Welcome to the 2k Series

2k Day WATT to Do

This is the 2nd blog post that focuses on a 2k.. In the first blog I talked through the 2k strategy focusing on the actual race – stroke rates, feelings and mentality. I’ve also shared a complete 6-week 2k training programme on the Crew Class YouTube channel. So this blog is really going to be all about the days and hours on the lead up to the 2k. Most mistakes happen during this period – believe me – I’ve done them all, and invented a few of me own!

About 6 days out from race day you will start to back-off your training. Anything you do on the erg after this point will be light – nothing creating lactate. So you might do 30-40 minutes light rowing, interspersed with sets of 15 strokes (light and fast). Here’s the kicker though – some people start to feel tired when tapering. There are lots of reasons why this happens – you are out of your normal routine, you have less exercise endorphins giving you that positive feeling after training, and you are probably getting nervous about the 2k. People tend to be hypersensitive to how their body is feeling this week – my advice is to ignore that – your mind is playing games – nip that in the bud before it grows out of control. Despite how you are feeling, tapering is essential to prepare your body for race day!

Competition Mindset
Check out the “Competition Mindset” blog post – you might find it helpful 🙂

2K Day – Step by Step (for a race at 1.30pm)

Get to bed early and aim to wake at about 7-7.30am (assuming a 1.30pm race time). I could write a whole blog here about the importance of sleep, but I’m not going to – the take home message is do the best you can to get a good night’s sleep the night before 2k day.

Most of your preparation will be done in the days and weeks of training on the lead up, but there are a few important things to think about with regards to your food on the morning of the 2k. If I was to prioritise these I would say 1) get the timing right and 2) stick with “light”, familiar foods. You should aim to have a meal about 3 hours before the race (so about 10-10.30am if the race is 1.30pm). The pre-race meal needs to be foods that are high in carbohydrate and lower in fibre and fat e.g. porridge with honey, breakfast cereal with milk, fruit with yogurt, scrambled eggs on toast, toast with jam etc. Depending on your race time, what time you get up and how you are feeling in general, you might also have a light breakfast before that and/or a pre-race snack after it (~1 hour before the race). If you are eating something closer to the race (~ 1 hour to go) keep it small and sweet e.g. banana, bread/toast with jam, some jellies, sips of sports drink etc.

Like every other aspect of your preparation, hydration is not something that you leave until the last day. You do not want to be guzzling litres of water on the morning of a 2k. You want to arrive at 2k day well hydrated. That means making a conscious effort to drink plenty that week – aim for at least 2 litres of fluids every day. On the morning of the 2k you will need to drink to replace what you lose normally through the night, so aim for 500mL-1L depending on how you feel. Then just keep a water bottle with you and sip throughout the morning – you want to keep your fluids topped up without overdoing it.

Arriving at the venue:
Aim to arrive about 1.5 hours before your race time (12pm if racing at 1.30pm). Go in, register and have a look around – get familiar with the space – find out where the warm up area is – but don’t hang around too long – 2k venues are usually busy environments, full of nervous energy and adrenaline – it will drain you. Leave, go for a coffee or just find somewhere quiet to sit down – get off your feet. Stay as calm as you can, for as long as you can.

Warm up:
Start your warm up on the erg about 30 minutes before the race (1pm assuming a 1.30pm start). Warm up for at least 15 minutes – build to about 50 strokes as follows:
15 strokes @ 80% effort, stroke rate 34 (moving light and quick)
15 strokes @ MAX, stroke rate 40 (over-production of power and speed)
20 strokes @ race pace, stroke rate 34 (race pace and watts, moving light and quick)
Then row 1-2 minutes light to clear out any lactate. Again, you become hypersensitive here to how you are feeling and what your output is. Ignore all negative thoughts during the warm up – your mind is playing games.

2k ready:
Ok – you’ve made it – you’re sitting on the erg. Let’s assume you’ve followed protocol and are calm up until this point. You’re still not out of the woods yet though! You’ll be watching your screen and listening for the starter – that nervous energy is still in the room. You will feed off that – you will get a massive hit of adrenaline when you see/hear that “Row” call – more than you have experienced before. You’re on the edge now – that adrenaline will make you feel bulletproof. You want to maximize the impact of that without letting it take control. Remember your 2k strategy – 10/15 strokes “high and hard” and then settle in! No matter how good you are feeling – make yourself come down to your target watts – your body has not changed – you are not able to maintain 120% of your best for 2k. Settle in to your rate, focus on technique, focus on breathing – the rest will come!

2k Strategy
Definitely read the “2k Strategy” blog post