurance interval in on one of the days.

The brick workout might work on a sunday, 1500m on the rower, then 5km on the bike @z2 and do x repetitions - in fact might try that this Sunday!

Just one clarification - SS in TR terminology means Sweet Spot, not Steady State. Sweetspot is just under threshold and is pretty hard, Steady State is more like Z2 “all day pace”. Or at least that’s how we used to use it in rowing!

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