20 Ways to Improve Your Training for Rowers (and other Athletes)

In no particular order, here are 20 thoughts on how to improve your training:
  1. Get a heart rate monitor
  2. Know how to use it
  3. Follow a training plan
  4. Get a coach. Even if you set and do most of your workouts yourself a fresh opinion never hurt anyone. At the very least it will help you reflect on your training. Even if you ask someone at your club to watch you for a session and comment a bit it is almost certain to help.
  5. Set goals for each workout - have a daily plan.
  6. Accept that harder isn't always better - everyone needs long relatively slow miles.
  7. Do drills - improve your technique. Long slow distance session do not need to be "junk miles"
  8. Train with a partner or in a group - it keeps you motivated and keeps you from missing workouts.
  9. Train alone! You have to spend some time alone, or with a very closely matched partner, if you intend to work in your own training zone.
  10. Use a Strokecoach or a Speedcoach (cyclists - get a cadence function on your computer). It will help you follow your individual workout plan, and frankly it keeps the workout more interesting.
  11. Have a training diary. There's no need to be obsessive - but a few notes about your workout, or other things happening in your life will keep you motivated and help you reflect on what sets you up for a good training session. A log is a great place to record your daily training goals - then go back to them and think reflectively about your session.
  12. Use video - even occasionally. You don't need a coach for this - get a friend to shoot it. Even a training partner in another boat can stop and shoot a bit.
  13. Try something completely different in your workout. Try a bungee or a bucket row. Cyclists - don't avoid the hills - find them. Cyclists: I know a (very successful) guy who trains occasionally with two water bottles filled with lead shot early in the season!
  14. Think about nutrition - do you drink enough and the right stuff in a workout? Do you skip a meal and train on an empty stomach?
  15. Warm-up - intelligently!
  16. Buy something cool to use training! OK, not great personal improvement advice but that new piece of clothing does make you feel fast doesn't it?
  17. Look after your equipment - wash your boat (your bike, your shoes, whatever). Clean gear is happy gear and somehow it seems to go faster!
  18. Test yourself - but on a schedule. Not every workout can be a test - that would be a huge mistake (see #6). But regular testing shows progress and is motivating. Test, and record (see #11).
  19. Make your goals public - tell your wife, your husband, your kids, your friends, or just post it on the fridge - stating things publicly makes them more tangible and is motivating.
  20. Enter a race, or some other event, as far ahead of time as you can. Again, it motivates and makes things tangible.

Do you have more? Send me your own list and I will post it!

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