Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winter Training: Frandsen and Crosby on Cycling as Cross-Training

As we've discussed here on RR before, the best form of 'cross-training' for rowing is rowing on the ergometer. However, there are other activities that can be beneficial when used the right way, and to the right extent–cycling prime among them. Now is the time when most North American and European rowers are in the depths of winter training, with spring racing season seemingly distant on the horizon, and the hum of the ergs in the boat bay serving as a substitute for the sound of 'water boiling aft.'

Beijing silver medalist of Rowing Canada Aviron, Scott Frandsen, knows very well the demands that rowing places on athletes at the elite level. In a recent blog post, Frandsen discusses the benefits of breaking free for a while, while continuing to develop the aerobic base by means of the bicycle (video of the incredible landscape included below).



Frandsen also touches upon the need for rowers to structure their training plans according to the goals of the overall cycle. As Frandsen states, "There are only so many times through the year that you can do this and truly get the best out of yourself–beyond that, you become a bit stale."

In keeping with the cycling theme, long-time friend of Rowing News and RowingRelated, Josh Crosby (a former world champion rower himself), has recently released the second in a series of cross-training videos, entitled, 'Crossing the Line.' The video (embedded below), includes some tips for cyclists and rowers alike, citing the benefits of cycling as a crossover sport for rowers in need of some time outdoors–an idea that should not be altogether ignored, as ours too is an outdoor sport, and some time spent out in the elements can refresh both mind and body.



Coming this week to RR:
Updates from across the pond, as the first of the Trial Eights for the Henley Boat Races took place last week on the Henley Reach.

-RR

Monday, December 26, 2011

Video of the Week: Eric Murray's 60 Minute Test



Eric Murray of Rowing New Zealand called his shot recently, aiming to break the world record for 60 minutes. And he did just that, posting what was (of course) a very impressive distance (18,728 meters). While this alone is certainly outstanding, perhaps even more impressive is the heart rate data from the test, which shows Murray at 190+ for all but 10 minutes of the hour-long row, maxing out at 201. Following the test, he doesn't flop on the ground, but instead stays seated and maintains a grip on the handle, before moving the erg aside and receiving his trophy for a world-record performance–that being a mop.

Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, or send us your suggestion via Twitter (twitter.com/rowingrelated).

-RR

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays from Everyone at RowingRelated!

Rower's holiday (Illustration: B. Kitch)
Happy Holidays to all from the RR Editorial Staff!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Training, Olympic Trialling – Australian Squad Too Aggressive?

One of the most famous names in Australian rowing, Drew Ginn, has just completed the first stage of trialling for the London Olympic Games, and, despite doing quite well, he's questioning the system. The trials took place over the course of four days, and saw the rowers racing twice each day–the first day included both a 5k time trial and a 2000 meter race. Given the distance yet to go before London, Ginn expressed concern in a recent interview with Stuff.co.nz regarding the preparation of the athletes on the squad at this point in the training cycle. According to Ginn, this has been the most difficult series of trials since those leading up to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta (when Ginn was training as a member of the 'Oarsome Foursome'). Even then, they were racing once per day, rather than twice.

It's one thing when someone new to the squad is having trouble making the adjustment to the senior level. It's an entirely different situation when a proven, perennial contender (and three-time Olympic gold medalist), still at the top of his game at 37 years of age (in his 17th year preparing for the senior level), asks questions like this. Despite the challenges, Ginn and pair partner Josh Dunkley-Smith performed very well across the four day race series, winning the 5k time trial and the 2k race to get things started right.

This gets at one of the themes we have returned to several times here on RR–that being that it is not possible to be at your physical peak year-round (so it's important not to train like it), and the necessity of building a training arc that develops physical peak at the right moment (this goes back to the idea of 'Periodization,' which has been in use for some time across a number of endurance sports). Ultimately, as Ginn knows, no one cares who is fast in December. The important thing is to be fast in July, 2012. What Ginn appears to be reacting to is what he sees as a departure from that ultimate goal, focusing too heavily on the here and now, rather than building the arc for the year–the most important year of the cycle. The Australian team is coming off it's most successful world championship regatta to date–no doubt Ginn would like to see that as a stepping stone to something even better, rather than a high water mark.

-RR

Monday, December 19, 2011

VOTWs: Sculling Technique with Zac Purchase



This weeks' VOTWs (yes, technically 'VsOTW,' but does anyone really say 'RsBI' in baseball?) come to us courtesy of Zac Purchase, and set the tone for winter training as we look to expand our capillary development at low stroke rates, building a base for the power to come as the weather warms up once again in the spring. The videos exhibit not only the precision with which Purchase (former holder of the world's best time in the LM1x, set in 2006 at Eton-Dorney–Jeremie Azou of France now holds the record from the 2011 U23 world championships of 6:46.93) executes the technique, but also the discipline that it takes to repeat each movement again and again, ingraining the proper muscle memory while expanding his aerobic base.



While there is much to learn from watching Purchase in the above videos, Zac was not in action at GB Rowing Trials over the weekend in Boston, Lincolnshire. There were, however, some very interesting results at the 5k time trial event. In the M2-, Andy Triggs Hodge raced with Alex Partridge (Pete Reed did not race), taking first overall ahead of Moe Sbihi and Alex Gregory, with the young 'pair to watch' Constantine Louloudis and George Nash edging Greg Searle and Cameron Nichol into fourth place. This puts Sbihi and Gregory into serious contention for the M4-, and Louloudis and Nash into the mix for the M8+. In the LM1x, Richard Chambers edged his brother, Peter (who subbed into the LM4- at this year's Lucerne World Cup, where the GB crew took first place), by just under three tenths of a second for first place in a time of 18:20.64, with Rob Wlliams of London RC in third place roughly one second back of first, and defending Olympic and World Champ Mark Hunter fourth in a time of 18:22.94–very close at the top end of British lightweight rowing these days!

For a recap and complete results, please visit the official site of GB Rowing.

Thanks to Theo for sending along the video(s)! Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, or send us your suggestion via Twitter (twitter.com/rowingrelated).

-RR

Friday, December 16, 2011

Film for the Weekend: Bled 2011, Thanks to Mike Nicholson



Having been fortunate enough to attend the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia, I can say that Mike Nicholson has done quite well here, capturing the sights and sounds around the race course, as well as catching up with a number of the top athletes on the outstanding Australian national team. Bled is, without question, one of the most picturesque rowing venues in the world, and the weather cooperated beautifully this year, making for good racing (and reporting) conditions. In case you missed it, or would like to relive it all once again, check out the coverage of the 2011 World Rowing Championships from the course on RowingNews.com (opening ceremonies, and days one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight are a click away), with links to over 40 video interviews with athletes and coaches.

After an extremely successful 2011 campaign, Team GB will be in action over the weekend, with national trials taking place in Boston, UK (the original version). Pete Reed's Twitter indicates that he will not be racing (instead, Andrew Triggs Hodge will race with Alex Partridge), and there are a number of top athletes that will not be in the mix due to illness/current training cycle, leaving some room for ambitious U23 athletes seeking to place their names in the hat for 2012. It will be particularly interesting to see how Constantine Louloudis and George Nash fair in the M2- field. More updates and analysis to come.

-RR

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Importance of Recognizing Hard Work, Across All Sports

Obvious, right?
As we get into the swing of winter training, we begin the the most grueling period of preparation as we aim to peak in late in the spring, or early summer. Lots of mileage must be logged in order to build the aerobic foundation that will allow us go as fast as possible during the racing season. In the midst of all this, it is acceptable, and even good, to appreciate the difficulty of the work that you are doing and to understand the commitment and drive it takes to succeed as an athlete.

But don't be Captain Obvious.

Everyone knows it's hard. We don't have to constantly talk about how hard it is. This includes talking to teammates as well as your inner monologue. The more negative we become regarding what is simply the required level of training to succeed in our sport, the more it is going to make that training difficult to accomplish.

I believe there can be a significant benefit to treating the 'daily training grind' as no big deal—just doing what is required to put the money in the bank–rather than constantly patting oneself on the back for working so miserably hard. By talking about the sport and its training in these terms, and by thinking about it as some incredibly difficult feat, I think it makes it harder than it needs to be and, subconsciously, makes it something that we can despise doing at times. Thoughts like these might lead us to question why we do it, or how much longer we can do it. Yes, it's difficult and challenging for both the mind and the body, but that's the deal. Mens sana in corpore sano. That is how training and racing works and that is the beauty of sport—we push ourselves to the limit to see what we are truly capable of. It's often been said that 'sports don't build character, they reveal it.' I'm inclined to say that they do both.

We know that building endurance, strength and fitness is a process that takes time, dedication and good old hard work. We push our bodies in this way so that they must find a way to adapt, and become more efficient. You have to force yourself into this state as an active, daily pursuit. Training is not a passive exercise.

The goal in training is not to beat ourselves up and see how badly we can make it hurt. Sometimes I think people forget, or misunderstand, that reality. I find this to commonly be the case with young rowers, who often approach racing and training with the above mindset—i.e., 'this is going to be really hard, and it is going to hurt a lot.' While this may be true, is that the right mental approach to a race? The pain and physical difficulty is a byproduct of the work that it takes to train your body to adapt to become efficient, powerful and fast. It is important to keep the focus on going fast, a byproduct of which will include a significant amount of discomfort in the form of fatigue, pain and soreness as a result of putting significant demands on your body's systems.

Don't be a victim. Every elite athlete in an endurance sport trains very hard. It is not unique to rowing, yet sometimes I think rowers like to think they work harder than every other sport. That is simply not true in my opinion. There are two problems with this belief. First, it will stop you from achieving your best. If you believe what you are doing is harder than it actually is or should be, I believe it will limit your ability to perform well and excel. Whereas, an approach or belief that the training is challenging but completely doable, will lead to more success. Second, it leads to a lack of appreciation for other elite athletes and other sports, which stunts athletic maturation.

I have often heard rowers take shots at athletes in other sports, saying things like, "He has no idea how hard rowing is. If he got on the erg he would last for about 250 meters before realizing he couldn't do it." Is that true? And if so, maybe it is because they haven't logged the hours dedicated to training and preparation that the rowers have. Here is an example of a non-rower (who clearly has very little idea what he is doing) performing quite well on a 2k ergometer piece. Somehow, he's managed to get himself in pretty good shape without doing the same training that rowers do on a daily basis. I think the driving force behind this negative mindset with respect to other sports is the lack of attention and respect rowing gets from non-rowers, who don't understand the sport and have no idea what it takes to be good. While others may not understand or appreciate rowing, we shouldn't attempt to disparage their sport, or take away from its value, in an attempt to legitimize our own.

Elite marathon runners and swimmers log incredible volume, as do elite cyclists, triathletes and cross-country skiers. There are many ways to work hard and train your body to do amazing things. Anyone telling you that rowing is more difficult than sports like swimming, or track, is off base. At the Olympic level, and even at the highest level collegiately, runners, swimmers and other athletes work just has hard as the top rowers, if not harder. Yes, I am aware that the guys at the University of Washington train incredibly hard to be the best in the nation. I am also aware that the top 5k and 10k runners in the NCAA log up to 110-120 miles of running per week (an average of over 15 miles a day) in addition to supplemental work including strength training, stretching, and core strength. The amount of hours spent in the pool and cross-training at the top swimming programs in the NCAA is equally if not more impressive. Sports like football log a tremendous amount of time on a daily and weekly basis on the practice field, in the weight room, in film sessions, and in team meetings to get to where they want to be (add to this the fact that, in addition to training, there is often significant recovery from injury that must be compressed into the schedule). It's all grueling. Rowing is not unique in this respect.

Yes, rowing is hard. Yes, it is impressive what rowers accomplish in terms of their mental and physical fitness and discipline. But rather than seeing it as some kind of 'quién es más macho?' contest, rowers should see themselves within the larger context of endurance athletes, who work tremendously hard, pushing themselves to their physical limits to accomplish some very impressive things. The next time you see an athlete training hard in another sport, appreciate the work that he or she puts in, just like you, and resist any urge to compare his/her work to yours. There is a lot to be gained from having a greater understanding appreciation of, and ultimately respect for, all top flight athletes, in all sports.

-Justin and the RR Team

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trial VIIIs on the Tideway: Cloak v. Dagger, and Hell v. High Water

Clouds over the Tideway (Photo: B. Kitch)
The Trial VIIIs for the 2012 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race took to the waters on the Thames earlier today, despite very difficult conditions. The races, which are intra-squad and typically feature pithy names (this year was no exception), help to determine lineups, and give the athletes their only chance at the full 4.5 mile Boat Race course on the Tideway, from Putney to Chiswick, before the main event. This year, the CUBC eights ('Cloak' and 'Dagger') took off first, at 1:15pm. The race featured a clash and several lead changes, with Cloak leading by more than a length at one point, but Dagger, stroked former Wisconsin Badger Stephen Dudek, making a decisive move near Barnes Bridge to secure the victory. CUBC president David Nelson (a veteran of the Australian junior and U23 national teams, as well as last year's Boat Race), who sat at seven in the Dagger crew, will undoubtedly be pleased with the efforts of his boat in rough water, as they responded well to a strong challenge from Cloak to win by three lengths in 20 minutes.

Oxford's crews set off from Putney at 2:30pm, at the top of the tide. 'Hell' and 'High Water' (aptly named given the weather/timing) were very evenly matched out of the start, with a clash occurring near the Mile Post. Hell, which featured OUBC president Karl Hudspith in the seven seat, former Yale lightweight and 2011 Rhodes Scholar William Zeng in the six seat, and former Dutch international Roel Haen in stroke, pulled away as they crossed underneath Hammersmith, and established a lead from which they were able to react to the repeated pushes of High Water, which featured German international Hanno Wienhausen, and Harvard alum Justin Webb of Australia (who rowed on the 2004 undefeated Crimson varsity eight, and who has won a world championship as a member of the Aussie surf boat team). In the end, Hell took the race by 1 and 3/4 lengths in 17:08.

For more on the 2011 Trial VIIIs, visit the official website of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, and see Martin Gough's informative piece on his blog. For a gallery from today's racing from Crewroom, please follow this link to their Facebook page.

-RR

Monday, December 12, 2011

VOTW: Support the U.S. National Team Women as They Pursue Glory in London



It goes beyond 'The List.' Beijing Olympian and 2011 U.S. national team member Megan Kalmoe is at it again, this time publishing a video promoting the 2012 'Power and Grace' Calendar. This is the second year of the project, which is a fundraiser for the U.S. women's team, with the proceeds going to help the athletes (who are committed to full-time training in what is, in the U.S., an amateur sport) in any number of ways–Kalmoe herself lists a few. The video includes footage from both training and racing, with clips of from Bled as well as the weight room in Princeton.

For more information and to order a copy of the 2012 calendar, follow the link below:
http://www.thetimefactory.com/products/us-womens-rowing-team

And for more videos featuring the U.S. women's national team (not to mention the 2011 edition of 'The List'), check out Megan's YouTube channel. Also, see Bryan's interview with Kalmoe about 'The List,' Movember and international banter in the upcoming issue of Rowing News.

Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, or send us your suggestion via Twitter (twitter.com/rowingrelated).

-RR

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race – Part 2 of 6



The second installment of the documentary on the Oxford crew as it prepares for the Boat Race in April has been released, covering the rigors of the student experience at England's oldest university as well as the intensity of a one-year program. Roel Haen of Skadi ARSRV, who rowed on the Dutch national team from 2004 (when he competed at the U23 level) through 2007, walks us through a typical day of training, while OUBC head coach Sean Bowden discusses the body's adaptations to the training and some of the overuse injuries that can occur as a result of such a repetitive sport, as well as the sacrifices that are made to produce the best possible outcome on the water.

The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race is on for 7 April, 2012 at 2:15pm GMT. For more information on the crews and the upcoming race, check out the official website of the Boat Race.

-RR

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Moving Rowing Forward: Drew Ginn Leading the Way Again

Sculling silhouette (Photo by Kosala Bandara/Flickr)

In our sport, there is a pervasive feeling that some magic is at work when we watch fast crews perform. While there is certainly splendor in watching great athletes achieve to their potential, both on their own and as part of a unit, the secret is that there are no secrets. There is only work. Drew Ginn–a three-time Olympic gold medalist, and bronze medalist in Bled earlier this year–knows that as well as anyone.

Perhaps that's the reason he's so willing to share.

After all, as Kevin Light says in a recent interview about his new film on Mike Spracklen for RowingNews.com, "I don't think showing people from other countries that we trained hard to achieve what we did will make it any easier to do. In some cases it may make it even harder to do."

Ginn has been hard at work training lately, and I can say this definitively given his most recent blog posts. On Monday, Ginn posted an article to his blog, Rudderfish, reflecting on a recent 6k test, and sharing both previous scores as well as his results from the current test on sliders. Earlier today, Ginn posted the results from his 2k test (also on sliders), which is, to date, quite revolutionary for any elite-level rower. It's great to see that one of the most accomplished athletes in our sport is willing to share so much, and push the envelope, and it also points out just how far behind the curve we are in that respect, when compared to other sports.

Take the NFL Combine, for example. Everyone knows the specific, raw data that each athlete entering the NFL draft has produced following a series of physical tests. While that is a 'ball sport,' and there is less of a direct correlation between testing and playing the game, it is still public knowledge and gives the opposition an idea of an athlete's physical capabilities. There are comparable examples in nearly every other major sport. In cycling, they even go so far as to broadcast the heart rates of the athletes during racing–something that could certainly be used to gain an advantage, or even time an attack in a given stage.

While, in my opinion, going to the level of sharing vital signs for athletes during competition is too far, it seems to me that the greater rowing community benefits when athletes are willing to share test results and analyses in the manner of Drew Ginn, as the community can gain a better understanding of just how much work (and how much physical talent) it takes to succeed at the world level. At the same time, it helps the wider community to identify more closely with elite athletes, as the elites suffer the same trials and tests that all rowers go through, albeit at a different level.

With that shared experience comes a greater appreciation for and knowledge of the sport, and a better understanding across all levels, which moves the sport in the right direction. So, thank you, Drew, for taking what many would consider a risk in posting articles like the ones mentioned above. In so doing, you're moving world rowing into the 21st century, and giving athletes at every level a window into the highest level of our sport.

-RR

Monday, December 5, 2011

VOTW: World Cup Racing Set for Sydney, Australia in 2013 and 2014



The 2013 and 2014 summer racing seasons will feature action in the Southern Hemisphere, on the international regatta course in Sydney. As the video explains, a invitation will be extended to all medalists at the London Games for a subsidized trip to the first World Cup of 2013, set to take place in March as part of an expanded 'Sydney International Regatta Festival.' In addition to a great deal of footage from the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, there's also an appearance from Drew Ginn, as well as a number of shots of the venue in Sydney. With Australia coming off its most successful World Championships to date, the Aussie team will look to continue to build momentum through London, bringing elite, international competition to Australia for the first time since the Sydney Olympics. For more information see the official website of the event at rowingdownunder.org.

Coverage of the USRowing Annual Convention, which featured presentations by Mike Teti, Tim McLaren, Liz Trond, Kevin Sauer, Tom Bohrer, Harry Parker, and many others, upcoming on RowingNews.com.

Want to suggest the next 'Video of the Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, or send us your suggestion via Twitter (twitter.com/rowingrelated).

-RR

Friday, December 2, 2011

On the Road Again: The 2011 USRowing Annual Convention

Airport Sunrise (Photo: B. Kitch)
Rowing News is on the move once again, this time attending the 2011 USRowing National Convention in Hartford, CT. There are a number of extremely influential coaches presenting throughout the weekend event, including Mike Teti, Tim McLaren, Kevin Sauer, Tom Bohrer, Liz Trond, Lori Dauphiny, and Harry Parker, among others. Sara-Mai Conway of Flywheel Fitness and the Austin Rowing Club will also be in attendance, giving a presentation on the business of rowing. See here for a complete schedule, and look for updates from the convention via @rowingrelated and @RowingNews on Twitter, with further updates to RowingNews.com to come.

-RR

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Coaches' Corner: Learning the Difference between Pain and Injury

In all sports, and especially in endurance sports, it is important for coaches and athletes alike to be able to differentiate, as much as possible, between pain and injury. The higher the level of training and the heavier the training load, the more difficult it becomes to walk this fine line. In rowing, as in other endurance sports, success is largely determined by mental and physical toughness, in both training and racing.

No matter how healthy or injury-free you may be as an athlete, achieving to your maximum capability on race day comes down to the ability to push through pain and discomfort. Rowing, like any racing sport, requires pushing up against one’s physical and mental limits (for a related article from The New York Times, click here). However, in addition pushing through manageable barriers, there are often instances in which the athlete, doctor/trainer, and coach must determine whether it is 'normal' pain or an actual injury that could detract from training and performance if not properly handled.

What is the best thing to do? Stop? Keep pushing through and hope the pain goes away?We’ve all been there, during a heavy training cycle, in the middle of a long, hard workout in which we experience a slight twinge, or even sharp pain somewhere in the body. What is the best thing to do? Stop? Keep pushing through and hope the pain goes away? Sometimes these moments are just minor pains that go away with normal rest following a workout, or work themselves out after a few days of subsequent/differentiated training. Other times, they are the beginning of a significant injury that only gets worse. It is an important part of athletic maturation to be aware of these differences, and be able to take part in the decision-making process.

Ideally, there will be a symbiotic/cooperative relationship between athlete, medical professional, and coach with a mutual understanding between all three parties despite their different priorities. The athlete will naturally be biased toward continuing to train through injury, as he/she will not want to lose any hard-earned edge in training or in competition. The medical professional will likely lean the other direction–now, more than ever, given the litigious nature of modern society, doctors are conservative with their recommendations. The coach, then, often takes on the position of fulcrum in this delicate balance, taking into account both his/her knowledge of the sport and the particular athlete (with which/whom the doctor may not have direct experience) as well as the information presented by the medical side.

The most important part of all this is that each figure in the triumvirate described above must play an active role. The athlete must learn to take on some level of personal responsibility in terms of identifying, to the greatest extent possible, the difference between pain and injury. Obviously, no athlete is going to be able to train or compete at a high level without pain, discomfort, soreness, and varying degrees of injuries. The key is to be active in identifying and treating them, and to be intelligent in dealing with them. It is up to the individual to know his/her own body, and discover the difference between pain and injury, which may take trial and error over time. The medical professional must be available to provide the data necessary to make a rational decision regarding continuing to train or altering the training plan, and the coach must understand both sides well enough to advise the athlete in either circumstance. For this reason, it is often most useful for a coach in any given sport to have a general background in exercise physiology.

Nicholas Purnell and Drew Ginn (right) in Bled (Photo: B. Kitch)
These questions arise at every level of competition, and affect every level of athlete. A prime example of this is Australia's Drew Ginn, who has battled injury throughout his career, winning multiple Olympic gold medals along the way, and who is likely to bring home more hardware from London next year (he recently took home the bronze in the M4- at the 2011 world championships–for a video interview with the Aussie M4- following their race in Bled, click here). Coincidentally, Ginn was also the World Rowing 'Athlete of the Month' for November, 2011, and his interview for the FISA website (quite comprehensive and very well done) covers a great deal of his training through injury over the years. During the Olympic regatta in Beijing, Drew and pair partner Duncan Free were unable to practice due to the condition of Ginn's back, but had done enough work leading up to the racing that they were able to put it together when it mattered most (more on this from The Canberra Times). Ironically enough, it's now Ginn who is awaiting the return of Duncan Free, as Free suffered a broken leg in a bike accident prior to the international racing season last summer (fortunately, he is recovering quite well).

Muscle imbalances and strength deficiencies can also lead to injury.To be sure, the goal is to be preventative and avoid injury as much as possible. The important keys for doing this include rowing with good technique, not increasing volume too rapidly, not doing hard sessions day after day, paying attention to core strength, getting enough sleep and proper nutrition so that the body can repair itself, etc. Most injuries occur either after a long break, or when an athlete or coach revs up the volume and/or intensity too rapidly for the body to handle, or in the middle of heavy volume training cycles when the body is fatigued and in a weakened state. All it takes is one bad stroke in the middle of a long, hard workout in a heavy volume week, one heavyweight squat with poor stability/core strength, or repeated strokes with deteriorating form in the middle of a workout to lead to injuries that require time away from training. Muscle imbalances and strength deficiencies can also lead to injury. Injuries, outside of freak accidents, typically don’t just happen–more often, they are often a result of or a response to something that could have been altered in hindsight. By keeping this in mind and staying smart, injuries can be avoided.

While it is important not to generalize, given that every athlete is different, and every athlete's body will respond in different ways, it can be said that, if you are suffering from a sport-specific injury, then there are nearly always ways to train around that injury, which will maintain overall fitness through periods of altered training. As Ginn describes in his interview, he suffered a rib injury early on in the 2011 season, limiting his ability to row, but, in his case, not limiting his ability to utilize the watt bike. Cross-training becomes extremely important to maintain base fitness, and, as long as it can be done without affecting the existing injury, can often be done at a higher volume to compensate for the loss of sport-specificity. This will not only help with performance upon making the transition back to rowing training–it may help the healing/recovery process as well.

-Justin and The RR Team