row2k Features
Princeton's David Bewicke-Copley
January 18, 2017
Erik Dresser,

Princeton Freshman David Bewicke-Copley

Looking for a nice, light workout to do during winter break? Why not try the workout that Princeton freshman David Bewicke-Copley did last month: 100k erg, followed by running a marathon. Oh, and his split for the 100k was unofficially a world record!

row2k - What was the impetus for doing a 100k erg and marathon run back to back?

David Bewicke-Copley - Greg, the head coach at Princeton, asked us to attempt one “all-out” workout over our winter break. The idea being that this workout would go well above what you would normally undertake on a day-to-day basis as part of your training just to add a bit of competition into the holiday. I thought it would be interesting to do something like this to find what the maximum my body could endure would be, so that I can refer back to it as a reference point in future. Annoyingly, I think I would have been capable of running further and so I don’t think I quite found that limit, but it’s a step in the right direction. I will probably run further next time.

row2k - Did you do any specific preparations for this workout?

David Bewicke-Copley - Not really to be honest. I did a couple of my erg pieces on the rate and split that I intended to travel at during the 100k just to get used to the cadence and the pressure for the two days beforehand, and did a slightly lighter session the day before just to allow myself to tune up. In the time window I had to prepare there wasn’t much that I could adjust in my current training that would actually make a difference on the day as I was restricted by formal training dates elsewhere, so I just kept the miles ticking over.

One thing I did do was re-incorporate running into my training which I hadn’t done since I’d been at Princeton. I have a route around the area I live that roughly equates to a marathon in distance so I ran that a few times just to get the muscle memory of running back again.

row2k - What was your plan for the erg portion of the workout and how well did you execute that plan?

David Bewicke-Copley - I don’t know if I really had much of a plan. I didn’t see the piece as a race, it was just a really long steady state for which the aim was finishing so I didn’t set out a race plan or anything, I just got on and tried to be as consistent and efficient as possible. The attempt that the Instagram account made public was actually my second attempt at the workout because the first time I attempted it I got around 50k in, and then blacked out because I was way too over optimistic with the kind of split I could shoot for. So, I guess you could say I messed it up pretty badly the first time round!

Once I had an idea of the split I was going to be capable of sitting on, I just got on and tried to hold it as consistently as possible. A slight curveball was that my C2 unexpectedly crashed at the halfway point during the successful attempt and so that slightly threw me off my rhythm, but it took a matter of seconds to get it running again so it wasn’t a huge problem.

row2k - How much running do you do as part of your cross training for rowing?

David Bewicke-Copley - Cross country running used to be my thing before rowing, and so I have always enjoyed running as much as possible when I’m home. I ran a lot at Eton (my high school in England) on weekends and as part of our training program, as I was in the process of losing a lot of weight for much of last year and running is a great tool for that, but since I’ve been at Princeton I haven’t done as much. We have so little extra time in our day as student-athletes so Greg and the other coaches have to work hard to make sure our training is as productive and efficient as possible in the time that we do have.

Often this means that stuff like running has to be seen as a luxury that we can fill our own time with, so that we can concentrate on really high quality rowing-specific training when we meet as a team. Greg has a track record of building some pretty unreal engines on people he’s coached at Princeton in the past so I have faith that as long as I do what Greg and Reid (our strength coach) say I will be on the right track.

row2k - What was the transition like between erg and run?

David Bewicke-Copley - It had to be pretty quick as it gets dark very early back home at this time of year and I wanted to catch what daylight I had left for the run so as to avoid getting hit by any vehicles on the road in the dark. When I finished the erg I just chucked on some leggings and my running shoes and went. I would have liked to have stretched and eaten something in-between but it was dark for almost all of the run and so I didn’t have time to take a big rest in the transition because I didn’t think it was too smart being out on the roads in the dark for any longer than necessary.

row2k - How did your body physically hold up during the workout? Anything unexpected?

David Bewicke-Copley - Not very well. But it wasn’t really meant to, that was sort of why I did it. I’ve done some similar things to this before when I’ve been home so I had a reasonable idea of what was coming. Nothing particularly unexpected happened other than the erg shutting off.

row2k - What were the 24 hours like following the workout?

David Bewicke-Copley - I had some issues standing up for too long or holding anything the day afterwards, but it was nothing major. I was mainly concerned that I could cause long term issues in my back or my knees if I didn’t recover properly so I made sure to eat a ton and stretch thoroughly that day and the next few days. I was back working on the farm again the next day so I didn’t really have much time to feel sorry for myself. I think I may also lose of a couple of toenails from the impact on the run.

row2k - Anything you would have done differently or advice for anyone looking to do the same workout?

David Bewicke-Copley - The only major thing is that I would have started the erg earlier in the morning so that I could have run in the daylight rather than at night. I don’t think I would have done anything differently during the erg or the run as my speed over the distance wasn’t really a big priority. For anyone who wants to do the workout I would just say to make sure you recover properly so that you don’t sustain any long term damage from the stress it puts on your body.

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