Well Duncan and his family were down in Melbourne for 2 weeks and now we have travel to the Gold Coast for the run into the National trials. My family and I will be here for 10 days and then I will travel back to Melbourne with them before heading up to Sydney for the trials.
This morning we rigged the boat and did a 12km power stroke session. It would be one of my favourite sessions. We stick a band on the boat and do an interval workload.
10 on / 20 off, 20/20, 30/20, 40/20, 50/20, 60/20, 70/20, 80/20 @ 18 strokes per minute
Let me share with you some of the things going on in the boat. When we started the session this morning it was all over the place. What I mean is it was feeling very awkward in the boat. The balance was pretty dodgy as we worked from arms only out to full slide. The only thing that I could think of was that maybe due to being in a different boat to Melbourne. We had made a few adjustments to the boat we were using in Melbourne and the boat up here is our old set up. The boats are from the same manufacturer and so the hull and basic set ups are the same. Over the next few days we will make the changes to this boat. The second thought I had was that we had both travelled up form Melbourne and often it takes a few kilometres to loosen up travel. Well by the time we reached the 3.5km turn around point we had slotted back into some good rhythm. The push and run was feeling more natural and the speeds improved all the way to the end.
We put the band around the boat and prepared for the workload. When it comes to power strokes I must admit that Duncan can produce an amazing amount of force. This has challenged me a great deal over the last 12 months together and I love a challenge. Normally it takes my body some time to feel like I am able to generate the force to match him. So I guess this morning I was intent on wasting no time and focused on maximising my output from the first stroke.
As each stroke seems to take some time with the band on I kept reminding myself to stay on top and be athletic. Getting bogged down and heavy is easy to do with the band on, so constant internal reminders helps me to stay active and sharp. This also led to some of the calls I made to Duncan about being athletic and fast. Obviously rating 18 strokes per minute means the recovery is drawn out. The challenge and focus for us is to stay loose on the way forward and to allow the hands to feel independent. This means we can really attack the front turn with our leg drive and body swing with out being hard and muscled with our arms and shoulders.
What I was finding in the 40 and above sets was that I had to focus on driving with my inside leg. As the level of fatigue built up I could sense that I was beginning to rely on my out side foot to initiate the drive and to press off the ball of my foot through the back. It felt slightly inefficient. At max pressure little things begin to surface and this was one of those glimpses at what could become an issue with out conscious attention. During the 50/60/70 I really worked on pushing off my inside leg. What helped was allowing my heel to drop as I began the drive. I think my inside foot was disengaging due too how active I was on the ball of the foot early in the stroke. What I found by dropping the heel was the weight staying on the inside and the drive from both legs occurred far more evenly. It became a very simple and clear focus in the last of the workloads. Drop and drive inside lead to an easier sense of max force.
So learn something new that I will use and stay conscious of during the next few rows is exciting. The benefits were matching Duncan better at full pressure, which made me feel more comfortable and certain about the creating the dynamic balance in the water.
We scored the session 8.5 – 8.75 and commented that the early part of the session was strange. Considering it was only the first 1.5km we dropped it from a score for the session. If I had to I would have scored the first 1.5km about 3. Keeps things in perspective a little, but the rest of the session was very good.