Start Line

By Jim on Monday, September 26, 2011

The weather has finely started to warm up and the sun is shining early in the morning. This can only mean one thing, it's race time.

I find that we work so hard over the winter, thinking about our paddling, working on our technique,trying new craft  and then all of a sudden racing starts.

It is amazing just how quick it all happens.

Now race day comes and the lost sleep over the week leading up to the race kicks in, we are restless and very anxious. We get to the race have small talk with people who think we are listening to them but we are not really, due to the fact we are thinking about the race. Go to the marshalling tent to get our race number, again not really hearing anything anyone is saying as we now know it's time to race. The nerves set in and now the doubt.

Just take a minute to think how much engery you have just lost, you haven't even thought about your drinking system and will it work yet.


So now is the biggest mistake I see new to intermediate paddlers make, they go for a half hearted warm up, thinking is that enough, or should I have done more. That guy over there he has been on the water 25 mins I have been only 10 mins, but if I go and warm up more will I miss the breifing, when is the breifing. It is exhuasting just thinking about it.

You need to look at your training to best gauge your warm up, look at training, do you take a long time to get going in your training, if yes then you need a long warm up, do you getting going straight away at training, if yes then your warm up can be shorter. There is no right and wrong warm up if you do it right.

Then the moment comes the race starter gives his last words and tells you to head to the start line.

I can't tell you how many times I'm at the start line and look across and see a person who has just taken up paddling and they get in between the top 6 paddlers.

Then you talk to them at the end of the race and they say, I went OK, but I got the worst start, I went out as fast as I could and had to paddle over so much wash, I was exhuasted after 4 mins.

My advice to you is always get on the water early so you don't rush to the start line, get next to people who are your ability, don't kid yourself if you are a beginner-intermediate that you are going to just sit on one of the top 6 paddlers wash at the start, your not.

They are to quick for you and to experienced, they ahve the ability to be in control of what they are doing, this is what they do and have done for many many years.

There is no shame to say , I'm this good, no matter what that is.

So next race get next to your equivelent or slightly better and work hard at the start then you will find it eaiser to get into your race rythm.

Go over your race GPS and if your GPS reads that the start of the looks like a sharp peak then goes down to a very low speed for a long time then you have been making the mistake of whats written above.

You should have a graph that looks like a square block or close to, as this will help give you a faster speed over the whole race, not just for 1-2 minutes.

Remember the person who wins is the person who goes the fastest for the longest, not who has the highest peak on their GPS for 10-20secs.

Hope you can get to the race now and work on the little areas that burn the most of your nervous engery and control it.