Whether you are coming to the end of this months C2 Fall team challenge or looking to take your training from the occasional row along to more structured goal-specific training. Now is the time to start switching gears and thinking about your performance if your goal is to see structured training in full effect by the end of this year. Even if those two cases dont apply to you read on to find out why the idea of improving, should always be at the front of your mind.
This week we’re looking at what adaptation is and how to structure your training to get the biggest return on your rowing investment.
What is adaptation?
In a nutshell, adaptation is the whole purpose of exercise training (yes we know Shane is fun to follow along with, but you are just rowing random sessions). Adaptation requires a systematic application of exercise stress (difficulty) to which the body can draw upon for stimulation, but not so severe that breakdown and injury occur. That means you need a plan from which to draw from each and every workout, and one that’s going to have you looking back in 2-3 months saying “look how far I have come!!”.
Change your thinking…
One of the biggest steps new rowers take when trying to take things from a “workout” to a training session is the idea of making sure each training day is something that makes you sweat or feels like a workout. What you need to remember is to create long term adherence and to progress towards your goals there are two different types of training days you are going to have to balance.
Firstly, you have “stimulation days.” These are specific training sessions aimed at improving one aspect of your fitness. That could be your aerobic capacity, your mental resilience, your power output… the list goes on. Essentially these are your “money” days where you make a big deposit into the bank and your body gets to sit back and reap the benefits of however much you put into that session.
Secondly, there are “Adaptation days.” When you take a rest/adaptation day you repair muscle, replenish glycogen stores more easily, and let the nervous system get back to an optimal working state. This will help you get Stronger, Fitter and Faster, but it’ll also improve your performance on the day you get back to the gym.
During rest days you devote more of your resources to repair. Your nervous, immune, and hormonal systems also get back to a situation conducive to growth and performance. If you’re well-rested you’ll be able to perform at a higher level and do more volume, both of which will make the session more effective.
Ultimately your body will adapt to the stress of exercise with increased fitness if the stress is above a minimum threshold intensity. An interesting aspect of skeletal muscle is its adaptability. If a muscle is stressed, it adapts and improves its function. However stress it too much too often, we can have the opposite effect- Overtraining.
The primary purpose of taking adaptation days is to manage stress loads and avoid overtraining.
The importance of avoiding overtraining is high and it’s critical for an athlete’s progression in training and competition performance. Adaptation days have been shown to improve competition performance, reduce risk of injury, and increase physical capabilities.
The ratio to train to rest is widely diverse from the main indicators above and experience, but on average I would recommend 2 training days to one rest day (2:1). But also on the rest day, you could do low-intensity exercise such as walking or cycling this could speed up the recovery process.
Example Training schedule with 3 Adaptation days
Monday: Training day 1
Tuesday: Training day 2
Wednesday: Adaptation day 1
Thursday: Training day 3
Friday: Adaptation day 2
Saturday: Training day 4
Sunday: Adaptation day 3
There are many ways to split your week, but this all comes down to you and how you feel day in day out with your training. The more you listen to your body and the more you fine-tune your stimulation and activation days, the better your body will adapt and the bigger your performances. Looking for a specific plan to follow? Head to our Crew training plans and see exactly how we prescribe you train for any of the standard rowing distances.
Yours in fitness, education and improving your performance.