Tips on achieving a PB for 2k erg test.

Guys Eoghan Hannigan a member here at CFD has kindly put a few words together for us on how you should go about taking on your 2k row. Alot of you have a current 2k time but many of you especially here in the city havent so today will be your first time.
Eoghan started rowing back in ’92 when at college in UCD. He rowed on and off seriously from then till 2005. Initially he rowed here in Ireland, then down in Australia for a couple of years and then mainly in England where he was working. Through the course of that Eoghan won colours and intervarsity with College, medals at various regattas and state championships in Australia. In England he rowed with Thames RC they would  have won almost all the major regattas there and also medalled at some of the big European regattas. Take some time to read the following information and how to go about setting yourself up for a new PB, I can hear that bell ringing already!!


Pick your target time – If you have done a 2K test previously or have a time in mind use this to set your pace. If you have not done a test and are wondering what target time should I aim for think back through some previous WODs

e.g. In five minutes, complete the following:
Row 500 Meters
Run 400 Meters
Double-Unders x Max Reps

Rest exactly five minutes.Repeat X 4

Try to remember the average pace across the 4 500m’s. Don’t take your best one! If as an average you did say 1:50 per 500m that would equate to a 7:20 2K. Assuming you were able to do 400m run and got a few doubles that pacing should be reasonably sustainable. If you didn’t do this WOD try to think of a similar WOD.


Once you have your target time, next most important thing is to plan your pacing. Don’t blow the doors of in the first 500m and then think you can hang on. PB are generally achieved even pacing the first few laps on or just over the target and then negative splitting in the final quarter of the race. Watch any of the 5KM or 10KM track records broken in the last 20 years.

First 500m – Go off hard for 10-15 strokes, once you get to 30 secs need to focus on settling into the pace you will do most of the test at. Get on your rate, hit your split and just try to focus on a steady rhythm and think about your breathing. It will take a while settle and you will need to resist the temptation to go that bit harder.

500m – 1,300m – Just keep the focus on the steady pace and rhythm, focus on pushing with the legs making sure you are sitting up strong through the core. Just keep thinking breathing, breathing, breathing.

1300m – 2000m – Once you hit 1300m or 700m to go, just think you are building for the finish. To this point you have being working on your target on your set pacing, so now is the time to try and push below that. Let the rate come up 1 stroke per minute and bring the average time per 500m display down by 1 or 2 seconds.  Once you get to 250m to go, bring the rate up again, sit up with really strong back, and just think legs, legs, legs. Push as hard as you can to the line.

So if I was targeting 7:20, should try and pace it like this 1:51; 1:51; 1:50; 1:47

To take you in at 7:19 – a new PB!!


There is no right stroke rate to use it depend on the athlete but here are some guidelines…

Typically work 28 – 32 strokes per minute (SPM). If you are taller, heavier athlete or very powerful athlete you should be around 28 spm. If you are lighter, smaller athlete with good aerobic capacity then you should be looking to 32 strokes per minute over the course. Once you get to the last 250 / 300m the rate should be up about 2-3 strokes higher than the rest of the test.

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