This article was originally published on FM Rowing.
I was recently asked my opinion on the very general topic of ‘Top Tips’ for rowing. Rather than focus on issues related to the use of the machine or technique, I instead focussed on a lifestyle approach to answering the very pertinent question ‘What are the things that are going to contribute to motivation, progress and sustainability when it comes to rowing?’. Essentially ‘How will you keep going?’.
1.The most important thing for me is consistency. Sporadic, short term goal focussed training won’t equate to much in terms of long term overall progress. Initially of course if you’re new to the sport, short term gains can be massive . Over time however the margins dwindle and it can get difficult to stay patient and consistent with your journey. Dip in and out like a yoyo dieter and your results won’t be sustained and you also won’t progress further. Find a level of training that is sustainable and enjoy the effort and discipline required to execute it.
2. Be clear about the reason you’re rowing. This will be the ultimate motivation for keeping going. What’s your end goal? It could be to get faster, be as competitive as you can, improve general fitness, relieve stress, or a whole host of other personal motivators. Whenever motivation starts to waver look beyond what’s difficult in the moment and remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Focus on all the things that were important to you in the moment you decided to give this a go. You’ll likely find that although something is telling you it’s easier not to train right now, there was a really good reason you decided to row, so commit to it wholeheartedly and train regardless (blog – What’s Your Goal).
3. Deal with adversity. Acknowledge and accept that the journey will not always be smooth. Some days are far harder than others for no apparent reason. It’s these days more so than the easier ones, that contribute to growth both personally and athletically. Insightful athletes train smart and know that progress comes in many forms. In my experience training gains come and go in waves . Giving up when things are more difficult simply delays the next wave of progress even further. Surf the urge to give up and you will be rewarded far sooner (blog – Catching a Wave).
4. Aim to complement exercise with a healthy lifestyle. The two go hand in hand and addressing both will multiply your chances of success. Prepare in advance for your sessions, recovery and nutrition. Sleep more, hydrate better. The more we want something, the more perceived sacrifices we will need to make. In time those sacrifices bring reward and no longer seem such a big ask. Lifestyle changes are fundamental to success.
5.Have a structure or follow a training plan. Be accountable to, and motivated by yourself and others. Random, unstructured, mood dependent training is less rewarding and by no means yields the same results. It’s like taking the scenic route in the dark. Know yo ur destination, plan your route and stay patient with your journey (blog-The Importance of a Training Plan).
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