How To Row A Marathon | From 0 to 42,195m

Updated: Aug 7, 2021

Introduction | Why row a marathon? | Preparing for a marathon row | Marathon row preparation process | Training programme | Tips for success

A group of exercise enthusiasts preparing to row a marathon. They seat on rowing machines in a gym preparing to set off on the marathon row.

The marathon distance is the White Whale among rowing enthusiasts and fitness sadists. To complete a marathon row is a significant undertaking. But the bragging rights it bequeaths makes the effort well worth the effort.


After all, how many people can say that they’ve rowed a marathon?


Before attempting this gruelling challenge, you will need to invest in preparatory training. As the saying goes, prior preparation prevents poor performance. But how much training you do will largely be dictated by your objective going into the marathon – are you happy to complete the distance or are you desirous of a specific time?


For example, if your ambition is to cover the distance, then a month or two might be enough to prepare you for this modest outcome. However, this does depend on your current level of fitness and how much rowing experience you have. If you are untrained or have recently started training regularly, you may need to spend upwards of 6-months preparing.


If you are well trained and you regularly row, then you may well be ready for the challenge after a week or two of preparatory training. But if you have set your sights on a specific time, say under 3-hours (2:05/500m), you would be wise to implement a training programme. See below example of a 4-month training programme.


But why row a marathon?

Besides the fact that completing such a monumental physical challenge is a significant achievement, and one to be proud of, preparing for the marathon will provide you with months of training focus. Having worked as an exercise professional for many years, I’ve noticed that one of the most common hurdles people struggle to overcome is ‘training motivation’.


For some people, if there is no end objective to their training, if they’re not working towards a specific goal, they quickly lose motivation. A lack of motivation leads to inconsistent training and, in far too many cases, the person quitting on exercise altogether.


Resolving to complete a marathon will provide you with training purpose while also bringing structure to your exercise rout