When I started back at rowing last year after a good six (seven?) years out of the sport I took to it quite quickly and I was far more used to the dreaded rowing machines than the others. My fitness wasn’t fully there but it was slowly creeping up. Me erg (rowing machine) scores improved quite quickly as I got into the swing of things. Soon, I was ranking second on our erg scoreboard which is no mean feat for the shortest lady in the crew.

But then my scores started to slow down. I was still beating my previous scores but each week the margin became less and less. Some weeks I’d do worse! (Heaven forbid!) I grew frustrated in my progress. My boyfriend had to sit me down and explain that once you get to a certain point in your fitness, progress will slow down but it will always be there. Even if it isn’t so obvious. And some weeks it will be very hard and seem much harder for me than the other women who are brand new to the sport. I kept this in mind and focused on my scores and my scores alone. Watching my progress, so feint that only I could truly see it. There, of course, were setbacks but I kept on top of my training as much as I could and by the end I think my progress was visible to all.

I’ve aired out the old lungs and I’m ready to kick ass!

Fast forward a year and we’ve started all over again! Back to the training grindstone after a blissful (and lazy) six weeks off. And that of course means that we’re back on the ergs, back on the water and back to tracking our progress. I figured (for some reason) that I would repeat how last years training went. Start slow and watch my scores go down… First week, benchmark. The scores were alright but not great. Seocond week, gonna knock last week out of the park. I’ve aired out the old lungs and I’m ready to kick ass! Eh, not so much. I knocked 0.1 second off my score… 0.1! What the arse wiping nonsense is that!? I thought surely after my rest I’d be able to make more of a dent in my score than that.

After some tough words in my head and beating myself up over what little progress I had made and wondering whether I should have trained more during the off season, the boyfriend had to sit me down (again!) to tell me that it was still progress and that my weeks spent resting were important. He made me realise that my rest will stand to me when the work gets tougher. That every 0.1 counts. That progress is still progress.

And he’s right. I know it seems so obvious but when you are buried so deep in a goal and you see how far you have to go to achieve it, well it can be daunting and frustrating. It is easy to forget that progress (no matter how little) is getting you towards your goal and if you are at the stage where progress comes inch by inch or 0.1 by 0.1 then you have already come so far.

Oh and find someone who can spell it out for you when you need them…