Are you looking to take on a rowing marathon? Great news!
You’re about to embark on an exciting journey that will take your body through a variety of physical challenges but also one that will require mental discipline and commitment.
Here’s the good news: training for a marathon doesn’t have to be a process that makes you second-guess yourself or feel unsure if you’re ready for the big day.
Here are seven myths you might have heard about attempting the 42,195m distance with an added dose of reality in the mix.
When it comes to training for any challenging physical event, there is a massive range of articles, trainers, videos and programmes proclaiming to have the magic formula.
When you break down a marathon (or any ultra-endurance event), however, it becomes less about the physical and more about the mental side of your training.
You will be physically uncomfortable and can train to improve your technique.
However, suppose you mentally want it that much. In that case, nothing will stop you from finishing that distance regardless of your physical conditioning. Learning to pay attention to your mental state during the event can and will help drive your performance on the day.
The reality is that when you always row faster than your capabilities, you often end up overtraining.
It is okay to train with faster partners sometimes, but try to bring variations to your pace or distances to optimize your technique and figure out your pacing strategy.
When you try to train with faster partners all the time, you can exhaust yourself and cause injury. Instead, listen to your body, maintain variation, and gauge your own pace for the day.
It could take weeks to recover from completing a full marathon regardless of your rest and recovery strategies.
Aim to build your training volume over a set period slowly, and then start to taper down in the two weeks or so before your event.
Your body will have been through a demanding training schedule, so you want to let it recover a little before race day.
This time and dedicated planning will allow you to feel refreshed, buoyed by adrenaline on the day, and ready to complete the entire distance.
While losing fat mass is essential for all endurance athletes, a keto diet is not the best way to do it.
Simply put, your body needs carbs when endurance rowing, as your muscles and brain need them for optimum function.
In addition, ketosis can cause an imbalance in your energy metabolisms, affecting your overall performance.
I’ll be the first to admit I eat gummy sweets when rowing marathons. Is this right for everyone – no, but it gives me a mental “pick me up” when I feel I need it.
If recent nutrition education has taught us nothing, it’s that 1970s carbohydrate loading the week of competition is an old concept to follow.
Nowadays, nutritional advice about consuming carbohydrates before their big day is much more balanced and supported by science.
Fueling yourself with enough glycogen at least a day or two before the big event is suitable for muscle energy reserves, but it doesn’t mean you have to load yourself with carbs all week.
Doing the latter might get your glucose stored in the form of fat in your body, which is not great for your performance.
For optimum performance throughout your training and on the big day, the amounts of carbs and proteins you consume are significant.
Proteins and carbs are integral to ensuring your body has the energy to keep up your training schedule, allowing your muscles to stay strong and healthy and helping you recover faster.
In most cases, a marathon training plan is the one I recommend people add supplements to their diet to be the critical factor in helping their body recover.
If nothing else, be aware that over-hydration can lead to hyponatremia. In this state, your body loses sodium, which can lead to some pretty gnarly health consequences. On the other side of the spectrum, restricting your intake to an extreme extent can lead to dehydration, which is also harmful.
The simple rule is to consume an ounce or two every ten minutes while performing the activity. However, for more strenuous activities like rowing, where you sweat a lot, it is recommended you consume four ounces on an average of ten minutes.
Hard to do when your hands are on the handle for four plus hours, but a hydration strategy needs to be planned out and rehearsed a few times before you take on the big day.
You can also ensure you’re adequately hydrated using hydration tablets in your water bottle.
Need a marathon training plan? Head to The Crew, and join hundreds of like-minded others following training plans and guidance specifically for this distance.