After, “are you totally crazy?” this is by far the most frequently asked question we get so I thought I’d address it on the blog.
Firstly I should say Duncan and I serve in the Armed Forces as opposite ends of the country and Glyn and Will both run their own small businesses so opportunities to train together at the moment are few are far between, making the whole process even trickier than it already is. That said, everyone is putting the effort in and training hard as often as possible. This far out our aim is to get as big and strong as possible, we can expect to lose up to 30% of our body mass during the race so the focus is on strength training rather than cardio as you might expect, focussing on big compound lifts like back squats and deadlifts to grow the rowing specific muscles and movement patterns. We occasionally get together at Tees Rowing Club who were kind enough to give us a crash course in sculling but the real team training will come when we have boat we can get in the ocean which is a world apart from rowing on the river.
Physically, we are 4 very different specimens and are approaching training in our own ways to capitalise on the individual skills and strengths we bring to the party.
Glyn is a powerhouse, he is big, strong and extremely explosive. Take a look at the video on Facebook of his 100kg snatch that he makes look easy! He is a qualified Crossfit instructor and does most of his training in the Crossfit Teeside Box or in his own creation, the Chamelecon, a transportable strength and conditioning facility designed for rugby teams and personal trainers. This training style focusses on big heavy Olympic Lifts and Powerlifting moves followed by High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) conditioning circuits and mobility work. One pull of the oars will be such a low percentage of his maximal output he’ll be able to stay efficient for ages and not fatigue to badly.
Pardon the pun but Duncan is a rowing MACHINE. He does the majority of his training on an erg and is the team’s best rower but in the off season does lift, play sports and do some Crossfit work too. Following his injury he discovered that rowing didn’t cause him an issue and quickly got hooked, developing a list of punishing workouts you can do on the Concept 2. Using these workouts and competing for his Regiment in the 2km sprint Duncan has piled on rowing specific muscle size and memory so similarly to Glyn the rate he will be working at on the Atlantic will be far beneath that he is used to working at, although for much, much (MUCH) longer periods of time.
Will has got by far the busiest schedule of anyone in the team but hits the gym when he can, open water swims, SUP’s (excellent core workout), hill walks, cycles on and off road and does the odd triathlon to boot. He recently, almost singlehandedly, shifted over 60 tonnes of gravel and soil, one wheel barrow at a time, from his basement and up two flights of stairs and into a skip. All this in the evenings and weekends around running a successful business and around a busy family life. It is exactly this sheer capacity for graft and hard work that will see him across the ocean.
I’m the old man of the team so have to approach things slightly differently to avoid injury, I am lucky enough to have RAF PTI Cpl Danny Morgan here at Linton who has written me training programme as part of his Master’s Degree in Strength and Conditioning. We work in phases of 8-12 weeks, cycling between Hypertrophy Training to gain lean mass, Strength Training to improve the maximal strength of the muscle gained and Functional Training to mix it up a bit, maintain mobility and push work rate. Interspersed throughout are heart rate based long rows for active recovery and endurance training and occasional sprints or HIIT sessions on the erg for CV and as benchmark for retesting as we go.
First off we would like thank all the personnel at the 4th Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment for hosting us in the Military village. It all went off seamlessly, as you would imagine when working with such a professional bunch but they made us feel really welcome and looked after all of us brilliantly, above and beyond the call of duty.
We were lucky enough to be invited along to the Welcome to Yorkshire stand for live Q and A on Tuesday, this led to several other interviews which you can see and hear in the new Press page of the website. On Wednesday night we had the absolute honour of meeting Sir Gary Verity aka Mr Yorkshire and the man responsible for getting the Tour De France to start in Yorkshire, no mean feat I'm sure you'll agree. Their backing and support has given our campaign a real boost and momentum is high.
Finally we need to say a MASSIVE THANKS to all the people who came and got stuck in on boat hook and on the 30 Second rowing machine challenge. You made the show for us and we were overwhelmed by the genuine interest, generosity and support we got from you all, come rain or shine (and we got plenty of both). With your help we raised nearly £1000 pounds towards our campaign costs, shattering our expectations and bringing us one step closer to the start line next December.
Here we will be keeping you up to date with all our musings pre, during and post competing in the Atlantic Challenge race that started 12th December 2018.