The 6K in the Room

There have been very quiet rumblings about the 6k row programmed for this Wednesday’s test. A lot of us are just ignoring it, hoping it will go away, or hoping some emergency will pop up at work making us miss it (darn) — or we figure we’ll just deal with it when we show up to class.

I thought I’d write a little something about the 6k test and share a few researched pointers. I can’t say that I’m a great rower by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m a big fan (as an athlete and a coach) of strategy to expose our strengths and to prevent a workout from getting on top of us. That doesn’t always work, but a plan ups your chances of being successful in a workout as opposed to just surviving it.

The 6K is a standard training tool for athletes on crew teams. The 2k, the more popular of erg distances, tests true expression of power and stamina, but the 6k is a great endurance test. Aerobic fitness is key over power in this longer time domain. Mental toughness is paramount.

Looking up world record times for a 6k proved to be a debatable subject, but it looks like an athlete from Croatia, Martin Sinkovic, posted a 18:03(!) just this season. And Ieva Adomaviciute from Lithuania rowed a 21:05.5 on the women’s side in 2004. I want to puke just reading those scores.

I read up on some 6k strategy and the most important points seems to be: keep a consistent split time almost across the board, with consistency emphasized in the middle of the piece, where our focus usually wanes. If you let your splits slip in the middle, those are seconds you most likely will not get back; it will take too much mental exertion. It’s hard to tell how to pace yourself in the beginning of a 6k if you’ve never done one. A good piece of advice from the research: “No matter what, no matter how good you feel, try to pull slower than you think you can for the first 3k.” Then work on the “‘rule of halves’ – At each halfway point, either speed up the pace of the split by 1 second or continue with the current pace depending on how you are feeling. i.e. points to pick up the pace on a 6k are 3k, 1500m, 750m, 375m, ~200m, ~100m to empty.”

Mostly, don’t panic. Stay steady, calm, and as consistent as possible.

I’m interested to hear how you guys handle your 6k’s. I can’t wait to see your times and hear your stories.


Tuesday’s Workout

0:00 – 20:00
1RM Back squat

20:00 – 23:00

23:00 – 43:00
1RM Bench press

Wednesday’s Workout

6k Row
–35min Cap–

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