Today while I rowed, I listened to a podcast called “Hidden Brain” on the topic of “Grit”.  Here’s a link if you are interested.  

There is a fair amount of research that links success in many fields not to innate talent, but rather to the tenacity, passion and drive needed to put in the work.  The key appears to be a willingness to engage in the most unpleasant type of practice, the deeply mindful concentrated work on the things you find most difficult.  I think another aspect to “grit” is the ability to take setbacks and then just go back to work on improving.  To quote a slightly different source, there is a lyric in the musical “Hamilton” that is stuck in my head.  There is a character in the play named Hercules Mulligan, a spy in the revolutionary war.  I have no idea what he was like actually, but in the play he is a brash talking, tough guy.  Here’s the quote…

To my brother’s revolutionary covenant
I’m runnin’ with the Sons of Liberty and I am lovin’ it!
See, that’s what happens when you up against the ruffians
We in the s**t now, somebody gotta shovel it!
Hercules Mulligan, I need no introduction
When you knock me down I get the f**k back up again!

I like the attitude embodied in “somebodies gotta shovel it” and “When you knock me down I get the F back up again”.  I think success has a lot more to do with getting back up again, than anything else.

Sorry to get all philosophical, but the past month and half have been difficult for me.  My new role at work is demanding a lot more travel, and frankly a much deeper commitment, and I have been dealing a bunch of minor disruptions at home as well.  The result is a dramatic reduction in training volume.

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Week 41 is the beginning of February, and I went from averaging over 100km per week to around 50km per week.  This is just rowing meters, so, there was training volume in week 42 (while on vacation), and other weeks while on travel, but it is inevitable that I will have a decline in rowing fitness with this reduction.

So, the plan is to just keep on plugging.  I will train as much as I can, and make maintaining my aerobic base the priority until  things are a little more under control.  So, as much endurance training as I have time for and then 1 or 2 spicier sessions a week.



3 thoughts on ““Grit”

  1. sanderroosendaal says:

    You are then basically back to the volume that I have. I happen to be in a relatively travel free period now. The big thing at work is done and Brussels just now starts functioning normally again. I also gave my guys (and myself) a break after the heavy lifting of 2015/early 2016.
    All I want to say is – yes, grit is a very important aspect. And realistic goal setting. We will not beat the masters rower who is a physical exercise teacher or professional rowing trainer. Or a policeman, who has fitness as a mandatory part of the job. But now and then, on a good day, we will beat them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. stelph82 says:

    Just saw a similar article on training peaks which talks about ways to deal with pain from a mental perspective


    Actually reflects conclusions I have come to myself from racing, mostly expecting that no matter what, if I am going to have a good race its going to really hurt,, that I just have to deal with the pain and know it will eventually pass, and to constantly “coach” myself mentally during that I have to keep pushing the envelope – Personally I find HIIT sessions, particularly one with reduced rest, are good for building this “Grit” when you feel like you cant complete the workout but you force yourself on anyway


    • gregsmith01748 says:

      I think there are two things rowers need. Grit is one, and I agree that is more the stubbornness to attack that last interval after you nearly died on the prior rep.

      There is also resilience, which is different in my mind. That is more about coming back to practice the day after a defeat, or taking another crack at a cross team challenge after blowing up in previous attempt, or picking up on a training plan after circumstances keep you from training for a few days.

      Maybe grit is acute stubbornness and resilience is chronic stubbornness?


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