Training and Waves

I have a request for a post about my training; I’ve wanted to write one for a while so I’ll give it a go. I’m going to try and make this post as accessible as possible for those who don’t paddle. If I fail let me know and I’ll clean it up. This is full of long digressions but I don’t know any other way to write this and explain some of the jargon at the same time. I hope there is at least some flow.

Since we arrived last Wednesday and up until yesterday the focus has been recovery and getting back that good feeling of being connected with the boat. The travel combined with the opening really took it out of me. A traditional training load pre-competition is three on one off. Meaning three paddles in a row (ex. Monday am paddle, Monday pm paddle, Tuesday am paddle, and Tuesday pm off). Mike and I have been playing with that schedule because of fatigue. One thing I’ve learnt over the course of the past year is to know my body. I ended up taking all of Sunday off because I was tired from training and, as I said above, the travel and opening. I can’t forget to mention the intense heat. It’s been incredibly hot and humid. Far worse than the air quality is the heat. Luckily, the humidity has turned to rain and things are cooling down a little.

On Saturday am, the day after the opening, and four hours sleep, I had a broken 1000m to do. A broken 1000m is a training piece that is supposed to simulate a race as much as possible. They’re called broken because it’s a 1000m that is broken up somehow. In this case 500m at race pace, 200m off and 300m at race pace again. I wasn’t happy with it. The first 500m was a couple of seconds off and I didn’t feel great. Of course, I was stuck behind three Hungarian K-1 paddlers for about 450m of that 500m, and there were rowers going by as well as other paddlers. Needless to say it was washy (wash is the wave the boats produce as they go through the water, our sport being “flat water” doesn’t like waves. They make it hard to paddle well due to balance issues. We are used to it, especially at international competitions where you have anywhere between 30 and 70 nations training at the same time. It’s still a pain though). As I was saying, I felt bad, and the time was slow. I really use this type of training as a gauge of how fast I’m going, thats why i was a bit more upset then i usually am after a not great workout. I was only going to go once on Saturday and once on Sunday, but I decided that I would do two on Saturday because I didn’t feel great that morning, and I wanted Sunday off to really recover.

On Saturday afternoon, the rowing races started and that means the warm up lake was busy. The rowers were out getting warmed up, and the paddlers who wanted to train were all stuck on one side of the lake to stay out of the rowers’ way. It happened that pretty much every paddler who is here now decided they wanted to paddle that afternoon as well. So, it wasn’t great and I was exhausted. Miraculously though I felt really good! I was tired but a little angry at myself for being off in the morning. I managed to feel good during the parts of the workout that were at close to race pace. For those of you who are curious the work was 8×3’/2’ alternating 3’ pieces, one with a dead 10’’ start, and one with the first and last 30’’ at race pace. I only completed seven of these three minute pieces because the intense heat combined with fatigue took their toll.

Yesterday (Sunday), I didn’t leave the hotel. I was extremely lazy. I ate, read and watched the other events on TV. I feel good now and this morning I’ll be starting up the three on one off schedule again. The really nice thing about training alone with big Mike as my coach is that we are really flexible with what we do. He writes out a program on the weekend, and throughout the week it’s adjusted and reshaped to account for things like fatigue. I do all my training alone right now, at home I was lucky enough to have a quick partner to push me and keep me from being lazy. Here though, lazy isn’t an issue. In my mind it’s all mental at this point and the most important thing is feeling good.

I hope there was something in this post for the non-paddler. Please feel free to ask any questions. I’m more than happy to answer anything. Really, it’s quite boring here waiting to race so don’t hesitate.

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