As a collegiate rower, I never looked forward to this time of year. I knew that soon the boats would be racked for the winter and I would be relegated to the weight room, the tanks, and the ergs. Although I loathed much of winter training, it helped forge an unbreakable bond between my teammates and me. Whether it was the mini-reflecting pools of sweat beneath our machines or the post-practice runs up to the food hall, the indoor season brought us together in preparation for the racing season months ahead. It helped build confidence too, the three hours of daily work instilling feelings of invincibility among us. And while I am clearly at a very different fitness level today than I was 20 years ago at Brown, I still rely on some of those classic indoor workouts to get me through the dark and dreary days of late fall.
Warm-up: Row for five minutes at an easy but connected pace at 22-24 strokes per minute. Focus on sitting tall and hinging from the hips, pushing the handle forward for nice, long strokes. Next, row for two minutes rowing at a challenging but doable pace at 24-26 strokes per minute. Focus on driving with the legs, and follow it up with 90 seconds easy at a 24 and then 90 seconds hard at a 28. Rest for two to three minutes.
1. Go for 3,000 meters hard at full pressure (but not all out) at 26-28 strokes per minute. Take each 1,000 meters one at a time. For the first 1,000, focus on consistent power output and a controlled recovery. For the second, work on your technique, taking 10 strokes for leg drive, hinging from the hips, finishing strong, and for staying tall on the recovery. For the last 1,000, focus on maintaining a constant split. Record your average split for the distance. Rest three to four minutes.
2. Go 2,000 meters hard at 26-30 strokes per minute. Keep your split time one to two seconds faster than what you held for 3k. Break down each 650 meters using the same focus points as above. Rest three to four minutes.
3. Row 1,000 meters hard at 28-30 strokes per minute. Keep your split one to two seconds faster than what you held for 2k. Break the piece into 250-meter segments with the last one all-out. Cool down for three to five minutes.
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