Forming a solid paddle training program can be a complicated and detailed process. The first thing you need to do before starting a plan is establish your training and racing goals and assess your paddling performance. After this important step you need to choose the races that you will compete in throughout the season. An key factor to consider when choosing races is how you will peak for multiple paddle events throughout the season.
Do you want to race the Carolina Cup? How about Molokai to Oahu or perhaps the Catalina Channel Crossing?
Think of what you want your main, “A” event, to be and the time you are willing to dedicate to training for it. It’s relatively easy to map out your training for this one single event. However, what if you are competing in 5 events this SUP or outrigger paddling season? With a variety of SUP and outrigger paddling races offered almost every weekend during the summer months, it’s possible for an athlete to race almost every weekend.
I’d say this is a good thing to have so many race options! However, if this athlete wants to perform at their best, they are going to have to focus on anywhere between one and four “A” races per year.
New paddlers should not worry too much about multiple peaks and instead can focus on building a solid base of training, developing good technique and just having fun! Beginners can still target one main event but should not be too concerned with peaking at multiple events.
Peaking for Multiple SUP and Outrigger Paddling Events
When choosing the main events for your season, it is a good idea to rank the races as A, B or C events. Your “A” races are the most important races of the season. These are the events for which you will taper and aim to peak for. Experienced paddlers can manage to peak for around three to four “A” events in a year.
“B” races are events that are not quite as important, but should still have a taper the week of the race and a couple of recovery days after. These “B” races can be scheduled throughout the season and are a great way to prepare for your main “A” events. Many of your “B” races can fit into the specific preparation phase of your training.
Use these races to dial in your pacing, nutrition, equipment and race strategy. If there are any mistakes to be made, it is better to make them during your less important races then on the day of your major event.
Leaking hydration pack, eating the wrong energy gel? Get these mishaps out of the way before your big race.
When considering your “B” race selection, you need to take into account the cost-benefit of these races. Competing in a long distance “B” event can cost you with a longer recovery time after the race that could cause you to lose important training for an upcoming “A” event. However, a shorter “B” race could benefit you by helping loosen your nerves, or work out your race strategy for an upcoming “A” race.
Lastly, “C” races are events that we look at as a hard workout and are not concerned with the end result. These are great races to test your pacing or try a new nutrition strategy. Don’t taper too much for a “C” race. One active rest day on the day prior to a “C” event is sufficient tapering. One to two recovery days are still recommended after a “C” event.
For the most part, you want your “B” and “C” events to be equal to or shorter distances than your “A” race. Try not to do any “B” and “C” events that are 50-80% greater distance than your “A” race. If your “A” race is a 6-mile event, you should reconsider doing a “B” level, 14+ mile distance race within one month of your “A” race. Ideally you should allow for a couple months of recovery if you are doing any significant 14+ mile, distance “B” races before an “A” race.
After you have set your goals, understand training periodization and establish your race priorities, you can prepare to form your annual paddle training plan. Read how to form your SUP or outrigger paddling training plan here.
How do you choose your “A” paddle races? Let us know and join the conversation on the Paddle Society Forum!