Monday, February 23, 2009

A Week In The Life of a Duke Rower

By Kathy Smithwick

The month of February is considered one of the most mentally taxing times for DWR. We have been inside for about two months, including Christmas break, and the erg room is filled with intensity as we transition into the spring training schedule. February is thought to be so challenging because we are still retaining many of the fall training elements—long distance, low intensity power pieces—and now applying them to high rating aerobically challenging shorter pieces. We have even been pumping it in the weight room. Now that our initial testing is complete, we have begun seat racing, and the spring season is no longer in our peripheral. Furthermore, with February coming to a speedy end (no pun intended J), Duke Women’s Rowing has pushed itself to a new level of intensity.
Let me paint you a picture….This past month, my Mondays begin with a 12k early morning erg at a low intensity pace with my two Australian partners in crime, Karin and Bre. This workout is on our own, and we have the choice to do it either Monday or Wednesday; however, I figure that I better start the week off right with a 7.46 mile erg. Later that afternoon, our erg workout is either a high intensity pyramid piece or 8 X 500 meters. Tuesdays and Thursdays are our weight lifting days and in the afternoon are our “less intense” practices; however, we are expected to reproduce a low intensity split for 2X10k or go on a 3 mile run then 10k erg. Although not physically as challenging, these pieces are very tedious and technique oriented—testing our mental patience. Then Wednesdays and Fridays are our seat-racing days on the water. It is very exciting to see so much intensity on the lake; all of the boats are very competitive and close in boat speed, which will keep us pushing each other forward. Also Fridays begin with a casual 6-mile run around the infamous golf course, i.e. mountainous terrain. Saturday practices are a wrap up of the general concepts of the week. Half of the practice is focused on technique work, while the other half is a peak power workout—30 seconds on 2 minutes off. Oh and did I mention that we are Duke students and go to class with some of the smartest people in the country? No bigs. A Duke student-athlete can do it all.