Win the Workout

Contemplating the concept of ‘winning the workout’ while getting my own energy up for a ride up to work (in other words, having a big cup of coffee).  One of the things we talked a lot about this fall was wanting to win– the desire to improve our team performance as we move towards the spring season.  The truth is, of course, the desire to win is LEAST important on race day.  While there’s some truth to ‘wanting it more’ or expressing some incredible desire in the clutch situations in a race, most all the tools you need to perform well are going to have been put in place well before then during practices leading up to competition.

So then, we have the concept of ‘win the workout’.  Here’s the idea: each practice should have a clearly defined goal and outcome that everyone is striving towards.  For example, if the workout is technical or steady state, the goal should be to keep appropriate intensity and look for performance improvements through technical change.  If the workout is a hard set of race pieces, maybe the goal is competitive– beat the boat you’re training with– or maybe it’s to maintain a certain speed as measured on the speedcoach.  Or maybe the goal is more psychological; to have the crew maintain excellent focus throughout a long set of drills.

The most important part of this is that both the coach and the athletes strive to bring the same level of focus to every practice and are prepared enough that they’re ready to accomplish these workout-winning goals.  By clearly defining the objective of each day, physically and mentally preparing well for practice (great post on that here), and stringing together a series of achieved goals, you give yourself the tools to execute on race day.  If practices are mindless (just rowing around, no purpose or objective), then it stands to reason that improvement will be random and the tools for success will be missing when you look for them.

Time for me to get moving.  Goal for today; an hour of steady state on the bike, followed by a lift.  A win will be steady HR throughout the ride and a little bit more lifted then last week.  To all our athletes reading this: make sure your workouts have goals!

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