Paddling–A Short Interval Workout

To paddle faster, you have to paddle faster–seems simple, right? Well, for many endurance athletes, the long, steady, moderately paced training is what they enjoy–grinding for miles or hours at a time. While that is great for building an aerobic base, toughening your hands, strengthening your mind, and working out boat comfort issues, it only teaches your body to go at a steady, moderate pace.

So, how do you increase your overall speed? INTERVALS. Intervals allow you to increase your intensity and cadence for a discreet period of time, recover and then go again. The emphasis is always on the quality of the interval–be sure to give yourself enough rest (based on your current fitness level and comfort in the boat) to recover adequately enough to allow you to reach nearly the same level of intensity with each work interval. 

 Typically, when I train for a paddling event, I add intervals in at the very beginning of my plan. One of the main reasons I do that is that I paddle at a much lower cadence than many people and need to work consistently to get it higher–something that will make me faster. So, my emphasis is often on a quicker turnover of the paddle–with the higher intensity as a much welcome fitness benefit.

The intervals I start with are usually short–30-seconds to two minutes. I start with short intervals because I’m just starting to increase speed and intensity and I want to be able to maintain my technique while paddling harder. As I move forward in my training plan, and I perceive that I can maintain my form for higher intensity intervals, the length of my work intervals will increase–with five to 12-minute intervals being the “norm.”

For last night’s paddle, Aaron and I did an interval pyramid. Following a strong, steady 15-minute warm-up, we did:

30sec/2min rest

1min/2min rest

2min/2min rest

1min/2min rest

30sec/2min rest

We repeated the pyramid of intervals for an hour–making our total workout an hour and 15 minutes. The rest period was very appropriate for this point in our training and allowed us to really crank up the intensity for the work intervals.

Sometime this weekend, I’ll get in a more detailed piece about comfort in the kayak–hopefully with some photos of boats outfitted for different occasions/events.

~ by kipwkoelsch on June 11, 2010.

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