If you’re anything like us, you are getting excited for the 2015 SUP racing season to get under way. However, excitement does not always equal good training and results.
Don’t let your first SUP race creep up on you only to find yourself scrambling to train two weeks before. It’s too late.
Start your path to success today so that you are prepared to do your best once the race season begins. Whether you are trying to win the race or simply finish, here are five tips to help you see results this SUP racing season. Stay tuned for more in depth articles on these tips coming soon.
Develop Good Habits
I want to start with this because it will influence everything you do in your SUP race training. Habits are automatic behaviors that make it possible for us to function everyday. Imagine having to relearn how to brush your teeth each morning. Instead, waking up and brushing our teeth is second nature, we don’t think about it. Your training should be the same way.
When these tips become habit, your daily training and nutrition will become more automatic activities. Set a schedule and do your best to stick to it. Don’t let your work, kid’s or other obligations become excuses for not training. Wake up early and get your workout done while everyone is still in bed.
Many of the most successful people in the world have morning routines that they attribute to their success. Make yourself a successful stand up paddler by creating routines and habits that help you achieve your goals.
Working hard is important but it can be put to waste if you are not fueling your body properly. The holiday’s are over and we are all probably feeling a few extra pounds. Start eating more whole foods and put away the holiday treats. If it does not walk on four legs or grow from the ground then you might want to think twice about eating it.
Proper nutrition is critical for energy during training and for recovery after. The preseason is the perfect time to practice your meal timing. Have you ever raced after eating too much or too little? Then you know the feeling of poor meal timing.
Practice eating a balanced meal before your training. You should feel light and have plenty of energy for your workouts. When race day comes you will be confident with your meal timing and be able to focus on your athletic performance.
Don’t forget about hydration! Pay attention to how much water and electrolytes you are drinking in the same way you monitor your food. If you feel thirsty then you are dehydrated. Proper hydration will help you in the same way that eating right will increase your performance.
Form a Training Plan
A good stand up paddle training plan will help you make a habit out of your training and properly prepare you to race. If your goal is to finish your first five-mile race, then you should not be paddling twelve miles every Saturday.
It is important to take a structured approach to your training so that you can have a clear path to your goals. If you simply go out and paddle aimlessly for five miles, you are wasting your time.
A good training plan will incorporate volume paddling, interval training and skill development. Everyone is different and may take a different approach to their training plans. The SUPAA 9-week training plan is a good place to start to get an idea for a structured approach to SUP training. Sign up for our newsletter to receive your free preview.
Work on the Fundamentals
New and experienced stand up paddlers should always be working on the fundamentals of stand up paddling. It is critical that stand up paddle racers develop proper SUP technique before launching into full-time training. If you are paddling with poor technique you are at an increased risk of injury and will never reach your full paddling potential.
Athletes at the top of their sports are constantly working on their fundamentals. Practice your SUP technique for at least five minutes every time you get on the water. It’s a great way to warm up and will help you maintain a solid foundation for success.
Race starts, buoy turns and surfing your SUP race board are all skills that can make the difference between finishing first or last. Make sure you working on these skills during your preseason training. Practice your buoy turns at the end of a workout when you are the most tired. This will help simulate a race situation and properly prepare you for success.
The most common cause of injury and fatigue in endurance sports is overtraining. It is a little counter intuitive, but training too much can cause poor performance. Athletes do not make gains during training sessions but in their time of recovery.
Be sure to pace yourself during your training program. Paddling five or six times per week is too much for even the most experienced stand up paddlers. There is no way that you can have high quality training sessions with proper recovery with that much volume.
Listen to your body. If you have a nagging injury it is not going to get better without proper rest. Your performance will suffer more from a lack of recovery than it ever will from skipping a week of training to heal your body.
Cross-training with swimming, biking and strength training are great ways to let your paddling muscles recover while still developing your strength and cardio systems.
Remember that less is more sometimes. It can be a long race season so pace yourself and be mindful of your entire training program.
Nothing good comes easy. Pick at least one of these tips and start your path to SUP racing success today!