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An Obvious Choice

BY LUKE REYNOLDS
PHOTO BY GARY BUTTERFIELD

Ditch the boat. Ditch the erg.

Summer is the perfect time for youth, collegiate, and masters rowers who aren’t rowing on the summer circuit to step out of the boat and get a feel for a different activity. Running is an obvious choice because of its easy accessibility and use of the lungs and legs. 

Traveling this summer? No problem—running shoes are easier to pack than a pair of oars. Don’t like the heat? Run early and wear a headlamp.

If you’re like me, having the structure of a training plan goes a long way toward helping me stay motivated. I recommend checking out Hal Hidgon’s training plans. Higdon is a running prodigy and currently contributing editor at Runner’s World, and—fortunately for you and me—offers a number of marathon training plans on his website for free.

Since most marathon training plans take 12 to 18 weeks, there’s a decent chance you won’t get through the whole thing, but the effort is worth it so you can return to the boathouse in the fall with a strong vascular system and refreshed love of the water and erg.

Hidgon has written a number of books in addition to his articles for publications such as Runner’s World, and they make a great companion to a summer filled with running. 

Writes Higdon: “Even when you have gone as far as you can, and everything hurts, and you are staring at the specter of self-doubt, you can find a bit more strength deep inside you, if you look closely enough.” 

Swap run with row, and you see the point.

I’m currently working my way through Higdon’s Advanced No. 2  Plan and find that it’s the perfect balance of speed work and distance running. The intention is to qualify for the Boston Marathon at the Nebraska State Fair Marathon in late August. That being said, you don’t need to run a race to follow a training plan. 

As George Sheehan, the cardiologist-turned-running philosopher, wrote, “For every runner who tours the world running marathons, there are thousands who run to hear the leaves and listen to the rain, and look to the day when it is suddenly as easy as a bird in flight.”

The same goes for rowers hitting the pavement in exchange for the water—if only temporarily.

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