Tagerg test tactics

How To Mentally Prepare For A 2k Erg Test

1. Begin early

To guarantee a good mental preparation for your 2k erg test or race make sure you begin early. You probably do it naturally anyway. But once you are notified by your rowing coach or you take a personal decision to race a 2k erg test you should immediately begin the process of internal preparation.

Because usually, the more time you have to prepare,  the better you can be mentally prepared for the 2k.

2. Plan every detail

You must plan everything. And be absolutely meticulous about everything. Attention to detail is key. Decide exactly how you are going to prepare. Decide exactly on what you will do on race day. Have a 2k erg strategy well planned in your mind and practice it if possible at lower intensities in training.

Knowing exactly what you you are going to do  will reassure you and give you a strong base to launch your race plan on race day. Don’t fulfill to prophesy of he who fails to plan, plans to fail.

3. Train hard

I am a big believer in preparing physically for a 2k erg. I believe that an excellent physical preparation will give you enormous confidence and mental strength in your approach to the race.

If you are well trained and have developed the necessary fitness and mental toughness for the 2k erg in your training, then the need to do other extra mental preparation should not be as strong.

4. Better to be under than over cooked.

Never, ever over train with erg rowing when you are preparing for a 2k erg test. When you are tired and over trained the chances are that you will be weak mentally. Or at best you will be in a vulnerable mental state for the 2k.

This balance between under and over training is up to you. And will come with experience. But when you’re are in doubt – more is less.

5. Attack.

When it comes to race day, within the confines of your 2k test plan you should aim to attack. Our primitive natural defence mechanisms instruct us to either fight of flight. Adrenalin can be a great strength for a rower. It can make our rowing perceived exertion seem easier.  So use it. Aim to attack the erg test (within your plan) and do not fear it.

6.Keep those promises.

Remember the last 2k erg test you did? What promises did you make yourself during or afterwards? Did you keep them? Maybe you promised yourself that you’d train harder, smarter, get more sleep or eat better. We’ve all done it. But the real difference comes in keeping those promises to yourself. It’s all about personal integrity. It’s just between you and me. Keep your promises – and when it comes to preparing for a 2k erg test, you will thank yourself.

7. Understand that It will be difficult

Aim high, under achieve and you’ll feel bad.

Aim low, over achieve and you’ll feel great.

Expect an ok erg test, it’ll be hard and you’ll suffer mentally.

Expect a very difficult erg test , it’ll be easy and you’ll score a PB.

(I’ve used this tactic successfully many times).

Learn More Insights in the 2K Erg Book...

Advanced 2k Erg Test Indoor Rowing Strategy – Part 2

This is part 2 of a series of articles about specific 2k erg test strategies for particular rowing athletes who are not suited to doing the standard 2k race plan.

The first 2k article looked at sprinters and how they should approach a 2k erging race differently from other types of rowers. This article looks at rowers who are more suited to (and prefer) long endurance type rowing and workouts. If you think that you are an endurance rower then this is a good way for you to approach a 2k and get the best erg score possible for you.

Start

Go off hard but settle down very early (after around 10 – 12 strokes). Like most endurance rowers the percentage difference between your sprinting power and average race power is probably not all that much.

So when you settle down into your race pace rhythm you should aim to set a power that is the maximum possible for you between 1900 meters and 100 meters to go.

It is better when you are an endurance rower to not vary your power or rate very much in the middle phase of the 2k. Endurance lends itself to a constant high, steady power output for most of the test.

Remember endurance rowers are very different to sprinters who are capable of varying their power a lot during the middle part of the race. Endurance rowers can tolerate an unbelievable amount of hardship for long periods of time.

Remember this.

And remember that you are not a sprinter so you should not do what they do.
 

Middle

This is 1800 meters of absolute endurance bliss.

And you must Red line it.

If you do it right you will suffer hard but it’s what endurance rowers like and enjoy – Long and Hard. Do not go for pushes or power 10’s because you are not genetically geared for it and you will probably have a physical and mental meltdown.

In fact, if you do it right you shouldn’t even want to do power 10’s because your rhythm should be so strong and deep that you would be in an unbreakable zone.
 

Finish

As you go through 500 meters to go, don’t even blink. Just keep working hard in your zone and in your rhythm. With 100 meters left on the monitor you should try and sprint.

But you may not be able to just like many extreme endurance ergers because you will have played the average power game and played to your strengths.

But timing and regulating your energy systems are crucial for the success of this approach for you. Knowing your body and mind well will help you arrive at the finish with just about enough to hold on.

Above all else, choose a middle base power that is sustainable for the entire 2k. 1900 meters will not cut it and you could end up loosing 1 second or more in the last 100 meters.

On the other hand if you are too conservative with your power and you decide to sprint, you will not get the most from your natural abilities.

In a word, it’s all about

Balance.
 

Finally

I mentioned at the end of the first article that both sprint and endurance type rowers should direct their their training so that they become better all rounder’s more suited to doing 2k ergs.

Remember rowing is around 70% aerobic and 30% anaerobic.

So if you feel like you are not in this area, adjust your training so that you become geared better towards the 2k erg.

I cannot emphasise this advice enough because if you want to get fast 2k erg times in the long run, sprinting and endurance alone won’t cut it.

Learn More Insights in the 2K Erg Book...

Lightweight Rowers – After Weigh-In Strategies To Help You Prepare For A 2k Race

After you have weighed in for your 2k erg competition or 2k rowing race you need to do a few crucial things. Otherwise you could bomb when it comes to your actual race. If you have followed a good pre race lightweight rower sweat down strategy, this is a good play for immediately after weigh in.

1. Immediately Begin the Slow Process of Rehydration

When you go into the weigh in room you need to bring a drinks bottle with you. Have it beside you so that the instant you step off the scales and get the all clear that you can row or erg in the lightweight class – start to drink.

2. Drink a Sports Drink slowly and a little at a time

The worst mistake you can make is to drink too much too soon. Even if you have a good quality sports drink with lots of stuff in it to help you retain the fluids, it will still run through you if you. Remember your stomach can only process a certain amount of fluid per hour. Sip a little – slowly and frequently.

3. Aim to drink it all right up to 5 – 10 minutes before start time.

Spread out your drink from the time you weigh in till the time of your race. There’s no point in drinking everything in the first hour post weigh – in. Use as much of the 2 hour window to rehydrate as you can. This will help you to drink and slowly and get maximum rehydration.

4. How MUCH you drink depends on lots of factors like:

  • Dehydration (how dehydrated you are)
  • Temperature. You will need more in warmer conditions.
  • The speed you drink at
  • How much you eat. Eating will slow down absorption.
  • The drink you use. Sports drinks are best because they are designed to help you retain the fluids you intake. Water tends to just run through without contributing much by way of hydration.
  • The temperature of your drink. Cold drinks get absorbed but run through quicker. This is not necessairly a good thing. Aim for a drink that is not ice cold.

5. You should eat something if you haven’t eaten in a while

Say you haven’t eaten since the evening before the weigh- in. And you don’t really feel hungry because you’ve been psyched all morning making sure you make the weight. You should still aim to eat something after weigh in.

Actually, if you are in good time and are on weight (or slightly below) 10 minutes or so before the weigh in you could have something light (like a rice cake or something).

6. What should I eat – and how much?

You can eat anything from breakfast cereal, to bread rolls and nutella, to rice cakes, to bananas, to a honey sandwich to a powerbar. The stuff lightweight rowers eat after weigh-ins is as varied as there are lightweight rowing techniques. (Literally hundreds of different options and opinions) . It really is up to you what you eat (if you eat at all).

  • Maybe you’re not comfortable with eating so close to race time – that’s fine.
  • Or you have eaten already because making weight for the 2k race is not a problem for you.

For a newbe – I would suggest you try something out in training before your 2k erg or 2k rowing race. Aim to weigh in just like a lightweight rowing race (except at a different target weight) Pick a hard training day and arrive for training early. Do the ‘weigh – in’ and eat afterwards. Test different foods to find out what you like. And more importantly – to find something that agrees with your digestive system.

The last thing you need is to have some rice cake repeating on you, mid-race.

7. Finally

The aim is to hold on to almost everything you have ingested pre race. If you need to go pee too often before the race, chances are that you have drank too much or too fast. It you have ever tried to do a 2k erg or rowing race in a dehydrated you will know that it is a brutal experience. And it can also be dangerous.

The 2k Erg Test Results, Findings and Recommendations

So we finally got the chance to do the 2k’s yesterday.

Here are the results including the January results and the PBs of the rowers:

Group A

Friday 2K January 2K PB
A1 21 YO Male 6:48.1 6:48 2k 6:44
A2 42 YO Male 6:54.2 6:54 2k 6:39
A3 18 YO Female 8:10.8 8:11 2k 8:06
A4 28 YO Female 7:22.4 7:24 2k 7:24

Group B

Friday 2k January 2K PB
B1 33 YO Female 8:52.1 2k 8:54 8:54
B2 28 YO Female 7:53.2 2k 7:57 7:45
B3 19 YO Male 6:27.8 2k 6:28 6:28
B4 56 YO Male 7:27.3 2k 7:25 7:23

 

Comments

Like all 2k erg tests, this was a hard test for all the rowers. Some suffered more than others. Some scored P.Bs. Some felt bulletproof, some felt empty.

But the glaring question is can we find anything from timing of the work sessions we did in the past couple of days?

Generally Group B (the group who did the 1000 meters at pace on Wednesday (2 days before the 2k test) and (3 days after the hard weekend) fared better. Here’s why…
Continue reading

Rowing Lightweight? Here’s a Race Day Weigh – In Strategy

Lightweight rowers often spend more time thinking and talking to each other about ‘making weight’ than rowing technique and training.

Believe me, I’ve been there.

It’s particularly difficult at the beginning when you are an inexperienced rower or erg rower and haven’t got a clue on how to do it right.

But even if you are an experienced rower you might pick up a tip or 2 from the following discussion.

Wake Up Weight

Wake up early and check your weight  immediately. But make sure your bladder etc is empty becacuse this can make a difference of 200 – 300 grams. You should wear your weigh – in uisuit to get an accurate picture of how much you need to lose. Ideally you should not have to lose more than 1kg because anything more than this will lead you into a struggle you do not need. Continue reading

Goals of the 2k Erg Experiment

I’ve been getting lots of questions and comments from people asking what the point of the 2k erg experiment is.

But first I want to show you what the group of rowers and ergers did in the run in to the 2k last weekend as their ‘taper’.

Here’s what they did:
• 6 days before: 3 x 1000 meters
• 5 days before: 4 x 500 meters
• 4 days – no training and rest (or for some a light swim)
• 3 days – erg 40 minutes easy
• 2 days – 30 minutes easy with some power 10’s (3 – 4)
• 1 day – 20 minutes erg easy
• Day 0 – 2k Race

Goal # 1

Anecdotally, over the years I’ve learned a lot (through trial and error and instruction from world class rowing coaches) about the timing of the run into an important 2k erg or mini – peak. This is very different from peaking once and once only each season which I have already written about.

The goal of the experiment is to confirm my beliefs that:

Doing 1 x 1000 meters just below pace and 1 x 500 at finishing pace a few days before the test can considerably improve the chances of scoring well.

This is no big deal as most rowers use this or a similar type of approach to their tests.

Goal # 2

But the second more specific goal is to find out when the best time to do it is.

• Normally I’ve done this workout 2 days before the 2k.

• But I’ve heard of rowers having good results doing it 3 days before.

Also

Almost all of the rowers I’ve worked with all performed better when they did the ‘pipe opener’. And I want to confirm this (because the group did not do it this in the run-in to the first test).

I want to confirm my belief on when the best time to do the pipe opener is (2 or 3 days).
I won’t reveal which day I feel is better until after the 2k erg in case the tests get psychologically skewed.

As I say it’s just a non scientific test to have some fun and try to confirm some ideas I have developed over the years with my involvement with world and Olympic teams.

Inexpensively in a club environment.

And I would like to share it with you.

The 2k Erg Test Experiment

This is a non-scientific test and the goal is to discover if there is any difference in the 2k erg scores of the rowers and ergers with different training plans in the final days approaching the test.

1. First read the article that explains the context to the 2k test.

2. Also read the goals of the experiment.

3. Read the results and findings of the 2k erg tests here


Tuesday January 25.

We erged for 40 minutes at around 60% of average 2k power.

Group A

A1 – 21 YO Male 9942 meters 2:00.7 Avg/500
A2 – 42 YO Male 9811m 2:02.3
A3 – 18 YO Female 8293m 2:24.7
A4 – 28 YO Female 9139m 2:11.3

Group B

B1 – 33 YO Female 7741 meters 2:35.0 Avg/500
B2 – 28 YO Female 8462m 2:21.8
B3 – 19 YO Male 10408m 1:55.3
B4 – 56 YO Male 9146m 2:11.2

Most rowers and ergers felt recovered after the 2k test last Saturday. Sunday was a day off for the group. Monday was an easy and steady cross training day. And Tuesday was this 40 minute erg. We’re aiming to do 3 x 15 minutes tomorrow at a little harder pace than today.


Wednesday January 26

We Erged 3 x 15 minutes at a pace slightly above U2. We took a long break between workouts – 10 minutes and took the opportunity to drink some fluids and also get off the erg to move around.

Group A

A1 – 21 YO Male 3820m (1:57.8) 3836m (1:57.3) 3807m (1:58.2)
A2 – 42 YO Male 3759m (1:59.7) 3785m (1:58.9) 3787m (1:58.8)
A3 – 18 YO Female 3189m (2:21.1) 3198m (2:20.7) 3187m (2:21.2)
A4 – 28 YO Female 3513m (2:08.1) 3502m (2:08.5) 3480m (2:09.3)

Group B

B1 – 33 YO Female 2920m (2:34.1) 2929m (2:33.6) 2952m (2:32.4)
B2 – 28 YO Female 3280m (2:17.2) 3292m (2:16.7) 3304m (2:16.2)
B3 – 19 YO Male 3978m (1:53.1) 3961m (1:53.6) 3920m (1:54.8)
B4 – 56 YO Male 3516m (2:08.0) 3505m (2:08.4) 3510m (2:08.2)

The group were feeling pretty tired after this session but we‘re aiming to do a long steady easy workout on Thursday.


Thursday January 28

60 minute erg at very easy pace at around U1 pace.

Group A

A1 – 21 YO Male 14308 2:05.8
A2 – 42 YO Male 13824 2:10.2
A3 – 18 YO Female 11757 2:33.1
A4 – 28 YO Female 13081 2:17.6

Group B

B1 – 33 YO Female 10721 2:47.9
B2 – 28 YO Female 11264 2:39.8
B3 – 19 YO Male 14950 2:00.4
B4 – 56 YO Male 12739 2:21.3

Tomorrow is a very easy day. Most of the group are going to go for a light run, swim or bike for ~ 40 minutes. We are planning a hard weekend of 1000’s and 500’s.


Saturday January 29 2011

3 x 1000 meters just below 2k pace. 10 – 12 minute break between sets. Here are the results:

Group A

A1 – 21 YO Male 3:24.4 3:25.2 3:24.7
A2 – 42 YO Male 3:27.9 3:30.1 3:31.4
A3 – 18 YO Female 4:01.2 4:03.5 4:03.7
A4 – 28 YO Female 3:44.3 3:45.8 3:46.4

Group B

B1 – 33 YO Female 4:26.7 4:27.5 4:29.8
B2 – 28 YO Female 3:59.7 4:01.3 3:59.0
B3 – 19 YO Male 3:16.2 3:17.1 3:17.4
B4 – 56 YO Male 3:45.3 3:46.2 3:47.5

Sunday January 30 2011

4 x 500 meters 5 minute break between sets.

Group A

A1 – 21 YO Male 1:40.2 1:40.5 1:39.2 1:41.3
A2 – 42 YO Male 1:43.7 1:44.1 1:42.8 1:41.5
A3 – 18 YO Female 2:00.1 1:59.2 2:00.3 2:01.3
A4 – 28 YO Female 1:49.2 1:50.5 1:52.7 1:53.1

Group B

B1 – 33 YO Female 2:12.4 2:10.8 2:11.7 2:13.8
B2 – 28 YO Female 1:58.6 1:58.2 1:58.8 1:57.9
B3 – 19 YO Male 1:38.4 1:37.6 1:36.4 1:35.8
B4 – 56 YO Male 1:51.2 1:50.3 1:50.5 1:49.7

Monday January 31 2011

This morning we met as a group and did an active swim/stretching workout for areound 30 minutes. It was a very easy session, with more stretching than swimming. It was also a good chance to have some fun and and informally discuss the training we did at the weekend.


Tuesday February 1 2011

Today is the day the training changes between the 2 groups. Group A did 1000 meters at pace on the erg today. Group B did a 40 minute steady erg.

Group A

A1 – 21 YO Male 3:26.4
A2 – 42 YO Male 3:29.3
A3 – 18 YO Female 4:04.6
A4 – 28 YO Female 3:45.6

Group A were still feeling tired since the weekend workouts and most went slower on average than Saturday’s 1000 meter workouts.

Group B

B1 – 33 YO Female 7242 (2:45.7)
B2 – 28 YO Female 7505 (2:39.9)
B3 – 19 YO Male 9860 (2:01.7)
B4 – 56 YO Male 8602 (2:19.5)

Most of Group B were also feeling tired but most felt better after the 40 minute easy workout.



Wednesday February 2 2011

Today was Group B’s turn to do the 1000 meters in and around 2k erg pace. Group A did the 40  minutes easy erg. Here are the results:

Group A

A1 – 21 YO Male 7126 (2:46.3)
A2 – 42 YO Male 7921 (2:31.5)
A3 – 18 YO Female 9820 (2:01.4)
A4 – 28 YO Female 8332 (2:24.0)

Group B

B1 – 33 YO Female 4:25.3
B2 – 28 YO Female 3:57.6
B3 – 19 YO Male 3:16.5
B4 – 56 YO Male 3:43.9

Thursday February 3 2011

20 minutes easy erging and stretching. Talking and preparing for the 2k erg test tomorrow.


Friday February 4 2011

The 2k erg test. Read about the 2k results and findings here.

Group A

Friday 2K January 2K PB
A1 21 YO Male 6:48.1 6:48 2k 6:44
A2 42 YO Male 6:54.2 6:54 2k 6:39
A3 18 YO Female 8:10.8 8:11 2k 8:06
A4 28 YO Female 7:22.4 7:24 2k 7:24

Group B

Friday 2k January 2K PB
B1 33 YO Female 8:52.1 2k 8:54 8:54
B2 28 YO Female 7:53.2 2k 7:57 7:45
B3 19 YO Male 6:27.8 2k 6:28 6:28
B4 56 YO Male 7:27.3 2k 7:25 7:23

How To Make Every Session Count – Why You Should Sprint #2

I got an interesting email the other day from  Mike, shortly after I wrote about the sprint in rowing and why it can give you a competitive edge. He asked why I thought sprinting wouldn’t affect the general purpose of a particular erg workout. And gave an example of a session where you might be rowing long and steady on a lighter day before a harder quality day of erging.

Would sprinting on the lighter day tire you out so that the following day’s quality session would be affected?

He got me thinking.

Continue reading

2k Erg Mental Toughness – 2 Essential Tips Guaranteed To Prevent Choke

I’m worried.

I keep thinking about that 2k next week.

I keep thinking about the last 2k erg test when I just folded up.

And choked.

I like every other rower who chokes does so because of the pain. Or the expectancy of it  – even 4 minutes before it actually arrives.

But this time it’s different. I have a new plan. I leaned something very important from someone who’s been there before. Someone who overcame mental collapse at 2k erg tests. Many times before he discovered what to do about it.

Here’s what he told me
 

Tip #1. Harden into it

There are 2 main types of fitness. First is physical.

The second is mental fitness. Rowing on the erg trains this also. But not that much.

Ok I hear you say. But what about all those hard rowing sessions, hour long ergs, 10k ergs or the dreaded 3 x 20 minute erg? Yes I admit that those sessions do train you to be tough for that exact type of training.

But 2k erging is different.

You need to get acclimatised to taking pain. Dealing with it. Tolerating it.

So how do you do it?

In a word – Training. Both physically and mentally. Doing repeated hard short rowing physical intensity will train your body. Buy it will train your mind more and you will grow accustomed to hardship. And like all rowing training  you must time it perfectly. Only do it for 2 – 3 weeks max before the 2k test. Otherwise you will get tired and will break down.

I like doing 5 minutes all out. Or 1000 meters flat out. Repeats. A few times a week (2 max). Have a look at my 2k erg race winning plans article, where I describe exactly how to prepare physically (and mentally) for the 2k.

I guarantee you that a hardened mind will not give in easily on race day.
 

Tip # 2. Start Slowly In The 2k

Most mental rowing breakdowns happen because of a fear of what’s to come. Long before the really hard part arrives, you are thinking too far ahead and imagining how bad it’s going to feel. And it never really comes because you fold up.

The mind it a complex machine but by pushing the right buttons it can be manipulated.

If you can begin slower than usual (1 – 2 seconds per 500 split) for a few hundred meters (200 – 400) you will give your mind and body a chance to be fooled. Tricked into believing that it’s a good day at the office and that it will not hurt that much.

Then slowly allow your confidence to grow. Steadily and surely release your shackles. Break free an allow yourself to flow. And ultimately unleash hell on that erg. To the line.

Learn More Insights in the 2K Erg Book...

Best Erg Footplate Position – A Definative Answer.

Over 1 Million times a day, people search google for “correct erg footplate position” or “best foot plate on the erg”.

Ok I’m exaggerating by approximately 999,997.

But you will be surprised about how many ergers and rowers do not set the footplate position correctly on the erg.

Did you know that the correct footplate position can make a massive difference in power and technique?

And good technique = more efficient power = (life is easier! (or faster) – take your pick)
 
 

So what is the best foot plate setup?

The goal is simple. You need full length sliding and maximum power through your feet and legs.

Full length is vertical shins at the beginning of the power phase. Most people either over-compress or under-compress and neither is good. And unless you have a mirror or a good coach beside you, it’s impossible to tell if your shins are vertical at the catch. So get some help.

But there are more factors you need to consider to ensure a good erging  foot plate position.
 
 

Your Height.

Taller people generally have larger feet and need to position the footplate low (with maybe 1 or even zero holes showing).

Otherwise their toes and balls of their feet would be overhanging the top of the footplate. Which is and a big waste of power and a definite short slide maker.

Smaller shorter people generally have shorter and smaller feet. If you are like below 6 ft you need to put your footplate higher up (with 2, 3 or even 4 sets of holes showing).

Why?
Because you are not in an efficient position to gain maximum power from your leg drive when your feet are too low. Plus it’s a mechanical certainty that you will open up too early with your body-swing on the power phase.

Which means a weak acceleration to the finish of the stroke.

Next time you are erging, try it out. Set your feet lower than you usually do and you will find that it feels really weird. You’ll discover that it feels like you can row a lot longer and getting to the catch is a breeze.
 

But on the erg, longer is not always better.


If you are under set with your feet and you are over-compressing at the catch there will be a delay in getting your legs fired up. And you will accumulate more lactic acid (pain – which we don’t like!) because of the acute angle between your upper and lower leg.

A good footplate position should allow you to power up easily and horizontally.

The best way for you to pull the handle is in a straight line – as close to your strong levers (legs, back and arms) as possible.

Weightlifters do it all the time. Have a look on YouTube for some Olympic Weightlifting techniques and pay attention to how they all emphasise the bar remaining close to the body as much as possible during the lifting phase.

Ok rowing is different, but not all that much.

You gotta keep that handle straight and close to your body as much as possible. Otherwise it’s like trying to stretch out at full reach and pick up your grandmas favourite (and really heavy) ornament from her mantelpiece. A dangerous move and not guaranteed to give you a result!
  

The Proportion between your legs and back.

You might be a tall person with long legs and a short back. If that’s the case you need to set low. On the other hand you might be tall with a long back and short legs

If you think you are in this category you need to fix your footplate high. Even if your feet overhang a little.

Because there will be too much of a gap between your handle and feet.
  

Your Hip and Ankle Flexibility.

You might have ankle, achilles tendon, knee or hip flexibility problems which might prevent you from rowing at full slide length. In that case you need to drop your feet low (at the cost of being more ii) because good length is more important than maximum efficiency.

The bottom line is keep the footplate as high as possible, without overhanging with your toes and balls of your feet. Without being so restricted that you cant even get past half slide with your seat.

Learn More Insights in the 2K Erg Book...

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