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Train Hard, Rest Easy and Party like the Season’s Over!

26 Jul

I apologise for having been AWOL for a couple of weeks since the big race – but I haven’t gone, I’m still here – I’ve not retired early! I raced last weekend at Molesey Regatta, and am very much looking forward to the last couple of regattas before the season finishes for the summer.

You may have spotted I’ve been busy with the uploads to my instagram, and since Women’s Henley I’ve had a couple of weeks off to relax and catch-up with friends that I haven’t seen since October 2012, and make the most of the amazing weather we have recently been spoilt with!

Tonight is the End of Season party at the club – despite there still being a further two regattas in the novice race calendar! – but this weekend I have some spare time, and will update this page with the latest goings-on from South West London.


Train Hard : The week we’ve all been waiting for

17 Jun

So here we are, the last Monday evening before Henley, and we’ve just got off the water from our penultimate training session prior to leaving London for Henley on Friday.

Racing Starts Insync

Having had a long and heavy outing yesterday, tonight’s training was focussing on our racing starts.

We had Jon watching us for the second half of the outing, and worked with us on this – focussing on no backs or bodyrock, all legs, and getting the blades all in together, and getting all the power down together.

It was a really good outing – despite getting the usual soaking at bow seat! – and our starts really developed as the outing went on, and the last piece we did felt a hundred times more powerful and insync than the first this evening.

Crew Debrief

Jon hasn’t seen us out on the water for a couple of sessions now, and during our debrief he told us that we looked a different crew from the last time he saw us out on the water – which is nice to hear!

There were plenty of positive comments during our crew chat, and everyone seems nicely relaxed yet obviously excited about Friday!

The balance has improved massively over the last two weeks, and we’ve finally got used to the second shell; Viv – instead of the old trusty, and somewhat creaky Noel!

Train Hard : This week’s Training Schedule

17 Jun

Monday : Evening water outing @ TRC
Tuesday : Final Evening water outing @ TRC Pre-Henley & derigging
Wednesday : Sanding & painting blades Pre-Henley
Thursday : Crew Dinner

Train Hard : This week’s Training Schedule

10 Jun

Monday : Evening water outing @ TRC
Tuesday : REST
Wednesday : Evening water outing @ TRC
Thursday : Lactic Threshold workout @ TRC
Friday : REST
Saturday : 7.45 – 1pm water outing @ TRC
Sunday : 7.45 – 1pm water outing @ TRC

Train Hard : Road to Henley!

5 Jun

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been on an erg, as the last few weeks have been used for race prep, with lots of mid-week outings, however on the road to Henley, the training is getting ramped up further!

Tonight’s work was 2 x 5km pieces, rate 18.

It hurt!

Weight : 58.6kg

Piece 1

Time : 22.00.1
Average Split : 2.12.0
Average Stroke Rate : 19
Watts : 152
Calories : 302

Piece 2

Time : 22.37.2
Average Split : 2.15.7
Average Stroke Rate : 18
Watts : 140
Calories : 294

A good 37 seconds slower in the second piece, after a five minute break – understandably so though!

Train Hard : MET Regatta Race Prep

30 May

Race Prep

So last night was the last outing pre-MET regatta.

It’s been a very busy week since Twickenham Regatta, with training on Monday (despite it being a Bank Holiday, and day of rest for everyone non-rower!), and outings both Tuesday night, and last night.

The outing on Tuesday was with the crew for Saturday’s racing, and last night’s was for Sunday’s crew – both 8’s. Both outings were to be used for ‘polishing’. The coaches have told us the crews don’t need much help, but just small adjustments now to correct little issues, to gain an extra inch or so each stroke. Every inch counts!


A pain in the neck!

My neck is still feeling the strain from last week, and all of the race training hasn’t helped it much – it’s gone from a central, nerve-tingling pain, to the right-hand-side – therefore more to do with the long-term issue, most likely exacerbated by rowing on bow-side, and so putting more tension on my right-hand-side. Something to look into in terms of physio help.

The outings were focussed on racing starts, working on getting catches in together, making sure not to rip the water on the first few strokes, and to keep the finishes long. By the end of each outing, the crews felt much more jelled together.

Last night was particularly tiring, as we rowed up to St Paul’s, and then did 3 x 3-minute pieces with racing starts, rating about 34/36.

Once we get into the rhythm of things, the stroke is lengthened out, the rate levelled and breathing becomes less erratic and more natural, the boat seems much easier to push along. It’s all down to getting into rhythm, and keeping the timing – as soon as one blade comes out a little too early, that throws things and the pacing is then off for a few strokes. It’s whether we can keep composure and get the rhythm back that matters.



The outing didn’t feel that long – although we did have a long crew discussion before outing in the crew room – but my back was definitely feeling it by the end of the session!

Once we got the boat off the water, it was time to derig ready for loading for the weekend – that should save some time on Friday! 🙂


Taking a breather

I’ll be taking the next two evenings off training – having spent all weekend at the club, it would be good to get some good space from it before the weekend, to recompose and take a breather ready for racing!


Train Hard : with a little rest this week!

24 May

With the exception of the outing last night, I have had to go easy this week on the training-front after sustaining a rather silly injury whilst at Thorpe Park on my day off from work Monday!

Whilst on one of the roller coaster rides, I forgot to brace myself properly and as a result suffered a neck injury as I was thrown around the Surrey countryside at 80 miles an hour, with several g’s forcing my neck into a rather unnatural position!

After a visit to the doctor, I was given painkillers to reduce the pain and inflammation, and muscle relaxants to let the muscles come out of spasm and rest and repair. Let’s be honest, not great the week of a big regatta – should have factored that in when we were planning the day out!

My neck is feeling a hundred times better than it was Monday evening, and I’m hoping to wake up tomorrow in as little discomfort as possible, as tomorrow is the Twickenham Regatta – my first regatta racing as an Intermediate, so it’s rather exciting!

If there is one good thing that has come out of this rather irritating injury, it is that it has highlighted the underlying issue I have in my neck and shoulders from sitting at a desk, and the importance to stretch all muscles – even if they do not appear tight or sore – to reduce future problems and injuries from happening.

All great with hindsight, hey!


So this evening we have the usual faff of derigging the boats and loading them onto the trailer ready for the race tomorrow. We’re hoping to make it as quick-a-job-as-possible – the other intermediates find it hilarious to watch us each time we load and unload the trailers, but I think they forget that they were once novices too! Practice makes perfect, and we’ve had a fair bit of experience of it all now, so it should be a pretty straightforward job … we’ll see!

Train Hard : Straws

30 Apr

So, in race prep for this weekend we had an outing tonight in our crew.

Once again, I had straws taped to the side of the boat, in position where I rock over. This evening I found out why though!

Jon told me this is because I have a habit of breaking the knees too early at high rate, and so I need to retrain myself – body rock, then slide.

It seemed to help, as I felt myself pushing to keep my knees down that little bit longer than I normally would, and Jon said there were only a few strokes – when the boat was unbalanced – that I didn’t keep it up.

Good outing though – lots of work on catches and backing it in. Good to hear the crews comments. I’ve been working on my catch a while, but believed I have developed a good backsplash, as I trained myself to get used to the wobbly feeling on the blade as you back it in. But to hear the others say what I had first thought when I learnt it with Ted was nice confirmation.

Anyway, a good outing – minus the attack with a laser, and some of the crew spotting a floating dead dog! Could have been worse!

We’ve got another outing planned for Thursday, as last prep before Saturday’s racing!

Train Hard : A F*oar*some Sunday Outing

28 Apr

Why can’t every outing be like this!

Compared to the biblical conditions we had for the regatta yesterday(!), today’s water was beautiful, so still, and the river was deadly quiet – that combined with the sun was beaming down on us made for an amazing outing!

Due to the last-minute unavailability of coxes this morning, there were changes to the plans for outings, to make do with the people available.

As a result, I went sent out in a coxless four with Laura P (stroke), Bethan (2) and Marketa (Bow/Steerer) – with Ted coaching us from the launch.

It was a very technical session, as the balance in a 4 is over exaggerated due to the lack of extra bodies and blades to stabilise the boat, and so the drills Ted gave us were done in pairs. This meant we got much more personal coaching than as normally happens in outings in 8s.

We went through drills for getting catches in together, and before driving through. For this we did the exercise where we row with our outside hand only, and have the other hand on the back of the wheels of the seat. This helps to check when force is being applied to the blade. If the wheels move before the blade is in the water, then were missing water at the catch – and so reducing the stroke length.

As we are repeatedly told by the coaches – in summer sprint racing, every inch matters and can make a huge difference – therefore it is vital to get the blade in the water before applying force with the legs – and to do this at the very front of the catch.

Another drill was rowing with pausing at various parts of the stroke, building up to arms away, this time as a four.

The balance at first was a little patchy, however we soon overcame this, and Ted then let us row as a four back to the club.

As we got into the rhythm of it, it was really coming together, and Ted was as his usual self – getting very excited in his launch screaming and cheering us as we got a good run going on the boat.

There were four or five strokes in particular whilst rowing between the boats back to the clubhouse that were near perfect – the boat perfectly balanced moving smoothly through the water! We all got out feeling rather pleased with ourselves, with big grins on our faces!

Fingers crossed it’s not the only time we get out in a four – as a crew I think we were working together really well, and given more practice we could make a good crew for racing!

Outings like that remind us all why we put in the hard work and effort over the cold winter months!


After the morning fours outing, some more coxes arrived and so it was back to the usual 8s. Not as exciting as the first outing but still a good one, and some valuable lessons learned.


All in all, a good day on the Tideway!

Now home for a mid-afternoon Sunday nap – I’ve still not caught up from camp!

Camp Hard : Spring Camp 2013 : Day 3

20 Apr


So they well and truly ruined us today!

It’s been a long day, and were all in bed early again feeling like we need the sleep. In fact tomorrow we have a lay in – breakfast is at 8.15 – thank the lucky stars!

After yesterday’s drama – being caught down the pub by our coach (i wasn’t even boozing like the rest!) – he’d told us we wouldn’t be rowing today, but when he finally turned up to the club, he seemed fairly cheerful and in a good mood. He told us that what happened would be forgotten about, but that he would make us pay for it today – and that he certainly did!!

Racing Starts

We had a long steady rate 18 row up to the weir and back, with a short break before getting back out there to practice roll ups, and racing starts. Mid session a footplate came off, and so we came back to the club to fix it and in doing so our cox took us to the pontoon slightly too quickly and took part of the bottom of the boat off!

Anyway! We got back in the boat and back out to row for another forty minutes or so before being told we would be racing! Not only was this sprung on us, but the fact it would be against the women’s four, we became ratty defeatist pretty quickly!

Anyway, with gritted teeth we sat ready,

‘Thames Four, Thames Eight … Ready … Attention … GO!!!’.

We hit off to a great start.

A bit like sitting at the lights next to another car though, over the first few strokes the lighter boat with the fewer bodies shot off a little quicker than our eight, but once we got through our racing-start drill of 8 3/4 slide draw-ups, and started to lengthen out we soon caught up, came level, and finally overtook them.
As we got to the finish point, I looked over to see the other boat slumped and looking pretty exhausted, pulling in just behind us. We were all pretty surprised we managed to keep up the pace, and keep them off us right to the finish.

As we turned around to come back down we noticed all the other boats sat waiting to race, lining the banks of the river. It seemed funny, seeing as in the races we’ve had before all of the other boats marshalling have been from other clubs.
Like chavs, it seems the other crews cruised up and down the stretch of river picking races against other boats!

Unfortunately we didn’t get to see any of the boys’ crews racing, and not long after turning we pulled up against the pair in the scull. It turned out they had been left out of the coaching that morning, and that they hadn’t been involved in any of the racing too, so we set up to race them.

Ted explained to them how to manage a racing start, and lined us up. We set off with four or five good strokes, and before we knew it, we were hit by the pair. Having kept my eyes in the boat, I didn’t see them, and so had no idea they were getting close, so it wasn’t until my blade struck the boat that I realised, and by then I was unable to get it out of the way, and unfortunately was forced up and over their boats, and subsequently over their heads. For a second it looked like the pair were going to roll in off their boat, but they kept hold of their blades as we managed to pull away from them and they kept themselves afloat.

Once the pair had calmed down, we had a couple more racing starts with them, before moving onto racing the boys eight – of which we lost to.

After all the excitement we had a gentle paddle back up to the club, followed by lunch out in the sun, before heading to the train station for Henley.

Henley Rowing Club


Once in Henley, we headed straight for the club, where we dropped off our kit and made a swift change before the boys were sent off on their outing. Us girls – led by Ted! – went off for ice creams, and then walked the course of Henley. We saw the boys go by and cheered them from the banks, had a few photos taken and then headed back to the club for our outings.

Jon had arranged for us to borrow Henley’s boats, and so the first eight took the sweep and my crew took one of the two octuplets that had been lent to us for the afternoon.
Tim was our cox, and we left the club and headed out towards the town centre – by all of the riverside pubs that at the time were swamped with sunseekers! – for the start of the race course.

The row up was a bit wobbly – not all in the boat had sculled before, and so for the first kilometer or so the blades were kept running on top of the water, but as we got out passed the town centre Tim pushed us to keep the blades off of the water.
As we got to the beginning of the course we came across Ted on his bike, who cycled beside the river to coach us.

It was a really nice outing, but given the effort and energy spent earlier in the day, you could feel the slump in the boat, as it chuffed along! Tim kept pushing for us to get our legs down, and send the boat away … there wasn’t much send!! There was nothing left in the tank, and by this point most of us were exhausted and really aching. I especially felt it in my back, and with sculling having a straight upright back usually comes quite naturally for me, however I was really struggling to keep upright!

Tim gave us multiple options as we got close to the end of the course, however our stroke decided it was too much for her back and so we headed back to the club.

As our outing had been shorter than planned, we then had the option of either getting an earlier train or staying in Henley for another hour. And so to the pub we went!

Diet cokes, home for dinner, and bed!

So a few us headed to the pub – Angel on the Bridge, for a cheeky diet coke, and to soak in the sunshine before heading back to the hostel. We had a good giggle, and Ted told us more about  his experiences at Henley when he raced.

Once again, an early night in Room 5 – we’re all exhausted and the evening has flown by.

Bed at 10.30pm!

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