Thoughts on training

sunny river tyne

When the weather is like this, how could you not want to paddle!

Having had to pull out of DW this year, the obvious question that people have asked is “are you doing DW next year?”. Maybe… A good part of the reason I planned to do DW was to push me into training again. That worked, but now it’s time to have a reassess. I raced some sprints the other week and really enjoyed it, even if I wasn’t anywhere near as fast as I used to be. You can’t really focus on training for sprints and endurance things like DW at the same time though. So there’s a decision to be made. It’s made me look again at what I want to do and think about why I train. Continue reading

Periodisation in kayaking training: A summary of four papers focusing on the Spanish Men’s National Kayaking Squad from 2006 to 2008

It’s fairly rare to get papers looking at paddlers and it’s also rare to get papers looking at very highly trained international athletes, so when you get both together it’s worth having a look. I came across four papers by Jesús García-Pallarés (plus various other collaborators) which all look at the training of the Spanish National Team from 2006 to 2008 (the ’06/’07 and ’07/’08 seasons). The focus varies between them but I thought they were worth looking at together. The first paper looks at the whole two year period and the others look at particular sections within those two years. All with the same group of paddlers.

I wasn’t expecting this to be such a long post when I started but to tie all four papers together it ended up being fairly long. Since one of the papers considers the whole two year period and the other three look at sections within those two years I’ve started off with that paper and then brought in the other papers to expand on the sections they each cover.

The paddlers in the studies had an average of 11 years training experience at an average age of 26 and paddled 4,415 km per year. All of the paddlers studied had been World Championships finalists. Two of them apparently won gold in 2008; since the only Spanish K2 to win was Saúl Craviotto and Carlos Pérez they must have been in the study! They won the 500 m K2, and Craviotto also won silver K1 200 m in 2012 and gold K2 200 m in 2016 (with Cristian Toro). His coach, Miguel García-Fernández, appears as an author on one of them. Not every day you get to study athletes like that.

Continue reading

Not doing DW

After I cut my finger I said I’d keep the training blog going until I decided if I would race or not. I’m not going to race.

Having been doing physio for a couple of weeks it is obvious that it is going to take a while to recover. I can’t do much upper body exercise, let alone paddle, for several weeks. I’ll probably be able to paddle by the time it gets to DW but I won’t be paddling well. I won’t be going any where near as fast as I could which would be frustrating. Not to mention the cost and time taken to feel like I’m not doing myself justice.

I don’t think it is worth continuing the training blog. I’m not really training properly at the moment. It is more like I’m trying to get some general exercise and do whatever exercise I can fit around it than actually training for something, so it is unlikely to be useful or especially interesting.

Hopefully next year I can have a good crack at it.

Good luck to everyone else.

Injured finger

So much for staying healthy and uninjured! Last week I slipped while using a kitchen knife and sliced open the side of my finger. The long and the short of it is that I went a third of the way though a tendon and my left index finger is going to be splinted for six weeks. (Update: When I went back to get stitches out and talked to the nurse and physio they said that when the surgeon said I cut a third of it he meant the tendon splits in to three bits around the knuckle and I cut the bit on one side completely through. Also, they said four weeks in a splint not six.) The general guidelines say no sport for 10 weeks. It doesn’t look great for DW given that it is in just over 12 weeks, but I’m not going to rule it out yet. I didn’t go all the way through and it’s an extensor tendon so it’s not actively used to hold a paddle. Plus I’m generally fit and healthy so recovery times should be on the lower end of the estimates, hopefully. Continue reading

The value of focus in training

I see plenty of discussions about training sessions and programs but there’s some important subtitles of training that I don’t think get the time they always deserve. One of these is how much focus and concentration is put into sessions. It’s easy to just go through the motions when you’re training but I think it is important to be concentrating and to be present during the session. I’ve done many sessions where I paddled it but was thinking about other things. I’ve watched many others do the same. They aren’t completely wasted sessions but you don’t get as much out of them as you could.

You may well have heard of the idea that you need 10,000 hours of practice to get expert at something. It’s been distorted from the original research / idea but the key point really boils down to the fact that you can’t get good at something without deliberate practice. There’s a few components to deliberate practice but focusing on the task and getting feedback are key. Spend as long as you like pretending to practice but you won’t be anywhere near what you could have been with deliberate practice. Focussing on what you’re actually doing yield vastly better and faster results, as does performing drills and exercises that target areas you need to improve.

Getting feedback is very important. Without knowing if what you did was better or worse than before you can’t hope to improve it. Sometimes you can tell what’s happening yourself, maybe you changed technique and your time trial time improved or you lifted more weight (though you still have to make sure you actually notice it!). Other times you need someone else like a coach or training partner, for example to video technique or shout changes at you mid session. Continue reading

January DW Training

Week 2nd – 8th January 2017

a.m. gym
A, bench press, narrow grip, 5*5 (fingers just onto the smooth part of the bar so not really narrow) 80,90,90,90,80
B, seated cable row, neutral handle: 4*10-12: 52*10, 59*10,11,11
C, DB overhead press, 3*8-10: 20*10,9,10
D1, curls, 3*10-12: 12kg 15,15,15
D2, cross body triceps extensions, 3*8-12: 12 kg *10,10,9
E1, face pulls, 3*10-15
E2, supine hold with 1 arm DB press 12kg, 3*8. Core exercises can be so boring, but this is reasonably isn’t too bad.

p.m. run 25 minutes
Alternating four minutes steady one hard to break it up and make me work (I was going to go for an easy one but Joe convinced me to put a bit of effort in and adding the hard minutes was good for stopping me being lazy!) Continue reading