The No.1 Error Paddlers Make with their Training
Swopping my paddling hat for my sport scientist hat for this blog entry.
In my opinion, the number one error surfski paddlers make in training, is training too hard, or more accurately, too frequently. Let me say that again, the number one factor holding back surfski paddler performance is training too frequently.
Allow me to add some context to that statement. I am referring to the avg joe paddler here and not the elite pro athlete, nor the once a month casual paddler. Sports Science is a very detailed subject so I am going to make some generalisations and over simplifications, in an effort to make this topic manageable.
If you are like me then you try and train as often as the schedule allows, in the hope of moving up a batch, or beating your buddies at the next race. To achieve this, most of us sneak in an extra session whenever we can, with the logical approach of, if we train more often, we will get fitter and go faster. Falling victim to over simplification here, but that approach is just plain wrong!
In my neck of the woods, I see paddlers smashing out interval session after interval session, day after day, but not really improving that much on the race course. There could be a whole host of reasons for this, but the biggest culprit is fatigue. If you imagine your body as a city and a hard training session as an earthquake, then the harder the session, or stronger the earthquake, the more damage there will be to the city. Given enough time the city engineers will rebuild the city back to be stronger and better able to resist the next big earthquake. This is the training effect we are after. But if we train to soon after a hard session, the city reconstruction is not yet complete, and the resulting damage is worse than with the previous earthquake. The result is a weakening of the body and a decline or plateau in results and an increase in injury risk. Bottom line is if you have a hard training session, you need a significant period of rest afterwards to capitalize on the training effect or risk going backwards.
But how to know how much rest is needed? There are many different methods to determine this. The simplest, but most easily fooled, is too listen to your body and recognise the symptoms of fatigue. Being a bit of a sport addict, I often ignore the signs so I prefer to use a heart rate monitor and track my predicted EPOC. Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption is a physiological measure of the oxygen consumed in excess of resting requirements after exercise. When the body returns to base line, its time to train again. EPOC is complicated and a possible subject for the future. Here is a great link if you want to know more http://www.pulseperf.com/pulseperf/public/support/training_effect_white_paper.pdf
The modern approach to endurance / cardiovascular style sports is how little training can be done to preform maximally rather than how much training can be done to perform maximally.
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