Last year, I got out on the bay to row five times before the end of March. Right now, there is still ice along the shore.
I can erg more regularly to get ready to row outdoors.
But for me the biggest parts of the transition are the boat, the hands and the wrists.
Have to check to see if the boat is ready to row. I do not want to get out on 35 degree water and start taking on water. And that will be the Alden or Martin at this point, not the Hudson. The racing shell can come later.
Have to get the car rack ready to make it convenient to take a boat to calmer water on windy days.
The hands are a relatively small problem as the blisters and callouses have been less of an issue in recent years. Is that because I am not pulling as hard? Or is my technique better?
But adding the wrist movement of squaring and feathering the blade is a major transition. I get in more short rows early in the season to let the wrists develop. That helps me avoid strain and tendonitis.
Then, I need to develop a race plan - when might I race and where this summer and fall? And from that I can work backwards to develop a training plan for my rows.
And what worked as a focus? I have found many types of focus useful. Here are two examples.
One thing I sometimes use on the erg or in the boat is to focus on a particular part of the body. Drive the knees down. Push with the quads. Strong hamstrings. Use the glutes. Hang on the lats! ten strokes at a time. Feel the emphasis in the muscles in question. Feel for the effect on my stroke and the boat.
Another focus is simply to remind myself why I am pushing harder than average. I like using a set of three "mantras," if you will: Build muscle - clear the lungs - burn the fat. These three remind me I am not there just to move the boat but for the positive effects on the body. If I can push harder for a longer row, I will burn more fat, use the lungs more efficiently and put a demand on my muscles that results in stronger, harder muscles for the next row.