What I am doing.

By Jim on Sunday, June 17, 2012

 Training can be hard, challenging but often very rewarding. Whilst training should always be done with racing in mind as it gives you a sense of why am I doing it. I like the thought of racing because you get to challenge yourself, improve on been better then you were the day before. This is something that helps in life as well. If you just go on each day with no purpose to better yourself you will find yourself in a hole very quickly. So when you train you should be thinking how is this program,session or effort helping me race?
Often people, groups or even teams of paddlers turn up to their paddling venue, look at the weather and conditions and go we will do this session today. That is OK for a few sessions a year, but if you a building towards a goal for the season you need to have a base for which you then can taper for your peak event.

So when you combine all that goes with training at a moderate level you can see that you spend a lot of time doing it, sacrificing family life, work commitments and often social gatherings.

So what if you could change a few things and make yourself go better.
I recently decided I would race again, as in train, have a goal and be the best paddler I could be within the constraints of being a Husband,Dad ( of 3 young kids ), owning a business. So like you I have had to manage time as best I can. So with that being the case I had to make sure no sessions are ever wasted, no sessions are lost, no effort is wasted and more importantly make sure I don't get comfortable not challenging myself. Meaning making excuses why I can't train hard, ( I'm tired from work, kids kept me up, had to work around the house ) all these things mean nothing when you get on the start line. When you get on the start line they say go, at the end you get given a place and that is where you came. More often then not you get what you deserve. There are no excuses and it is boring to listen to people who offer up excuses.
So set your goal to what is realistic to your training time, training effort and dedication to paddling.
This is what I have done.
I can do 4 paddles a week, each day I work hard making sure I am better then I was the session before. I use people with in the squad to chase, explore their strengths and weakness, this way it helps me race better. I also know that I would have to train over a long period of time, many sessions, many days and many months. This will be in cold conditions and warm conditions. Being correctly dressed is something I swear by, if you are cold in a session you will not preform well at all, you will have a bad attitude from the very start. Same if it's to hot you will be thinking the whole session I'll stop in the next effort to take my top off, then you don't rest properly, miss the start of the effort and play catch up for the rest of the session. Another session lost. So what is the correct paddling gear? For me it is all the products from the Shark Skin range, they have lots of products that help control your need for being warm and also cooling yourself down. They have spent a lot of time working on getting things right. I really love the way it fits and the tops have zippers to help when you are combining hard and easy efforts, with and into the wind.
So with all the comfort of paddling wear in check I took a gamble of on my training boat to help with a mental edge on race day. I love my Think Uno Max as much as anything in my whole paddling package, the gamble I have taken is to train on the 15kg glass ski, the gamble is that if I could over come the mental edge when I first started back in training of saying, that those in front of me are only beating me because they are on a lighter ski, then keep up, then hopefully pass them, then I would have a massive mental edge when I race on my lighter Think Uno Max. So far I have stuck solid on my training ski and are finding I love it more then anything. I have over come all mental issues and believe it is as fast as any ski around.
The next area I found I had to work on was my ability to train hard for a long period of time. My back ground was 1000m & 500m racing, although lots of paddling I never was one to be able to race long races. I have had to teach my body how to train. This would not have been possible had I not fallen in love with my Suunto Ambit GPS, the data that it gives me is like anything that an Instutitie of sport had ever offered me as an athlete or coach. I make sure I look at the pace at which I am paddling during the session constantly making sure that at the start of the session I am not paddling to fast that I want make it to the end of the of the session, equally at the end I am making sure I am not dying at the end of the session. I download it with ease at least 2-3 times a week. The info from my GPS, heart-rate,VO2 ( close but not 100% ) speed and distance is just awesome. By looking into this I find I get such a great understanding of my abilities at paddling and where I can improve. Since using the Suunto Ambit I have found that my paddling has improved so much. I love to have a knowledge of my own body and how it handles training. The old saying is that not everybody is the same, so with that in mind you have to find a tool to help you understand you, then you will be able to work harder on your strengths but also knowing where your weakness are.
So with all the training and day to day stresses you need to be able to recover, I have found since working on my recovery I am able to do all sessions as written on the program. I use carb protein shake straight after my session, always within 5 mins.I use a product from Australian Sports Nutrition called Anabolic Injection ( Double Choc ). The difference in being able to train to the best of my ability every session. As I said earlier I only get to paddle for 4 sessions a week, so there is no time to waste any sessions.
Sometimes you will find that you just need a downtime paddle, one that is backed off and no pressure. When I get like that I take my Slipstream Surf X surf ski for a paddle. I catch waves and enjoy the relaxed nature of being in the water. After an hour or more you still get a great work out due to the nature of having to do some quick hard stokes to catch the waves you want to surf. This is also a great exercise to help you catch runners.Learning to get a quick couple of powerful strokes to catch a wave is the same as catching a runner. So an hour of fun turns into a quick drills session for runners. Not every session has to have you exhausted at the end to get benefit.

So it shows that there is a lot to do with paddling 4 times a week. Be like me and think about what you want to achieve, then ask yourself are you cutting corners, recovering properly and most importantly enjoying it.

You don't have to cross the line first to be a winner, often lot's of loses cross the line first, but what you have to do is give yourself the best opportunity to be the best you can be.
I know I do.

If you would like to join the Jimsquad training program please contact me jim@mykayakcoach.com and I have you part of the team.