Welcome to Winter Conditioning

Good Things Happen(1)

“If I pass out, note my time.”                                                                                                                   – Rower completing a 2K

Nobody knows who said it first, but it’s said thousands of times a day by rowers around the world.

If you do it right, rowing is one of the hardest things you can do. It is also one of the best workouts there is, period. If you’ve never rowed before, you’re in “decent shape” and you row 2000 meters as fast as you can, you’ll most likely finish somewhere between 8 and 10 minutes before you stumble off the erg. You’ll also have gotten one of the best full body workouts of your life.

You’re done. Spent. And you’ll most likely be mentally and physically depleted as well.

Don’t believe me? Sounds like it’s too easy? Go do it.

Give it a shot, and talk to one of the coaches when you return. You see, rowing, especially indoor rowing — or Erging as it’s known among rowers — is one of the hardest sports I can think of. It is excruciating, depleting, but an incredibly addictive full body workout.

The Erg keeps me coming back day after day after day, to get my latest dose of stress relief and dopamine. I would never want to go back to my pre-rowing days. That’s how addictive it is. Oh, and as a side benefit it has gotten me in the best shape I’ve ever been in — physically as well as mentally.

See, the thing about the Erg, is that it is a microcosm of life. Erging will teach you a few things about the way the world works. Here are three that I’ve learned so far.

The More You Work The Better You Get

The 2000 meter row, known as the 2K, is the distance in rowing. It is what everyone benchmarks themselves against, and talk about to no end. The worlds fastest 2K erg’ers are revered in the rowing community. The point is — the 2K is hard. It takes guts and heart and incredible physical conditioning to even get close to this level.

But you’re not there, at least not yet. The good news is every varsity rower, every state champion, every world record holder had to start somewhere and progress to where they are today.

So how do you get there?  By preparing.

You have to put in the work. You have to put in the long steady rows (with good form) when no one is watching. You have to put in the hard intervals and keep fighting when everything in your mind is telling you not to, and every muscle in your body is screaming for you to stop.

Mental toughness and strength are key to being a good rower. Your coaches will tell you not to stop or to “push through the pain” not because they are there to torture you, but to help you realize your mind hasn’t pushed or stretched itself to the limits you are capable of…yet. Ask any of the varsity rowers and they’ll tell you they had to learn to go farther than what their mind and muscles told them they could. It comes with a bit of experience and a whole lot of practice. That’s what Winter Conditioning is all about.

“It will take time…and it will be painful…and you’ll want to quit.  But it will be worth it at the end when you make the team.”

But soon you’ll realize the more you work, the better you get. That is a universal truth right there, and one that applies to every single aspect of life whether it is rowing, writing, making it in the business world or whichever endeavor you can think of pursuing. Putting in the work is the only thing that works. And the rewards will come.

You will get better. Be patient, but stay focused on becoming better. And if you put in enough work and give your best effort you might actually get good at it. It will take time…and it will be painful…and you’ll want to quit. But it will be worth it in the end when you make the team.

Humility Is Key

When I started rowing I had no idea what I was doing. I was bad. Luckily I had enough insight to realize I was bad. This helped me improve more quickly than I would if I’d just assumed that I was doing well.

Admitting that we don’t know something is hard. I’ve always had a hard time doing it, but somehow rowing was different. As a novice rower I quickly realized that I was nowhere near as good as others, but nowhere near as good as I could be.

Your coaches will push you, because they see new rowers struggle at the beginning of  each season. As they get to know you they will be able to tell when you can dig deeper, help you align your form, correct your breathing and continue to challenge you to improve mentally and physically.

The point is that when you’re setting out to learn something humility is key. Realizing that you don’t know the half of it is a good place to come from. There is a catch though, because the more we know, the less humble we become. There is a trick to keep our humility about us, and staying humble. Which is far from easy. It is especially not easy, when we start hitting our stride, reaching new highs and setting new personal records, known as PRs. But this is where it matters most.

Because in order to get from where we are now to where we want to move to, we have to be humble. We have to realize that there is still more to learn, there are still ways to get better. There are always ways to get better.

Spend Your Energy The Right Way

Almost everyone wastes energy when they just start rowing. I was no different. This is known as energy-leaks. It means that you spend energy doing things that doesn’t translate to faster times. You add input without getting more output.

Sound familiar?

The more I row, the more I realize how important it is to spend my energy the right way. We all have a limited number of resources, and the way we spend those resources is determine how well we do. This is true on and off the erg.

The thing about the erg though, is that it gives you direct and immediate feedback. The better you spend your energy, the better you do. This is also true in life in general.

Find the points where you have energy leaks. Stop doing unproductive things and hope that somehow it translates into productivity. Don’t cry about how little time you have if you’re at home playing Xbox, Mario Party on Nintendo Switch or watching TV instead of homework, reading or family time. We all have energy leaks somewhere.

Rowing has taught me the value of finding out where I waste my energy, then I have to decide to stop doing that. This might be the most valuable lesson of the three, because when we apply our energy in the best way possible and get the most output from our input, good things happen.

And when good things happen during Winter Conditioning, good things can happen on the water in the spring.

*As this post was being typed I found an article by Nick Kastrup on Medium.com that went over many of the same points I was making, so I added my comments in with Nick’s article. But the meat of it belongs to him. – Rich Greene


Now is the Time to Invite Someone to Learn to Row.

CREW Football Program Ad #2 (smaller)

Every year it happens: seniors graduate, military families move, life gets in the way and seats open up for students to get involved with crew for the first time. One of the easiest and best ways to show your friends the great sport of crew is to invite them to one of the Learn to Row Days.

These two-hour sessions are designed to introduce someone to “Crew Life” with a tour of the Oxford Boat House, some individual instruction on an ERG (which non-rowers call a rowing machine), a description of how the different parts of the boat and rowers work together, a safety brief and then get on the water in one of the Woodbridge 8-seat boats. Beginners will mix in with current Woodbridge Crew members to take the boat out onto the Occoquan River and get firsthand experience as to why Crew is one of the fastest growing sports in Virginia, and one of the largest teams at WSHS.

All of our Learn to Row Days are free and are open to new and current Woodbridge students. Many students row in the off seasons of another sports they participate in, and find that rowing significantly increased their physical fitness, challenged them, and was a lot of fun in the process.

So invite your friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters and that kid down the block who skateboards everywhere (you know the one) to come out for the next Learn to Row Day. Contact Coach Julie Hyzy at hyzymom@verizon.net for more information.

Follow Woodbridge Crew anytime:   Web page:  woodbridgecrew.net

Instagram:  @woodbridgecrew  FB:  /woodbridgecrew      Flickr:  Woodbridge_crew

Are you getting better this summer? Your rival is!

He's Coming For You 2

There’s an old song that talks about the “Lazy Days of Summer”, but we hope that doesn’t describe you!

Just for a moment, think about all the hard work you did last season.

  • The pain and sweat of winter conditioning
  • Those times when you just knew you would never be able to stand on your rubbery legs after you gave everything you had in that 2k
  • The blisters on your hands
  • And the countless times your lungs were ready to explode.

But it all was worth it. Sure, you had a good year. The team had a good year, actually it was one of the best seasons in the history of Woodbridge Crew. But what are you doing now?

Let’s face it, Summer’s halfway over. While you’re Fortnight skills improve, your Rocket League team is ranked nationally in the top two hundred, and just since June you’ve had two oh-so-close-but-unsuccessful attempts to win wing eating contests…your rival has been wearing the grips off his ERG.

So far he’s lowered his 2k from April 30th by 11.7 seconds.  He’s coming for you.

Don’t drop the oar this summer. Find your way to an ERG, get to one of the weight room days, eat well and do what you can to stay in shape or even improve during the rest of the summer.

Your rival is.

Woodbridge Crew’s Ryan Coulter to U.S. Rowing’s U17 Racing Camp

Ryan Coulter US Rowing U17 Camp

We’re proud to announce that Woodbridge Crew Junior Ryan Coulter was selected to attend the United States Rowing U17 Racing Camp this summer. The invitation carries an opportunity to train among the nations best high school rowers while being coached by the trainers and staff of the U.S. National Team.

Congrats Ryan!

Share this graphic or story on your own social feeds and let the world know about Ryan’s achievement and all that’s happening with Woodbridge Vikings Crew.


Woodbridge Crew’s Learn To Row Days Begin In August

We all hope you’ve had a great summer so far, but let’s face it – you miss crew.

There’s something about rowing, about the team, your team mates, about being on the water that makes you miss it. Now is the time to begin talking to your friends and other new students you meet about crew, and that starts in learning how to row.

Someone introduced each one of us to rowing at some point. It could have been your parents, friends, or maybe you saw a group of people carrying a long skinny boat over their heads down to the water and you said to yourself “that looks like fun.” No matter how it happened you had to learn somewhere. So Woodbridge Crew has FOUR Learn To Row Days scheduled to introduce the sport to a new group of future rowers.

Mary Rowen’s article “So Your Kid Wants To Join a Crew Team” in the Huffington Post described rowing this way:

“There are few better ways to learn the value of teamwork than being on a crew team. Every oar-stroke from every rower affects the boat’s success. So if a boat does well in a race, everyone shares in the glory. And no matter how strong or skilled one rower may be, he or she’s only as good as the rest of the boat.”

– Mary Rowen, Huffington Post, Mar 25, 2017

First, Row-en is a great name for someone in crew, and second…we couldn’t agree more with Mary’s statement! So now is the time to get the word out about our Learn To Row Days! Share the flyer and graphic on Facebook, IG, or go old school and print it off to hand to your friends. No matter how you tell them, just make sure they (and their parents) know the date, times and other information to get them involved in crew!Learn To Row Day

Time for Nationals!

WSHS Team Group photos national 2018 20180524_074856

It is time for Nationals!

You could feel the excitement in the air from all the rowers and coaches this morning as everyone prepared to head to Nationals! Best of luck to all the rowers this weekend.  (Good luck as well to the Colgan team members who joined us on the bus trip this weekend).

WSHS and Colgan teams nationals 201820180524_074925.jpg

Helpful information if you need it: 

Parking – Hotel – Driving Directions Information:

Nationals Information Directions Location website

SRAA Web Site:


Please look for the WSHS individual race boat photo lineups in your emails soon.

Heat sheet race times (as listed on first release – times subject to minor changes)

sraa heatsheet for pub


Good luck!