- The 2017/18 season has finished. Start logging now for the 2018/19 season!
Training on a Concept2 rowing machine, or any machine for that matter is a lot of fun and keeps you fit. But eventually for some, the motivation to keep on pushing can wane if these reasons are the only ones that make you return to the erg.
One reason that the Concept2 rowing machines are so popular is that their design means that all machines are equal, regardless of how their drag factor is set (the lever on the side, read this page if you want to know more). This not only gives the Concept2 the position of the best machine to use in organised races, but also means that users can compete with other through various challenges found on the internet. For example, one person can row a 500m effort on their machine, and another person on the other side of the world on a differnt day can row 500m on their machine - and the times are able to be compared, and ranked against each other
Although software like RowPro is the 'go-to' for racing other users in real time (more on this on the Apps page) - the alternative is to join in with team events like the CTC or individual competitions like the Nonathlon where you row a set piece on your own, upload your time (sometimes with a screenshot for proof) and then compare your results with others.
The CTC is a long established team challenge (CTC stands for Cross-Team-Challenge) that has a different row every month, chosen by one of the teams. It's probably the most popular event on the internet for Indoor Rowers, and can be fiercely competitive at the top.
It's based around the idea of floating boat. Each boat has five members - usually 3 x heavyweights, 1 lightweight, and 1 woman. But there are subtleties to this (a lightweight woman for example). The average time or distance (depending on the challenge) is worked out by the website, and the boat with the fastest overall score wins - with boats lower down the ranks getting less points to go towards a yearly score.
Some teams can end up floating 20 boats or more. Some just one or two. The advantage of the bigger teams is that not only are you fighting to get the best score for the team, but you're also trying to get into a better boat each month by getting faster and stronger than your closest team-member-rival.
The Nonathlon is an individual challenge that takes advantage of the rankings on the Concept2 website in its design. Over the course of a season, the challenge is to row each of the Concept2 ranking distances or times, and enter them into your profile on the Nonathlon page.
Apart from giving you a total 'score' for all your efforts, What makes this an exciting extension of the rankings on the Concept2 website is that it gives you a score that is adjusted to allow you to compete with other rowers regardless of their age, sex or weight.
It does this by using the previous years rankings to score you against the best times/distances for your own age, weight, and sex. This gives everyone a more equal chance of winning.
It also provides a glint of motivation to do a full marathon by handing out a 100 point bonus for completing all of the events.
Similar to the CTC in that each month there is a different challenge, the Indoor Rowers League differs by offering both individual and team competitions.
It doesn't run all year round, most likely leaving the summer months free for those who turn to on the water rowing rather than Indoor Rowing - but the competitive aspects and the website's ability to filter the results to compare your efforts against similar age and weight categories makes this a fun option.
Apart from offering the individual ranking distances, the Concept2 website also offers a variety of challenges throughout the year. From individual challenges "The Mud Season Madness" where you are required to row 5 or 10K almost every day for a month to the Virtual Team Challenge, where you row with the rest of your team to accumulate as many meters as possible in the set timeframe (usually a month).
A great set of challenges for keeping you personally motivated, and if you are part of a team, a fantastic way to drum up some team spirit.
The Row Series "Rowing Online World Series" is the only challenge option in this list which you have to pay for (£12.50)
It's a competition set over a period of four weeks, one workout is released each Monday at 10am and athletes then have until the Sunday at 9pm to complete the workout and upload their score to the website.
New for this year, and starting on June 5th 2017, it'll be interesting to see how many people pick this one up, and whether it becomes a popular event on the online Indoor Rowing calendar.
This seems to be based around a traditional 'bracket' setup - where rowers submit a time and are then matched against another rower - going through a series of rounds until a winner is pronounced.
This sprung out of a conversation in a gym about who the best rower was. It's another challenge that runs through one month of the year (January) and incorporates different events over that period. Results are then tallied up and compared, and winners announced.
Both challenges either run a poll each month for the participants to choose what the next month's challenge should be - or this may already have been set already. Once the row is completed, rowers utilise the Nonathlon page to generate an adjusted score, and enter it into a Google spreadsheet (it's very easy, don't worry!) to compare results with each other in the same 'handicapped' way that Nonathlon operates.
The CrazyBear Challenges
Technically, this is another Facebook challenge, run by Stuart Thorp through Facebook. It's one for the meter munchers. The challenge is to do 30 Half Marathons (21,097m) in 45 days between 10th November and 24th December.
IRC Team Challenges
Many indoor rowing clubs run a monthly challenge of their own for their team members to compete in. If you're looking to join a team, and you're interested in this side of things, it may be worth asking them if they run their own monthly challenge.