Taking Rest to Get Fast

Quiet day at the office today after taking the morning away from rowing.  We’ve got the weekend off from racing and after some good, challenging sessions Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the team has earned and needs a break before our last Saturday practice of the year.

Every workout is a load on the body and there’s plenty of non-rowing loads that go into this as well.  School, personal life, lack of sleep, nutrition, injury, illnesses; all of these are factors that affect recovery.  So while a basic workout- say, 5x1k at race pace- might be the perfect workload for one athlete, for another athlete who’s buried under schoolwork or recovering from illness it could be the final straw to push them into staleness or over-training.  Athletes who are tired and not recovering from workouts stop improving, which is entirely counterproductive!

As coaches we have to make the judgment based on the state of each athlete as well as the state of the whole group.   I try to communicate to the individuals as well as looking for visual cues: how many folks are joking around, how many people look exhausted and beat up. Sometimes it’s best to have just one person sit out.  Yesterday, looking at everyone’s faces after a hard race pace workout, it was clear that we’d achieved the goal of a really solid session and that the group as a whole needed recovery.  So today we all slept in, everyone’s assigned an easy 45 minute steady session on their own, and it’s a perfect chance for the team to catch up on homework and me to catch up on work.

The best part is that we’ve got the weekend off tomorrow and folks should be ready to rumble again.  By taking a day away we get a better, sharper, more effective practice.  We’ll be able to push the intensity up and make sure what we do tomorrow will drive the adaptations that will get us a little bit more speed come race day.  Next week I’ll be watching folks very closely; less is more as you get closer to the big races.

A week to go until conference, this time next week I’ll be on the road to Lake Stevens.

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