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Learning to Let it Run

BY MARLENE ROYLE
PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER

How much water can you cover in one stroke?

It’s an important question: small gains in boat run quickly add up. Consider that a single sculler takes around 600 strokes in a typical head race. A five-centimeter increase in distance per stroke would give you about 3.5 boat lengths of extra distance. That’s why it’s good to focus your on-water training this time of year on maximizing boat run.

Training for run includes single-stroke work so you can solidify small changes in your stroke and then gradually build the new movement pattern up to higher rates.

A good drill for this is single-stroke rowing with a pause at quarter slide, holding the pause until the shell almost comes to rest. Start by driving firmly and then release the blade cleanly from the water. Come out of the bow in fluid fashion, without rushing, and feel the momentum you have built up during the drive as you swing forward. Carry the acceleration all the way to the perpendicular point of the handle on the recovery when the knees rise slightly. Pause here and let the boat glide. Once the boat has slowed significantly, carefully complete the recovery and prepare yourself for the catch so the timing is precise and does not interrupt the flow of the boat. In the second half of the recovery, be patient and try to match the hull speed.

Pause for sets of 15 strokes focusing on increasing your meters per stroke.   

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