For some of us, training started earlier in the year (or never stopped from last year); but for most racers out there, Spring Break seems to mark the time when paddlers begin to get back on the water and thinking about preparing for the upcoming race season.
I have been lucky enough to work with some different paddlers and trainers over the years and one constant I see is that the beginning of the season is time to build your base or foundation for the season. Just like building any structure, the stronger base or platform you create, the more likely your structure will hold up through time. This can hold true for paddlers through a racing season. If you prep in advance with the right kinds of workouts and training, you can create a platform that allows you to get stronger and stay stronger throughout the year.
Just getting on the water and paddling is always a good thing; but we can create some structure to our paddling that will really help promote strength, recovery and endurance. Many paddlers who are paddling for fitness will tend to get on the water and paddle until they feel like they got a good workout. This is not a bad thing, but by adding some structure we can train our bodies to get stronger and recover, rather than train to get tired after 45 minutes on the water.
As an example, here is a simple 'Base Building' paddle workout that you can try next time you are on the water. It is a great workout to start with if maybe you haven't spent much time on the water this past winter. This workout is about 45 minutes from start to finish which is a great time to start with for your first paddles of the season. Make sure you bring a watch and write this down on a piece of paper you can throw in your pocket.
1. 5 Min land warm up - Spend a few minutes stretching out and warming up any cold muscles or joints
2. 10 Min warm up paddle - Relaxed pace, get the body moving. Take this time to think about technique and how your workout is going to go.
3. 6 Min paddle @ medium pace - put in some effort but don't paddle at race pace or top speed. Focus on strength and technique.
4. 1 Min - Active Recovery - Reduce the pace to a very relaxed pace for 1 minute. it is important to keep moving when you recover to train your body to recover while in motion. Focus on breathing, heart rate and paddling technique. These are the most important minutes of the workout.
5. (Repeat Steps 3 and 4) - x3
6. 5-10 Min cool down paddle - relax and wind down. Use this time to actively stretch and lengthen your paddling muscles.
This simple workout will help tell your body that it can recover during periods of reduced intensity. Eventually, as your body becomes more efficient, you can start using this recovery time mid-race or mid-paddle.
I am excited to now be offering online coaching/training for paddlers. I can create a custom program that suits your schedule and provides that needed structure to efficiently get faster and stronger. Please get in touch with me if you are interested in setting some goals for the season and getting faster on the water.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and keep an eye out for training posts throughout the race season!