A New Approach: Paddling for Adventure Racing

2001 Expedition BVI

2001 Expedition BVI

I won’t go on too much (because I have many other times and in many other places) about paddling being the least practiced or trained discipline in adventure racing. F0r most people (not me), it just isn’t as convenient as stepping out the door with your running shoes on or your bike under your butt.

But, when you do go out for a paddling “workout,” I want you to approach as a paddling training session and not just as a leisurely paddle down the lazy river. GET SERIOUS! If you are serious about improving your running, you don’t just do some some steady jog for hours on end. If you want to improve your mountain bike, you don’t just go down the old canal path while watching the ducks. You do a variety of different workouts–long, steady or intervals or tempo or hills. You should approach your paddling workouts the same way.

YES, there is a place for long, steady (NOT SLOW) distance at a low to low/moderate intensity. But, there is also a place for interval work to improve your intensity and overall speed. It also is a great way to fit an intense workout into a short time frame. Many mornings, I have but one hour to paddle before work–most of those mornings, I’m doing some type of interval workout.

Two of my favorite 60 minute (give or take a minute or two) workouts:

10 minute warm-up (some steady paddling with 10/20/30 stroke pickups sprinkled in)

1 minute high intensity/1 minute rest paddling (repeat until the hour is over)


10 minute warm-up

 1 minute high intensity/1 minute easy paddling

2 minutes high intensity/2 minutes easy paddling

3 minutes high intensity/3 minutes easy paddling

2 minutes high intensity/2 minutes easy paddling

1 minute high intensity/1 minute easy paddling

(repeat until the hour is over)

My walk to the water (about 200 meters) with the boat on my shoulder is also a nice warm-up. My walk home is a nice cool down.

During the easy paddling, pay particular attention to good technique–this is an easy time to slack off and get sloppy. The better you can maintain good technique while tired, the better you will reinforce the proper neuromuscular pathways. You can also use the “rest” interval to rehydrate if necessary.

Now, stop lily-dipping and get out and work while you’re in the boat.

~ by kipwkoelsch on June 17, 2009.

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