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The following information is based on a presentation given by the coaches to the rowers.  It covers important information including sleep, nutrition, hypothermia, blisters and Weill’s Disease a rare but serious infection transmitted from river water.


Do not be surprised if your appetite increases: this is just due to the extra energy your body needs to fuel the training sessions you are doing. Eat well but stay away from fat laden foods and foods high in sugar.  To give you the energy you require, eat foods high in complex carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, bread, cereals etc).  Ensure you have a daily intake of protein (fish, white or red meat, dairy products). Always include fruit and vegetables in your diet.

Remember you are what you eat; there is little point in training to get stronger and fitter if you do not then give the body the nutrients it needs to grow and develop. If you are getting tired at school, it will probably be more to do with your diet than the amount of training you are doing.

Ensure you drink to replenish the body of the fluids that it loses through exercise. Water and squash are good. Pure fruit juices are normally concentrated and actually dehydrate so water them down half juice and half water.

Tea, Coffee and Coke all dehydrate the body, so avoid before or just after training.


Exercising and training takes energy from the body, and although this can be replaced with a good diet, it is still necessary to get the correct amount of sleep. Your body recovers and repairs itself during sleep, so to get stronger you need rest. Try to get an average of 9 hours sleep each night. Getting to bed at the same time each evening will encourage a good sleep pattern that allows maximum recovery.


Here are some fundamentals about hypothermia


STAY DRY. When clothes get wet, they lose about ninety percent of their insulating value. Wool loses less as does many of the new synthetics. Wet Cotton is worthless.

BEWARE OF THE WIND. A slight breeze carries heat away from bare skin much faster than still air. Wind drives cold air under and through clothing. Wind refrigerates wet clothes by evaporating moisture from the surface.

WIND MULTIPLIES THE PROBLEMS OF STAYING DRY. If you have been in the water and you are wearing a T-shirt that is wet, remove it and you will retain more heat. Direct sunlight on the skin helps in the warming process.

UNDERSTANDING COLD. Most hypothermia cases develop in air temperatures between -1 and 10 degrees. Most outdoor enthusiasts simply can't believe such temperatures can be dangerous. They fatally underestimate the danger of being wet at such temperatures. Fifty degree water is unbearably cold. The cold that kills is cold water running down your neck and legs, and cold water removing body heat from the surface of your clothes.

Detecting Hypothermia

If your group is exposed to WIND, COLD, OR WET, think hypothermia. Watch yourself and others for the symptoms:


The victim may deny he/she is in trouble. Believe the symptoms, not the person. Even mild symptoms demand immediate treatment.

If the patient is semi-conscious or worse:

Some Points to Remember

Weill's Disease

The risk of contracting Leptospirosis from recreational water is small, however the serious nature of the disease is such that we must be aware of the dangers and should take simple precautions to reduce the risk of infection, viz:

Please also read this link from British Rowing:


Blisters are a common complaint for young rowers, especially on training camp.  Some contrasting suggestions from various people’s experience. Read, try, experiment for yourself.

Avoiding Blisters:

Treating Blisters:

How to Treat Rowing Blisters

A blister occurs when the outer layer of skin (epidermis) separates from the next layer (dermis). A small pocket of fluid develops to cushion the skin from further damage until it heals. Usually, blisters take 3-7 days to heal naturally- the liquid is reabsorbed into the body, new skin grows and the skin on top dries and sheds off. Rowers often find draining blisters is the best way to manage them without having to take time off training.  

Watch Out for Signs of Infection

Pus (milky white/yellowish or greenish liquid), warm and red skin around the infected area and the formation of thin red streaks which lead away from the blister. If you think your blister is infected go to a doctor before the symptoms get worse.  

Avoid Infection

Wash your hands-especially after training in the gym or on the river, use alcohol hand gel (if the blister is not open), change bandages frequently and don’t put your hands in river water. You should try to let small, painless blisters heal by themselves if they are not affected by rowing because the skin covering is the best protection against infection.

Other Tips