work out to prepare for long distance

need a exercise program to prepare me for the 90 miler next summer …

I am 61 y/o and can not do crunches … upper body, core and legs 3 days 3 ports and 30 miles a day



well …all but 1
Long slow and steady. Just getting out and paddling will do wonders. It looks like its not a long distance. The guys doing the 120-miler in Michigan or the 340 MR, or 440 Yukon Quest…some only get about 50 hours of paddling a season…

I like the long steady 4-6 hours paddles.

Weights are ok too, latt pulls and such.

I think a 3-7 hour week plan would be good for you.

one day a week would be your long-2-4 hours…the other would be weights, cardio 1/2 hour a night about 2-4 nights a week.

dont over do it.

get peter heeds book “marathon canoe racing” good training section in there. i think some good youtube vids too on training


– Last Updated: Aug-20-12 4:32 PM EST –

If not trying to break records, then just paddling is a great way to do it. Two nights a week, plus a long paddle on the weekends. A good old fashion body weight workout can help too. For a lot of weekend warrior types the real challenge of paddles like that is just sitting in your boat for that long. Good luck.

Ryan L.

Same age

– Last Updated: Aug-20-12 8:24 PM EST –

Done the 90-miler 15 times, plus a few cannonballs recently (unsupported 90-miler in a single day), one 460 mile Yukon River Quest, and 2 very long Yukon 1000 mile races.

Weight lifting and other exercise routines are certainly good, but really what does the most good is time on the water, time on the water, time on the water, well in advance of the event. Get comfortable in the seat, find paddling courses of 10, 20, and 30 miles that are difficult (but not impossible) to quit from to keep yourself going. The 90 has a number of carries that break up the paddling and numb butt syndrome nicely, especially on the first day. Day 2 is the roughest, with only one nasty carry a little over half way through, the remainder of the time is unbroken paddling. You don't have to run the carries if you are not super competitive, but you must get through them quickly enough with your boat intact.

When you can push (not kill) yourself for 4 training hours on the water and still feel reasonably refreshed when you step out, you are ready. You don't have to be a superman to get through the 90, but you have to be consistent in your pace.

The next most critical item is hydration and food. Drink plenty. Plan to consume small bits of the energy of your choice at least every 60-90 minutes.

It used to be the case

– Last Updated: Aug-20-12 5:49 PM EST –

that distance runners would do only "long,slow distance" workouts in preparation. They no longer do this. Rather they do intervals several times a week. In paddling that would be the equivalent of paddling all out for a fixed distance followed by slow, easy paddling for a fixed distance to recover and then repeating. This gives you the aerobic conditioning and endurance you need as well as adding strength to the appropriate muscles. If you are fully rotating while training and using good form you probably do not need to do anything but paddling. The general rule of thumb is to achieve a daily average of 1/3 the distance of the daily race.

amen to Hydration and refreshment
The first time I did the 90 miler I did not realize

we had worn our selves out bynot eating. At one of the pit stops they threw chocolate bars at us. After having a tiny bite I realized we had let our selves get low blood sugar. Eat every hour and drink atleast every halfhour. ( set an alarm if you must but eat and drink!!!)

Please check some you tube to make sure your arms are out straight. Hypothermia is a huge problem. Please consider wearing a fuzzy rubber farmer john with double zip relief zipper. Or at least neoprene shorts. trying to get out of boat perpendicular to shore can tip you and then you are wet and cold. You might have 3 more hours in the cold with snow in morning and cold driving rain. Hope your boat has a bailer. C4 is the best boat with wheels. Logistics are huge. You might hire college kids from paul smith college to transport you and pick you up.

First night the forge motel in old forge is 50 yards from the start. Second night is tough unless you have a camper. There are cabins and a few motels but please prepare for rain and snow on the ground in the morning. I love a hot bath after a hard day in the boat, not a soggy sleeping bag. Sign up for some 5ks and 10 ks. If paddling bothers your back then spend time stretching or working out or pulling a golf cart for 18 holes. I started running to be in better shape and did ottawa 26.2 mile marathon in 3 hours and 50 minutes. All because I was too fat for my kayak to plane out. I did 90 twice in t-bolt and once in C3. I am 62. Good luck my friend. Say hi to mac and grace!

I like long slow distance
Twice a week I run about 15 miles. twice a week a long bike ride. And swimming is a great workout. The old coach myth is you must run every day. This is bad for legs. train your lungs with bike or swim. make sure your shoulders and back are solid for the race by giving them time to rest after twice a week you push hard for 4 hours in boat. This was my strategy for 70 miler and it works well.

Never seen snow then
I’ve 90’d 15 times and have lived in the area for a lot longer than that. Never seen snow that early, but some mornings could be near frost. That only happens on crisp clear nights, which promise a bright warm sunny day to follow. You will absolutely roast in neoprene. Most years daytime temps are in the 70’s and the water is warm. It has been as high as 90 a couple of times, brutally hot. When it rains it can get chilly, 50’s maybe and high 40’s are not out of the question, but never to the point of snow.

Indoor cycling

– Last Updated: Aug-20-12 7:33 PM EST –

Endurance, cardio, major muscle group =legs
can all be hit nicely with indoor cycling.

A simple, inexpensive, decent system,

CrossTrain with swimming at local community pool

I Second This Advice
For I go by the motto: that anything over one hour is counter productive. Before everything freezes over, work on technique and form while starting out doing 2k sprints at 80 strokes per minute, kick it up to 85, and 90 as conditioning improves. Drop the sprints to 1k and later 1/2 k before the water freezes. Then continue with Xcountry skiing til the water thaws then continue with the 1/2k, 1k and 2k sprints till your 90 miler day. Do this 5 days a week at 1 hour a day and you’ll do fine and suffer no overuse injuries. On your days off, you can test yourself out by going for an extended 2 to 3 hour paddle and see how you feel? You should be able to cover 30 miles a day under 6 hours easy, for you’re just a youngster at 61 years old.

For Me…
Short, fast, all out efforts after work. Long endurance stuff on Saturday or Sunday morning. For me… there’s a point in biking a long distance where I start to fade fast and then get my ‘second wind’. It’s at this point where I’m most likely to give up. On your endurance weekends you practice pushing through that miserable phase. Seems like I read somewhere that this miserable phase was caused by your body switching from burning glycogen to fat. Good luck in your event.

no "straight arms"
I’d suggest against using fully extended arms. Had this discussion last nite with some well known racers. There’s no power when you lock out the elbow, always leave a slight bend. Good luck.

Canoe or kayak

– Last Updated: Aug-21-12 10:13 AM EST –

I don't know if the OP is talking canoe or kayak. I can't advise on kayak technique, but certainly with a canoe paddle, arms at the elbow are not perfectly straight - but the angle of the elbows changes very little if at all during the stroke and recovery. The only way to do that is to rotate your shoulders and torso, using strong long endurance back muscles. Think of your arms only as "linkages" to your strong back muscles.

For some it may mentally help technique to think of your paddle not as pushing through the water, but rather to plant paddle firmly at the catch into firm jello, and driving your boat forward with paddle stuck in the jello.

Wrists should be locked in line straight with the arm to prevent repetitive motion tendon damage at the wrist. Keep the paddle shaft close to the gunwale (but don't follow the curve of the gunwale, power stays in-line with direction of travel) and as vertical as possible during the power phase, and keep a loose finger grip on the shaft unless the conditions are rough. Get sloppy technique, and body and speed both will suffer.

Recover the paddle rapidly while feathering the air. During recovery, this is where muscles get a chance to rest - learn how to relax during the fraction of a second of paddle recovery. Doing it right will allow you to paddle continuously for 18 hours a day during the week-long Yukon Y1K without body stress.

Butt stress in the seat is another separate issue - if your butt is sore or numb due to poorly fitting seat (too firm or too soft) or poor technique, then your overall technique, efficiency, and mental attitude will suffer greatly.

over an hour?
That seems strong.

Circuit training is excellent, but it still has to be used with distance training. If I was going to do a 100 mile race, I probably wouldnt train full distance, but I’d be sure I had sat in the boat for at least 40 miles.

Having done a few long races in my day, I have concluded that paddling exhausted is either a gift or a learned behavior. So it would seem wise to figure out which catagory you fall in.

Btw, many successful ultradistance guys train full distance for races below a hundred miles.

Ryan L.

Lockout For Maximum Force
Check out the straight arms of Olympic paddlers. I use to follow the old advice of not locking out and keeping the arms slightly bent. But now I lock out the arms straight and both my canoe and kayak really accelerate forward.

Not the Olympics

– Last Updated: Aug-22-12 8:08 PM EST –

Yeah, the Olympic canoe racers are kneeling on one knee and have a very upright body stance which allows for maximum force with straight arms over short sprint distances. Note their long straight (not bent) shaft paddles. Fine for 2000 meter sprints. Try it for mile after mile all day long in a true marathon canoe race - I don't think so. Sitting upright in a stock canoe with feet braced forward and down in front leads you to a slight arm elbow bend technique as most ergonomically efficient, with shoulder and torso rotation keeping a near constant elbow angle. Watch the experienced serious competitors in any stock canoe distance race.

Amen to Your Amen
The simple rule for endurance events:

Eat before you get hungry.

Drink before you get thirsty.

You learn how to do this by putting in your endurance training. Someone mentioned 4 hours which sounds about right. I’ve seen people make themselves sick because they didn’t learn how to do this. Seen 'em bonk, too. Gawd, that’s awful.

Training Is Nearly the Same
Whether it be sprint or distance. It behooves us to stay current with the latest current thinking on training concepts and technique. Olympic paddlers, with access to top notch coaching and equipment spend thousands and thousands of hours yearly training and perfecting their technique, even for a race as short as 200 meters. Surely there is something we can learn from their experience that is applicable to helping us achieve our long distance goals?

Not so sure

– Last Updated: Aug-23-12 9:31 PM EST –

I really wish the Olympics had marathon canoe race event. The distances of the Olympic canoe flatwater sprint races are only up to 1000 meters. Could be there are some training techniques in common with distance racers, but I don't believe much overall. Do 100m track sprint runners train the same way as marathon runners? I have to think there are major differences in training methods. Most of us who are amateur canoe racers don’t have the free time available to be on the water every day for hours and hours, nor the funds or means to hire full time professional coaches.

However, in training for the first Yukon River Quest I began with my voyageur crew nine months in advance. We were all already experienced paddlers, all veterans of numerous 90-milers, but now we had a very serious specific goal. On the YRQ the first mandatory stop comes at 185 miles, typically about 21 hours of continuous paddling. To train we paddled as many weekends as possible as a team, and separately during the week when we could not gather together. We paddled in every local race we could enter. Our training routine included hard driving interval sprints during long distance (20-40 miles) workouts, but most important was just putting in hours and hours on the water. Most training days we paddle tens of miles, and since we live hours apart we traveled to train on a variety of different waterways. We paddled the Cannonball-90 (unsupported 90-miler route in a single day), and we paddled at night when dead tired with full gear loads. During winter months we each have our own workout methods… among other things I paddle a machine several times a week for two hours at a time.

After racing in the 460-mile YRQ, we twice more returned to the Yukon for the 1000-mile races. We trained much the same routine for two Y1Ks, finished without injury in record time for canoes (a time that still stands today), and each of us felt energy able to continue for days more if we had to. Strong fast cross-river currents will rip you away from desired course on that big wide river, and we found ourselves frequently paddling at a sprint pace for several minutes to cross over those oddly directed helical currents, sometimes saving a mile of extra distance had the rogue current taken us to the far side of a wide bend or behind the wrong side of an island. At other times we paddled at a sprint pace in rotational intervals just to break the boredom of our all-day maintenance stroke rate.

When paddling in relatively short local races of a few miles, there is some hard paddling at the start to jockey for position. Sprint technique with straighter arms driving fast and hard with lots of rotation, sure I can see that. We practice that some, but in a truly long marathon race a few seconds at the start is not as important as long lived endurance, and an injury or breaking a paddle at the beginning does no good at all. The starting sprint among competitors doesn’t last for more than a half mile at most, usually much less. Try to keep that pace any further and you will soon burn out and fall behind the pack. Instead you settle into a hard paddling marathon endurance pace.

When you are paddling 18 hours a day every day for a week, as we did on the Yukon-1000 races, I don’t care how much you have trained, you simply are not going to have the stamina of a Olympic sprint racer for long, and neither could they. The Y1K is 1,600 times as long as the Olympic sprint. I have to believe it takes an entirely different training routine to properly prepare and be successful and injury free.