Training and racing tips from rowing coach Larry Gluckman

American rowing coach Larry Gluckman was interviewed by Rebecca Caroe back in June, as part of Rowperfect UK’s fantastic RowingChat series.

Here’s the 1-hour-long video:

Having invested the time to watch it [when I should’ve been sleeping], I thought I’d share my takeaways from it [with apologies for any misinterpretations].

Training – 8 tips

  1. “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent.” This makes so much sense to me but I’ve never heard it expressed so succinctly. We know we have to do the mileage to cement in the tiniest technique change. So it follows that if we don’t try to improve, our mileage just serves to cement in our flaws.
  2. Push your capability limits. “If you’re not practising at the highest level you’re capable of, it’s unlikely you are going to perform any better during your racing.”
  3. Do a racing start every time you stop, whether it’s to turn the boat or take a drink.
  4. Always start from the catch, with your blades square in the water.
  5. “Practise perfect paddling.” Even when you’re fatigued, try to be perfect, because how you row when you’re fatigued is how you’ll row the last part of your race.
  6. Script your practice. Write down your workout before you go on the water. It makes you more committed to doing it. And, down the track, you can go back and look at it and see that you did it before, so you know you can do it again.
  7. Aim for daily wins, however small. Come off the water, or the erg, saying, “I had a great day today because…”.
  8. Do more than is expected. Leave your situation better than when you came.


How to shave time off your race – 6 tips

  1. Be comfortable in the boat. Adjust your feet height and feet angle. Check your seat height in relation to your heel height [I confess, the technicalities of this one went way over my head but, presumably, the higher you sit the easier it is to rock over.]
  2. For masters rowers especially, if your rigging is “too heavy”, you might die in the 3rd 500 m. [yes! you always knew it was the rigging].
  3. Do racing starts every day, at every opportunity (every time you start).
  4. Do one 1-minute sprint every day before you paddle lightly home.
  5. Do some racing every week “to experience the burn”. Wear your racing clothes, say, every Wednesday.
  6. Know how much distress your body can take. To find out, you need to “go to the hurt locker”. Dammit. I was going so well until now…

Thanks Larry Gluckman! Great information. And thanks Rowperfect for recording the interview.

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