On race training..

Today while doing our weekly race training for an up coming canoe race (can apply to kayaks also), it dawned on me after the first mile that I was using my older heavier paddle, and my ultralight was fastened to the side of the canoe as my spare.

I was about to change, but then thought that it might be better to train with the heavier paddle, so trained for the rest of the day with it.

Is this a mistake or am I right in thinking that it might help to train with the heavier one, and then on race day use the lighter one?

I would also like to hear from kayak racers, since the next race after this one will be a kayak one.

Thanks in advance,


Train with what you will use.
If wide disparity in weight, shape, and feel, train with the one you will race with. Your hands will know it better, won’t get blistered on race day, the entry and plant will be better, fewer injuries during training, and MUCH MORE FUN!!!

With what you will use. The McDuffies tell of changing from black Barts to Zavs on one of their early Clintons. About forty miles into the race William had forarm problems. If you want the extra work out put a bungie around the boat to slow theglide down a bit.


interesting question
I paddle kayak and do local race circuit. In tems of paddle I have found it better to train with what you will use as there are some subtles between paddles that it is better to become famaliar with.

It does raise an interesting question though: does training in slower boat or using slower paddle lead to improved strenght (ie resistance training) or does it teach you to paddle slower? I know a lot of racers train with ropes or bungees around boat occasionaly to do resistance training and believe the idea is more work leads to more muscle and strength. I think one has to be very careful though. I believe in the muscle/movement theory that you learn a movement in a subconcious way and that paddling slower will teach you how to paddle slower, but there is some point were increased muscle mass will make you faster.

I think paddling with heavier paddle will make you stronger and slower. It will be easier to go slower and you will not be tuned in to your race paddle.


train with what you will use
As the race approaches it is important for everything to be automatic. The only reason I could see training with a heavier paddle would be if you are trying to strengthen your deltoids.

As for resistance training in the boat. Doing all bungee work would be detrimental because of learning the slower movement. That is why bungee work is incorporated into an overall training plan that includes easy over-distance work, speed work, speed endurance work, and tempo work. Speed and tempo work is especially important as the race approaches to make sure that everything is firing in proper time.

Bungees work because they let you paddle with the same technique, you just have to pull harder. The problem with using a slower boat is that the slower boat is usually wider and requires different technique. My surfski offers much more resistance than my Vajda K1. But the seating position is different and the paddle entry point is far narrower on a new-rule ICF boat than on the ski. Therefore using the ski for resistance work is just about useless. Same with my barge Q600. It is so wide at the paddle entry point that it forces a shorter stroke because you have to reach way out to the side to clear the deck unlike the slimline K1 with the cut-away deck. The QCC offers good resistance but too much time in it wrecks technique for a spell when getting back into the k1.

Paddle weight.
I have to go along with the other paddlers. Unless you need a heavy kayak paddle for shallows, I would stay with what you plan to race with. A few years ago, I switched to a different kayak paddle, before a 2 1/2 hr race. It kind of messed up my shoulder for a bit. Good luck with your race!

I concur
I also concur with the others, use what you will be racing with.

I have switched to a slightly shorter paddle during longer races (only about 1/4-1/2") which gave amazing relief, but otherwise never messed with the paddle.

The marathon stroke needs to be so dialed in that any alteration can really cause a chain reaction. Using a bulky heavy paddle may alter your technique, not good. Practice in shallow water (a lot, both suck water, and water you can pop in) or with bungee chords if you want resistance, that will be plenty.

Good question.

Two words…
Muscle memory. Use the one you’ll race with. Just make sure you leave the bungees on for the race also. No sense making any last minute changes. I’ll loan you some before the start in case you forget.

Oh, and don’t forget…
Make sure you leave behind all your hydration. Don’t want all that extra ballast.

I re-read this
Previous post makes it look like I don’t find my ski or Q600 useful for fitness. I use both of those boats a lot, especially the ski. I just don’t use them for practice as race day nears. Ex. I have two races this weekend but I still used my Q600 to fish in the lagoon on Sunday since I’d be a freak of nature if I could fish from a sprint/marathon boat.

Hey are you partnering with Pat…
…now that Charlie has deserted you for a prettier face or do you have a mystery partner?


After the Clinton
Charlie & I will probably share a boat again. We’re definitely planning on doing the 90-miler together. I was thinking of paddling with Pat in the Latta Launch against you & Nancy, Steve & Delane, and Jeff Goble & wife in that new class that steve talked Rick into creating for Jensens.

They are not having that new class…
…thank goodness! At least that is what Rick Garcia told me.

Our age (over the hill) is one strike against us in the open classes, but all you other guys have 18 footers vs. our 17 foot Jensen.

That was our biggest drawback in the 90 miler last year.

On the Latta: My plastic Eclipse is available if you want to borrow it for the tupperware division. It is a lot faster than that Carolina.

I’ll be using the QCC.