Week 30: Endurance and Night Cox’ing

For most boats we’ll hit our peak of mileage for the season – a little more distance and a little more intensity than last week.

As we head toward the end of the season – it’s also worth focusing a bit on cox’ing – especially at night.  For the majority of our remaining practices we will spin after the South Cap bridge (just past the stadium) in order to keep the boats in areas that have fewer unmarked buoys.

Keep in mind there are two buoys just north of the South Cap bridge (on the return course to the boathouse), but if you go thru the correct arches (1st or 2nd full arches) you will be clear of them.  There is also a large buoy near the sandbar across from the Navy Yard.  When heading toward the 11th Street bridge – point your boat to the right of the bridge, at the base of the big crane (if you can see it) gradually coming away from shore. Err toward the middle of the river.  This will keep you away from the buoy and the sandbar.  Similarly, come away from shore after the 11th Street bridge – avoiding the sandbar 300m north of the bridge.

Anyone uncomfortable cox’ing should plan to cox either on Sunday afternoon for the 430pm practice (when there is still light) and/or with SAW Sunday morning 7am.  It takes practice like anything else.

Workouts

  • Monday – re-rig, then pick drill by 6s up to 11th street bridge.  Workout is 10′ on, 2′ off at moderate rates – 16-24 spm.  First piece by 6s, all the rest by 8s.  Each piece we’ll shift at the 5′ mark, coaches will give rates to each boat.  Quick spin between pieces – the 2′ rest is “active rest” while spinning.  Hard steady state pressure – work to get your heart rate up even at low rates – still building strength endurance.  Anyone who is toast from racing Sunday it is ok to back off slightly.
  • Tuesday – 2-3 mile repeat intervals with 5′ rest.  Stroke rates 24-30spm – coaches call for each boat.  Full pressure – race pace or better.  These pieces are very familiar to you now – challenge yourself to push a little harder and move the boat a little faster.  Crush it each piece – don’t save anything.  Cooldown and stretch.
  • Wednesday – warmup by 6s full strokes,  then immediately into 2 long rating pyramids of up to 30′ each.  Last week we covered 10+ miles on this workout.  First one 5′ each at 18, 20, 22, 22, 20, 18.  Second one 22, 20, 18, 20, 22, 24.  “Challenge style” turns during the piece.  Hard steady state pressure – stay on it and increase the pressure as the ratings drop.  3 x 15 shallow one leg squats (each leg) and 3 x 20 scullies.
  • Thursday – 3-4 x 12′ with 3′ rest at close to head race pressure.  Short head race warmup finishing at the marina before the 11th street bridge – full strokes all 8s, a couple “3 and pause” drills, then 2 hard 20s at 26-28spm.  1st two pieces 26spm, last one or two at 28spm, unless coach tells you otherwise.  Each piece we’ll try to shift up 4 beats with 1′ to go – try to focus on quick hands, sitting up, matching and legs.  Do this and the rating and speed follows.  Stretch.
  • Sunday – Long row – take advantage of the light and try to go to Lincoln Memorial.  Rates 16-22, shift every 10′.  Rotate thru the 6s every 20′.

Week 29: Shifting Rates

Rates will bump up slightly this week, and we’ll work more on shifting rates effectively together.  A shift in rate can be used to lengthen out to a more sustainable pace, to gain boat speed to pass another crew, to improve relaxation, to bring the crew together, or as a part of the final sprint.  All shifts should be clearly called – example “lengthen 2 beats to a 28 in 2.  1, 2, ON THIS ONE.”  The next recovery should be a bit slower on the slide and hopefully lead to a good catch, the next drive even more powerful.

When shifting for a final sprint – typically just the last 200-300m of the race – it’s important to focus in one last time for “Up 4 beats for the last sprint in 2!  1, 2, ON THIS ONE.”  We’ll try to sit up tall (less layback), make sure your hands come away quickly on the recovery, focus on matching the stern pair, and drive the legs for all they’re worth.  If we really kick the legs together, shifting up 4 beats is possible.  You’re going to run out of gas but that is the goal.  The final sprint is a chance to expend the last bit of anaerobic power we have.  It can be an effective tool – we had some very good sprints this summer (and some others that were not as good).

Reminder again – when rates are low or moderate – drive pressure should generally go up – there should be a contrast between the controlled relaxation on the recovery phase and then exertion on the drive phase.  It is harder to get your heart rate up at an 18 or 20 than at a 28 or 30.  Mentally difficult and exhausting.  But it is entirely possible and it is part of what will make us faster.  Training some days at low rates (but high pressure) builds our strength endurance – keep pushing!

Workouts

  • Monday – re-rig, then shortened pick drill by 6s, then 10′ on, 2′ off at moderate rates – 18-24 spm.  We’ll incorporate more shifts up and down.
  • Tuesday – 3-4 mile repeat intervals with 5′ rest.  Stroke rates 24-30spm – coaches call for each boat.  Full pressure – race pace or better.  Stretch.
  • Wednesday – warmup by 6s full strokes,  then immediately into 2 long rating pyramids of up to 30′ each.  First one 5′ each at 18, 20, 22, 22, 20, 18.  Second one 22, 20, 18, 20, 22, 24.  Hard steady state pressure – stay on it and increase the pressure as the ratings drop.  3 x 15 shallow one leg squats (each leg) and 3 x 20 v-ups.
  • Thursday – 2 x head race – short “head race” warmup up past the 500m pole and then back past the boathouse.  First piece starts at the middle ramp on the dock and ends at Haines Point (or earlier based on coaches decision).  Paddle 30 seconds and turn immediately – cross river and get ready for piece #2.  Total rest (including spin) no more than 5 minutes.  Race back from Haines Point to the boathouse.  22-28spm depending on coaches’ call.  Load trailer for Occ Chase regatta.
  • Sunday – Occoquan Chase regatta – no practice.

Fall 2016 Week 28: Drive Pressure and Suspension

Focus this week on building pressure on the drive – optimizing boat speed at various rates.  We’ll continue to do alot of low and moderate rate work (12-24spm) with length and pressure regardless of rate.  Remember – when rates are low – drive pressure should generally go up – there should be a contrast between the controlled relaxation on the recovery phase and then exertion on the drive phase.

In addition to low and moderate rates, the coaches will continue to employ drills to optimize length and pressure throughout the drive.  Among these will be continued use of finish drills, also outside arm only drills to feel the hang (through the outside arm and lat) and suspension (body weight suspending – almost lifting off of the seat).

Workouts

  • Monday – pick drill by 6s, then 10′ on, 2′ off at moderate rates – 18-22spm.
  • Tuesday –6k erg piece (or row on the water if you choose not to erg).
  • Wednesday – warmup by 6s full strokes with 3 rounds of outside arm only drills on the square.  Get long at the catch and feel the hang.  2 long rating pyramids of 25′ each – 5′ each at 18, 20, 22, 20, 18.  Solid steady state pressure – stay on it and increase the pressure as the ratings drop.  3 x 15 shallow one leg squats (each leg) and 3 x 20 scullies
  • Thursday – 2 x head race – short “head race” warmup up past the 500m pole and then back past the boathouse.  First piece starts at the middle ramp on the dock and ends at Haines Point (or earlier based on coaches decision).  Paddle 30 seconds and turn immediately – cross river and get ready for piece #2.  Total rest (including spin) no more than 5 minutes.  Race back from Haines Point to the boathouse.  22-28spm depending on coaches’ call.  Load trailer for Occ Challenge regatta.
  • Sunday – Occoquan Challenge regatta – no practice.

Fall 2016 Week 27: More length at both ends

This week we’ll continue to build length and pressure – further solidifying effective head-race appropriate fundamentals.  Ratings will come down slightly from last week – and pressure should increase in tandem.  Keep thinking contrast between the relaxed (but controlled) recovery phase and the drive.

Coaches will keep harping on setting foot stretchers to match the handle above the finish tape.  If the decking is very uncomfortable on your legs – make sure your footboard is up on the middle setting (or higher).  Get as close to the tape as possible without making it unrowable.

 

A reminder for anyone who missed it on ratings in general – we generally warm up at low rates (16-20spm).  There is no need to change rates and “hit a 20” during the warmup unless unless specified by the coach.  Similarly – when a boat is not going particularly well during practice we will more often respond by DROPPING RATE and INCREASING PRESSURE – not the other way around.

Short post this week – but details will come at practice…

Workouts

  • Monday – re-rig and steady state work with drills per coaches direction.
  • Tuesday – 3-4 x 1 mile intervals.  Full pressure, slightly lower rates than last week – more length and pressure.  Long rest between – paddle 1 minute and stop.  Rest is 8 minutes total- coaches direction on how much to row depending on start point of next piece.  Stretch.
  • Wednesday – warmup by 6s full strokes with 3 rounds of ‘3 and pause’ at the finish drills.  2 long rating pyramids of 25′ each – 5′ each at 16, 18, 20, 18, 16.  Solid steady state pressure – stay on it and increase the pressure as the ratings drop.  3 x 15 shallow one leg squats (each leg) and 3 x 20 scullies
  • Thursday – one more interval day –    3-4 x 1 mile intervals.  Full pressure, slightly lower rates than last week – more length and pressure.  Long rest between – paddle 1 minute and stop.  Rest is 8 minutes total- coaches direction on how much to row depending on start point of next piece.  Cool down and stretch.
  • Sunday – long pieces – 3 x 5k if possible.

Fall 2016 Week 26: Boat Run and First Head Races

This week will conclude with our first head races of the season, fortunately we’ve prepared for them throughout the summer and first weeks of fall.  We’ll continue to build our endurance, stroke length and matched rhythm, applying these tools both in practice pieces and races.

In practice we will also continue to incorporate “three strokes and pause” finish pauses and hands away pauses as a means to work on boat feel and run.  A strong, matched finish with proper posture and control optimizes boat speed.  Be sure to finish strongly and match your feather to stern pair, sit up on the front of your butt (not slouched over), keep your body still, and feel the boat through your glutes and feet.  If the boat is down to one side, slight pressure on the opposite glute and footboard can help it even out.  Coxswains will make these pauses a little longer than normal, steer straight, and let the crew “teeter totter” a bit to try to find the set before the next “three and pause.”  The set will not be perfect – these are difficult drills but will help in the long run.  We’ll do these mostly at low rates but with strong pressure.

A note on ratings in general – we generally warm up at low rates (16-20spm).  There is no need to change rates and “hit a 20” during the warmup unless unless specified by the coach.  Similarly – when a boat is not going particularly well during practice we will more often respond by DROPPING RATE and INCREASING PRESSURE – not the other way around.

Workouts

  • Monday – warmup by sixes on the square, focus on length and handle heights, then on the feather.  Incorporate “3 and pause” drills at the finish.  Next go all 8, and do 2-3 hard tens at 24-26spm to get ready for workout  Workout: 3-4 x 1 mile at 24-30 spm (coaches and coxswains will decide for each boat) at or above race pressure.  Long paddle between, we’ll use the ‘one mile courses’ as we did last week.  3 x 20 leg lifts and stretch.
  • Tuesday – warmup by sixes on the square, then on the feather.  Two rounds of “3 and pause at the finish” drills.  Then two round “3 and pause” at hands away.  2 x 25′ steady state rating pyramid – 5 minutes each at 16, 18, 20, 18, 16.  3 x 15 shallow one leg squats (each leg) and 3 x 20 scullies
  • Wednesday – warmup by sixes on the square, focus on length and handle heights, then on the feather.Next go all 8, and do 2-3 hard tens at 24-28spm to get ready for workout  Workout: 3-4 x 1 mile at 24-30 spm (coaches and coxswains will decide for each boat) at or above race pressure.  Long paddle between, we’ll use the ‘one mile courses’ as we did last week.  Stretch.
  • Thursday – long ‘head race warmup’ – out past HOTA start line.  Use “3 and pause” drills.  One HOTA race piece with “focus 20s” at each 1000m – for finishes, for catches, for length, for leg drive – or other focus as per coach or cox.  24-28spm depending on boat.  Pressure will be a little LESS THAN 100% for those racing this weekend.  Cool down and stretch.
  • Saturday and Sunday – HOTA and SHOP regattas.

 

Fall 2016 Week 25: Matching Length and Building Endurance

We’ll continue to build on long, strong matched strokes and the endurance base that we’ve focused on the last three weeks.

To better match our finishes, we will use the matching tape marks that coach Nathan has set in each of the club 8s (and some 4s) to set our foot stretchers.  At your finish position, with legs down and the handle all the way into the body, your oar should be directly above the tape mark on the gunwale nearest your rigger.  Adjust your foot stretchers forward or back to make this happen.  This may be a different position than you are used to – but it helps ensure that all the rowers in each boat finish their strokes at the same angle relative to the boat – which will improve our ability to match and to maximize boat run from the finish.

Our workouts will continue to focus on endurance – with medium and long pieces primarily.  We will continue to gradually build volume (distance and time working) and intensity over the next 6-8 weeks, before tapering in preparation for the last few races.

Workouts

  • Monday – warmup by sixes w/ cut the cake.  Workout: 4-5 x 12′ w 2′ rest, at moderate pace (75-80% – should feel like 6k +8-10splits), @ 20-22spm. Do a hard 20 at the 4′ mark and 8′ mark of each piece at 26-28spm, close to your target 6k pace, then lengthen back out.  3 x 20 scullies and 3 x 15 pushups.
  • Tuesday – long ‘head race warmup’ with body over pauses and high tens.  Workout: 1 x 6k at race pressure, 24-28spm.  Optional to do this on the erg (entirely your choice).  Anyone who does not want to erg – we’ll put together boats and do the 6k on the water.  The on the water piece will be about 28 minutes and may involve a wide turn or two if necessary to avoid bad water – “Occ Challenge style.”  Cooldown and stretch.
  • Wednesday – warmup by sixes w/ outside hand only drills on the square to work on good, connected and long strokes.  Workout: 3 x 15′ rating pyramids – 5′ each at 16, 18, 16.  Then 18, 20, 18.  Then 20, 22, 20.  Strong pressure at the low rates – as we did on Sunday.  3 x 15 shallow one leg squats (each leg) and 3 x 1′ plank.
  • Thursday – short ‘head race warmup’ – just up to the 500m pole past Penn Ave, spin, warmup quickly back past the dock, spin again and start first head race piece at middle ramp.  2-3 x HOTA w 4′ rest between.  22-28spm depending on boat.  Do not sprint until the end of the last piece.  Cool down and stretch
  • Sunday – loooooong row.  Made 8-9 miles this Sunday, we’ll continue to build week by week.

Extra Work

For those of you who wish to be competitive and/or wish to improve your conditioning – it is important that you do the planned workout (or one similar to it) anytime you cannot be at practice.  It does not have to be exactly the same workout, and some days you may only have time for a 30-40 minute run, bike, swim, etc.  We row five days per week, and recommend working out on either Friday or Saturday as well (so you have one “off” day).  60-90 minutes (or more) of cardio (whether erg, run bike, swim etc) is ideal and/or moderate strength and flexibility workouts – low weights, high reps – focus on abs, quads, glutes, and lats.  And we’ll post a list of suggested workouts – but any of the ones we are currently doing or that you did in winter training are good.  Do what you can – every bit helps!

 

 

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Fall 2016 Week 23: Long Finishes

For the past couple of weeks we have been stressing long and strong finishes, emphasizing the connection between the shoulders, lats and core to help maintain control of the pressure and momentum coming through the finish. Maintaining this control allows us to turn the handle around without it pushing into our bodies, and delaying our release or forcing us to throw the hands out into the next recovery.

We don’t want that, of course. We want to be able to turn the handle around and release it at the same speed it came in, without getting ahead of the speed of the boat. This requires consistency with our movements and not rushing through the finish to rush through the release of the hands.

But it’s also important to note that when we do go for higher ratings and aggressive pressure, we do need to move our hands more quickly through the finish and through the release. This needs to happen with the same type of control and consistency as if we’re rowing at a 20, even if we’re rowing at a 30. The strong finish, the tap down, the turn around of momentum, the feather – they all need to be there regardless of the rating.

Maintaining this control and consistency will allow the boat to run out as we release the hands and swing forward when the boat is traveling at its fastest point.

To highlight the control  and consistency we’re looking for through the finish and release, you can watch the video below.

 

Monday

Warm up: Pick drill by six followed by 10-15 stroke rotations of pauses at the finish on the feather, followed by arms away.

Workout: Following the warm up drills, we’ll take it on a steady state at 20 SPM with pauses at arms away and bodies over included throughout.

Once we spin, we’ll do a full pressure HOTA head race piece back, starting at 20 SPM, and bumping the rating throughout the piece.

Post Workout: 3 x 40 squats and 3 x 40 scullers

 

Tuesday

Warm up: Full slide strokes with 10-15 stroke rotations of arms only and bodies over included throughout.

Workout: 4 min at 20 SPM/ 1 min at elevated rate between 22 and 28 SPM.

Cool down with rotations of cut the cake.

Post Workout: 3 x 70 second planks and wall sits

 

Wednesday

Warm up: Full slide strokes with rotations of cut the cake. For the warm up, we’ll spin before the 11th street bridge and continue back towards the boat house.

Workout: 2 x 20 minutes with 5 minutes rest. Depending on heat, we can do some of the pieces by 6.

  • Piece 1: 10 min at 24, 10 min at 26
  • Piece 2: 10 min at 26, 10 min at 24

Post Workout: Stretching routine

 

Thursday

Warm up: Pressure warm up of 50%, 75%, 90% and full at 18 SPM into steady state at 20 SPM.

Workout: Steady state at 20 SPM with rotations of pauses at arms away and body over incorporated on coach’s call.

Post Workout: 3 x 12 push ups and 3 x 40 leg lifts

 

Sunday – TBD