The weather back east has been terrible this April and it’s been hard to get a lot of single sculling in. What I did notice, however, is that I was able to get right back on the water after a rough winter and was able to be at full pressure, race ratings within 2-3 sessions. This is unusual – it generally takes a while to get back to a comfort level of rowing at race intensity. While most people are still “getting back into it,” I am already able to start race rehearsal. What is the value of this? How many sessions of high intensity training am I gaining on a competitor who is still testing out full pressure at 24-26?
In discussions with my coach at Crossfit Ignite, I came to the following realization. I’d actually bet on this as the most important effect of Crossfit Endurance training: I probably take more strokes at or above race intensity in a single CFE workout than most masters rowers take in a whole week of traditional training. As an example, the shortest workout of all is the 8×20:10 Tabata series, which is 4 minutes end to end. In reality, this is the equivalent to rowing a 1000 race at above race intensity, at the intensity normally only reached during the first 5 strokes of a race. How often do most rowers actually do that volume of start-intensity work?
Usually I spend months training for a 3:45 minute race, and there’s a lot of pressure to perform when relatively little time has been spent rehearsing the 130 perfect strokes needed to win, at the intensity actually used during a race. But when every workout is done as race rehearsal, you develop a physical comfort level with the pain and a steely psyche, and the race becomes almost routine. This is key for me – CFE is extremely specific to the competitive event.