A couple things though I want you to think about on this first cycle…
1) Consistency. The beauty about establishing a customized pace to hold (versus just seeing how fast you can go 500m) is that it removes an element of question. You don’t have to worry about how fast you should be going because you know exactly how fast you should be going. Thus, I want you to see how consistent you can be throughout each piece. See if you can make each stroke feel similar and smooth and yes, consistent.
Pay attention to how the weight of your feet shifts from the balls to the middle to the heals of each foot as you extend your legs. Pay attention to your weight sitting evenly between both seat bones. Pay attention to your hands hooking around the handle and your arms being pulled straight by the force of your legs. Pay attention to your lats engaging and your belly button pressing to your spine as your jump off of the front end. Pay attention to your hands and chest flowing forward at the finish pulling you up your recovery.
All of these pieces should feel similar from stroke to stroke. But that doesn’t mean that each, individual stroke isn’t unique and dynamic. Rowing is like breathing. Every breath is consistent (barring some extreme circumstances) although not exactly the same, and as soon as you think about it too much it feels weird and foreign. Try not too think so much. Try to feel it. And don’t be afraid to try some things within each stroke. See what works and what doesn’t work.
2) Rhythm. Along with establishing a solid pace comes establishing and equally solid rhythm. The goal of a rhythm is to create a pull of momentum you can hold onto stroke to stroke. A lack of rhythm is that piece you have to fight for every single stroke. It never gets smooth and it always hurts. A rhythm doesn’t negate fatigue but it gives you something to hold onto – it’s your lifeline. But in order to create a rhythm you must be consistent. Nothing cock-blocks a rhythm faster than sporadic, all over the place rowing. Think about trying to build to a plateau of power versus spikes of power. Your goal is to build the fan speed up to that plateau and then just keep it there instead of constantly going up and down and up and down.
The macro piece of rhythm comes from consistency. The micro piece (the one within each stroke) comes from removing any pause that you have in your stroke, making sure one full breath cycle (and only one breath cycle) makes up each stroke, and settling into that 1:2 timing ratio of work to rest.
One more thing: cool your jets. This first cycle might feel a little easy. Awesome. That’s fine. Don’t try and go above and beyond your pace. This will get harder. Don’t worry. For now though work on consistency and rhythm. Both of those pieces will save your ass once this gets harder and they are so much more difficult to acquire when you’re rowing your face off….
Check out this week’s workout HERE.