Get your boat tuned up and adjusted to fit you before beginning to train. Efficient position and good body alignment will help you feel more comfortable. Have a professional boat technician check your position, including the points between your body and the boat: seat, and pedals. Poor fit is more painful than poor training. To have your boat professionally fit, contact a boat shop in your area. Schedule a tune-up with your local shop a week or two before you leave on the Paddle. Make sure to have them check the condition and adjustment of rudder cables, bulkheads, hatches, and seat if applicable.
Whether you're planning to Paddle for the first time or you're a battle-hardened veteran, getting yourself ready, especially, your body ready for the Paddle is really the key to making it an enjoyable experience. Of course you'll want to put in plenty of miles of training including some long back-to-back days as you get close to the start date. But there's a lot more to preparation if you want to do it right. Don't focus solely on mileage at the expense of a well-rounded training program that includes strength, flexibility, endurance, nutrition, hydration and rest. Ignore one of these important elements and your Paddle might not be the fulfilling experience you have in mind.
Water is important before, during and after every workout. When boating, be sure to drink 16 to 24 oz. of water before you Paddle. During your Paddle, drink liquids every 15 to 20 minutes, even if you're not thirsty remember, if you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated! After your Paddle, make sure to keep drinking water or recovery drinks.
Your food plan during training should be comprised of mostly carbohydrates (55-65%), with the remainder in equal amounts of protein and fat. You're training hard; this is not the time for a high-protein diet. You need immediate and stored fuel, which is primarily supplied by a diet high in carbohydrates.
In order to be strong in the seat, you need to have strength not only in your back, arms, and heart, but in the rest of your body as well. A strong core is essential to good paddling posture. You should include two days a week of a full-body strength training program targeting your major muscle groups, with an emphasis on abdominal and back muscles.
Stretching is essential to injury prevention and improving muscle recovery. Focus on all your major muscle groups. Stretch after every workout, whether it's on or off the boat.
Paddle, Paddle, Paddle! While this paddle can seem like a daunting task, training correctly will ensure that after each day's Paddle you'll be ready for the evening's festivities and not just your pillow. Plan on increasing your mileage 10-15% a week over the course of your training. By mid-summer you should be paddling 40 miles per week. If you start training early, you'll have no problem hitting this mileage. Begin with shorter Paddles back-to-back, and increase to longer days in the boat. If possible, Paddle with other paddlers to get prepared for the days ahead.!Adequate rest will allow your body to recover and repair itself more efficiently. Too often, we train too much while not allowing our body and mind to recover, which can lead to interrupted sleep patterns, injury, decreased performance and burnout. Paddle Kitsap is NOT the place to experience these symptoms. Take at least one day a week off from training. If you MUST do something, do something different! Begin tapering your training two weeks prior to Paddle Kitsap. Continue your eating and flexibility programs, and decrease your time in the boat. Go out for an easy neighborhood Paddle and relax. You've done the work; now get ready to reap the rewards! To assist you in developing a training program, contact a fitness professional in your area.
When you live in the great Northwest paddling is an essential part of your outdoor activities. Paddling has many rewards and adventures. Whether your paddling for FUN, for family, for entertainment, or just for yourself always be safe and prepared for any emergency.