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5000m Row Time: What’s a Good Target for Both Beginners and Pros?

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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A 5000m row is a great goal for beginners rowers to aim for. It’s not too far that you won’t be able to handle it, but not so short that it’s not a challenge. Keep in mind that while you might be able to stick to your pace for 1000m or 2000m, getting a 5000m row time at your goal pace can be significantly more difficult! 

If you’re looking for a new challenge, the 5000m row is an excellent distance to work on. Here’s everything you need to know about the distance, the average 5000m row time, and some tips if you’re planning on adding it to your routine. 

a man training its 5000 m row time
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Average 5000m Row Time 

Many factors go into a person’s 5000m row time, many of them quite personal to each individual rower. But below are the averages you can expect based on experience level. These assume that the rower is of average fitness and keeps good form. 


The average time to row 5000 meters is between 20 and 31 minutes for a beginner rower. If you’re fairly fit and can hold your form and stick to an efficient pace, you should be able to row it in closer to 20 minutes. On the other hand, if you’re a total novice to rowing 31 minutes and beyond is more appropriate. 

Keep in mind that if your time falls outside of 31 minutes, that’s still perfectly okay. Everyone starts at a different point, and regardless of where you are, with some consistency, you’ll progress to the average, and perhaps even above average. 

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An intermediate rower can row 5000m in around 18 to 20 minutes. This might not seem like it’s much faster than a beginner, but 2 minutes’ difference in total time means a significant difference in pace. 


Someone with advanced rowing abilities can expect to finish a 5000m row in less than 18 minutes. To highlight the difference between an advanced rower and an elite rower in terms of time, the fastest ever 5000m row time is 14:53. 

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What Can Affect Your Row Time? 

Your row time can be affected by multiple factors, some of which are out of your hands and others of which you have some control over. Understanding this will give you a better idea of your level of rowing performance from the beginning of your rowing journey and how quickly you’re likely to progress. 


Like most sports, men tend to perform better than women as they’ve got testosterone on their side. Men are likely to row with more power, which leads to a faster pace and naturally, a better time. 

It’s important not to compare yourself to someone of the opposite gender, even if you’re comparable in terms of age, fitness, and experience! 


The older you are, the slower your time will get. But don’t think that this means a 50-year-old is naturally slower than a 20-year-old! While your pace will naturally slow with age, it’s only in comparison to yourself. 

A 20-year-old with a year’s experience rowing is NOT likely to be faster than a 50-year-old with 2 decades of rowing experience. Age does play a role, but it’s less important than you think! 

What you should know is that if you’re a beginner who falls into the older age groups, you may not progress as fast as your younger counterparts or reach the same pace as they do. 

Fitness Level 

If you’re new to rowing, it’ll take you longer to row 5000m. Your muscles aren’t used to this amount of work so they’ll begin to fatigue sooner than someone who’s fitter. 

You’ll also probably have less endurance than someone with a higher fitness level, which means you’re less likely to be able to hold your pace throughout a 5000-meter rowing session. 


Incorrect form can place strain on your muscles and joints, slowing you down. It’s also more likely to lead to injury, and pushing through a row when injured is never a good idea. 

Correcting your form may lead to achy muscles for a while, as they get used to really working! But in the long run, you’ll be able to row faster and for longer if you’re using the right form

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Tips for Rowing 5000m 

Pace Yourself 

As tempting as it is to row at a vigorous pace from the beginning, starting too fast will tire you out quickly. This is a sure-fire way to fatigue halfway through your row and start losing your form!

The key is to pace yourself properly from the start and keep a consistent pace throughout the session. It might feel like you could push harder at times, but resist the urge! 

Sticking to your goal pace is how you hit your goal time at the end. Go too fast, and you’ll crash in the second half. Go too slowly, and you’ll find yourself playing catch-up! You can work out your pace using an easy pace calculator like this one

Get Into a Rhythm 

Finding your rhythm will help you to stay consistent and push through the burn. Your rhythm is just how smoothly you row… You want a smooth, consistent action, not jerky or irregular in pace. 

If you can’t maintain a good rhythm throughout a 5000m row, it may be a good idea to work on shorter distances until you can work your way up. 

Go Split By Split 

Focusing on each split instead of the end goal can take some of the pressure off! Aim to just get through every 500m or 1000m, meeting your split time as closely as you can. 

By splitting the workout into smaller sections like this, it becomes less intimidating and easier to push through. 

Your goal becomes hitting that 500m pace 10 times, or sticking to your 1000m pace for 5 reps. Rather than focusing on that big end goal of 5000m! 

Best Rower for Beginner
Sunny Water Rowing Machine

Based on our testing, this is the best rower for beginners. For less than 500$, this silent water rower will last you for years. It also comes with a 12-year warranty.

  • Affordable
  • Quiet
  • Amazing warranty
See latest price See all Rowers below 500$

Maintain Your Posture 

It’s easy to let your posture slide as you fatigue on long rows like this one. But losing your rowing form can lead to injury, so it’s in your best interest to maintain proper form throughout your 5000m row. 

If you feel that your form is slipping, either slow down a little or take a quick 2-minute break to give your muscles some time. 

You’ll need to pay attention to your form as you row. Do a form check every few hundred meters to make sure you aren’t at risk of injuring yourself. 

If you can’t get through 5000m without your form falling apart completely, it may be a better idea to start with shorter distances and work your way up! 

Push the Last 300m 

It’s tempting to slow down as you approach the end of your long row. But you’ll get a bit of an extra calorie burn (and extra satisfaction!) if you push it harder at the end. 

Finish with a bang when you realize the end is coming! As you hit the last 300m, go all out. It’s not easy, but it’s a great way to cap off a 5000m workout. 

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Is Rowing 5000m a Good Workout? 

Any rowing is a good workout! Rowing 5000m is considered a middle-distance row, but it can feel pretty far for a novice rower. It can be particularly difficult if you aren’t yet able to maintain your pace for a 1000m to 2000m row
However, it’s a good distance to aim for as you progress and develop endurance. The longer distance means you won’t row as intensely as the shorter distances, but it gives you a great calorie burn and builds stamina. 

What Are Rowing Splits? 

How split is how long it takes you to row a certain distance. The most common splits are 500m and 1000m. 
Once you know your split times for these short distances, you can predict your time for longer distances. It also helps to get through longer rows if you focus on hitting your split time every 500m or 1000m. 

How to Predict Your 5000m Rowing Time? 

An easy way to predict your 5000m row time is to use your 500m or 1000m split time. If you choose to use your 500m time, multiply it by 10 and add an extra 10%. 
If you use your 1000m split time, multiply it by 5 and add 10%. The extra percentage of time will cover the time added as you slow down from fatigue! 
Keep in mind that this is just a rough estimate. It’s fairly accurate, but depending on you, your strength, your experience, and how you feel on the day, it could differ a little. 

How to Get Better At Rowing 5000m? 

Concept 2 developed a 5K training program, designed to boost both your power and your endurance. You can find a copy of the training program here
It’s suitable for those who don’t have a lot of time to train and people who aren’t experienced rowers, so it’s ideal if you’re trying to boost your 5000m row time. 


Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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