By Jim on Sunday, March 24, 2013
At Jimsquad we had been working hard on our base training, training so that we could be in good shape to race races of 14-25kms. To do this you need to have a big base of paddling, lots of kilometres. We had been doing that for a few months, working on our boat run and working hard on our technique. I find if you do this for to long you can become very good at paddling slow. So it was time to work hard on lifting our average speed, this means shorter efforts in training with lots more rest, the downside is that you don't end up doing as many kilometres. So yes we started to paddle faster and I know I found the speed very encouraging.
It is very important to know how to paddle fast, all races get you out of your comfort zone. So if you don't know how to go fast , then you go in a race and get caught up in the excitiment of the race,finding yourself going out much faster then your training speed.This will make you feel up with lactic acid and crash and burn in the race. So the more I practice this the better I could handle the start of a longer distance race, you can then handle the lactic build up, you then over over time find it easier to build into a strong rhythm. If there is one thing that I have learnt from this season of racing ocean races, is the quicker you get into a strong rhythm the better you race.
So base work and technique training done, I was doing half to the three quarter the distance at training.
I turned up to race 18kms, I was very nervous about the distance and how I could handle the race. The race was a very hot race, racing across the ocean into the chop,surfing the swell sideways and a 3km flat water paddle to finish, combing all those factors and you have one of the hardest races you can do.
I went out hard and built up through the race, for the first 3-4km I was in first to second just swapping with each swell. At the 5km mark I was passed and into third spot, it was the first time I had not panicked as I knew the speed work I had done would suit me pulling onto the runners. By doing strong speed work it helps you get the strength to pull onto those long drawn out runners. As time goes on in the hour plus race ,with the heat 30 plus degrees your mind can start to wonder, have I done enough work, will I make it, should I slow down and should I conserve energy. It's from here you need to be mentally strong, the best thing you can do here is draw on your confidence from your training. You should believe in your training 100% of the time. That's when it becomes scary in the race, when you don't believe in your training. With 15kms down and 3kms to go, it was more distance in one session then I had done in 6-7 weeks, but I believed in the training I had done and I wasn't frightened at all, I paddled the last 3kms very strong.
So as hard as a race can be, if you don't believe in your training then you will never do well, the reason is you will have fear at the start line. Fear is what makes us make mistakes.
Look at this example- two of the best kayakers of all time Knut Holman Norway, Clint Robinson Australia both Olympic champions in the K1 1000m. Clint trained in what could be described as the best paddling temperature in the world, Sunshine Coast Qld Australia, it's warm all year your. While Knut is from Norway, lucky to be able to get near the water for 4 months of the year, the rest of the year it's frozen.
So what's the same about two different environments?
They both believed in what training they were doing so they could win.
Do you believe in your training?
Heres a look at my race data.