October DW training

Week 17th – 23rd October 2016

This week was the first after an easy week so in theory should be back up to normal training volume, actually I will try and up it a bit over the next week or two. I didn’t get a run in which I want to next week (running hasn’t traditionally been my strong point and there’s lots of it on DW so I need to work on it). Bodyweight was down to low 88s, so moving in the right direction.

Monday, Gym
Row 10 mins. I have been doing this each week and beating the time each week but should stop doing this before gym, it made sense when I was restarting training to up my volume of work. I was just regaining lost strength before which is easy but now it’s going to start interfering with the gym unless I take it easier.
Bench Press, 4*6: 95*6,6,6,6 hard but okay, will up next week
1 Arm Row, 4*8: 40*8,8,8,8 (40 is heaviest dumbbell, might need to change exercises before the end of this cycle)
Skull crushers, 4*8-10: 40*8,5,5,5 was too heavy
Curls, 3*15: 10kg
Face pulls, 3*12-15
Plank, 60″/30″*3 quite hard, keep same for now

Tuesday, Paddle
10,8,6,4,6,8,10 with minute rests

Wednesday, Gym
Squat, 4*8: 50*5,65*5, 75*8,8,8,8
1 leg rear foot elevated split squats ,3*6-10: 40*6,6,6.Should really have lower back exercise as well but 2 leg exercises is hard enough for me at the moment. I felt like back raises helped my lower back endurance for paddling when I have done for extended periods before.
Incline sit-ups3*10-15: 5kg 10,10,8

Thursday, Paddle
8/1*7 felt decent. Tried to keep pace reasonably fast

Friday, Gym
Cycle 10 mins, legs were still quite sore from Wednesday (clichéd paddler can’t cope with a few squats!)
OH press, 4*6: 40*6, 50*6,
Seated row machine, 4*8-10: 52*10,10,10,10
DB incline press, 4*10:26*10,30*9,9,
Skull crushers,3*10-12: 20*12,13,
Face pulls, 3*10-15 I love face pulls, they make my shoulders feel so much better

Saturday, Paddle
Was nice to paddle a bit faster rather than the mostly 8-10 minute efforts I was doing the rest of the week, the run of the boat feels nice at this pace

Sunday, rest

There isn’t much detail about the paddles which is kind of annoying, it would be nice to have effort splits or something – I’m playing around with various phone apps which might be nice but we will see (if anyone has recommendations please let me know…). I did GPS my paddles, and total paddling distance was 33 km this week.

Week 24th – 30th October 2016

Monday, Gym
Bench Press, 4*6: 95*6 97.5*6,6,6
1 Arm Row, 4*8: 40*10,10,10,
I really like 1 arm row. I feel like it caries over better to paddling than most exercises so would like to keep it for another week or two even though there aren’t enough dumbbells to be able to to keep increasing the weight.
Skull crushers, 4*8-10: 25*8,8,8,8
Curls, light, 3*15: 10kg
Face pulls, 3*12-15: were no pulley machines free, so I did some band pull aparts at home later
Plank, 60″30″*3

Tuesday, Run
Ran along by the river, 5.6km, 23:55 PB I think

10,8,6,4,6,8,10 with one minute rests
Felt decent, drifting off a bit some efforts but technique decent when I thought about it

Wed, Gym
Cycle 5 mins
Squats, 4*8: 75*8
1LRFESS ,3*6-8: 40*6,6,6
Incline sit ups, 3*10-15: 5kg , 10,10,10
Was harder than last week! Probably because I ran yesterday but also I had a sore throat Tuesday evening, I wasn’t feeling great during this session, I did it anyway but I felt fairly ill later in the day, probably wasn’t sensible.

day off because ill/cold


Saturday, Paddle
4/1 * 8
Only gentle, still feel a bit of a cold but will be gone by Monday.

Too much gym?

As you may have spotted, I’m probably doing about as much gym as I am paddling. Given that my main focus is on DW, very definitely an endurance paddling race, is it wise to do so much gym? Perhaps not, I’m sure lots of people would tell me it’s stupid, but here’s my reasoning/justification.

I enjoy it and the monotony of paddling every session would drive me crazy eventually. I might be able to train hard for a few weeks or a few months but I know I couldn’t do it for an entire winter, and I definitely can’t while training on my own. In the run up to the race I’ll spend a higher proportion of time on the water but for now the real aim is just to get as fit as possible and be able to take a higher amount of weekly training load. I think being really fit is probably more important than having a huge paddling base (though having both will be best), gym isn’t as aerobic a paddling but you’re still building up your tolerance to training.

It’s convenient, the gym is close to home so it doesn’t take as much time to get there, train, and get back. Running is obviously even better for this, put kit on, walk out the door, run. If it takes less time out of my day per session then I can get more sessions in per week, upping my training load like I said I wanted to.

Similar to convenience is that it’s a bit less draining mentally to go to a warm dry place with other people in than going to a cold river bank on my own and getting changed in a boat shed because the club house is locked. You could say toughen up and deal with it (and you’d have a point to a degree) but I think there’s value in constructing the training to make it less brutal some days, therefore making it achievable. My motivation will be higher, so I’ll work harder and get more done overall. Even if I turned up and did all the sessions on the water I won’t be getting as much out of them as I should if my head is not in the right place and I’m not focussed – just because it looks better on paper it doesn’t mean it will translate to real world results.

I like that it’s easily measured, which paddling isn’t really, and that keeps my motivation high. Sure I can track sessions on GPS, but the wind changes, the flow changes, the water and air temperatures change, the tide changes… you can’t realistically track paddling progress without time trials in similar conditions (unless you’re making big improvements). On the other hand, the weights never lie. I can look at my old training diaries and compare what I did two weeks ago or a year ago to what I’m doing now. Watching training lead to improvements is motivating. Also, I quite like having analysable numbers, it just appeals to me.

All of that said, I could still be doing gym, but high rep sessions instead of the 5-15 range I’ve been doing. People may disagree but I just don’t think that they are that valuable, whenever I have done high rep gym work my improvements plateau quickly and then I’m just spinning my wheels and not improving. Conversely, working in a more standard S&C program and rep range focussing on a mix of strength and some hypertrophy gives me long term improvements which will transfer over to strength endurance reasonably easily (after all you can’t have strength endurance if you have no strength). I think I will add some strength endurance in for one or two 2-3 week blocks close to DW but that will be all, and I think it will be enough to get a decent transfer from the strength work. Also, I think if you want to do strength endurance style training for paddling then you’re probably better off doing bungee sessions with lots of resistance than gym sessions anyway. Saying that, there are people who are quicker than I have ever been, who do little to no heavy strength work…

To wrap up: I like doing it, it’s an easier way to get a higher volume of training in and I don’t think it damages paddling during the off season.

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