Consistency is the key to improving fitness
Photo Credit werow.co.uk
This is my mantra 'consistency is key'. All my training is ruled by this mantra and I am a good example of it being put into practice.
When I first started indoor rowing in November 2014 I'd only taken it up because running had given me good old runner's knee (I am so glad it did now!). I bought my prized Concept 2 rower and started on my journey. I looked at plans on the internet and ploughed ahead in search of the holy grail of a sub 8 minute 2km. My first ever 2km was 8:20 which for a first attempt wasn't bad but boy did it hurt and I lost a lot of power as my technique was all over the place. So I had my marker and I used that as my target to improve. I spent 2015 training for the British Championships in December of that year and got my 2km down to 7:48. I was happy with this and was confident that I would get a pedestal finish with it. Alas it wasn't meant to be as it was my first race I flied and died, the adrenaline took a hold of me from the go and I was pulling 1:50s in the 1st 500m obviously way too fast and I was slowly dying all the way through, but I am pleased to say I never gave up, or threw in the towel. Yes I had a little tear on my husband's shoulder as I didn't win - very competitive- but I was proud I pushed myself to enter and race.
2016 was the year I trained hard and my 2km came down to 7:40, I could feel myself getting somewhere and it was becoming a little obsessional but in a good way! It becomes much easier to train hard if you have a proper goal/focus, this will help you become consistent in your training and make you want to gain more knowledge to progress further into it. So that's what I did, I learned from people, I asked questions and read an awful lot on topics from indoor rowing, pacing, stroke rates, stretching, resistance methods anything that I thought could help me improve my times. I started weight training and this was a perfect complimentary routine to my rowing. I did barbell squats, deadlifts, bench presses, barbell rows which all help give you explosive power and strength for your sprinting. I also had to decide about my weight. Did I want to stay at lightweight which is 61.5kg or move up to race against the 6 ft amazonians (I am only 5ft 7.5in). As my natural weight is just over the 61.5kg I decided to give the heavyweight category ago. So in 2016 I was mostly a heavyweight, my times were ok but not for heavyweight standards, I finished top 30 in the Concept 2 logbook rankings for my 2km. Through all of this my training was still consistent though, 5-6 days a week rowing and 3 days resistance work with one day of complete rest.
2017 was the turning point where I decided to bite the bullet and become a fully-fledged lightweight! It has proved one of the best decisions of my life, its hard and I have knocked alcohol on the head and have to weigh food and watch when I eat carbs but all that is so worth it when your training goals turn into actual reality. Through 2017 I was the most consistent I have ever been with my training, taking only a couple of weeks off in the summer for a family holiday. I ploughed head on into all my training sessions with determination and got my 2km time down to 7:29.6 on October 31st 2017, this was 2 months before my 2km race at the British Championships, so I entered that race confident of a good time and more importantly a plan that I stuck to and the rest is history!
2018 brings new challenges of getting my time down even more, at the moment it is 7:26.4 but my target is 7:20 so I will keep on pushing myself. There is no better feeling then completing a particular hard session that before you started you were sure you wouldn't finish! That is what consistency does it builds up confidence after every session, it increases your fitness after every session, it helps your stamina and more importantly it makes you believe you can actual become
the athlete you aspire to be!