How to Prepare for a 2k Test

The first step to 2k success is having a solid plan.


I am doing four 2ks next week and haven’t done one since fall, so I’ve been thinking a lot about how to approach the piece and how to do it effectively.


I am trying to set at least a 4 second PR, which sounds like a lofty goal, but it’s only one split faster than what I’ve done in the past. After a year of training, I know that psychologically, I can do that. Having a solid goal and a number to shoot for is helpful, but it can also be damaging to set a ceiling for how fast to go. For the first piece I’ll try to meet expectations and then in the next three (lol) I’ll try to exceed them.


This is my fav way to look at a 2k: Four smaller pieces. More than four you can’t remember it all. Less than four is fine, but then you’re giving yourself less to focus on, which could be good or bad depending on personal preference.


I always like to divide a piece into first half and second half as well. The first half is quick and relaxed, the second half is where you start to drive, hunt and bear down.

Meters Technical Focus Mental Focus
First 500 Relaxed Shoulders

Find solid rhythm

Breathe and settle in

-cox through the start sequence like on the water

-half, half, three quarter, full, lengthen, lengthen, lengthen. Five high. Five sub. Ten lengthen. Find the base and get comfy. Already 250 down.

-Fight to be right at your goal pace here. Set it up well in the beginning to be in a good position at the end

-no more thoughts. Just relax.

Second 500 Keep rate up

Be patient

Maintain length

-It’s going to get a little tougher. PRs are set in the middle

-picture yourself walking through all the crews that only have a good start.

-this is the base. Trust the fitness and stick to the split goal.

-Know that you’re strong enough. Trust the team around you. Use their energy. You owe it to them to have a strong middle.

-Get excited for the second half of the race. Look forward to the 1000m mark

Third 500 Tight in the core

Pick up the catch

Finish every stroke

-Triple digit moment. Go when that 1000 becomes 999.

-This is where everyone else slows down and you get faster

-Reached the peak of the hill. Now run down the downhill

-Take a ten for your boat. Get away from the pack. Assert dominance.

-This is where the steady state pays off. Show off your work.

-Get to the 800m. two laps on the track left.

-Get to the 600m. You know the piece is going to end.

-don’t run out of time to set a PR and make a move.

-Start moving before everyone else is.

Last 500 Control the body

Be efficient

Rate Up

Legs down

GO time. Drop the hammer. Empty the tank.

-Get to the 400. One more lap on the track.

-Go for Wisco, every seat matters, every second counts.

-win win win win win win win

-Take 10 strokes. Take 10 more.

-last 250 count it down. Get every ounce you can. Half slide. Bump up the SR.

-It’s going to be worth it. Finish finish finish. Go go go.


Having a mental focus and a technical focus is helpful. If you’re starting to fade a little bit or your split goes up by one, you can think about what your body is supposed to be doing and it can help bump you back into your goal pace. A 2k is so freaking physical, but it’s also mental.


Don’t let splits get in your head. If you’re psyching yourself out, try to look at a different number on the screen. Maybe focus on your average split. Watch that number get smaller and smaller and try to chip away one .1 at a time. You could look at the stroke rate, you could focus on each meter ticking away. If I want to break a goal time, I’ll look at the projected finish time at the bottom of the erg screen. If it goes up by a second I know I have to pull it down again. It’s more static: like playing tug of war almost.


Try to sit by someone who is a little bit faster or a little bit slower than you. A faster person can pull you along and a slower person can push you. You want someone you can compete against, but you also want someone who you trust. If you can picture yourself rowing the 2k on the water in a pair with them it becomes a collective effort. You can’t let them out-pull you because you won’t be going in a straight line. You have to match, you have to go together. If you know that you can do this on land, you’ll have total confidence when you’re actually sitting in a boat together.


If you’re just a total rower and can’t stand the erg, pretend you’re on the water. Think about the landmarks on the course you row on. On my course I know that I’m done with the first 500 when I’m past the sailboat mooring field, the boathouse is over 1000 down, Dejope is the last 500. At Oakridge, TN it’s the blue pavilion, at Lake Mercer, NJ the Gazebo, at Lake Natoma, CA it’s the beach. It’s like playing different courses on Mario Kart. Put yourself on the water and picture yourself moving over the course.


In summation, you can never totally prepare yourself for a 2k. Some days it goes great and some days it’s a miracle that you finish. If you have some sort of a game plan you can prepare for what’s coming. You can spend time visualizing instead of worrying.


In the end it’s going to happen no matter what. Ya gotta sit down and do it. You’re going to pull a number and then it’s going to be over. Don’t underestimate it, but don’t make it bigger than it has to be. Try new things, exceed your comfort zone and have fun.


Go in peace and rip a fat ergo my friends ❤


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