Into the tunnel

Tomorrow we head off to camp. My family will be joining me on the Gold Coast for the next 12 days as we head into a training tunnel.

Chris O’Brien made mention the other day that he was looking forward to our mini camp. The idea of getting away and focusing on our preparation to ensure we make some solid progress.

The plan will be to get comfortable in the boat again and to then build up the work loads and challenge ourselves from there to see what is possible towards the end of the camp.

We will head into the tunnel and a the end of 12 days we will emerge with a number of insights and reminders as to how we best move the pair. We have had a short stint in the boat before trials but this will be our first real block of training together since the Worlds.

It is interesting how much can be gained in a short period with clear intent about how to move together. Obviously the physical side of things is a little bit set and requires consistent long term work to be shifted in any way. The harmony particularly in a pair is subtle and with intense periods like what we have ahead it is amazing to see how much value comes out of our effort when things come together.

When I say subtle that’s in reference to the period after the initial phase of getting comfortable again. What I mean here is that it does start out quiet gross and awkward particularly the first 3-5days. What I have noticed is that the first day we seem to strike it pretty well together, but it is as if day 2 & 3 we regress slightly before then turning it around. Almost like taking a few steps back before going forward. The first row or two it is like you on auto pilot, like rowing on memory. I guess after that we become intent on challenging the movement and in doing so start to break it down somewhat. After this period I notice that once we get a real handle on what focuses will work best we begin to see improvement again and consequently our bodies have adjusted to being back in the pair and start the relearning process of matching up together. This is when things become more comfortable and from there we can really launch into it.

The pattern I have described is one that seems fairly consistent when we have longer blocks of training like the one coming up. What happens after this is less clear because we never know what will be the area’s of the stroke that will produce the improvements and it is not a linear process. It cycles and turns. The focuses that work appear at the time and we follow our intuition. It’s not like we start at the back turn for example. After the initial phase we will be out on the water and a certain emphasis will produce something that makes a big difference to boats speed or ease of movement or how it appears to Chris in the speed boat.

Personally I get the sense that we explore what works and follow it until we find the next thing. Experience certainly helps with this process, but I try to be really open to learning something new. Even then some times it just appear obvious to try something different and all of a sudden the sensation of power, speed and flow comes to the surface and it is like this wonderful little gem of a moment. It’s difficult to explain but we know it when we feel it and see it. It is often the simple things that have the biggest impact too.

So I can’t wait to see were we get to in this period and to see what we can come back with from our little quest from within the tunnel.

Our activities will include:

-Rowing in the pair
-Rowing on the rowing machine(Ergo)
-Bike riding
-Surfing
-Gym
-Yoga

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