As some of you might know, I got pretty deep into rowing a little while ago. After rather obsessively running and making it all the way to ultra-distance racing, getting injured, and not being able to run for a couple of years, I found rowing the perfect replacement. In many ways it fits me better anyway — my body never was well-built for distance running, being very tall (6.5ft / 1.96m). Yet in rowing that length comes handy.
In rowing, especially competitive rowing, you will come across the term “Power Ten”, a term often used by the coxswain to motivate the crew. A Power Ten are ten hard strokes of rowing. Ten strokes, often being counted out by the coxswain, where you push beyond doubt and pain and give it your all. Often called in the last third of a race, it forces you to dig deep — but also reminds you that pain is temporary. It is only ten strokes. Often competitive rowers are rowing somewhere in the mid- to high-thirty strokes per minute, making ten strokes an effort you have to sustain for just 20 seconds. As my physiotherapist often remarked (typically when the treatment was particularly painful): You can do anything for 20 seconds.
Ever since I got introduced to the concept of Power Tens, I use them everywhere. Need to push through a particularly hard or difficult part of your work — call a Power Ten, focus, head down, and push through. Find yourself in a particularly gnarly stretch of mountaineering (my other/new love) — call a Power Ten on yourself. Need to hype yourself up — while calming your nerves for an important investor presentation. Power Tens will get you through this.
Next time you find yourself struggling — be your own coxswain and call a Power Ten.
Would love to hear from you: When are you calling your Power Ten?