New Toys

Well, Toy.

20141225_195937_resizedYep, that is an Action Camera mounted in it’s waterproof housing attached to the front of the boat.

The handlebar mount goes on almost perfectly on the front handle, and at this location, I can face it either forwards or backwards.  Forwards for the scenery, and back, well, lets see how bad my paddling really is!

Since the weather today was excellent, low to mid 20’s and barely a breath of wind (well 5-15km/h predicted) it was worth ducking out and giving it a go!

I did a full lap around Westlakes, then did a small triangle around the northern end and shot a couple of videos.

I have included all the details in the video, and no, it is edited so as not to bore you to tears watching nothing but me for an hour and a half!

Before I get into that, yes, it was a good day, and the 11km lap was pretty quick –  averaged 9.2km/h and given that this is the “off season”, pretty happy with that.  I guess more importantly, this was probably the first time out in this boat where I was not really concerned about swimming, which is a big boost to the overall average speed.

It started out with about a 5km/h breeze, which strengthened to about 15 mid-way thru the paddle.  Anyway, onto the video’s.

Note, no audio track on these videos.

Video 1 – Selections of the full lap.

Video 2 – The complete triangle around the end approx 11 minutes.

Well, now, not only a fun toy, an extra dimension that will allow me to see what I am doing (wrong) and hopefully improve the efficiency of my stroke.

So, how many things can you spot that I could improve in my stroke – and yeah, like I have not already seen most of them!

too late now

With only a few days to go to the HCC, I did a final training paddle last night.

After much effort over the last several month’s trying to get my seating all sorted out on the new boat, and finally getting the comfort all sorted out literally a month ago, I had to bite the bullet and concede that I simply did not have enough time or even any Night paddles under my belt to go for it.

So, Sunday morning, I did a few checks on the old boat and discovered that the Rudder cable I didn’t snap during the RPM was literally hanging together – only 3 strands of wire in the rudder cable were left intact!. So a few hours cutting the cables out, fitting the Dynema rope and adjusting saw it all back together.

Unfortunately, this meant I didn’t get out on Sunday, so that left Monday evening.  Conditions were not great (again) with 20-30km/h winds, but in Ol’faithful, I hardly noticed.

I put in a 2 hour paddle, 16.7km, at a tad over 8.3km/h.  Not as fast as the new boat, but never any concern about coming out either.  I certainly realized within a few minutes the limitations I have been working with for the last few years – and yes, I really did miss the extra deck-height for the leg drive – and also missed the full foot-plate to actually get the leg drive.  This is something that I will be addressing and retro-fitting a full foot-plate!

This was the first time I had paddled my old boat since the RPM and whilst it is very comfortable, after paddling the new one, it was immediately obvious as to all of the reasons why I wanted another boat to remove the shortcomings.  Yes, the lack of room for leg drive, the lack of a decent support (full foot plate) to achievie the leg drive, the very wide deck making the catch difficult (read needing quite a long paddle) and finally the hull design being a big limitation – the maximum hull-speed I could achieve was 10km/h for a very short burst but only with a 30km/h wind gust from behind!

With nowhere near the preparation that I wanted, I will have to be content with a fairly slow trip down the river, knowing that now I have the seating/comfort sorted out I can keep working on improving my technique and becoming comfortable and confident in more varied conditions.  There is always next year, and the upside, I now have a full year to really get stuck into getting to know a new boat!

Knowing that I am literally limited to a slow trip, I have been able to finalize my Race plan, and all being well, I expect to do it in around 14.5hours total, a 4pm start and finish just after 06:30am

down to the pointy end

Only 3 weeks to go means taking every opportunity that I can to get out there.

The last 2 days have provided an un-expected weather pattern with mid 20’s during the day, but dropping off quickly as soon as the sun goes down.

Tuesday Night I did a 17km paddle on West Lakes in what is probably the most perfect conditions I have ever seen – Yes, the wind was well under 5km/h the whole way.

I did my fastest ever time for the first 5km down to the southern end of the lake, doing the 5km in 34 minutes.  the whole 11km lap around the outside of the lake, getting back to the start in 1 h 14m and finishing the 17km in 1h 55m at 8.7km/h

On to Wednesday evening, I decided to do the same 17km again in conditions that were almost exactly the same, but the wind was probably about 5-7km/h –  yeah, tough I know 🙂

I was pleasantly surprised to note that I was a tad quicker than even the day before, the first 5km, I was about 40 seconds faster, and the 11km lap I turned around at 1h 14m – or about the same time as the day before then did the final 6km and finished just as the GPS ticked over to 1h 54m @ 8.8km/h

Yes, these are only relatively short distances compared to even the shortest day of the RPM, but all things considered, it looks like I am right on track to be at least as fast as last year, maybe a tad quicker.






Time flies when…

…you realize you have less than 12 weeks to go!

Yes, already, we are well under-way in the run-down to the 2014 RPM, with now just under 12 weeks of available training opportunities.

My entry is in, again for the 200, and My best-made plans for a 16-17 week lead up have already slipped.  Well yes, life and work, along with the extreme heat during February had an impact on the starting times, but It only slipped by a week or 2.

Now, after my first couple of weeks, I am already fairly happy with the progress I have been making.  I have been able to get out at least twice a week, and even on my longer Sunday morning sessions, I have been pretty well right on last Years’ Race-pace of around the 8km/h mark.  If I look back over last year, it took me a good few weeks to come anywhere near close.

A combination of paddling, both longer and shorter (harder) sessions and cardio sessions are well underway, and even though I took a considerable break over summer, it really feels like everything is coming together already, let’s hope I can keep the momentum up for the next 3 month’s.

Whilst I have only been doing about 20km so far, In the next 2-3 weeks will get this up a bit higher, and again working on how and when I can eat and fuel the body.

Nutrition and food

Lets make no mistake, I love my food, but when it comes to paddling, it is also a lot about what and when you eat to fuel the engine.  Already, I have found a few things that do not agree with me again, let me elaborate a little.

My Sunday Morning paddle is not just about getting plenty of time in the boat, it is also about trying to emulate (approx) the time between when I will be able to eat before the actual event as well.  Knowing that I will be eating around about 1 1/4 hrs before start each morning, I endeavor to do the same thing wile training.

Now, I have 2 aims with my food before paddling.  The primary aim is that it will sustain and provide for my immediate energy needs for the next few hours of paddling, and Secondly, that I actually eat something that does not give me heartburn!  Yes, heartburn (for me) is a massive downside when paddling for more than a couple of hours, so I need to choose a good meal that I don’t end up “enjoying” again and again!

What I have found works best for me will probably not be the best for everyone, so I strongly urge you as part of your training to determine what you can and cannot eat.  For me, the best pre-paddling breakfast is simply a fried egg on toast.  It is a decent mix of Protein and Carbs (with a little bit of fat).  I have tried mixing it up with a bit of ham or bacon and tomato, but nope – It is not so good a few hours later.

Just as importantly, I like to have something to eat within 30 minutes of finishing a longer session.  Of course, similar considerations need to be taken as well with what you eat at this time.  Yes, it typically means that whatever you eat it has been in the car for a few hours, so again, choose something appropriate.  I find that a cheese and Vegemite sandwich is a pretty good thing for me – something again that is not too heavy and is fairly easy to eat.


Training – What does it take

Well, what does it take to prepare for a 208km, 3 Day Marathon…..

Since we are into the New Year and in just a few short month’s time the first events will be here, I thought it was time to put together a training plan based on what I did last year in preparation for the RPM 200.  This training plan is reasonably adapted and could form the basis of your own training plan.

So, a quick re-cap of my 2013 training which prepared me to complete the whole 208km.

Last year, I started training about 13 weeks out and it consisted of 2x paddle sessions a week – 1 week-night session of approx 90 minutes and then a weekend session of between 3 and 5 hours.  Then, I was also doing at least 1 and up to 4 1 hour cardio sessions a week as well.  When it came to the crunch, I felt that I would have liked a couple more weeks in preparation.  I did complete the whole 208km and in a Class fastest time, so It was actually enough, but it really took it out of me!

So, the assumptions I am making for this plan is that you are confident in your chosen boat in wind up to about 30km/h and waves/wind chop of up to about 1/2M.  If you are not at this base level, then some additional coaching should be sought to gain confidence.

Over the last 5 years, what I have found is that there is no substitute for putting in the hours and the km paddling, but that is not enough!  In training, I like to do a minimum of 2.5X the total distance  of the event in my lead-up.

So without further ado, let’s break this down into what we should do each week, and then fit it into the Calendar!

Weekly Schedule

MondayRest Day
TuesdayRest Day
WednesdayCardio Session
ThursdayPM - Paddle SessionEvening/Twilight Paddle
FridayCardio Session
SaturdayAd-hock extra training.
SundayAM - Long Paddle SessionCommence Early Morning

My typical 1 hour cardio session consists of roughly the following:  12 minutes on the treadmill to warm up and increase the heart-rate – I aim for a fast walk (about 6.5km/h) and use the incline to increase my heart-rate (walking is easy on the knees).  I follow this up with about 25 minutes on the rowing machine, then onto the bike for a further 20 minutes, then back on the treadmill for about 5 minutes, before slowing it down over a further 2-3 minutes.  I use a heart-rate monitor and like to work out about 80-85% of my max rate for the whole time.

For my short paddle session, I like to try and work hard – I know 90 minutes is a fairly short session in the scheme of things so I do my best to keep it moving!  My longer session, I aim for “Race Pace” – a pace that I can sustain for the whole session

Lets put the time and commitment into a timeline so you will be ready to give it your all and make it all the way to the finish line each day.

The table is my baseline – I do some extra’s also that I try and fit in – I like to have a walk for at least 1.5 hours on the Sunday afternoon after the long paddle session, and when I can jump on a bike and cycle to and from work 1 or 2 days a week as well (for me this is around an hour each way)

Remember, we are preparing for a marathon, which is physically very demanding, so part of my routine is to ensure that I actually factor in rest times – and my schedule actually allows me to factor in Monday and Tuesday’s as dedicated rest days.  You should no matter what have 2 consecutive days a week to ensure your body has adequate time to recover.

Weeks until EventDateActivityNotes
Week 1610/FebBaselineStart Sunday Session at about 2.5 hours
Week 1517/Feb
Week 1424/FebEntries Open 1st March
Week 133/March
Week 1210/MarchRamp-up Sunday Session to 3.5 Hours.
Week 1117/March
Week 1024/March
Week 931/MarchLight/RestDo 50% of your weekly routine - 1 paddle and 1 Cardio Session
Week 87/April
Week 714/April
Week 621/April
Week 528/AprilLead - up Event
3rd, 4th - Back 2 Back
Week 45/MayEarly Bird Entries Close 11th May
Week 312/MayLight/RestDo 50% of your weekly routine - 1 paddle and 1 Cardio Session
Week 219/May
Week 126/MayEntries Close 29th May
Week 002/ JunThe Week of the Event
7th, 8th, 9th. RPM

What I have indicated is that for the first 5-6 weeks, we are in a bit of a build-up phase, so my cardio sessions will be a little shorter or a little less intense, and my Long paddle session I will start out at about 2.5 hours or around 20km.

Then, it is in full-swing and I slowly ramp-up my Sunday Session from 20 – 24 then 33km (3 laps of Westlakes)

I also factor in a couple of weeks where I specifically do less than 50% of my workout – as the breaks provide for an extended recovery.

Use the weekend of the Back 2 Back to take stock of how your preparation is going – and commit to the 200km.  If your  lead-up has not been what you hoped for, then there is always the 100!

Yes, life will get in the way, but the best thing to do is to not sweat it -and if you need to, taking  a week off should not affect your lead-up.

Feel free to use this and adapt it.

Additional Training

The only equipment that I use is a pair of 1.5kg dumbbells and a 3kg Bar.  As a paddle weighs in at just under a kg and up to about 1.3kg for a cheaper paddle, I like to use a pair of 1.5kg dumbbells when I am sitting on the lounge of a night.  I probably use them a couple of nights a week, and in the coming weeks I’ll put up a short video of how I use them and the 3kg Bar.

I do no other weight training, and do not use heavier weights and found that 3x the paddle weight works for me for a bit of light resistance.

Finally, find a training Buddy!  Last year, I managed to encourage a couple of other people to join me on my Thursday night paddles – and it really does help keep you focused and motivated.