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    Developing daily habits to maintain health is key to preventing missed training days due to illness.

    Arrive 10 to 15 minutes before practice starts so you have time to get dressed and begin to warm up on land. Dress in layers appropriate for the weather. Wear synthetic fabrics that wick away sweat so you stay dry. Longer shirttails keep your lower back covered and warm. When the weather is cold, make sure to wear a knitted hat and a wind shirt to keep your chest and back protected while you row.

    Once off the water, with the boat wiped down, get dry and clean right away. Avoid standing around on the dock or in the boat bays when you are wet. It is easy to get chilled and catch cold. Go to the shower as soon as possible to clean your skin from salt and sweat. If you are unable to shower immediately, have a full change of dry clothing to put on. If you plan to work on flexibility after rowing, change your clothes first and then stretch. Take care not to sit or lie on cold floors or in a draft.

     During your row, always carry your own water bottle. Keep it clean in a plastic bag to prevent the top of your water bottle from floating in water on the bottom of the boat. Rinse your mouth with a bit of water to clean impurities from your mouth before swallowing water directly from your bottle. Keep your oar handles disinfected and wash your hands before and after rowing.

    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 you need to improve your competitive edge. For information, email Marlene at or visit

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