‘It’s not the destination, it’s the journey…’


That phrase is a great one as the destination is continually evolving the more we achieve. Rowing has always been a part of my training schedule for the last 20 years or so, but in the last 2 or 3 years it has taken over from rugby and general strength and fitness as my main focus. In the rowing community the 2000m is generally accepted as the main distance, although I have never really thought of it as my strength. However in the last year or so it became more of a possibility and belief for me that it could be a strength and I could break the 6 minute barrier. Well today that happened….

Finally sub 6.

Finally sub 6.

I think many people think I am overachieving given my non rowing background and my shape and size etc.  So how did I get to this point?

In general this is easy to answer. I enjoy adversity. I think how we deal with it is actually a mark of how we are. If things were easy then everyone would be a world record holder. I train hard (maybe too hard), I live my life as close to being an athlete as I can with the support of a lot of people – not least my family. I eat and prepare well for training and have a good lifestyle. Perhaps the biggest reason is that I am consistent, relentless even, fiercely competative and expect a lot of myself. I don’t make excuses ever. Sometimes there are reasons that we are disappointed, but they are the times we can learn and improve in the future. Every session has its place and every metre needs to be earned and respected.

My biggest challenge has been remaining patient. This is not a strength of mine, but to reach potential on the rowing machine we need to grasp this concept. It is sometimes hard to see where the next improvement is coming from, it almost feels like treading water, but it is those sessions and metres that will allow you to catch the next wave where we suddenly see continual improvement. Without that consistency and patience then this doesn’t happen.

I try to train smart. When things aren’t right I change them, but my goals remain. I have seen significant improvements recently through slowly downscaling (over the last few years) the amount of extra curricular training I am doing. I have run once in 6 months and have not been on a Wattbike or SkiErg at all for a month or so. I still weight train, usually two, or sometimes 3 times per week and the focus has switched to overall conditioning rather than raw strength and power. I still believe weights are very important, but less so once you are at a certain level of strength and have a long history of training with them. In short, if you want to maximise your potential on the rower, there seems to be no substitute to rowing. Sounds obvious, but many miss this point.

In the last 3 weeks I have learned more about rowing, and 2 km in particular, than in the last 2 or 3 years. I took myself off plan, and out of my comfort zone. It was not nice to start with, but became more familiar and in 21 days I have rowed 7 personal best times – 4 x 2km and 3 x 1km. That resulted in this time today and the belief that now this is in the bank I can go faster.

So to get the best out of your body there is no magic formula. Train hard, live and eat well, expect a lot of yourself, don’t make excuses, deal with adversity, be consistent and……. believe. The more of these you can achieve the more your body will give you.

Thanks for all those that have helped me get to this point.

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