preparing for first spring paddle

I’m looking for advice on preparing for the first paddle of the season (likely mid-April when the river ice melts in my part of the world, Winnipeg MB Canada). Unlike previous years when my first paddle would be a couple of hours of stretching the muscles, this year I’m planning to do 4 days of 10 - 12 hours per day. I need to do this more or less when the ice breaks to cover the route I want to take and take advantage of high water levels (the water drops quickly and some of the route will be unpassable possibly even by the end of spring).

I do daily upperbody and core strength trainging workouts, and keep fit in the winter with indoor cycling, snowshoeing and cross country skiing, but I’m wondering if anyone can give me any kayak specific tips to help prepare my body for a 4 day kayak trip as a first trip of the season. For instance, any tips on how to minimize blisters (I imagine my hands will be pretty soft if I haven’t done any paddling yet this season)? Should I have any concerns about cramping up? As I say, I do daily strength training, but not sustained for 10 hours at a time :slight_smile: Thanks.

Blisters suck…
I would go with a nice pair of paddling gloves. I have some from NRS that work great.

in April in Manitoba
you would want paddling gloves to keep your hands from going numb too

Paddling injuries
If you paddle mostly from the core i.e. rotate your torso and get abs and lats into it you’ll probably be OK. If on the other hand you’re an arm paddler or arm and shoulder, there is a concern about overuse of small muscles in cold temperatures. Tendinitis or even bursitis could create some pain if not immediately, then afterwards and both are difficult to get rid of in a short period of time. If you do a lot of arm paddling you might consider building up resistance by doing some stationary rowing during the winter months. It’s mostly on the pull stoke repetition that causes forearm and elbow as well as bicep tendinitis. The pushing part of the stroke involves relatively larger muscles such as the shoulder and pectorals and they tend to be more resistant to repetitive stress injury.