Training Update: Second Camp

Before I go to far I have to say it has been a plan of mine over the last four weeks to get my body weight up to a level that will ensure I don’t get to light when we build up the volume and intensity in the coming months. So 4 weeks ago I was 86kg and this morning before the row I was 92.5kg. I thought I would work on increasing my strength and weight and see the effects on output. In the past I tend to strip weight easily so I figure I will try to start higher and see if I can’t maintain a weight closer to 90kg for racing. Often when my weight gets down to 85-86kg I do become susceptible to getting sick. It is less about putting the weight on a more about staying health. Next week we will be tested in the laboratory and have skinfolds taken so will see the influence that the increase has had.

Well we have had a few amazing experiences on the water during our second camp. Firstly our coach, Chris O’Brien became animated during the row on the day we arrived. He was energetic and engaged in a process of more regular feedback while we rowed. In particular his attention was on our blade work. He started with a quote, which he called out from the speedboat. “The measure of a man is by the quality of his blade work”, from a book written in 1951 book by Steve Fairbairn (notes on rowing).

With Chris’s energetic reminders we worked on creating quality blade work. It did set the scene for the session and even for the time together. From second camp we did have some amazing things occur and certainly a few light bulbs went off. The main focuses we had were around platform with the indicators being the carry of our blades in relation to each other and to the water.

What worked well during this phase was focus on the tracking of the inside leg ensuring it didn’t cross the mid line of the boat as a counter balance when reaching out to the catch. The other was the control of the out side hand and the extension of the out side hand off the back to lead the bodies in the rock forward. We played around with the space under the blades and worked on creating room through being bold around the back and keeping the weight in the outside hand during the recovery. This set up the front turn nicely and the sharpness of the entry into the water was noticeable.

Taking the time to be deliberate with the extension off the back and how we set up our length on the recovery was a great way to create the rhythm. Obviously with the extra time and space it meant that the boat could roll around slightly more than normal and what was great was that we didn’t react to slight changes in balance, rather we allowed it to wander slightly and stayed focused on creating the movement pattern. During our final session this morning we performed a couple of rate steps and it was interesting to see how the focuses we had for the sessions leading up to this morning would contribute to improvement.

The result was a pretty good sensation in the boat with what we felt to be quality blade work. Chris’s feedback was an indication of the carry over of the pattern from the other training sessions too. It was not particularly quick but the movement was certainly in the right direction.

We now have about a week apart then Duncan will be down to Melbourne for the third camp. The time between will be good to get out on the bike and in the scull to get some more volume in. I must admit the changing from location to location challenges the training routine and with the difference between weather I have been finding it difficult going back into the cold each time.

While I remember we received an email about the World Cup this weekend so it will be interesting to hear how various crews go in what would be the first hit out for the season. Some Australian crews will be racing and in particular I look forward to hear how the men’s heavy double goes. They clocked a very fast time at trials and I am certain they have improved since then with some time together.

So it is camp two done and we are another step closer to the peak. The simple motto for now is don’t ignore what needs to be done, changed or improved. This period of training is were we need to take the critical steps that will set us up for our ideal performance come Munich.

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