Inside Winter Training: Isabel Horosz
TAMPA, Fla. – Kansas rowing was welcomed back to the Midwest with chilly temperatures and a frozen river after spending a week and a half in Tampa, Florida preparing for the 2019 season.
Junior Isabel Horosz recaps the winter training trip in the last ‘Inside Winter Training’ blog.
The Tampa winter training trip is one that tests you physically, mentally and emotionally. There are no easy days or easy practices, but the lessons learned have the power to change the course of the season.
Before we left for Tampa, the team met to do a fitness evaluation where we produced an outstanding number of personal records. The most exciting part of this is that you could tell many members of the team put in hours of training on their own. This is the best way to kick off a training trip, knowing that you and all your friends have prepared yourselves to be successful.
Once in Tampa, we worked on water connection or “the basics”, after months away. The chilly Kansas weather doesn’t allow for water use, but instead allows us to better ourselves on the rowing machine. Along with that, most members of the team are not able to access water over winter break.
As we began to “dust off the rust” it was clear that we were going to have a productive trip. After a few practices on the water, we had a rowing machine test. Many pushed through the difficult circumstances of testing in a warmer climate with more distractions to produce fast erg scores. This determination resulted in more personal records. We do these various tests to allow the coaches to better see where different individuals may make the most impact on a boat to achieve the fastest possible time.
The next portion of the trip proved more challenging as our bodies are pushed each day. This is where I would give a giant shout out to our phenomenal athletic training staff, Murphy Grant and Logan Wood. The two of them worked their magic so that my teammates and I could push ourselves at every practice and be fully equipped to go harder at the next practice. Women that employed what they did over the break and individual changes the coaches were making ended up excelling on the water.
On our off day, the coaching staff took us to Clearwater Beach, where my teammates and I had a few hours to explore and relax. The weather may not have been perfect, but it was still a day that allowed for a bit of additional recovery so that we could make it through the remaining practices. By this point we were slightly over half way through the trip.
Boating assignments continued to change each practice, so that many individuals could be evaluated by multiple coaches to see where their skills were best fit. Rowing is the ultimate team sport and every single seat in a boat matters and every single member of the team is important.
To have a truly competitive team the lowest performing athletes must be good enough to make the top athletes continue to improve and constantly raise the bar every single day, as all of the coaches would tell you. This does add pressure to performance, but this is the best way to push personal growth and this is what any athlete will go through.
As my previous teammates, Laurel Sailsbury and Bailey Blood, described, the coaching staff continued to evaluate assigned rowing pairs in seat racing. This process lasted for two days and allowed the coaches to get a glimpse of how my teammates and I were able to utilize our erg power and water technique to move a boat.
I know many girls, including myself, genuinely enjoy this challenging process because it seems like a combination of a race day and an endurance day. The best athletes will be able to apply the same high-power intensity consistently during every single piece, regardless of the number of pieces.
Long steady state practices were also mixed into the training during this portion of the trip. These workouts require extreme focus and abundant, consistent power as we are nearing the end of winter training. Long steady state also allows for the coaches to make improvements to our technique when our bodies begin to wear out. This is effective because during spring racing, our bodies will be pushed on the edge, but we must keep our rowing form from breaking down to out row other crews.
On the last day of winter training, our team was lined up five boats across and proceeded to do four 2000-meter pieces. In the spring season, our races are 2000-meters-long, compared to 5000-meter-long races in the fall. This workout allowed for a mindset shift because of the difference in racing distance and in the higher stroke-rate throughout the piece.
This workout was tiring, if you did it right, but it allowed for my teammates and I to work through our exhaustion and pain to push through the other boats. That may not sound so fun, but I think this was the workout I enjoyed the most during the trip because I could see and feel the changes I have made and I saw how my power was able to help my boat excel. I also could tell that my teammates worked for 16 solid practices to make Kansas faster and stronger.
We want to wear this name proudly and it is these type of workouts that will allow us to do that this season. This trip was not a piece of cake and it never is, but it teaches you how your attitude will impact your work output, who you can go to when you need to get something out of your system and it helps the entire team bond because we are taking every single stroke together as one unit called Kansas Rowing. At the end of the day, I have the privilege of getting to compete in a highly competitive sport with some of my best friends in the world and I couldn’t be any more thankful for that.
After fear of a cancelled flight, we finally made our way back to Lawrence, Kansas. We will continue to use the new lessons, enhanced skills and excitement that this trip brought out onto the rowing machines as we enter erging season. Watch out, some major things are happening here and I can’t wait to see how we utilize this training trip investment throughout the season. Kansas Rowing is officially back in season and better than ever!
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