Tonight, the top 79 CrossFit athletes in the world will jump on a Concept 2 rower and row for 3-4 hours and accumulate 42,195 meters, or a full marathon. For those who are rowing tonight or for those who are crazy enough to try this out for themselves, 2012 Olympic athlete and founder of Rowing WOD Cameron Nichol walks through how to tackle this beast.
Nichol has several tips and tricks when going for the full marathon row. Nichol said he completed the full marathon about a year ago in around 2 hours and 30 minutes without water or food.
In his opinion, the mental aspect of sitting on a rower for that length of time is harder than the physical side. Nichol recommends using mental games or switching up the monitor to help stay focused.
As for the machine setup, comfort is key. Nichol said that setting the feet as low as possible to provide some relief on your hamstrings during your return.
Sweat and hand care is also critical. Nichol recommends putting a towel or t-shirt on your seat and to wear multiple layers to avoid chaffing while sitting on the seat. For your hands, taping your hands and wearing gloves is necessary, along with sweatbands to keep sweat off your hands.
Nichol said you do not need a ton of water and fuel during a normal marathon row. But for the Games athletes who have already done three workouts prior to this, he recommends having some smaller water bottles available and a small fitness bar handy.
Finally, Nichol said to not stop rowing or to get up in the middle of the event. In his opinion, stopping will only make the row feel harder/worse when you get back on. If you must, slow your pace down significantly for a minute or two instead and then get back to the pace you are trying to maintain.