double-thick concept2 indoor rower sliding seat pad

Start preparing for the Concept2 Holiday Challenge today

2017 Concept2 Holiday ChallengeUnlike most Concept2 Challenges, the Holiday Challenge demands a lot from us from the very beginning: 6,451.61 meters-per-day, on average, to accumulate 200,000 meters over the 31-day Concept2 Holiday Challenge—which is a lot if you’re not used to high-mileage rowing. But you can do it!

There are five things you’ll need to complete rowing 200 kilometers in a month: pacing, training, comfort, hydration, and rest


Seat pads and a fanComfort’s important.

The padding and the small fan help things remain comfortable for long rows

Some folks have bony butts so you’ll need to make sure there’s some padding on your Concept2 Indoor Rower‘s sliding seat

For me, I have two Concept2 foam seat pads on my seat, one stuck on top of the other. Lots of distance rowers choose the Bubble Wrap & Towel solution, preferring the big-bubbled wrap. Be sure to get replacements because you’ll pop them down over time.

There are lots of brands you can explore:


SKWOOSH Row Pad, ComfiLife pad2K Fit Rowing Machine Seat CushionHornet Watersports Rowing Machine Seat CushionEndureRow Rowing Machine SeatVapor Fitness Silicone Seat Cover, JLRacing JeL Pad, PerfOARm Rowing Seat Pad, and the bizarre Sportsmith Tractor Seat

Start out without padding and then sort yourself out—just sort it out well before you start the Concept2 Holiday Challenge on November 23.


Nathan SuperShot 1.5 LI keep a Nathan SuperShot 1.5 L water bottle by my side when I row for meters.

Unlike doing HIIT and Tabata interval training on the erg or killing yourself to get your 500m and 2,000m PR, you might forget that you’re exerting yourself if you’re rowing for meters.


Chris Abraham watches movies rowing

Nathan SuperShot 1.5 L

Nathan SuperShot 1.5 L

If you need to average 6,451.61 meters/day—more likely 10km- or 15km- or 20km-at-a-time if you miss days and get behind and need to catch up on the weekend—then you need to make sure you hydrate and take short breaks.

I’ll be honest with you: sometimes I’ll watch an entire movie while rowing—90-minutes or so—and sometimes my intensity is so low that I need to remind myself that I am actually doing a full-body, repetitive, exercise, and need to keep hydrated.

If you’ve ever been on a crew team or a water rower, rowers and scullers and always taking breaks. To path-find, to orient, to take in the view, to enjoy nature and the river, or just to rest. You’re allowed to stop, take a sip, use the loo, and even get up and stretch a little. It’s okay.

Pacing & Training

I’ll let Concept2 take care of this part of the preparation for your first Concept2 Holiday Challenge! They did a great job:

Preparing for the Holiday Challenge

Chris Abraham does most of his meters while watching movies with the subtitles on

Chris Abraham watches movies rowing

If completing 100,000 or 200,000 meters in a month is a new challenge for you, here are some ideas to help you prepare:

  • Don’t be intimidated! Every year people who have never completed long distances complete the challenge.
  • Gradually build your workout time. Try adding an extra 1000 meters per day, especially if you don’t usually complete 7000 meters at a time.
  • If you don’t usually workout every day, try working out for several days in a row. The workouts can be short, but see how it feels to row/ski/ride more often.
  • Keep some stretching in your routine or add it if you haven’t been doing it regularly.
  • Think about when you will fit your extra Holiday Challenge workouts into your schedule. If it requires you to workout at a different time of day than usual, try it out ahead of time to see how it feels.
  • Plan ahead so that you can make up any missed meters due to travel or other commitments.
  • Pace yourself! Many people have commented that the Holiday Challenge pushed them to do more than they ever thought they could, and it felt great! On the other hand, it is not wise to make a sudden jump in the amount of rowing/skiing/riding you do, so keep this in mind. You can build your daily meters gradually, even during the challenge itself.

Good luck! May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand!



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