Training ?

I am a beginner paddler. I am also over 60 years old. What is the best way for me to increase by ability to paddle for longer distances?.

Currently, I can paddle for three miles in about 45 minuets. At the end , I am about done in and it takes 20 min. before I can continue any further. Then after another mile I am really done in and require a much longer break before continueing.

In order to increase stamina, Is it better to go long [relative] distance at a slower pace, or short distance at a faster[again relative] pace.

I also realise that technique , actually, lack of, is an additional factor that has to be addressed at some point.

I am well aware that at this stage of my life I am not going to turn myself into a "paddeling machine". I would just like to get to the point of being able to do an eight - 12 mile paddle without requireing a cardiac team standing by.

Will be thankfull for any advice.

Mix it up
3 miles in 45 minutes is a spritely pace for most beginners, particularly when you factor in boat, experience, conditioning etc… For example, a tour group on the coast of Maine may cover 8 miles but it takes them 4 hours and they barely crack 2 nm/hour (if that and they have fun). A leisurely pace. Others here on the board routinely cruise at 4-5+ in their workouts.

Like anything, seat time and mixing up cruising with sprinting will build endurance. Also paddling with others may also give yourself a sense of pace.

On the other hand, if you are in it for the speed, get a stopwatch and crank.


– Last Updated: Jul-29-06 11:06 AM EST –

Take a lesson from someone, preferably an instructor. If you're not using rotation to power the stroke, you'll tire a lot faster.

Once you get a sense of how to power your stroke efficiently (it should come mostly from the ab muscles of your torso, not from your arm muscles), then training for endurance means going longer, slower (although you should also do some shorter, faster intervals to build power, rather than endurance).

Vary the speed (you're going at a good clip, and it's not surprising you're tired if you're mostly using your arms), and try slowing down your pace a bit. If you're strong enough to go 4 miles an hour for 45 minutes, you're strong enough to go for 8 to 10 miles, just at a slower pace (2.5 to 3 mph) with brief breaks.

Have fun!

shut up and keep paddling !

– Last Updated: Jul-29-06 5:19 PM EST –

yes, you answered the first question by yourself.
Just slowely increase the distance. As in running and cycling it is called LSD (long slow distance).
Each time you go out increase your distance by about a half a mile,(more or less) and pretty soon you will find that what used to wear you out will be much easier.

Once you have long(er) distances controlled, then it is time to throw some interval work into the mix, which will get your speed work up to par, but you are not ready for that at your stage of fitness.

Stay with it, and eventually you will see results.

I have a love-hate relationship with training !


Heat factor?
All of the above, plus where are you and how hot is it? On a 95 degree Atlanta afternoon a half-hour is about all I’m good for, then have to find some shade and chug water. I’ve been training hard 4-5 days per week, usually for an hour or more, and racing at least once per month, but the heat really slows me down.

What JackL Said
About all I can add is to take good ‘rest days’. Too many training days in a row can be counterproductive. And eat healthy. Plenty of complex carbs for sustained energy. A multivitamin per day won’t hurt.

It sounds like it is technique.
Take a class and learn a good forward stroke. Chances are, you are paddling with your arms.

Proper technique makes all the difference.

Heart rate monitor
Plenty of good advice from everyone above plus you could try training with a heart rate monitor. This will help you keep your level of activity at the most appropriate rate and remember over training is just as bad as under training.

In truth, this should probably have been titled “conditioning” rather than [training]since there is no specific event for which I am trying to get into shape for… The end result should be the same in any event.

I would like to thank all of the responders. I will attempt to use all of the advice given and hopefully reach my goal.

Thank you.

3 Miles/45 Minutes
Depending on what kind of boat you are paddling and where you are paddling that pace could be fast or very fast. That is four mph and is an average cruising speed for an experienced paddler in a fast boat. It is also a very fast cruising speed for a less experienced paddler in a slower boat.

You might take a look at some of the instructional information on the net. I found some of the info at interesting. The author was talking about cadnence, gliding, pausing, effort, and overall avg speed.

On the other hand, as others have posted, like most other physical activities your body gets better and better with practice.

Happy Paddling,


I also think frequency is a factor.
If you paddle three or four times a week, you will increase your stamina quickly. If you paddle once a month, it will be slowly if at all.

Nothing seat time won’t cure.
Many great paddlers over sixty! Lots of water time will help both your total distance and pace. Going for both mileage and rate paddles will not only help you improve, but will be lots more fun. I’m 56 and plan to race/paddle for many years to come. Go push lots of water and have a great time. Just might become your drug!

Slightly OT - Greenland Paddle
Otis, I know you’re asking only about training and technique. For touring though, you might consider a greenland paddle. It’s generally lower power, higher RPM, a little like a lower gear on a bicycle. You can move along fine with it though. Especially good if you have any repetitive motion injuries in the hands or wrists.

Paul S.