Practice and learn the little things now

The video below states:  “once a skill becomes automatic, thinking about its precise mechanics interferes with your ability to do it”.  Rowing well comes from being a good rower.  Being a good rower starts with being a good athlete.  Being a good athlete comes from the work done to get there.  That work includes learning ‘the little things’ correctly so they become automatically correct.  Right now we can be putting in so many quality reps to create good athletic and/or rowing skill.  Then when the pressure is on, you have all the nuanced work done and you can use external focus on the ultimate goal… boat speed.  The bit at the end for a free book from is still true… with a free 30-day trial.  I am not endorsing that, but I do highly endorse The Boys in the Boat.  It’s a wonderful read.

Elite vs Us… a few corrections

Friday’s lesson asked for comparison of our training to ideal training.  Some said we do too much red and not enough green.  That’s not precisely correct.  The effective-practice video says the top athletes spend 50-60hrs per week on activities related to their craft.  Let’s guess 40hrs of that is the actual workouts.  If 85% of the time is green, there’s still 4hrs per week in the red zone, and 2hrs at yellow.  We don’t do enough red/yellow.   But we are way behind on green.  I’m hoping over the coming weeks you’ll find more green time.

Some said workouts (like the run, long rows, etc.) should not be yellow/red, but should be green.  I agree.  Often they are intended to be green.  If you don’t know a workout color, ask.  Make each workout the right color.  Find the green zone and use it.  Crew is one of the rare sports where everyone can do a workout together and stay green.  Strong rowers pull harder while green.  Other rowers pull lighter and stay green.  We’re in the same boat, so we stay together.

I was surprised by how many of you focused on your personal experience at the team, rather than the training calendar.  But that’s a good surprise.  It gave me insight I did not expect.  The correction I would offer is that our calendar of workouts tries to provide the right mix.  And the coaches want to help you fix the flaws that hold you back from optimal training.  We wish more students asked for that help.

Quality Practice

After day 1, you probably realize there’s going to be lots of practice ahead.  To sustain this workload, you’ll need huge mental focus.  Watch the video below, then come back here to reading.  Did you catch this quote: “mastery isn’t simply about the amount of practice.  It’s also the quality and effectiveness of that practice”?  Was your run today the kind of quality practice that would truly make you better?  This TED-Ed video, just like the ones on running form, is incredibly information-dense.  I’ve watched it a bunch of times, finding improved understanding each viewing.  How many times did you watch today’s running video?  Once is enough for today, but not enough for your lifetime as a good runner.  This practice video will come up multiple times.  Maybe watch it again.

Evolving Details

This post will provide data (videos, reading, etc.) suggested for the training plan.  First, the cardio party workout lists will be helpful.  The cardio party goals will apply, in-part or in-full, to all the workouts.  For example, all your green zone work should be cardio heart rate or below.  Second, the workout details page will be updated as I gather material.  There will be more posts above this, but always come back here for the latest planning.  Third, is a yoga videos disclaimer:  I googled who the top yoga people were on youtube, and found this channel.  It seems acceptable (quality, accessible, etc.) to me, but don’t take my direction there as full endorsement.  There’s some yoga-specific language in the videos; you’re welcome do your own research.  Fourth, your running will be preceded by video lessons; make sure each green run has a technique focus.  Fifth, your core work should be centered around the cals we already do daily.  Sixth, you’ll do some visualization/mirror work of executing drills; you’ll need a good drills list to consider.  The details page is the current week (week 2).  Here’s week 1 and week 2.

Structure = Speed

The most important thing we have “lost” in these coming weeks is structure.  School and practice keep us on a schedule that enables our success.  We don’t need the extra will-power to get going if we’re being told to do so.  I’m not sure whether the school is providing a study schedule, but I hear there will be work for you to complete.  If you have a school schedule, follow that.  If not, this training plan offers a structure I think will best enable your athletic improvement during the break from practice.  It adds plenty of green sessions.  Expect more specifics to be posted as the days go forward.  For motivation, go read the post behind the password.

Training Opportunity

Athletes, these two (or more) “lost” weeks offer each of you an interesting opportunity.  You have the chance to follow a much better athletic training regime, one that gets closer to the plans being used by the best endurance athletes in the world.  Expect more posts by me to guide this plan.  For now, we need to start with the most important part… with WHY.  Watch the video below.  Then, write out 3 or more reasons why our current crew training is flawed based on this research.  Watch the video again, and write out at least 5 reasons why your typical school day is not ideal to optimal training.  Email me your lists.  I’ll post (attendance page) the ones (no names associated) I think are best.  My judging criteria are (in order of importance):  brevity, comprehensiveness, insight, and brutal honesty.