It is now the time of year that all rowers live for. Months of training in winter darkness pave the way for summer racing readiness. Having seen a few seasons, I know that time will just disappear if we’re not careful and if my crew is to be fast enough at the culmination of the season, we can’t let that time drift away.
The next few weeks should see a British M8+ race at the Dorney World Cup, Henley Royal Regatta and Lucerne World Cup. Whether shiny or soiled, our progress will be judged by the rowing media on results but we will always analyse our form based on other parameters. We can’t afford to let three results govern the next four weeks. We need to be searching for crew unity, rhythm, fitness and strategy during every training session in that … Read More »
I’ve heard about Essen for years. A national regatta that attracts European internationals. A race that the Germans use for their international selection and I’d have to say, one of Jürgen’s classic old favourites.
I’ve never raced Essen before as the World Cup season takes priority and usually clashes. However, with the first World Cup in Sydney out of the way in March, it freed up the GB Rowing Team schedule.
With the 4- and 8+ as likely options for the season we chose to race both events in Essen. It’s not really doubling up as this regatta has a full set of races on Saturday with heats and finals and then starts fresh again on Sunday with another set of heats and finals.
On arrival, I saw this regatta as a friendly. You like to win them, but it’s a chance to … Read More »
After the World Championships each year (normally September) we have just enough time off to recharge the batteries and get unfit before the new season starts. Throughout the winter, we train for ourselves. Each athlete trains hard through the cold weeks and months on a quest for technique-improving, strength-developing, team-mate-bashing and coach-impressing domination. Every so often, we have a physical or technical test ranging from the casual weekly ding-dong to the more formal public races in small boats.
After gathering about six months of training information, the Men’s Chief Coach, Jürgen Grobler, builds an accurate picture of how the athletes are performing in relation to one another. He then pairs up athletes who will complement each other. In April(ish) each year, the combinations have about two weeks in their small boats to prepare for the Final Trials. A six lane, side-by-side, … Read More »
I’m sitting in the very back row of a giant A380 coming home from the first World Cup of the Olympiad in Sydney. God knows what the time is. The cabin lights are dimmed. Phelan’s using my right shoulder as a pillow and is fast asleep. Chris and Rachel are to his right wearing their eye masks and neck pillows. They’re both stirring a little. Some of the others are up and stretching in the dark. Helen has fallen asleep on the staircase. I can’t sleep. The map shows that we’re somewhere over the Middle East.
I’m listening to my favourite Ben Folds Five tracks and looking around the rear cabin at the rest of the team that I got to know in Australia. Most of the economy seats have at least heads poking over the top. In Moe’s seat I … Read More »
Around the time you learnt to read, an adult probably taught you about eating food to fuel your body; the old ‘petrol fuels the car’ analogy.
We are fueled by what we consume and the quality and quantity of what we take in has a dramatic effect on our size, shape, energy levels, health and immune system.
Mental and physical activity takes energy. Whether you are concentrating on a game of chess or red-lining every muscle in your body for six minutes, your body will be busily converting the chemical energy from your food into electrical signals and movements (and development) of your organs and muscles.
As an athlete, performance and recovery are key. In my last blog I talked about the importance of recovery and only touched on nutrition but here I’ll tell you about what food keeps my engine going.
Whereas the … Read More »
One of the most commonly asked questions I get is “how much do you train?” Normally the answer is a quickly rattled off series of highlights that flow from the tongue in just a few seconds, but in reality, training isn’t that easy.
We train either two, three or four times a day (infrequently one and even more infrequently five), seven days a week and we get one Sunday off every fourth or fifth Sunday. That’s no secret.
Easy, perhaps, to say. However, each session is between one and two hours of actual training time, so add a couple of half hour blocks either side of each session to psych yourself up and stretch. Whack in snacks and meal times to refuel, cram in a bit of rest and you are left with next to no time at the end of each … Read More »
2012 is behind us and London mania has slowed to a steady walking pace. Although I knew from a long time ago that I wanted to carry on rowing for the GB Rowing Team, it was important to take a break to have a deep down mental and physical rest. I crammed a lot in but managed to take some essential down time for the briefest of moments.
I’ve been back in training for a few weeks already. I came back when I was ready with a bit of helpful guidance from Jürgen. I won’t lie, I struggled with motivation for the first few weeks. Going from feeling like a rocket in August to, let’s face it, a bit soft around the edges, takes it’s toll. It didn’t take long to get back into the swing of dark & … Read More »
It has been far too long since I have posted a blog. Sorry to leave you hanging champs; I’m sure you have all wanted to know what it has been like for me since the Olympics.
Perhaps not writing over the last eight weeks tells its own story: it has been extremely busy. Action-packed, lots of traveling, excitement, fun and thrills. I have been honoured so many times and answered the same questions over and over again. I’m not worried about that – it’s part of my role and the questions are always a joy to answer. If you live in the UK and are yet to see my medal then I honestly think that you’re in the minority.
I always get asked about the big highlights. It is hard to say really as it has all been wonderful. After four long … Read More »
I’ve been asked so many times about the Olympic regatta since the 4th August and it has been an absolute joy to recall.
The very last part of the story starts from when we got beaten in the semi-final and final (June 16 and 17) in Munich at the World Rowing Cup III. We knew the Australians were good. Their Drew Ginn is one of the most decorated rowers in history and in my opinion, one of the all-time greats in our sport. He surrounded himself with some strong, talented guys and it’s not surprising that we had close races with them on each of the five occasions our crews have lined up alongside each other.
I came away from Munich disappointed that we’d been beaten (I hate being beaten even more than I love winning), but quietly confident as I knew … Read More »
Ladies and gents, I can’t believe I am on the other side of that enormous wall. I have so much to say, stories to tell and feelings to express. Enough content to cover a good few blogs, but let’s just do one at a time. It’s only forty-eight hours and I finally have 30 seconds to get a piece down for my website.
I’ll keep this short as there are places to go and people to meet in this big old world that I’ve been missing out on for the last four years. I want to say the thank you that I couldn’t quite articulate in my post race BBC interview. At the time, my brain was still struggling to pay off a daunting oxygen debt.
Thank you to the British public and our extended supporters. Anyone who has bought a National … Read More »