A few weeks ago, I was dragging my feet about heading to the gym for a 10K on the erg. All I wanted to do was anything but a 10K. So I...

5 Ways to Make the Most of Winter Training


A few weeks ago, I was dragging my feet about heading to the gym for a 10K on the erg. All I wanted to do was anything but a 10K. So I looked at our workout schedule and found another workout in the same category: 4 x 2K, same speed, same stroke rate.

Suddenly, I was excited about going to the gym. So I went, and instead of sitting on the couch, I got in a great workout. Was it exactly what my coach had envisioned? Certainly not. Was it better than nothing? Definitely.

Winter is a difficult season for rowers. If you're on the water, it's miserably cold. If you're off the water, it's just miserable. There are no races in sight. There's either a lot of weight lifting or a lot of long, slow, boring meters—probably whichever you enjoy least. I find winter is the hardest season to keep up with training, but I'm definitely getting better at it. Here's my advice:

1. Find a training partner.
Find somebody who will hold you accountable. This may be somebody who goes running with you once a week, or just your mom/boyfriend/husband/roommate/sister kicking you out the front door and locking it for an hour. Just make sure it isn't somebody who will cave when you suggest that baking cookies sounds more fun.

Dan has been known to drive me to the gym when I don't feel like going.
2. Do something every day.
Inertia is a funny thing. Sit on the couch all day today and you'll have a lot more trouble getting off the couch tomorrow. Something as small as going for a 20-minute walk, or doing some core and stretching can make all the difference in the world.

3. Get excited about your workouts.
So you hate the bench press? Do push-ups. Not excited about a 75-minute run? Go to a spinning class. You won't succeed if you have to force yourself to train everyday—instead, you'll start the spring season mentally drained. Don't completely deviate from the plan, but cut yourself some slack and know that something is better than nothing.

4. Send regular updates to your team.
The Princeton lightweights made a shared Google doc, where we logged our times from the key workouts. Knowing those results would be posted motivated me to do the preparation to nail them. You could send weekly updates to your coach, or daily Facebook messages to a teammate. Try tweeting your workouts right after you've done them, so it's obvious to the world when you've skipped one.

I send messages to Sarah, in the Northeastern uni, all the time.
5. Set an alarm.
Set an alarm/calendar reminder that reminds you to do your workout. Think of it like a dentist appointment: even if you don't feel like going, you wouldn't just miss it. If you can include text (like on an iPhone), include a reminder of why you're working out (e.g. "Win championships"). This is also a great way to excuse yourself from family obligations if they interfere with your workout schedule.

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