10 Indoor Rowing Workouts to Kill 10K

Last updated July 16, 2020



When your indoor rowing workouts call for a larger number of meters, or you’re trying to hit a big number in the Concept2 online challenges, how do you keep it interesting?  By breaking the workout up into smaller chunks and changing it up.


 Longer indoor rowing workouts don’t have to be boring.  You just need to have a plan that brings variety into the mix.



Below we’ve given you 10 ways to kill 10k in your indoor rowing workouts, plus one bonus workout.  You’ve got options that will take you from an easy row all the way through to a calorie-torching blast.


It’s up to you, pick the plan that works for you based on how you feel that day.  Do one round or put several of them together for a monster meter rowing workout.


As always, if you’re new to indoor rowing get your doctor’s OK before taking on a rowing workout like these.  Listen to your body and decide if it’s a good day for higher volume.  If you’d rather do something shorter, check our indoor rowing workouts pages for more choices.



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10 Ways to Kill 10k (+1)

  1. Set the monitor and go: Find your happy place — that point where you’re sweating but you know you could keep up this pace for a long time, and row. Put on some good tunes and lean in to the Zen of the flywheel. Use this workout to find your steady-state target pace. You should be able to talk but prefer not to, and feel that you could stay at that pace for a long time. To easily set up the workout, from the main menu hit New Workout>Standard List>10000 meters.


2. SteadyState With Power Bursts: Row 10,000 meters at the pace you found in the workout above. Drop in 10 or 20 hard strokes every 500 or 1000 meters. Aim to drop 10 seconds or more off your split every time you do the power strokes, but always return to your base, steady-state pace.


3. Rolling 100s: Warm up through the first 2-3000m, then row 100 meters hard, 100 meters easy for 1000m. Paddle for 1-2 minutes and repeat for 3-5k. This is also a great way to get used to harder effort on the rowing machine.


4. Power Intervals: Like the rolling 1000s but longer intervals. For example 250 hard meters every 750 or 1000 meters.


5. Negative Splits: Start out at a fairly easy pace and aim to drop your split per 500 meters every time over the course of the piece. Using the split window on your monitor, aim to drop it progressively over the course of the rowing workout. For example take 5 seconds off your warmup split every 2000 meters. Use the last 500-1000m as your cooldown.


Rowing a long piece doesn't have to be boring! Here are 10 ways that you can make the most of a 10,000-meter row, and keep it interesting. Let us know how you like them! www.ucanrow2.com

6. Stroke Play: Vary your strokes per minute (SPM): 2 minutes at 22-24-26-28 SPM, with the same amount of paddle rest, 2 minutes. Do this until you have completed the 10k. Bonus points if you can do rounds 18 and 20 spm (Hint: sloooow your recovery).


7. Rolling Intervals: Row repeating cycles of 3 minutes at 22 strokes per minute, 2 mins at 25, 1 min at 28. Paddle in between if you need a break, or challenge yourself and keep on row-ling.


8. Watch the Watch: Row rounds of 1:00 on with effort/1:00 off, 2:00 on/2:00 off and so on up to 5:00 on/5:00 off, then work your way back down. Increase your intensity as you come down the pyramid. Continue until you have completed the 10k.


9. Vary the Intensity: Use this one to practice adding more intensity to your workouts. Row intervals of 4:00 on, 2:00 off, keeping your stroke rating the same (we suggest 24-26 spm) but varying your intensity through the 4-minute intervals, from sustainable to highly intense.


10. Salad Bowl: Mix it up and choose up to 5 of the options above. Do something different every 2000 meters.

Example:  First 1k: Warm up
1k-2k: Steady-state, half pressure
3k-5k: Rolling 100s
5k-6k: Steady state
6k-7k: Hard 1000m
7k-8k: Recover
8k-9k: :30 on / :30 off. 26 spm on the work, 22 spm on the rest
9-10k: Cool down


BONUS ROW-SKI for those with access to a SkiErg.  Use the undefined rest feature on your monitor to keep both machines going without having to reset.  If you’re a complete badass (and in our book you are if you do this), switch the row and ski numbers so you ski more than you row.

Row                          Ski

1000m                     1000m

1200m                      800m

1400m                      600m

1600m                      400m

1800m                      200m


Which one did you try?  Let us know what you thought in the comments, or if you have a question about endurance rowing, in general, let us know!


You might also like:


5 Keys to Nailing the Half-Marathon Row

Updated June 20, 2019

Is a half-marathon row on your agenda? Try these tips to help you survive and thrive. We include a half-marathon strategy as well. #halfmarathon #halfmarathonrow #ucanrow2



So you want to do a half-marathon row on the rowing machine… “They’ve done it at The CrossFit Games,” you say to yourself.  Or maybe Concept2’s Global Marathon Challenge or the Solstice rows have hit your radar screen.


It’s definitely a doable goal, but you’ll need to train for it and have a strategy in place for when the big day comes.  You’re looking at spending a couple of hours on the rowing machine (or SkiErg or BikeErg) so preparation is key.


If you’ve never done one before, the aim is plain and simple: Your goal is to finish. Period. If it helps you to have a race plan (see #4 below), then go for it, but the idea on the first time out is simply to get a baseline for how long it takes you to do this distance and how you feel throughout.


The Concept2 Rankings for your age group can give you a sense for what your time might be but if it’s your first half it’s a personal best no matter what, so don’t worry about breaking world records right now.


[Tweet “Doing your first half marathon on the @concept2? Your goal is to finish, first and foremost. Here’s a race plan: https://ucanrow2.com/half-marathon-row-strategy/” #rowing #skierg #concept2]




additional tips to help you make the most of the half-marathon row:

1. Work Up to It – In a perfect world you would work up over weeks or months to those long rows (You wouldn’t jump out and run 13.1 miles with no training, would you?).   Rowed or run, 21,097 meters is a long way and it’s nothing to mess around with.  Build up to the half-marathon row distance, and don’t try it until you can row at least 10k comfortably at a challenging pace.


2. Be Merciless About Your Technique – Bad rowing technique is never good but done poorly, a row of this distance could have serious repercussions.  Not to mention affecting your final time.  Review our video on the basics of the rowing stroke,  watch an expert row, and heed the mantra Legs, Body, Arms; Arms, Body, Legs.


3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate – In more than an hour of rowing you will almost certainly need water, and maybe even some food.  Do it, as early and often as needed!  It’s also perfectly fine to put the handle down and even get off the machine and stretch if you need to.  You will have at least a minute before the monitor goes off.


4. Pace Yourself – Don’t Fly and Die – Resist the temptation to go out hard and fast and use up all your energy at the beginning of the piece.  A row of this distance will take you more than an hour, it’s critical to take that into consideration when you put together your race plan (See #5).


5. Have a Plan, Stick to the Plan – On-water rowers always have a plan for how they’re going to row the race.  The same is true for indoor rowing, be it a 500-meter row, a 2k, or a half-marathon.  If you can, test your approach in advance of the real race.  What works for one rower doesn’t always work for another.


here’s a half-marathon row race strategy:

Divide the row into five segments, four of about 5k each and a final sprint to the finish.  Plan to row almost the whole distance at 24-26 strokes per minute.  Use power-10 or -20 strokes every 1k or so to beat boredom and help you stay on pace.


First 5k: Warm into the row and find a challenging pace that you can also sustain.  Use this time to settle into the row and decide what you think you can do for splits today (Then see if you can surprise yourself!).
Middle 10k: Keep chipping away at the distance, aiming to drop 5 seconds off your split.
Fourth 5k: Try to drop another few seconds off your split if you can, and decide your goal split for the final sprint.
Last 500-1000 meters: HAMMER DOWN!  Here’s where you let it loose and empty the tank.  The finish line is in sight, give it all you’ve got!


When you’re done be sure to paddle down, drink water, and let your heart rate return to normal, then get off the machine, drink water, and do some good stretching.  Lastly, drink water and record your time in your Concept2 logbook.  It will rank your time automatically and give you a link to a printable certificate of completion and souvenir goodies available from the C2 online store.


Not bad for a couple of hours of work!


5 tips to help you nail your next half-marathon row #halfmarathon #indoorrowing #rowingmachine #ucanrow2 #rowing #endurance Need more workouts to build your cardio base?






Questions? Ask them in the comments below.  Half-marathon veterans, share your race strategies. We’d love to know what’s working for you!


For further reading

Tricks to Dominate Endurance Rowing Workouts


Monster Meter Workouts