The training log, musings, challenges, motivations, successes, and failures of a member and president of a club-varsity collegiate men's rowing team.
The guys who want to go to the Charles met back a week before regular training starts for the team. We broke into two fours - I sat 2 seat. The coach talked to us about the proper way to tap down, mantling he said. We’re supposed to push down from our elbows rather than use our wrists. This was a particularly important change which I’m glad he brought about. He also forced us to start using outboard pressure against the oarlock to set the boat - another amazing change. We did some steady state pieces and my boat just clicked. Everyone was dialed in and self-responsible. Any little dip was fixed on the next stroke. It felt like we were flying, though it may have felt like that for me because of all of the 1x rowing all summer. Either way, we went fast in comparison to the other boat and it wasn’t remarkably difficult. Good, firm, steady state pressure. Solid day. Now off to log some more SS meters on the erg.
Lesson learned: Listen to the coach and you will go fast.
A big, fat PR on a 6K in August will make anyone super stoked.
Good luck to all who will be testing soon and getting back into season. Keep working, pushing, and eating.
And you realize, “Yeah, I’m gonna absolutely crush this thing.”
UCSB has a guaranteed 8+ in the Head of the Charles this year and we’ll be trying to get a 4+ into the race as well. Guys who want to go have to complete a 6K evaluation by August 30 and should be back in town to train starting September 9 - two and a half weeks before school starts but still two weeks later than almost all other schools begin class and start training. The 6K is the focus right now - we need to be within 1 minute of our personal best.
I’m someone who hasn’t had a very good 6K test ever. I never knew how to pace it on a rowing machine or what kind of intensity was needed. In a boat it was easy - just pull until the race is over and you’re exhausted. Simple. The boat is moving, there is a rhythm you have with multiple other guys, and there is a lot to think about: Are we passing? Are we getting passed? Is that boat walking up from back there? How is our course? There are so many things to distract you from the discomfort associated with a head race. When I rowed in high school I did one 6K when I tried out for the team my freshman year so 4 years passed where I got head racing experience but not 6K erg experience, not that that’s a real excuse. In college I haven’t had good tests, mostly because I think that I’m going too hard and settle more than I should and finish the piece pissed off that I didn’t push harder. Every time except for once when I fell off at the end and nearly peed myself (nearly) - but that still wasn’t a good, fast test; I was just out of shape. So this summer I’ve been finding the appropriate intensity and have realized that, if I prepare correctly in the next two weeks and execute day of, I should PR by a lot. In August. With no real training plan to follow. So that’s kind of exciting and will set a good tone for my senior year. Either way, I will pass my 6K evaluation and will be getting ready to make the boat to go to Boston.
Finding the right intensity is key, and I think that anyone who has been doing the training should be able to say to themselves “Just go crazy, go fast, and go until you can’t anymore.” That’s basically how I’ll be approaching this 6K coming up. It should be fun and filled with leg pain.
It varies quarter to quarter - $400 in the fall, $600 in the winter, $1000 in the spring so $2000 per year.
The base level payment for the quarters is $400 and there are extras tacked on in winter and spring. The extra $200 in winter is for spring break training camp and the extra $600 in the spring is for our trip to ACRA Nationals.
This seems like a lot but in high school it used to cost about $1000 more per year without winter training. Perspective, I suppose.
Hypertrophy lifting again. Amazed myself and did 5x12 at 540 pounds for leg press - not including however much the sled weighs. This is after doing a bungee row in the morning in the 1x.
Feeling really great.
Also, 638650 meters down in the 1000000 meter challenge. Got around 37 more days left. Booyah.
Over the past month or so I have been trying to keep my knees together on the recovery to promote flexibility and place my legs in better positions for the drive. What I ended up discovering was that in doing so I was engaging not only my leg muscles on the drive but my hip muscles as well, leading to a more powerful, more connected leg drive.
Today I sat in the coaching launch watching over a high school pair and, while they were taking half slide strokes, asked them to force their knees together, feel a pinch in their hips, and feel if doing that made their leg drive feel more powerful and increased boat speed. I was pleased to discover that they were able to engage their leg muscles in a much more complete well and that they both were elated at the increase in boat speed they found. That, in turn, elated me because it validated what I thought was a successful approach to the drive.
Engaging the leg drive from the hips is certainly nothing new from the sport but, despite being in the sport for 7 years, I never knew how to really feel like I was doing it or any way to really tell someone how they can get that feeling. It makes me happy knowing that there are always ways to convey physical things to people by simply asking them to manipulate various parts of their bodies.
For anyone who has ever felt a slightly disconnected leg drive, try taking half slide strokes on an erg while keeping your knees pressed together. See if you can feel a difference. It’s quite remarkable once you discover it.
The reason for this is because I desire my blog to be accessible to all rowers. I don’t desire to be admired for having a fast 2K or disregarded because maybe it isn’t fast enough. To me, it’s better for people to see paces relative to other paces, that way they can understand the intensity level related to themselves. 2K+25 feels the same for everyone, a 2:25 doesn’t. I choose to say things related to goals that everyone can relate to: I am faster now than I was last year, for example, or the work I am putting in is paying off rather than “I pulled a 5:40 2K today and I’m super fast, love me.” It puts things in perspective and allows other people to maybe grow with me if they so choose rather than simply taking it as reading about how great or not someone is on an erg.
Just find a boat house or club where you can take lessons and go for it! If you’re inflexible it helps a lot to start stretching (mostly your hamstrings and hip flexors) before you get into a boat because it’ll be easier to get into the strange positions the coaches will tell you to get into. All of the strength and fitness things related to the sport can get taken care of later. That’s really it, just sign up for a class and get in a boat!
Also just realize that you’re totally not going to do it right when you first start, so don’t be discouraged. Just have confidence, try your best, and listen to the coaches and you’ll do well. You’ll love it!