Westdale Rowing Community

Information for the Westdale Rowing Community

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IMPORTANT – Final Ticket Money Collection TOMORROW (Wednesday) + Training Plan + Videos

Dear Parents & Athletes:


1) The Chili Cookoff ticket money is due tomorrow (Wednesday) at the latest. Please send your athletes to practice with either a cheque or cash for the tickets sold (we’re counting on each athlete family to have sold 8 tickets, amounting to $160 per athlete family). If you have unsold tickets, you must also return them tomorrow. This should be done before your practice begins. Ticket money and/or extra tickets should all be given to Brock Gadsdon OR to Alessandra Gage.

2) There will be NO after school practice on Thursday due to the Chili Cookoff. Setup begins at 4pm at Leander Boat Club/Bay City Music Hall, and we want to ensure athletes have time to arrive and assist.
Arrival time for setup volunteers = 4pm
Arrival time for other volunteers (e.g.: front table, raffle tickets, etc.) = 5:00pm/5:30pm
Arrival time for food items = as early as you can while still keeping the Chili hot!

3) Training Plan – The schedule for outdoor season was posted over a week ago and many have forgotten, so I’m reposting the training schedule & plan for the remainder of this week to avoid any potential confusion.
To be clear: Afternoon boats training with Alessandra are the singles (Jr. National Team/Spring Trials athletes) and the doubles (girls & boys).

Wednesday, April 15th:
-AM crews @5:15-7:40am at LBC (long distance & tech work – focus: clean finishes & body swing)
-PM crews *JNT/Trial singles & doubles* @3:30-5:30pm *crews with Alessandra off by 4:30pm (I have to work)

Thursday, April 16th: 
-AM crews @5:15-7:40am at LBC (long distance & tech work – focus: recovery timing with feathering & squaring)
-CHILI COOKOFF @6pm at Bay City Music Hall (2nd floor of LBC – setup starts at 4pm, event starts at 6pm)

Friday, April 17th:
-AM crews @5:15-7:40am at LBC (mileage & pressure – focus: accelerating together as a crew through the drive to setup balance on the recovery)
-PM crews *JNT/Trial singles & doubles* @3:30-5:30pm

Saturday, April 18th:
-Session 1 (6-8am) at LBC – drill challenge
-Session 2 (10am-12pm) at LBC – drill challenge *crews attending this practice will be posted on Thurs/Friday*

Sunday, April 19th:
-10am-12pm Sculling session with Alessandra & Tom *only specific crews*

Future weeks will be posted this upcoming weekend. Do not expect a plan to be posted before that time, as we are still awaiting information on availability of athletes, boats, and coaches.

4) Videos & Tech Feedback/Analysis – Sr. Men’s 4x, Jr. Men’s 1x, Sr. LWT Women’s 2x
Video analysis for the PM crews (Jr. Men’s 1x & Sr. LWT Women’s 2x), plus the Sr. Men’s 4x from the AM crews, can be found here. Men’s Team & PM group: I will be rotating through footage of all of you, so you’ll all have an opportunity to get video feedback. Please be patient as I complete the rotations.

Sr. Men’s 4x (s/4-Luke, 3-Max, 2-Kieran, b/1-Erik) – https://www.coachseye.com/v/LHVK 
Jr. Men’s 1x (Erik) – https://www.coachseye.com/v/4AG7 
Sr. LWT Women’s 2x (s-Claire, b-Jocelyn) – https://www.coachseye.com/v/CwYE 


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Training April 6th-11th (ERG TESTS & FIRST WATER DAY!)

Hello Westdale!

I hope you’ve all had a relaxing long-weekend. Now that the docks are in we are officially able to get on-water this week. Our first on-water day will be Saturday, April 11th. This is based off of cold-water rules arranged with Steffan, as well as the timing of boat rentals arriving (some of which we require to get on-water). This week is also the coaching swap, so the women will be coached by me (Alessandra), and the men will be coached by Mike.

We're switching!

We’re switching!

A friendly reminder to all parents & athletes: Outdoor Fees must be paid before getting out on-water. Please ensure that you speak with your athlete’s primary coach if you require an alternate payment plan, or if you have any questions about the outdoor fees. Chili cookoff sign-up sheets will be made available tomorrow as an online Google document, so keep posted for that, and I will also be posting an overview to the blog of the important info from the Chili cookoff presentation tomorrow at that same time.

Training Plan:
Monday, April 6th (TODAY, OYOT):
ALL ATHLETES – 50-60min run on your own time (long distance, category 6, cardio workout)

Tuesday, April 7th: 6:30am @WSS *coach swap*
Men – 10min warmup jog in middle gym; 20min stair run (basement to 4th floor, in stairwell nearest weight room); 30min House of Pain (3rd floor in partners); stretching & debrief with Mike
Women – 10min warmup jog in middle gym; Juniors = 2km erg testing; Seniors = cardio circuit (TBExplained at practice); stretching & debrief with Alessandra

Wednesday, April 8th: 6:30am @WSS *coach swap*
Men – 10min warmup run; dynamic stretching; 2x30min erg w 5min rest (Cat 5 – 6km split + 8s); stretching & debrief with Mike
Women – 10min warmup run; 20min stair run tag-team game (3rd floor); 30min House of Pain (3rd floor in partners); stretching & debrief with Alessandra

Thursday, April 9th: 6:30am @WSS *coach swap*
Men – 10min suicide & core switches (warmup); Day 1 Weights (original circuit – NOT intensification phase); 20min run (time pending); stretching & debrief with Mike
Women – Goal Setting Discussion & Crew Challenge (on the erg) with Alessandra; stretching & debrief

Friday, April 10th: 5:30am***LATER FOR THIS DAY ONLY @Leander Boat Club
Men (ALL) – Boat Cleaning & Final Rig Checks; Crew Run & Stairs; Team Meeting with Alessandra
Women (AM athletes only) – Rigging of the Rental 8+; Team Meeting with Mike

Saturday, April 11th: 5:45am @LBC
Men (AM athletes only) – practice from 5:45-8am
Women (AM athletes only) – practice from 5:45-8am

For those of you wondering what a regular weekly schedule would look like for on-water training, please see the PDF here: Westdale Rowing 2015 – Training Schedule (Timing)

See you all tomorrow morning at Westdale Secondary School (6:30am),

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March Break Training! :D



Now that you’ve had a weekend to get over the adrenaline rush (and potential fangirling) of being free from school for a whole entire week, we thought it’d be super fun to post a wicked awesome list of workouts you should totally do 😉

…but seriously. These workouts will help you maintain your aerobic base & general fitness required for when we come back and complete erg testing (#lolwut). Yes. Erg testing upon return.

To our credit, we’re giving you lots of workout options so that you can manage this training with your schedule/location(s). If you’ve already spoken to me about attending a rowing-specific training camp (e.g.: SCRC/BrockU March-Break Training Camp), then please just keep me posted on your progress & be sure to train smart (no injuries).

Now that we feel all warm & fuzzy inside, here’s the workout plan (including an overview for tomorrow’s supervised practice at LBC):

Monday, March 16th – 6am @LBC (Leander Boat Club)
All athletes should arrive at 6am for a 2hr practice at Leander Boat Club (6-8am). We will rotate through ergs, tank, and core, with a strong emphasis on tank-work. This will be your only supervised practice this week, so please attend. It will give us a chance to check-in and ensure you’re set for the rest of the week with the unsupervised training.

Tuesday, March 17th: *ST. PATRICKS DAY*
Option 1: warmup; 40min erg castles (Cat 6 = 6km split + 14s); 1×300 circuit; stretching (at least 10min)
Option 2: 60min steady-state run OR 90min cross-country skiing; stretching (at least 10min)
Option 3: >4hrs alpine skiing (as an alpine skier I’m sad to report that it’s just not as good of a workout as cross-country, so you need to get more hours in); stretching (10min at least)

Wednesday, March 18th:
Option 1: warmup; 3x12min ski ladders (22/24/26/28/30/32 -> should be Cat 4) with 8min rest in between; stretching (10min at least)
Option 2: 30min run + 5 stair runs (total of about 45-60min) OR 60min cross-country skiing; stretching (at least 10min)
Option 3: 3hrs alpine skiing PLUS home circuit (jump squat pyramid 25/50/75/50/25; 3×20 pushups; 3×20 crunches; 3×10 glute contractions each leg (this is the physio exercise we normally do)); stretching (at least 10min)

Thursday, March 19th:
Option 1: 20min run; 300 circuit (1.5m rest between sets); stretching
Option 2: 20min erg (5min castles @22/24spm, CAT 5 pace – 6km split + 8s); 300 circuit (1.5m rest between sets); stretching
Option 3: 90min cross-country ski OR 4hrs alpine skiing; stretching

Friday, March 20th:
Option 1: dynamic warmup; 2x30min erg with 3min rest in between (Cat 6 pace = 6km split +14s); stretching (at least 10min)
Option 2: 60min run (or 10-12km distance) OR 90min cross country ski; stretching
Option 3: alpine-ski your butt off for at least 5hrs

Saturday March 21st/Sunday March 22nd: OFF

…that’s it, folks!

See you all tomorrow morning @6am at Leander Boat Club,

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Chili Cookoff Parent’s Meeting, March Break Training, and Welland Tank Session

Dear Athletes & Parents,

Three quick notes in this post:

1) Parent’s Meeting – Thursday, March 26th @7pm in the WSS Library

Mark your calendars: Thursday, April 16th will be the night of Westdale Rowing’s Infamous Chili Cookoff! PREPARE YOUR CROCKPOTS. GET READY FOR A SHOWDOWN. EMPTY STOMACHS WILL BE FILLED. The winner is still to be determined…

The parent’s meeting on Thursday March 26th at 7pm in the WSS library will address the Chili Cookoff (which has been organized by the Parent Reps), as well as important outdoor rowing information (fees, waivers, regatta dates, safety requirements, practice schedule/training requirements at LBC).

2) March Break Training – Monday, March 16th from 6-8am @LBC

There will be one official “At LBC” practice held over March break this year. The team practice will run on Monday, March 16th, from 6-8am at Leander Boat Club. The rest of the week will be comprised of workouts that athletes can complete at home on their own time – these workouts will be posted to this blog. If athletes would like additional assistance with technical development on the erg or on the tank aside from Monday’s practice, then they should contact Alessandra with their availability & the name of a partner that would join in the practice (there must be at least 2 athletes for an extra practice to be held).

3) Welland Tank Session – Sunday, March 29th from 12-3pm @WIFC

We will be holding a mandatory tank session for ALL outdoor rowers on the Men’s & Women’s Teams. The tank session is booked for Sunday, March 29th, and will run from 12-3pm at the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC). Plan to be there for the entire session, as we will be rotating athletes through the tank & the gym (for information on the facilities available, click here). Directions can be found here, but will also be posted closer to the session date.

See you all tomorrow for the coach-swap,

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Training (March 3rd-6th) + Mac 2×4 Event Info

Dear Westdale Rowers,

Thank you for arriving early this morning in your team colours to set up the ergs and prepare for the Mac 2×4 training session with the guest coaches and Cable 14. We’ll be posting a link to the video clip/interviews and news footage on here once we’ve got a copy, so stay tuned.

Please ensure you submit your consent form tomorrow if you haven’t already. Due to the requirements of the HWDSB, we are unable to accept verbal consent alone (we need something signed). Thank you!

Two important things in this post:
-Training this week
-Mac 2×4 Event information

1) Training this Week:
Tuesday, March 3rd: *please bring in your Cable 14 consent forms if you haven’t already
Men – 10min suicides & core switchups in lower gym followed by dynamic warmup; 60min weights (regular); stretching *RAFFLE OF JL SHIRT*
Women – Check-in/roster update; 10min warmup run in gym; Erg; House of Pain; Squat Circuit; Nutrition discussion; Cooldown & Debrief

Wednesday, March 4th:
Men – 15 laps of gym; dynamic stretches; LDR Erg (lactic acid flush); Squat Pyramid; Cooldown/Debrief
Women – 10min warmup; 60min weights (regular); stretching

Thursday, March 5th: 
Men – 20min Fartlek run (3rd floor); 50min weights (regular); stretching & cooldown + debrief
Women 10m warmup; Erg: transition training in teams (10min), + 20min erg @22spm & 20min core

Friday, March 6th:
Men – 10min warmup; Transition training in teams (10min), 25min erg castles; 20min core; debrief
Women – 10min warmup; 60min aerobic weights (light weight with 20reps); stretching

Saturday, March 7th: Mac 2×4 – see below

1) Mac 2×4 Information:

All athletes racing at the Mac 2×4 Event this Saturday, March 7th, are expected to arrive in the main atrium (first floor) of the McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC) by 7:30am. No exceptions. You must be wearing your unisuit. Race shirts will then be distributed at the event, to be worn over top of your unisuit.

Arriving by 7:30am is crucial as we need to check all athletes in & have you complete a warmup before the first race at 8am. 30 minutes is not a lot of time, so make sure you arrive at 7:30am sharp. Last year some athletes missed their races – please do NOT let this happen to you. Make sure you’re all ready to go by 7:30am in the McMaster Student Centre atrium. Injured athletes are also welcome to attend to cheer on their teammates, and should plan to arrive at the same time as the rest of the team. All highschool races and awards will be over by 11am.

Schedule of Events: Mac 2×4 Event Information – 2015 Schedule

*CREW LUNCH TO FOLLOW* – Vote on a location – The Mandarin or Boston Pizza??? Both have all-you-can-eat buffets. YUM. VOTE HEREhttp://doodle.com/wstu5fvupw47xi32


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Training Feb. 17th-21st

Dear Westdale Rowers:

First and foremost, if you plan to race at the Ontario Indoor Rowing Champs (the biggest indoor race that we participate in), then:

Men’s Teamcontact Alessandra Gage to confirm. She will be sending in the full list of athletes for the Men’s Team.
Women’s Team contact Mike Roche, as per his request in his most recent blog post here.

Training Schedule (Locations & Practices):

Tuesday (6:30am @WSS)
Men – Fartlek Run (20min for warmup); Weights (60min); stretching & debrief (Ontario Indoors + Mac 2×4 Relay Sign Up)
Women – 20min erg ladders at 6km pace + 6seconds (4min @22spm, 4min @24spm, 4min @26spm, 4min @24spm, 4min @22spm – 5min rest); 2omin Gadjanski Stair Circuit; 20min core

Wednesday (6:30am @WSS)
Men – Warmup; 3x12min @28/30/32spm (6km pace + 2seconds) + 8min active rest; Cooldown & Stretching
Women – Fartlek Run (20min for warmup); Weights (60min); stretching & debrief with Mike

Thursday (6:30am @WSS)
Men – Gadjanski Stair Circuit Warmup (x1); Weights (60min); Stretching & Debrief
Women – Warmup; 3x12min @28/30/32spm (6km pace + 2 seconds) + 8min active rest; Cooldown & Stretching (if more people, circulate with core & run)

Friday (6:30am @WSS)
Men – Warmup; 2x20min Erg Ladders @6km pace + 6seconds (4min shifts at 22/24/26/24/22spm) + 5min rest; Cooldown & stretching
Women – Gadjanski Stair Circuit Warmup (x1); Weights (60min); Stretching & Debrief

Saturday (10am-12noon @LBC (Leander Boat Club))
Whole Team – Erg/Tank/Core/Weights

Men’s Team: Your weight-adjusted 6km and 2km racing scores will be posted to this blog tomorrow. I will also hand out the 2km weight adjusted rankings. These scores will be based on your most recent 2km times (i.e.: the last 2km you pulled). For most of you this will be your LBC Indoors score, or the score you pulled last week on Friday at practice.

See you all in the morning,

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Training (Feb. 10th-13th)

Hello Westdale,

We have three weeks until the Ontario Indoor Rowing Championships – our biggest indoor competition. Each week leading up to the competition will have a different training focus.

Week 1 = Long Distance (RADAR testing, Cat 4/5/6, Technique)
Week 2 = Rate & Power Work (Cat 3/4/5, Split Training/Rate Training)
Week 3 = Competition Specific Training (Cat 2/3/4/6, Race Preparation)

Athletes completing RADAR who would like to use their LBC Indoor times are advised to complete their Peak Power & 6km testing at practices this week.

Training for Week 1 (this week) is as follows:

Tuesday, Feb. 10th:
Men – Warmup, Day 3 Weights (Cat 2/3), Team Circuit (Cat 4) [or: PEAK POWER RADAR TESTING FOR RADAR ATHLETES]
Women – Warmup, 6km testing (rate 28 *RADAR ATHLETES*) or 25min erg with castles (22/24 every 5min), core, run

Wednesday, Feb. 11th: 
Men – Warmup, 6km testing (rate 28 *ALL ATHLETES*), core/cardio, nutrition for competition session (guidelines “the extra percent”)
Women – Warmup, Day 3 Weights (Cat 2/3), Team Circuit (Cat 4) [or: PEAK POWER RADAR TESTING FOR RADAR ATHLETES]

Thursday, Feb. 12th:
Men – 20min fartlek run (yes, that’s the correct name for it; laugh if you really feel you must), Tech Stretch Challenge & Core Exercises, Weighted Lunge Circuit
Women – Warmup, 30min erg (R22), 30min core, 30min run

Friday, Feb. 13th: <—- oooooooo 
Men – Ergs: 2km testing for anyone that was away (20min warmup + 2km test) for LBC Indoors OR 2x19min erg pyramid (R=3min), LDRun, Core/Stretching
Women – 40min run, 30min Relay Circuit with Ergs, Core/Stretching
...PLUS A SURPRISE!!! (No. It’s not a candygram.)

Saturday, Feb. 14th:
OFF… because your coaches also have lives & you probably have friends/family/people you’d rather spend your day with anyway 😉

See you all in the morning,

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Welcome Back! Practices This Week & Next

Dear Westdale Rowers,

Welcome Back


you survived

…Now it’s time to get your booties back to practice to prep for CIRCs.

Back to Practice


Practices this week & next week are as follows:

Wednesday, Jan. 28th:
9-11am @ Leander Boat Club
Men – Race Prep & 500m pieces (4x500m @6km split +3″ 1st/4th, @2km split 2nd/3rd; R:2min)
Women – Tank, Core, Cardio
*If you need a carpool, please contact me (Alessandra) and I will assist in finding you a ride (we realize many parents are unable to drive those hours)

Thursday, Jan. 29th:
9-11am @ Leander Boat Club
Men – Tank, Core, Cardio
Women – Race Prep & 500m pieces
*Again, if you need a carpool, please contact me (Alessandra)

Friday, Jan. 30th:
6:30-8am @ Westdale Secondary School
ALL – Race Review on Erg; Race Planning (Mental Prep) & CIRCs Requirements (Waivers, etc.); Core; Run & Circuit

Saturday, Jan. 31st: OFF (sleep! relax! do nothing!)

Sunday, Feb. 1st: 
CIRCs (CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS) in Mississauga (here’s the info)

Monday, Feb. 2nd: 
6am-7:45am @ Leander Boat Club *THIS IS NEW*
Men – 60min: Warmup + Recovery Erg (2x20min @ 6km split + 13″; R:3min), 45min Tank & Core
Women – 60min: Warmup + Tank & Weight Circuit #1; 45min Recovery Erg Rotation

Tuesday, Feb. 3rd: 
6:30-8am @ Westdale Secondary School
Men – Warmup; 40min Weight Circuit #1; Lunge/Squat Circuit; Stretching
Women – Warmup; Erg (2x20min @6km split + 13′; R:3min); Core & Cooldown

Wednesday, Feb. 4th: 
6:30-8am @ Westdale Secondary School
Men – Warmup; 3x18min Erg @ 6km split + 8″; R:3min; Physio Core & Stretching
Women – Warmup; 40min Weight Circuit #2; Lunge/Squat Circuit; Stretching

Thursday, Feb. 5th: 
6:30-8am @ Westdale Secondary School
Men – Warmup; 40min Weight Circuit #2; 25min fartlek runs (yes, this is their proper name)
Women – Warmup; 3x18min Erg @ 6km split + 8″; R:3min; Physio Core & Stretching

Friday, Feb. 6th: 
6:30-8am @ Westdale Secondary School
 10min warmup; 30min Rotation Short Relay (Erg/Squats/Core); 30min team run with stairs; 20min Core & Stretching

Saturday, Feb. 7th: 

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact your primary coach.

See you all tomorrow morning & enjoy the slight sleep in!


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Did You Know?: WOAH, Rowing Science.


Many rowers feel the desire to “push until it hurts”, where an “effective” or “good” practice is determined by how much pain you feel and how sweaty you get. You’re probably thinking something like:

No Pain No Gain

Well, we’ve got news for you:

This isn’t true. And no, it’s not your coaches being crazy – it’s SCIENCE!


Here’s a great article about elite junior rowers (plus some other sports) and how they train to succeed: Training to Succeed – The Value of Long UT2 Workouts

We all tend to crave quick-results and rewards, and we’ve probably all held unrealistic expectations like this at some point or another:

Workout Expectations

Wishing that it could be as easy as this:

Look, Abs

…but the reality is that getting results takes time, and the best results usually aren’t achieved through short intensity training. You still need to do AT/Cat 1 training (basically, your sprint work), but it shouldn’t be the bread & butter of what you do.

So, the main point of this post? A friendly reminder that the MOST beneficial thing for you to work on at this point in the season (particularly if you want personal success at your races in Jan/Feb & outdoor) is long-distance cardio & tech work, lots of technical work. Focus on getting the exercise perfect – NOT on doing it until it hurts or until you’re core strength has disappeared (which causes most technical failure). Because, let’s face it, you know you wanna be fast – but you definitely don’t wanna be like the guy in the picture below…

Don't let this be you!

Don’t let this be you!

Sometimes the best workout you can possibly do is the one that feels like no work, but leaves you sore the day after.

now you know - bill nye

See you tomorrow,

…Oh, and don’t be afraid of those long distance runs or rows 😉

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Rowing Materials – Useful Guides (from practice)

Hey Westdale,

Please see the following documents for overviews of racing technique, rowing stroke technique, weight programs, and core workouts. Hopefully you find these helpful (the last “Team Plan” only applies to the Men’s Team, but the rest apply to all).

Coach’s Explanation – Basic Rowing Stroke & Technique (for tips from Rowing Canada, click here)

Racing Preparation – FAQs and Tips for Success

Westdale Rowing Weights Regime – Day 1 & 2

Core Workouts:
300 Circuit
Alternate Core Circuit

Men’s Team Plan (from Meeting): Westdale Men’s Rowing Team – Indoor 2014&2015 Plan