BY VOLKER NOLTE
PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER
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Anyone who has ever mounted a finishing sprint like the Italian pair at the 2017 World Rowing Championship knows of the psychological high coupled with the physical pain that accompanies it. The Italians were 2.3 seconds behind the leaders from Croatia with 1,500 to go and appeared out of the hunt for gold. But as we know, they did it. The question is, how? And how can you prepare for your own career-defining move? Psychology plays a big part. It takes tremendous confidence and motivation to attack in a convincing way. It’s also safe to assume all crews at the 1,500-meter mark of a worlds final are tired. Lactate levels are through the roof at this point. To be successful, the athlete will have to withstand even more. But it’s also a technical challenge; the already fatigued rower needs to continue moving efficiently as the rate climbs. The only way to really prepare for such scenarios is to practice them. Near-championship-level races are key to this effort, as is interval training, where athletes accumulate more and more lactate with short rest times. It all comes together in the actual race, however, when the athletes realize what they can achieve with added effort. In rowing, we can and must train for every part of the race. But heroic moves require going beyond anything you’ve done before.