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Adelaide Rowing Club - The First Hundred Years

A Narrative History 1882-1982 - Compiled by R W Richardson

25. Get Fit for Autumn - How to do it.

Mr Alf Gayson Explains (Season 1923-24)

Who is there in the club that does not accept, without question, the opinions on rowing matters of our honoured and respected old member and coach, Mr. Alf. Grayson? That Mr. Grayson still takes a keen and active interest in the club is evidenced by the fact that he still visits us at the shed.

Members have in the past found his advice and kindly criticism of great value, and when the writer, in the course of a recent chat to Mr. Grayson, suggested that he should give his views as to the best methods of training, he readily fell in with the idea.

His counsel, especially at a time when crews are preparing for autumn regatta, should prove particularly interesting.

"Rowing, as you know," began Mr. Grayson, "is one of the most strenuous games of any, and therefore its followers must be in the best of condition. To bring this about, the essentials required are self-denial and determination; no bridge parties, no late nights, no Rundle Street fetes. Every member should make up his mind to be the best-conditioned man in the crew.

Cut smoking right out three weeks before the race."

How Are You To Do This?

"Get up at 6 a.m. and eat a dry biscuit, and drink half a pint of rainwater, or a cup of tea. At about 6.30 go out for a walk of about four miles, from which you should return home at about 7.30. Carry out a few floor exercises, and also make use of the skipping rope.

Into a cold bath, followed by a good rub down with a rough towel.

Then, what ho, for breakfast!

This meal should consist of a nice grilled chop or two, or a piece of underdone steak. If the landlady will add a poached egg, all the better.

Then off to the office, feeling fit and ready for the day's work. You will feel quite ready for lunch, but be careful what you have. Many of you work in offices, and bring your lunches with you. These should comprise nice cold meat sandwiches, with a slice of lettuce, or pickles. Red beet and pickled gherkin is also good.

Do not eat too heartily at lunch, but save yourself for a good dinner, for after you have had a good row, you will be better able to appreciate it. However, if you are feeling a bit slack and empty at, say, 4 o'clock, a cup of tea and a nice Menz biscuit will do you good.

Get away down to the river as soon as work is finished, and try to be first at the shed - no dilly-dallying on the way. Into the boat as soon as possible, for the longer you are in the boat the longer is your row. If the wind is not too good, have a run afterwards. Do a few sprints of about 100 yards, and a few floor exercises, then under the shower, followed by a hard rub down.

Now comes dinner.

You should feel that
"Nothing so punctual as dinner time, And nothing so unpunctual as dinner."

Have a good feed of roast beef, mutton, steak or chops, with spinach or cabbage. Boiled onions are good for the wind. This should be followed by a light farinaceous pudding such as rice, macaroni or sago. None of your plum pudding or similar heavy food. If possible, cut out potatoes. They run to fat which you don't want.

After dinner, have a good drink - of whatever you are accustomed to. If a good "pint" is desired, have it.

There should be little drinking after a row. If you feel you must have a little nourishment, ONE glass of beer may not hurt you, but I favour cutting it out altogether.

Dinner over, have a short rest and then go for a short walk. Keep out of the streets if possible, and go into the parks for an hour or so.

Into bed at 10 o'clock if you can manage it. A cup of gruel before retiring is a good idea, as it gives a fine clean palate in the morning. It should not be taken too hot, but just at a drinkable temperature.

After a few days of this you should be getting fit. Very often, however, a man thinks he is fit when really he is only just getting to the stage when it is most necessary for him to go on.

When a feeling of tiredness comes on, and you are feeling languid, that is the time to buck up, for you are just getting to the stage of fitness. Soon you will feel that you can jump over the moon, and now comes the time to be careful. You must not get stale.

Ease off the morning walk, but not altogether, and shorten the evening walk.

A good tonic for a feeling of staleness is necessary. I have always found the following recipe to stand me in good stead. It is one I can recommend to anybody.

Put three new-laid eggs in a butcher glass and cover them with the juice of lemons until the shells are dissolved. Remove the membrane of the egg (the thin skin between the shell and the egg itself) and mix them up. Add to this one pound of honey and a bottle of the best port wine. This should be taken at the rate of a wineglassful night and morning - no more and no less - and only if you are feeling stale. You will find it a splendid pick-me-up.

When the race is over, training is not altogether finished. Work should not be left off suddenly. The body and muscles, having been brought up to concert pitch, should not be allowed to slack, but should be eased off gradually. Otherwise your training will have done you more harm than good."

J. M. Jay Hon. Secretary, A.R.C. Season 1923-24.

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