The lessons learned in rowing
Although Vinci Bike Travel is all about cycling, and there will not be any rowing in the travel plans (but if you insist, we can arrange it of course :-)); this blog will be about rowing. Rowing brought us tonnes of experiences! Thanks to rowing we met each other, and the rowing sport gave us a firm foundation. Francesco started rowing in 2000, and has not missed one world championships since 2004. Claudia started rowing in 2008, and won a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in London 2012. In this blog you will find 5 lessons that we learned from being a rower. Lesson 1: You are capable of so much more than you think Performances start with the willingness and consistency to break through walls. Rowing is a physically demanding sport: a 2k race lasts 6 to 8 minutes (depending on boat type and weather), but all boat start fast to try to get in front to have the best position of the field. If you are in front you can see your competition, and this is a great advantage. After 250 meter you are already suffering the lactate and lack of oxygen, but then you still have another 1750 meter in front of you. To perform in rowing you need to be very fit. That being said, physical performance is only a condition. The best performances start in the mind. Not allowing yourself to push less when it starts to hurt, but knowing that pain is just where the game starts. Lesson 2: Commitment Rowing is a intensive sport when it comes to training. For the 5 international races in a year, you train and do selections all winter. In the Netherlands this means having a full-time schedule, with 2 or 3 training sessions every single day. Rowing, weight lifting, running, cycling and Pilates. In Italy, Francesco is training in blocks of 2 to 3 weeks in training camps, with 1 or 2 weeks at home. In the training camps they expect the maximum of all rowers, with long training hours and a `more-is-more’ philosophy. When Francesco comes back from camp, the first days at home he need to recover in bed, sleeping, and watching Netflix. Being a rower, you know that when you want something, you need to work for it. To give 99% is not enough. Only the athletes that commit for the full 100% every training, every day, and every stroke, are the ones with the medals around their neck throughout the season. Lesson 3: When it’s going to get tough, the tough keep going! Sport learned us to push trough. Francesco used his disappointing races in the Olympic Games in London as a motivation to push trough, and to demand even more of himself. In the year after the Olympic Games he won a silver medal at the World Championships. I learned to push trough in times of injuries: in 2013 I got a hernia, in 2014 I broke my rib just before the World Championships and in 2015 I got over-trained. Nonetheless, giving up has never been an option. The goal was Rio 2016 (where I recently qualified for). Lesson 4: Stick to the plan In rowing we work with marco, meso and micro cycles. We start with deciding the ultimate goal: the performance on the Olympic Games. From that follows the process: to become stronger every year and technically better. Next comes the translation to the work: the training schedules. We build a performance step by step. First, the foundation needs to be solid, otherwise you will be disappointed later on. When you are in a positive flow, everything is easier. Though, such a process never runs without it’s challenges. Bad performances, injuries, sicknesses or bad luck can lead to doubt: am I doing the right thing? But especially then it is important to still see the bigger picture and to remain calm. Step by step. Rome was not build in one day! Lesson 5: Sport connects Rowing brought us to the most wonderful places on earth. New Zealand (Hamilton), Slovenia (Bled), Swiss (Luzern), Spain (Sierra-Nevada) and the USA (Boston) are just some of the places where we rowed. We made friends all around the world; We fought for the medals on the water. There is always understanding and respect for other athletes that -just like us- gave everything to come to deliver their best performance. Sport connects. We are very grateful that we have been able to experience such a great professional sports career!