Tagrowing mental toughness

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.

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Empowering Your Workout – Switching Off The Monitor

Have you ever tried to erg without the monitor? Maybe the batteries were dead or the connection was broken.
Today I did.
And discovered something revealing.

I found an internal power that I had long forgotten was there.

Forced into a gym with bad weather and new year (over)celebrations, I found a shabby, clapped out erg obviously unfamiliar with hardship.

It also had no batteries – which was ok since I didn’t really have a plan in mind.

So I just rowed and rowed.
Staring at the blank monitor.
And occasionally at a spot on the wall.

I didn’t have a watch with me

So I was just me and the machine.
And I got sucked in…

I found a new… 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

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See Book Contents

Erg Rowing Tests – 7 Tips For Domination

Ok, preparing for an erg test involves  making sure you do things like some good 2k erg specific workouts. It should also involve having a solid 2k erg strategy as well as doing some mental preparation for the test itself.

But there are a lot of other things that you can do to help you score a good 2k. Let’s take a look.

#1 Nutrition

For endurance athletes like us, we need lots and lots of carbohydrates. Because intense erging burns gets it’s fuel from carbs you need to make sure you eat diet high in carbohydrates. I’ve followed this rule for many years and the difference between a high-carb diet and a low-carb diet is like the difference between night and day.

# 2 Hydration

You can run car with gas, but if you don’t have oil in the engine you’re going to blow it. Your body needs water like a car engine needs oil. Water is lubricant. And because you wouldn’t want to put any old oil into your BMW, you wouldn’t want to put any old water into your body.

You need a good hydration strategy that ensures you are topped up and ready to pull hard. Sports drinks like Gatorade are good because they have electrolytes that help you retain the fluid. Otherwise you’ll be just pouring water down the drain – literally!

# 3 Lactate Threshold

The best workout in the world for erg test preparation is 3 times 1000 meters faster than race pace. You need to do this session 1 or 2 times per week for maximum effect. Warm up well and set the C2 Erg monitor for 1000 meter intervals with 3 minutes rest. Go off hard and maintain a pace that you can hold for the entire piece.

Hold on towards the finish and make sure you do not back off the power. Repeat 3 times. Each 1000 will get harder but this is ok – it’s where you earn your race day pain tolerance gold.

# 4 Caffeine

Taking on a good dose of coffee roughly an hour before a hard workout or test can work wonders for your perceived effort. Some studies have shown a 6% drop in perceived effort after the ingestion of caffeine.

But the thing with caffeine is that tolerance can kill its potency. If you are a regular drinker of coffee, tea, caffeine drinks or even high percentage cocoa chocolate – the benefit you will gain on race day will be reduced significantly. For best results, stay off all caffeine for about 2 weeks before a big race. You might suffer a little from DTs but stick with it – it will be worth it.

# 5 Mental Toughness

This term is as elusive as it is important. Mental strength and Erging go hand in hand. Embrace the fact that you are a unique person able to withstand large amounts of suffering and discomfort. It’s what sets us apart. If you are having problems with your toughness examine your physical condition. Most mental strength issues have their source in over-training, poor hydration and nutrition or lack of fitness.

# 6 Race Strategy

I’ve mentioned at the beginning that you need a solid 2k erg strategy. But I want to mention again how important it is to have a race approach – particularly 2k race strategy. And while it’s something that you can learn and get better at with experience, you can avoid many mistakes by talking to other more experienced ergers. Ultimate erg domination will only come when you have nailed down an excellent world class 2k erg tactics.

# 7 Relax on the Burn

One major difference between the average and the dominant erg rowers is their ability to row the last 500 meters almost like it’s their first. All good race plans are almost symmetrical – the first and last 500’s are fast with the middle 1000 slower. Because the last 500 is cumulative it’s where the most pain is.

The best way the top rowers deal with it is by being more relaxed the harder it gets. Tense muscles will only lead to a restriction of blood flow to the parts of the body that need it most. So row like the champions – and stay loose.


Next Steps – Supporting Articles

Strategy

https://ergrowing.com/crash-your-2k-erg-score-test-strategy/
https://ergrowing.com/advanced-2k-erg-test-indoor-rowing-strategy-part-1/
https://ergrowing.com/advanced-2k-erg-test-indoor-rowing-strategy-part-2/

Workouts

https://ergrowing.com/rowing-rhythm-workout/
https://ergrowing.com/indoor-rowing-workouts-boost-your-vo2-max/
https://ergrowing.com/race-winning-rowing-workouts/

Mental preparation

https://ergrowing.com/mentally-prepare-for-a-2k-erg-test/

Learn More Insights in the 2K Erg Book

erg rowing book
See Book Contents

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