Train Hard : WHR Draw Announced …

7 Jun

Thames B will be racing …

Vesta!

Race 11 at 15:03 Friday 21st June, in the 4th of 7 heats.

 

Quarter Final

The winner of Race 11 will race again in Race 132 at 11:04 Saturday 22nd June against the winner of Race 10 (either City of Oxford or Cantabrigian).

 

Semi-Final

The semi-final will be Race 334 at 11:42 Sunday 23rd June, against the winner of Race 131 (either Twickenham RC/Barnes Bridge Ladies/Galway RC or Royal Chester)

The Women’s Eights Intermediate Final

The final will be Race 377 at 15:35 Sunday 23rd June, against the winner of Race 335 (either Lea RC/Tyne RC/Grosvenor RC/York City/Reading RC/Thames RC A or Cambridge City RC)

 

With three races to get to the final – it *could* be a Thames A vs Thames B final !!

Be Happy : Friday’s Health & Fitness Fact

7 Jun

Walk yourself fit!

Not a fan of running?

Walking at a brisk pace – 15 minutes per mile – burns almost as many calories as jogging for the same distance.

Not only this, but it reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.

So get those walking shoes on this weekend, leave the car at home, and walk to the shops!

 

But dont forget …

Jogging takes less time to cover the same distance and is good for your bones.

Weight-bearing exercises like running reduce your risk of osteoporosis, as it helps maintain bone mineral density.

 

Did you know?

There are many misconceptions around running and it’s effect on the body.

Many believe that running is bad for bones and joints, however recent research from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2008) found no evidence of accelerated rates of osteoarthritis among long-distance runners when compared with healthy non-runners.

It is in fact suggested that running could delay the onset of arthritis by more than 12 years – with those that run between 6 and 20 miles a week seeing the most benefit.

Professor Jim Fries, an expert in healthy ageing, emeritus professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, California, and senior author of the study found the following from his research:

‘Running or jogging does not increase the risk of osteoarthritis, even though traditionally we thought it was a disease of wear and tear.

‘It’s the wearing that’s OK and not the tearing, because it’s important to avoid injury. 

We know now that painless running or other activities which are aerobic and make you fit help you remain vigorous for longer. 

You are four times better off in avoiding disability, and that’s what we all worry about. 

But we can’t say the same for the type of exercise that involves tears around the joint, primarily through twisting and turning. This accelerates development of osteoarthritis, particularly of the knee. Internationally, the most frequent cause is football. 

Even ballet dancers are at increased risk for osteoarthritis – at the base of the big toes.’

 

So don’t let the many misconceptions of others hold you back!

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 : WHR Crews Announced …

3 Jun

… I’ve just received the email we’ve all been waiting for!

(Well, all of the women’s novice squad at TRC!)

 

The crews for Henley have now officially been announced, and training in those crews starts this week – I’m expecting it to be a very full-on couple of weeks as we build up to Women’s Henley (21st to 23rd June).

 

I will be racing in the Women’s 8 at Bow, along with Hannah B (2), Holly (3), Laura (4), Madeleine (5), Kathrin (6), Charlotte L (7) and Bethan (Stroke) – coxed by Marie.

As a squad, we are also entering a four; Katrine, Bernice, Amy C and Amy L, coxed by Cat.

 

Very, very, very excited!

This should make up for the many months training in the dark and cold!

 

According to the regatta’s website, the draw should be announced Friday, so until then we sit and wait to find out who our competition will be for qualifying!

 

 

Race Hard : Met Regatta – Saturday June 1st 2013

1 Jun

Despite the racing being out at Eton Dorney – 20 miles from home – we were quite fortunate that our heat wasn’t until 11am, and as I was driving that meant an alarm call of 7 as usual!

The drive to Dorney was pretty quick, however as we got towards the lake the sat nav decided it knew better and tried to take us off down someone’s driveway! As a result, we ended up slightly lost in Eton, in amongst some rather magnificent buildings!

Once we found out exactly where we were meant to head to – the Mets’ website did warn that sat navs don’t like the area! – it only took a couple of minutes to get there, and we soon got parked up.
What we didn’t realise was that we were parked halfway along one side of the lake, and the boats were on the opposite side – what looked so close actually took ages to walk!

 

All rigged up!

Boat rigging took barely any time, and we soon had the Noel ready to race.
We had a crew chat with our cox Marie – she ran us through the race plan so that we knew what to expect, and soon after it was hands on.

Once again, forgetting how far the boat was from the start of the lake we set off carrying the Noel down to the pontoons. About a hundred metres down, the real weight of the boat hit us! We only ever carry it from the boathouse down the embankment – 100m at most!

Whilst it feels a little more glamorous standing on a pontoon to put the boat into the water, there’s something a little unnerving about the fact its floating, and one wrong move and you – or worse, the whole crew! – could slip and go in with the boat!

Anyway, we got the boat in the water, pushed off and headed down the warm up lake – hidden behind the bank – to make our way to the start.

 

Race Warm Up

We worked through the usual warm-up of hands, hands and bodies, and working our way up the slide. We then had a couple of racing starts in an attempt to burn off a little adrenalin.

The marshall called the boats from our heat to get into order, and directed us down and through the bridge to get into position.
We were lane 6, therefore second from last to pull through onto the lake, and got ourselves into position as quickly as we could.

 

Attention!

Unlike the regattas we had entered prior to this, the start was much more formal – we were given a countdown to the race start from the official in the box, and once all boats were docked at the start the official called attention, then a short pause before the digital boards on shore lit up green and beeped to signal the start.

 

Our start

Unfortunately, the official called the start whilst Marie still had her hand raised, as we were still tapping the boat straight, and so we were all a little caught out.

Our start wasn’t awful, but we weren’t getting much power down, and there wasn’t the rhythm in the boat, which made the race a battle.

In terms of pacing, we were told to go all-out in the first 250-500 to get a good start, then lengthen and pace it out, before pushing again for the 1500m mark, and again for the last 250m.

Without the rhythm it was hard getting the power down, not only this but there were too many blades not catching properly and so Marie had the boat on full steer to bow-side for the whole race as bow-side were pulling the boat over to the lane to our left. Consequently steering adjustments have an effect on both balance and speed, and in an ideal world over the length of a straight-lane there should be very little steering required.

Despite feeling like forever to get to the mid-way mark, the race was much quicker than I had feared, and we finished the race 6th out of 7.

Obviously gutted as a crew not to have got through to the next round, or repechage, however it was a great experience – racing on a lake against 6 other boats was very exciting and new to us all.

 

Easy Oar!

Once we got the boat back on trestles, we were then left to chill out for the rest of the day, whilst the rest of the crews had their races, and so we sat by the finish line to have lunch and cheer on TRC crews.

My parents had made the journey to Eton Dorney to watch us race – I spotted my mum, busy with her camera taking photos of us all as we were getting in to the water! – and so they joined us to sit and watch.

It was nice to be able to spend some time with them whilst watching the racing. Training has taken over everything recently, and has meant that I am unable to go home to see the family like I used to, and so the only opportunity I get is if they happen to come into London – so it was nice to see my dad again for the first time in 6 months!

 

And so the end of Day 1 at Eton Dorney drew to a close …

And I get to do it all again tomorrow, with the other 8 that I’m racing in this weekend!

Be Happy : Friday’s Health & Fitness Fact

31 May

Sports Drinks are no more hydrating than water!

We see adverts all around us for the latest sports drinks, that promise to ‘revitalise us’, keep us ‘going longer’, and ‘improve performance’ – however do they actually work?

Oxford University Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine conducted various tests to research into claims made by manufacturers of sports drinks and protein shakes, and concluded that the quality of the evidence from the manufacturers was poor, and that the effect of the products was miniscule.

Sugar

In fact many sports drink are so high in sugar that the average fitness-freak doesn’t burn enough calories in a session at the gym to warrant drinking them!

A bottle of Lucozade Energy contains 266 calories – more than a Mars bar – only 260 calories!

Whilst a bottle of Powerade contains as much as seven teaspoons of sugar – similar to that of a can of coke – and you would need to walk for 30 minutes, or run for 15 to 20 minutes to burn it off!

Make your own sports drinks, and say goodbye to unnecessary sugar!

Water is better at hydration than any other liquid, both before and during exercise, however sports drinks may be seen to be more hydrating as you are more likely to drink larger volumes, therefore leading to better hydration!

You should drink 120-170ml of water for every 15-20 minutes of exercise – so an hour’s worth of exercise would require between 480 and 680ml – an average-sized sports drink bottle … But instead of drinking the sweet sugary option, keep that empty bottle before buying another, and make your own – not only a healthier option, but much cheaper too!

 

Isotonic Sports Drink :

  • 100ml fruit squash
  • 400ml water
  • a very small pinch of salt

Mix it all together and chill in the fridge.

An isotonic sports drink is best for :

  • A boost of carbohydrates
  • Long distance/long duration sports and activities
  • Replacing fluids lost through sweat

 

Hypertonic Sports Drink :

  • 200ml fruit squash
  • 500ml water
  • a very small pinch of salt

Mix it all together and chill in the fridge.

A hypertonic sports drink is best for :

  • A boost of carbohydrates – higher level than isotonic and hypotonic drinks
  • After exercise, to help top up muscle glycogen stores
  • For long distance events like marathons
  • Can also be taken during strenuous exercise.

 

Hypotonic Sports Drink :

  • 50ml fruit squash
  • 500ml water
  • a very small pinch of salt

Mix it all together and chill in the fridge.

A hypotonic sports drink is best for :

  • Quickly replacing fluids without adding carbohydrates
  • Drinking straight after a workout, as they directly target the main cause of fatigue – dehydration – by replacing lost water fast.

Terminology : Rate (Rowing)

31 May

What?

Rate, or Stroke Rate is the number of strokes you take per minute in rowing, also referred to as spm, s/m or rating.

When?

Stroke Rate is used both in the boat, and on an erg during a piece.

Where?

On an erg, the stroke rate is usually displayed in the top right-hand corner of the screen, and is displayed as a number with s/m.

In a boat, the stroke rate is usually measured using a magnet and sensors attached to the underneath of the stroke seat (or under the bow man’s seat in a bowloaded boat), connected to a cox box. As the rower moves up the slide, a measurement is taken and relayed to the cox box.

 

Why?

Stroke rate is used to measure and monitor intensity.

It is important in competitive rowing, as a high stroke rate could mean that the rowers are being hurried and technique is more likely to suffer, subsequently causing the boat to unbalance.

An unbalanced boat means that not all blades are covered properly by the water, and so collectively displace a smaller amount of water, therefore moving the boat forwards less than that of a perfectly balanced boat.

High rating can also cause a crew to tire quickly, however this depends on the level of fitness of the crew. The higher the level of fitness, the higher the stroke rate can be without negatively affecting the balance or technique.

 

And finally …

Try it for yourself …

A low-rate erg session does not have to mean lower intensity!

The best way to maximise your energy output is to row at a lower intensity for longer.

As a good base-level workout for cardio fitness, lower-rate rowing can be used to focus on power.

Try rowing for 20 to 40 minutes at a stroke rate of 18 to 22 – pushing as hard as you can, but taking your time with the recovery – the fitter you get, the you should see your split-time lower, as you are able to use the oxygen more efficiently and push harder with each stroke. Keep a note of your average split time at the end of your piece, and use this to compare your progress over the weeks.

Rowing at a slow rate can burn as much as 400 calories per hour (dependant on your own bodyweight) – so get off the cross trainer and hop on the erg!

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.

 

Derigging

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!

Terminology : RICE (Injuries)

24 May

What?

RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

 

When?

RICE is an acronym referring to the treatment used to treat soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, muscle pulls or tears, and should be applied as soon as possible to help prevent complications and help injuries repair faster, and in particular when inflammation is present.

It is also sometimes referred to as PRICE – P standing for Protection.

Where and How?

Rest

The first 24-48 hours of an injury are considered the critical period, and activities which cause pain to the affected area should be minimised during this period.

Without rest, continual strain is placed on the affected area which can lead to increased inflammation, pain and can potentially cause further injury. Resting is important in promoting effective healing, and to avoid abnormal repair.

Using a splint, sling or crutches may help to ensure the injured area receives adequate rest.

It is important to know when to stop, as minor injuries sustained during sporting activities could be minimised by not continuing the exercise at the first sign of injury.

Running off‘ an injury is a misconception, and NOT to be advised! Whilst it may appear possible to continue exercising on an injury immediately after, this can be down to the release of adrenalin and the functioning of nerves. Nerve fibres that respond to mechanical signals such as touch can over-ride the impulses from pain nerve fibres – a theory known as pain gate theory – combine this with other factors such as an athlete’s mentality to override the pain – ultimately an athlete can actually make an injury much worse. In this case, it is better to swallow your pride and stop short, than carry on and cause greater damage that can put you out of sport for a longer period of time, or in a worst case scenario; completely.

Ice

Ice is a great natural anti-inflammatory treatment – it can limit and reduce the swelling caused by reducing the blood flow to the injured area, and also provides some pain relief to the injury. It decreases the amount of bleeding by vasoconstriction , and reduces the risk of cell death by decreasing the rate of metabolism.

Ice should ideally be applied during the first 48 hours after injury.

Ice the sprain or strain for 20 minutes at a time every 3 to 4 hours – making sure not to exceed 20 minutes as this can damage the skin and can cause frostbite. Whilst reducing blood flow helps to minimise swelling, icing for too long can also be detrimental to healing – if the blood flow is reduced too much it can stop the delivery of essential nutrients and removal of waste products from the injured area, and so increase the injury period.

Cheap freezer packs can be created using bags of frozen vegetables – peas and sweetcorn work well! – alternatively most chemists sell freezer packs for injuries – these are usually soft gel packs which can be used both to freeze and heat. Keep moving the ice pack around the area during the 20 minutes. Make sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel, to protect the skin.

A good indicator is to allow the skin enough time to fully rewarm before icing the area again.

Compression

Compression helps to limit and reduce swelling, and can also provide pain relief by reducing the edematous swelling from the bodies natural inflammatory process.

Although swelling is inevitable, too much swelling can can cause loss of function, increased pain and restricted blood flow.

An easy way to compress the area of the injury is to wrap an elastic bandage around the swollen part, but making sure not to wrap the area too tight – the fit should be tight, but still allow for expansion when muscles contract and fill with blood. Wrap the area, overlapping the elastic wrap by one-half of the width of the wrap.

Elevate

Elevating injuries help control swelling by reducing the blood flow to the area, and is most effective when the injury is raised above the level of the heart. For example, for an injured ankle, try to lay down with your foot propped on one or two pillows, and is particularly important at night.

Elevation is important as it allows for increased venous return of blood to the systemic circulation – meaning the circulation of blood flow back to the heart, to allow for quicker removal of waste products from the affected area, also resulting in less edema – accumulation of fluids in the body’s tissues.

 

Why?

Applying RICE relieves pain, and can help shorten the period of recovery, to soft-tissue injuries.

It is considered a first-aid treatment, rather than a cure, with the aim being to manage discomfort and internal bleeding.

Following an injury to the body, the body usually reacts with pain and swelling. This is generally as a warning to the body, to let it rest, so as not to further the damage.

During this process the muscles spasm, helping to create a natural splint for the affected area, however this can cause complications with blood flow, and causes further pain – by applying RICE, the body is allowed to rest and recover.

Along with the above treatment, it may be necessary to medicate with painkillers and anti-inflammatories – paracetamol and ibuprofen should be enough in most cases. However remember to check the dosage before medicating.

After the initial 48 hours, most sprains and strains should begin to heal. If pain and or swelling has not started to subside, make sure to see your doctor.

Once healing has begun, light massage can be used to help reduce the formation of scar tissue, and improve the tissue healing, along with gentle stretching to work on the range of motion in the injured area. Heat may also be helpful to increase the blood supply back to the area once the swelling has gone down.

After the injury has healed, you should then move onto exercises to strengthen the area, so as to prevent a repeat injury. Booking an appointment with a physiotherapist may help with the progress of strengthening.

 

 

And finally …

Top tips …

I’d recommend as a good home first-aid kit to keep three gel-packs as a precautionary measure; keep two in the freezer, so that there is at least one freezing whilst one is being used, and a third to be used as a warm compress.

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