Friday, November 30, 2007

The International Perspective

I had the opportunity to travel to Switzerland over Thanksgiving break and learn a bit about how the national team there operates. It's very different than ours--while the athletes train just as rigorously and measure themselves against the same international standards, the fact that there are so few rowers competing for positions on the team changes the priorities and focus of the program as a whole. There is not a women's team, for example, because there isn't a demand for it--the women who want to compete at an international level must do so in small boats and with their own coaches. The men's 8+ program became a focus after the 2004 Athens Games; this is the longest-lasting priority focus on the 8+ in the country's rowing history. However, the failure to qualify the 8+ through the Munich WRC's this summer means that the boat is up against two very strong crews from Australia and the Netherlands in the Poznan qualifier--and only one of the three will earn a spot. So the priority may become the 4-...

It was definitely eye-opening, also, to see the different style of team management. The Swiss Rowing Federation is much more like a professional sports team than USRowing, which in my opinion is run more like a university team. On our end, this means a generally more conservative approach in terms of coaching turnover and program focuses. For the Swiss, it means that the rowers have a bigger input into coaching and program decisions. Tradeoffs, I guess...

We are getting ready to head out to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, in just one more week. I'm excited to be training somewhere near home for the first time in almost five years! After hearing a good deal about life "on the compound", I'm looking forward to experiencing it for myself. It's also where selection will start taking place for all of our boats--the 8+, the 2-, the 4x, the 2x, and even the 1x, as Michelle will be joining in the fun.

I'll do my best to keep the workout log better updated and maybe add some photos to mix things up a bit. In the meantime--happy winter training!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Workout Log

Based on a few requests and because it will be helpful for me to keep track of things this way too, I've decided to start keeping track of my workouts online. I'll be doing my best to keep things updated and accurate.

My workout log can be found at:

Keep in mind that these are only basic parameters and a general outline of my current training plan. If you are a collegiate rower looking for workouts to add on, I would recommend 20-50 minute pieces on the erg or water, keeping your heartrate under 145 and trying to stay continuously active. Running for similar amounts of time with HR under 155 is also beneficial.

On some days additional workouts can be done, such as yoga, running, or additional low heartrate work. Weight training also falls into this category. Some extra squats, leg presses, pullups, bench pulls, cleans, etc. can be beneficial to training. It's helpful to figure out what you feel you need to work on (endurance or power) in doing additional weights: for the former, lower weight but higher reps (15-40) is the general scheme, whereas for the latter, higher weight that increases through the sets and lower reps (5-12) is used. In both areas, it's VERY important to listen to your body and make sure that good form is being maintained. In general, you should try to make the recovery or reset phase of the lift itself take 2-3 times as long as the "drive" phase of the lift--the time when you "fire" the muscle group that is being used. Thus, if it takes you one second to drive a bench press up, you should spend three seconds lowering the bar back down to your sternum. This mirrors the rowing stroke but more importantly it gives the partnering muscle groups a workout too--so during leg press, you're working out both your quads and your hamstrings/glutes, etc.

Happy training!