Tuesday Tips

2/17/09 - Crash-B Race Plan

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Like any on water race you should have a race plan for the erg. How do you envision rowing the race? What splits will you start out with? When will you sprint? What technical call can you make when you start to feel fatigued? These are all things that you should write down so that you know exactly what the plan is. Practice your plan during the race prep work or go over the plan in your mind during steady state.

Many rowers will break the race up by 500M increments. Personally I like to break the race into thirds. I plan to row the Crash-Bs this year, and my goal is to row 6:10 (1:32.5 avg.). So each third is roughly 2 minutes and 3 seconds….but I just call it 2 minutes. No matter how many segments you have, you should just think about that segment during the race. Don't worry about the end of the race. Get through one part of the race before you start thinking about the next.

This was my race plan at Crash-Bs last year. For the first 1/3 (2 minutes) I think about getting into pace and staying relaxed. The first 15 strokes I will row at about 1:30-1:31. Right after that I get down to pace. I prefer to negative split the race so once I settle after the 15 strokes I go right to a pace of 1:33.5-1:34. I don't let my emotions get the best of me and get caught up in the excitement of racing and extend the number of hard strokes. It can be a mistake later. I am not trying to psyche anyone out by going fast. It is race between me and the machine. Once I settle into pace I think of being economical and getting into a groove. What I mean by this is to find just the right amount of power each stroke to hit the target pace. Once you hit your target pace make sure each stroke is the same. The power on the drive is the same; the time on the slide forward is the same. Keep repeating it…like a machine. I also work on getting my breathing under control so that you feel like there is a rhythm to each breath. Focusing on these few points can make this time go by fast. I like to get through the first 1/3 feeling like I have not expended a lot of energy….like a hybrid car.

The middle third is where I have to buckle down. As I pass the 2' mark I add a bit of power so that my pace will now be in the 1:32.5-1:33. I think of this segment like a fight. Each stroke I concentrate on maintaining my target split. If it goes off one second for a stroke, on the next I have to get it back. Let it slip too many strokes and chances are you will go downhill and never get it back. I find it very empowering to be able to do this. It can give you new energy to fight off fatigue. This is a tough segment as you will start to get tired and may have some thoughts of backing off. Don't think ahead and concentrate on getting through this segment. The technical call that I make here is to sit up as I pass 1000M. This helps keep me in a strong position so that I can maintain my power. I also tell myself that I have about a 1' before I am in the last third of the race.

The last third I consider a whole new race. You are getting close to the finish, you are tired, people are screaming around you. I know that with 2' to go I can concentrate enough to finish no matter how tired I am. Conserving energy in the beginning will hopefully allow for a good push at the end. In my younger days I would start my sprint in the last 2 minutes. Now I take a deep breath at the 2 minute mark and visualize that deep breath bringing much needed oxygen to my muscles. Whether it is really happening or not, it does relax me a bit so that as I pass the 500 meter mark I can start my sprint. In the last 500 meters I will count strokes such as 15/15/10/10. Each one of these segments I will try to bring the split down 1 second. Towards the end it may happen that my rate is increasing just to maintain the split. The key here is to not focus on the end of the race but just that segment of strokes. It is easier to mentally think about getting through 15 strokes when you are tired rather than thinking you have 40 strokes to still go.

Good luck this weekend.

updated: 11 years ago