The World Championships finished a month ago and the subsequent feelings of success or failure have started to wear off. Most of us are just finishing our second week of “official” training, not that we ever really take time off. The first few days weren’t bad, there is always excitement in seeing everyone and in getting back to the familiar routine again.
Although, then the soreness sets in and waking up early wasn’t as easy as it was those first few days. And you realize you have eleven months of this before you get to redeem yourself or defend your success.
Eleven months is a long time. It’s hard to get motivated at the beginning of an eleven-month journey. So, breaking down that time into manageable pieces and setting goals to reach along the way is how to start. That’s what gets those extra core sessions going in the beginning of the season, how to push those AT sessions and suffer through the new blisters earned. That and knowing that this year the World Championships are more than just that, it is also the first Olympic Qualifying Regatta, the first true taste of the ultimate goal, the Rio Olympic Games.
For those training in Oklahoma, the first fun event is this weekend, The Head of the Oklahoma and the Night Sprints. Racing is what most live for and this regatta supplies plenty of that. Most National Team athletes will be doubling up by racing in a sculling and a sweep event. Plus, success in the head race earns you a spot in the Night Sprints. The Sprints are 500 meters long and held under bright lights. The last race of the evening will cross the finish line just as fireworks are set off; it is a pretty unique event as far as rowing goes.
The fall will likely contain a few head style races for most athletes, the biggest of course being the Head of the Charles. This regatta, known by all, is also a reunion for many rowers, racing in alumni boats, seeing past teammates and competitors. It is definitely more than just a regatta.
The fall culminates with the first National Team Selection Event, the Fall Speed Order, which also includes the first big erg test of the year. This is the first true milestone of the training cycle. It can leave you knowing you are on the right track or knowing you have your work cut out for you. Either way, it will motivate you for the long cold months ahead, unless you are lucky enough to be in California of course. For most of us, the winter season brings plenty of erging, pogies, and the hope that spring will come early.