Carlos Dinares TIP # 458: ROWING RECOVERY on DEMAND

If you want to get faster with your training, where rowers make the greatest mistakes on their training is on recovery. Rowers and coaches don’t fully understand how important recovery is for performance.

Here is a text very interesting from Joel Friel who talks about recovery and his experience. He mentions how a top Triathlete coach and the East Germans use to manage “recovery on demand”. I do the same. I really believe that every rower is different and adapts on a different way to the load and his day. So on the morning before practice every rower feels different and depending on that, load and intensity can be changed. So if you don’t have a coach and follow a training program, start to learn to listen at your body and understand that you improve on recovery. This is a great post on recovery!

Darren Smith, an Aussie coach, who works with elite triathletes, mostly ITU World Cup competitors. Darren’s use of what he calls “recovery on demand.” This is really the best way to determine when an athlete should recover, both short term and long term. Short term means that an occasional easy training day may be necessary. Darren would determine that by having a conversation with the athlete each morning. With the personal data he collects on the athlete over the course of a few days he can determine if an extended break from training may be appropriate. Training resumes when he has determined that the athlete is adequately recovered.

The Berlin wall had been down for some time by that point and Communist government of East Germany was gone. A former director of their Olympic sport program was visiting Fort Collins, Colorado and was invited to speak at the local sports medicine clinic. Other than the use of performance enhancing drugs, which he “suggested” was done, he said that their success in the Olympics was due to the environment that was common for many East German athletes. Most lived in dorms where their sleep, nutrition, access to coaches and much more made for a very sport-focused lifestyle. He said that every day a coach or group of sports professionals would meet individually with athletes and decide what they should do that day. He believed this was the single most important thing they did from a coaching perspective to produce world class athletes. This is Darren’s recovery on demand.


As a serious athlete this is a great tool if you if you have the self-awareness and self-control to make a decision every morning about what you should do in training relative to what you have planned. Unfortunately, athletes tend to believe that more is better and that if they rest they are losing ground to their competition. That’s why most athletes are better off having a coach, such as Darren, who knows what he or she is doing and can provide guidance”.

Thank you Joel Friel.

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