Question of the Day

How do you fight the winter blues? I know it’s different between rowers and coxswains but I’ve just been getting so frustrated with myself and with workouts. I’m in a perpetual state of soreness (that’s a given) and it’s getting to the point that I struggle to maintain the splits that my coaches are asking me to hold. Spending one more day on the erg might drive me nuts and my team still has 2-3 weeks indoors. HELP!

Sounds like you’re getting close to being seriously burned out. I would spend some time first figuring out why you’re frustrated. Is it just because you’ve been inside for so long that you’ve got cabin fever or is it something else (coach problems, teammate problems, coxswain problems, life problems, school problems, etc.)? What’s frustrating you about the workouts? Are they getting predictable and boring? If that’s it, you’re probably not the only one who feels like that.

Related: How to survive winter training, pt. 3

Also figure out why you’re frustrated with yourself. Is it because you’re not putting forth the effort you know you’re capable of or is it something else? If you can’t physically take a break from practice, do something each night after practice (as soon as you get home, after your homework is done, before you go to sleep … whatever works for you) to relax yourself. If you can tolerate doing yoga, try and do 20 minutes of that. Or grab a foam roller or a tennis ball and stretch out for the duration of an episode of something on Netflix. Just do something to take your mind off of everything that is stressing you out.

Related: How do you fight off the stress of rowing? I can’t just stop because it helps me ease school stuff but at the same time it makes everything pile up and I can’t hold everything in anymore.

To an extent it’s inevitable to have a little residual soreness but you shouldn’t be painfully sore all the time. Are you stretching before and after your workouts? Are you eating the right foods before and after practice? Are you staying hydrated? Stretching, eating properly, and drinking water are all crucial to repairing your muscles after a workout. Even if you do stretch before and after practice, stretching when you get home while you watch TV or read your history notes is still a good idea. You can even stretch while you’re in the shower. The hot water and steam works wonders on sore muscles.

Related: How to survive winter training, pt. 1

It’s easy to get discouraged so there’s no point in saying “don’t do it”. It’s not that simple. Instead, when you are feeling down or you want to smash the erg monitor with a sledgehammer, look at the bigger picture. What are you training for? What are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish? Then ask yourself is any of that is going to be achievable if you quit or give up. What’s going to get you what you want – pushing yourself, mentally and physically, or taking the easy road out? Take your frustration and use it to motivate you instead of bringing you down.

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