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    Lickety Splits

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    The secret of a great time trial is to cover the distance at the best possible pace rowing the most efficient way. Generating splits that stay close to your average allows you to manage energy and keep up your speed over the distance. 

    To produce even splits, you need to set a target so you know what you’re capable of without flying and dying during your timed piece. To establish a reliable estimate of your 2,000-meter target, split-row eight 500-meter pieces with a strict three-minute rest. 

    Record your split for each piece. Aim to row all eight pieces at the best split that you can evenly for the set. The average of all eight is a good indication of the capability of your current fitness over 2,000 meters. 

    If you need a starting point for your 500-meter split, row a 20-minute trial, record your average split, then calculate a split that is five percent faster. If your focus is a 1,000-meter trial, you can apply the same principle and row eight 250-meter pieces with 90 seconds of rest in between.

    Record the split for each piece and then take the average of all eight. This exercise will help you test your trial before you actually row your trial so you can make a pacing plan and perform your best on the day.

    Marlene Royle is the author of Tip of the Blade: Notes on Rowing. She specializes in training masters rowers, and her coaching service, Roylerow Performance Training Programs, provides the program and support to improve your competitive edge. For information, email Marlene at or visit

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