Natalia Cohen is one-quarter of the fabulous Coxless Crew, the first all-four female team to attempt to row The Pacific. In an exclusive interview with Marina, the 39-year-old travel professional reveals her fears about the trip…
Q What are you least looking forward to?
A “I think the night time rowing and darkness will be the difficult shifts to power through and the lack of visual stimulation will take its toll. We’ll certainly be experts at distinguishing every single shade of blue after the expedition. I’m also not particularly looking forward to the sea-sickness, salt sores or sleep deprivation!”
QWhat do you think will be the hardest part of the route?
A “The hardest part of the route will be not only getting back in the boat in Hawaii but the leg from there to Samoa. This is mentally going to be the most challenging part of the journey as the end is not yet in sight. It is the middle section of the row and physically will possibly be the most demanding as we will row through the doldrums where the winds can disappear and temperatures will rise or we will be hit by very changeable weather systems.”
QWhat’s training been like?
A “The training is like nothing I’ve ever done before. Physically we have all had to get used to new eating habits alongside weight training that will result in the weight gains that are required for the reserve energy stores before starting the journey. Roughly a 15% increase in body weight is needed, in a combination of lean muscle mass and fat. This is between 7-10kg each, depending on our starting weight.
Our training centres around the core, glutes and trunk area. With our mental training, we need to work on a variety of coping strategies that we can draw upon when we are out at sea.
These performance enhancing strategies include breath-work, imagery, mantras or mental scripts to repeat to ourselves, music, focal points and any other activation cues we can train our brains on.
These will help focus us in a stressful situation, find the motivation for a necessary burst of energy or aid us in relaxation when we need to wind down. In addition to this we also have to do a lot of work on our team dynamic and how we each react as we’ll only have each other and a very small space for company for six arduous months.”