Bungees are widely used in paddling, but the how’s and the why’s are not always considered in great detail. They’re a great addition to a training program, especially when you’re trying to increase speed and specific strength. We wanted to give some overview and some thoughts on how to best use the different options, and what the benefits or drawbacks of resistance training for kayaking can be.
I strongly believe that you can train pretty much anything with some patience, whether that’s a physical or mental attribute. You might not manage to be a world champion Scrabble player, or runner, but unless you’ve been trying hard to improve it for a long time already you’ll have the capacity to improve.
While I was training for competitive kayaking, I knew on some level that it was building my mental toughness. We even used to do sessions that were mainly for the mental side. I remember doing ‘minute challenge’ once - 1 min bench pull, 1min rest, 1 min bench press, all times 6 (or 10 if you’re totally nuts) and finishing a couple of reps behind (from 500+) and that was certainly a mental exercise.
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
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 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.
You’ve trained for months for a race, putting in hours of hard work and you want to deliver your best on the day; but what's the optimal way to do it? Everyone has their own opinions and approaches but here are our thoughts. Backed up with copious amounts of trial and error and a sprinkling of science! The type of race you’re doing will make a difference to your preparation but the general principles are the same, and hopefully you will get some help from coaches and other experienced paddlers. When thinking about the build up to a race, you can break it down into several phases, possibly starting a year or more before the race, but here we are going to look at the last week
I’ve been posting a training blog / log but haven’t really covered any of the why behind the choices of sessions etc, but whenever I see someone’s training program (and I’ve got loads of snippets from various programs saved away) I always want to work backwards to what is driving the choices and overall structure, although it's often nice to steal a session or two to add some new variations to your training. So here’s my best shot at breaking down the aims and thinking behind what I’m doing.
Training hard is great, and necessary to improve your paddling to a good level but its not the only thing you need to get dialed in. You need to be able to recover from the sessions you do, then you'll come back stronger and fitter and able to train even more. We've compiled a top tips list of the key things to consider.