Of course being able to execute a strategy like this over a 5-8 hour race is easier said than done. We all know that completing a race like Chattajack requires a commitment to training. However the type of training you do is important and in the end, no matter what type of training program you do there are a few things that I’ve learned from experience make a difference. Here are four tips:
Do your 2 km time controls. On a SUP they’ll take anywhere from 11 to 15 minutes. Becoming familiar with an “all out” pace for that distance will help your opening 10 to 15 minutes of the race enormously. Doing multiple time contols in one session with 10 min rest simulates race conditions. The rest after an all out 2 km piece is like the rest you’ll get when you’re able to drop onto a wash. And if you can do another hard 2 km time control after the 10-minute rest, you’ll be well prepared to do a hard lead in the draft train after 10 minutes of rest on a wash.
Do lactate tolerance training. Repeat intervals of anywhere from 1 to 4 minutes preformed at or close to all out with 2 to 4 minute rest are going to build up considerable amounts of blood lactate. Doing these sessions once a week will make you more familiar with working with lactate and help you recognize what it feels like as lactate accumulation climbs. Over time it will also help your body learn to delay the onset of lactate accumulation and buffer the lactate that is produced, making it a little easier to keep paddling with high lactate accumulation. This will help you better manage lactic acid in your race.
Practice drafting. I cannot overstate the importance of being good on wash. The better you are at drafting the more likely you are to find a wash or draft train in the race and the more you’ll be able to relax on the wash. Someone highly skilled at drafting should be able to work at 50% or less of a person the same speed who is leading. Over a long race it makes a colossal difference.
Practice finishing pieces hard. Whether it is a 10 minute piece at level 2 or the lactate tolerance pieces described above, approaching the last 15 seconds to 1 minute of pieces as if it’s the end of a race makes you more prepared to finish strong when it matters most. You don’t have to go all out in these “strong finishes” in training, but you definitely need to bring the mental focus and intensity that you’d have in a race. Getting in the habit of taking the end of pieces in training seriously means you’ll automatically be ready to explode into the finish of your race, no matter how tired you are.
Though Chattajack 2017 is fast approaching there’s still time to do things to make yourself better prepared. Training works, so get out there and get at it.
At Paddle Monster our specific preparation for Chattajack began August 7th with a 12 week training block, periodized to maximize results on October 28th. There’s never a bad time to join Paddle Monster. Paddle training is something you can do all year around. For more information, go to paddlemonster.com