Winter training can be boring.
For rowers, it entails completing countless mind-numbing miles indoors on the rowing machine with little else to look at other than a bleak view of British weather out of a window.
This post aims to provide 5 ideas of ways to make your training more interesting while you dream of summer races.
1. Vary your training
Varied training can help to keep boredom at bay and keep your performance heading in the right direction by stimulating your mind so you focus on each session as you would when learning something new and avoiding the "same-old" approach to training that can result in reluctance to complete an activity.
We recommend that you include some shorter higher intensity sessions and longer, lower intensity sessions in your weekly training.
If you find the steady state work particualry boring, try varying your stroke rate between sessions. For example, rowing at 16spm and higher power per stroke improves muscular endurance, while rowing at 24spm and lower power improves your cardiovascular fitness but both can feel similar in intensity.
2. Give RP3 Racing a try
We think the best way to keep indoor training exciting is to make it competitive. With RP3 racing you can race with and against your friends and total strangers in virtual boats.
You can choose the race distances and boat classes and the software automatically calculates your speed based on your average crew weight and power.
3. Set training goals
Give yourself something to aim for by setting a goal on a test distance of your choosing. This can be a 2k time you want to beat or maybe even just to achieve an hour of rowing without stopping.
Whatever the goal, set a date that you will attempt it and tell your crewmates or friends about it. Then think about the training you will have to do to achieve the goal.
Having others know about your goal will help you to stay motivated in trying to achieve it.
4. Listen to something
Listening to something while rowing is certainly not groundbreaking. It can however make a massive difference to your enjoyment of longer sessions and to your performance on test pieces. Plus it can be nice to have a break from the sound of the rowing machine whirring away or your own laboured breathing.
Get yourself a good pair of bluetooth headphones and listen to your favourite music from a streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music. Or try audiobooks and podcasts for a change from the usual.
5. Give yourself a break
There's nothing worse than dreading training because your too tired or going into a test distance knowing you are too tired to get a good score.
Rest is just as important as training in improving your long term performance so don't feel bad about taking rest days and make sure you plan them into your training.