So here it is late June already, which means it’s only 18 weeks till Chattajack!
Those that have done the race before know that doing 31 miles well requires some considerable training. We’re not just talking about throwing things together and getting down to work a month or so before the race, but actually engaging in an extended period of training over a period of 6 months or more that provides you with enough time to build the fitness that allows you to put in a high-quality effort for 5 to 8-hour race rather than just finishing it.
The interesting thing is that the bigger your paddling base, the easier it is to paddle those 31 miles. Not only does it provide you with a higher level of aerobic fitness specific to paddling, but it also provides you with more time to take care of other details that make a difference in a race like Chattajack – things like drafting, the ability to paddle into headwinds, comfort in messy water, etc. Again, if you’ve done Chattajack before you’ll appreciate how important these things are and what a difference they make.
I’ll be perfectly honest. If you’re a reasonably experienced paddler with average skills you’ll very likely be able to “fake it” with regards to training, pull things together in the last 5 weeks or so, and still finish the 31 miles. It won’t be as much fun and you may not make the cut-off, but I have no doubt you can finish. I just wonder why people enter a race like Chattajack with just surviving and limping across the finish line as an acceptable goal. Especially when they register for it on May 1st. It’s so much more fun to have a level of preparation that allows you to feel good for most of the race; confident and in control despite long distance and the conditions that may be thrown at you. And if adequate preparation allows you to feel better during the race and find it more fun, imagine the difference it makes at the finish. Being properly prepared makes the minutes and hours after the race a lot more enjoyable as well.
Most of the paddlers I personally know have been training for this year’s Chattajack for a long time already. For some it is a year-round obsession. For others it’s just part of their healthy, active, paddling-based, lifestyle. Once they’re in the middle of the Gorge this year they will find that the time they’ve spent on the water is time well spent.
For those of you that haven’t really started to crank up your training yet with the 31 miles of Chattajack as a focus, it’s not too late to get started. Summer has just begun, meaning that there is warm weather and long hours of daylight to put to good use. You can accomplish a lot in the next 18 weeks, especially if you’re on a well-organized, periodized training program. You can be ready to not just survive Chattajack but thrive in it.
Those who aren’t quite sure where to start with their training should strongly consider taking on a coach, or at least someone who can help them set up a training program. There are lots of coaches out there willing to put training programs together. I strongly recommend taking advantage of the help that one of them can provide. You’ll find that having a coach you have confidence in takes a lot of the guess work out of your training and brings you a lot of peace of mind.
To that end, I’d like to remind you that Paddle Monster can provide you with this kind of help as well, with coaches who’ve not only completed multiple Chattajacks but won and hold the course records. Both Seychelle and I are currently coaching SUP paddlers training for Chattajack and Travis Grant, a Molokai to Oahu winner in both SUP and OC1, is coaching paddlers as well. All three of us are seeing our paddlers experience great success, and all three of us are very familiar with the ins and outs of racing extended 5-hour plus races like this one. We’d love to help you too, but no matter who you choose to help you prepare, we really want to see you take this race seriously and do some thorough, quality homework for it. You’ll perform better, have more fun, and find the whole experience much more enjoyable.
Click here to access your free 14-day training kickstarter and use password: Chattajack2018