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Navigating No-Man’s Land


March and early April in New England are the equivalent to the third 500 of any 2k—that section of the race we rowers lovingly deem “no-man’s land.” Why? For one, it’s often brutal outside. And in many spots, it becomes a waiting game for the ice to melt so you can finally take some strokes in a boat after a long season hammering it out on the rowing machine. Lakes and ponds, meant for oars dipping in and out the water, are instead dotted by ice fishermen still dropping lines. This can be torture.

Back in the early ‘90s, while getting my first competitive strokes at St. Paul’s School, I’ll never forget coach Chip Morgan’s dryland training at the beginning of our spring season. Coach Morgan kept us busy and distracted, waiting for the thaw by being creative with the team’s workouts. We did weight circuits with more bench pulls than I care to remember. We ran hill repeats and charged through the campus woods. We pushed through erg sessions and tests. And just when the ice on Turkey Pond started to loosen its grip, it was a race to the boathouse to grab heavy wooden poles for chopping and shoving ice away from the boat docks. It’s amazing how a few dozen rowers, anxious for a return to the water, can speed up the thawing process.

So, inspired by Coach Morgan, I’m delivering a little something to get you through “no-man’s land” and ready to take on your summer goals. 

15 minute Row:

3 minutes easy intensity, 22-24 strokes per minute
1 minute medium intensity, 24-26 strokes per minute
1 minute hard intensity, 26-28 strokes per minute
Repeat two times.

15 minute Strength Circuit:

Break each minute down by 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off (rest)
1 minute burpees (with push-up and jump)
1 minute V-ups (hold for 10-15 seconds and then repeat for the 40 seconds until able to hold the entire time)  
1 minute box jumps (find a height that is right for you, but 16 inches is usually good place to start)
1 minute push ups
1 minute rest/rehydrate
Repeat two times. 

15 minute Run:

3 minutes easy intensity 
2 minutes medium intensity
2 minutes hard running
30 seconds hard 
One minute walk.

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