Thursday, July 20th (TODAY!) marks 100 days until Chattajack. It seems like a long time on one hand yet on the other it seems rather short, especially since it will also mark 81 days since registration. You might find yourself asking, “What have I done with the last 81 days?” When you consider that we’re closing on the point where there is only half the preparation time left from when you registered it can make the event seem awfully close.
I’m here to tell you that although half the preparation time is behind us there is still a ton of work to do, and, if you’re like many who might be afraid they haven’t done enough with their training to this point there is lots of time to do it in.
First of all, 100 days is just over 14 weeks, which in training terms is an eternity – especially for those that are operating off a good base from work they’ve already done.
The fact is that if you’re starting from scratch with absolutely no training under your belt, just over 14 weeks is probably not enough time to prepare well for a 31 mile paddling race. However how many people who stayed up past midnight on May 1 to register for Chattajack have been doing nothing for the last three months? If you’ve been doing any training you aren’t starting from anywhere near scratch. You’re going to be okay.
The work you’ve done to this point should make a great springboard off of which you can launch your final training assault on the race. You’re ready to ramp it up and get serious, and 14 weeks of “getting serious” is going to take you a long way towards becoming the most formidable paddling machine you can be. However you’ve got to recognize that if you want to do well, it’s time to get serious!
It’s time to set up a training program that really ramps up your base and gets you the mileage on the water that will give you the confidence that you can easily handle the 31 miles of Chattajack, then intensifies so that you’re able to paddle that distance harder and faster than you ever have before. Acting now and ramping up both your commitment and your daily effort, and then sustaining it through to race day, is sure to lead to success.
To that end, we’re launching the final Paddle Monster training block in our push towards Chattajack on August 7th, immediately after the NY SEA Paddle.
This 12-week training block breaks down into 6 weeks of base work, 4 weeks of intensification and 2 weeks of peaking that will help everyone up his or her game.
Those that have already been doing their homework on a daily basis will have a good idea of what a training block like that looks like. They should already have a great base. Going through another entire training block allows them to push their fitness and paddling ability to an even higher level, building on everything they’ve already done. They already know that “training works” and have seen reward for their efforts. The final push in the last training block should just take them another level higher.
Those that have been paddling but perhaps not quite as seriously as they would have liked are going to benefit by ramping things up down the stretch the most. There is a ton of time to do real quality work. Training for a sports event is not unlike being a student. If you prepare day in and day out for your exam, you’re sure to do well on it. On the other hand, if you try to pull off a good exam result by just cramming at the end you’ll likely be disappointed with the result. Think back to your school days. Do you remember how long 14 weeks was in a school year? It’s basically the length of a term at college or university. If you take the fitness and paddling skill you already have and then commit to a full “term” or “semester” of proper training imagine how far ahead you’ll be at the end of it compared to where you are now.
So where do you start if you’ve decided to really get serious between now and race day? Take a look back at some of the previous posts in the “Training for Chattajack series”. You’ll find lots of information about training and planning a program. Take some responsibility for your performance and develop a plan that requires you to step things up. Start counting down the days till race day so you’re aware of how important the time you have left really is. The closer you get to race day, the less time you have left to take things up a level. You want to get started getting consecutive weeks of real quality training under your belt sooner rather than later. The information is all there. All you have to do is act. I cannot overstate the difference it will make at the 25-mile mark on the Tennessee River on October 28th.
Of course designing a program can be intimidating. And if it’s the first time you’ve attempted it there’s naturally going to be a lot of second-guessing about decisions you’ve made on the type of training to do. In this case my advice to you is to reach out to others. Ask another paddler to take a few minutes to sit down over coffee (your treat) and listen to your training plans. Ask for their feedback. Make them ask questions and get you to explain why you’ve chosen to do the type of work you’ve included in the plans you’ve made. To use another academic analogy, get them to “peer review” your training plans. You’ll find that at the very least that process will give you a lot more confidence in the plans you’ve made.
Of course not everyone is going to have the time or the desire to plot out 12 to 14 weeks of training. For many the challenge of doing the work is enough. They don’t need the added challenge of figuring out exactly what and how much work to do, when to do it, and when to add more and when to ease off. Those people may want to consider following a program written by someone else. You may want to consider finding a coach.
At Paddle Monster our specific preparation for Chattajack begins August 7th with a 12 week training block, periodized to maximize results on October 28th whether you’ve been training with us all year or whether you’re just starting to get serious. You’ll get guidance from a coach as needed with unlimited access through the discussion boards. And you’ll be part of a large group working towards a common goal. It’s something to consider.
Here’s wishing you good training over the next 100 days.