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2021 HOPR Self Analysis
By George Spiess
Posted on 10/27/2021 1:49 PM

Now that the dust has settled and I’ve had a chance to reflect on the results, I’m going to do a critique like last year, but also break it out into a number of posts, each focusing on different aspects that I believe contributed to my performance.  Hopefully it will prove helpful to others.

The bottom line is that I was able to take a minute off my time.  I wasn’t surprised because I knew my speed has been coming back and after running two time trials on the course, I had decided on a target pace/split.  My final time reflected that split divided into the distance with some minor variance.

It’s pretty simple actually.  The course is 3800 meters and change.  I knew from other races and my time trials that I could sustain a pace/split of 2:21 (a split is the time it takes to row 500 meters and is a metric displayed on a Speedcoach).  There are 7.6 splits in this course, which gets you to roughly my raw time.  Because there was no current or wind, it was a surprisingly accurate guess.

If at some point I want to catch Dan, who was well ahead of all of us, I’m going to have to shave another 5 seconds off my split.  I was able to do that this season, but to get another 5 seconds?  I have some work to do!

So where did the speed come from?

In descending order, from most impactful to least:

  1. Weight loss/diet
  2. Fitness = anaerobic capacity and VO2Max
  3. Technique
  4. Rigging changes
  5. Different boat
  6. Mental training

These factors were the most impactful for me, but not necessarily the most important.  I’m embarrassed to say that my mental training, while improved, is not where it should be and was actually a weakness for me this fall that probably cost me time in at least two events.  Weight loss was impactful and important to me but would not necessarily be the same for someone else.

Remember my mantra about focusing on the weakest points for training.  I’ll discuss each one of these factors, and where I’m headed, in upcoming posts.