So the idea is to work some kind of speed, sprint, anaerobic training into my paddling fitness routines and routes to improve cardiovascular stamina, overall fitness, and to increase average cruising and racing speed. This morning was my first attempt at anaerobic paddle training and I am more than satisfied with the results. I'll use today's parameters as a baseline for the future.
There are two basic components of this self-made paddling program. Cruising and sprinting. The cruising component relies upon the old "LSD" (Long Slow Distance) aerobic endurance training method developed in the late 60's/early 70's. I lived by this when I was able to jog and run. Training at this level means paddling longer distances at a pace that allows for normal conversation. This is the "bread and butter" of SUP distance paddling because it's fun, especially when more than one person is paddling. And a person could maintain a very good level of fitness just using the cruising component of the training/fitness program.
But I also used to do wind sprints for anaerobic fitness when I was jogging so I thought I'd add sprint training into the mix now that I'm paddling for fitness. And while I knew it would happen even though I didn't want it to, I find myself at the very least, wanting to keep up with the pack during the races without being completely spent and exhausted at the finish line. Sprint training also adds variety and a change of pace into the paddles which helps keep the whole exercise program fresh and exciting.
Baseline data. Today's sprint paddle establishes it. Thanks to the EveryTrail app, my smartphone and the waterproof Dry Case I can monitor route distance and overall speed. I just guessed that three miles at a speed of 4 mph would give me a roughly 45 minute workout which would be a good starting point. I know how it feels to paddle hard for 2 miles (Jay Race), 7 miles (Covewater Classic) and 5 miles (Pier To Pier) so I tried to match that this morning. The results were 2.9 miles in 36 minutes for an average speed of 4.8 mph which exceeded my expectations. That's why I was so pleased after today's workout.
For now my goal is to do one sprint workout/week along with two cruising workouts/week at a minimum if possible. I know life will interfere but I think this is a good starting place. Since I'm able to paddle at 4.8 mph over a 3-mile course now, I should be able to improve to 5 mph overall speed over a 3-mile course at some point in the future. So that will be a goal.
It will be interesting though, to see how environmental variables (and the changing seasons) will affect the sprint workouts. Conditions today were almost perfect. It was like paddling on flat water almost. There was a light headwind for the first mile, followed by 1.5 miles of no wind at all. Then dead calm and glassy from the last moored vessel where I turned towards Sponge Bob to about halfway home on the straightaway to New Brighton. The only "difficult" water I encountered was about a half mile of high frequency, very small, short period backwash coming off the cliffs as I neared the finish. I really felt bogged down in it and tired. I think it was more psychological though (although some physical entered in I'm sure) but after watching the bow of the Bark Competitor peel away layers of clear sheet glass salt water so cleanly for nearly the entire paddle, I just felt like I was slogging.
If I'm going to be a better (faster and more efficient) paddler then fitness is a key component of reaching that goal, along with technique. Personal coaching is next on the agenda as the only coaching I've had is from reading and a little bit from Kyle (which really helped). But I'm workin' on it.
This paddling thing is incredible. Anyone who lives near some kind of body of water can SUP for exercise, fitness, peace of mind and fun. I'm so glad I paid attention to what Da Bark Boyz were doing. Mahalo Boyz!