Friday, November 10, 2006

Let the Training Begin

This week I officially started my 2007 WaterTribe Everglades Challenge training. Only 16 weeks left. Since the Ultimate Challenge last April, my fitness activities have all been recreational, another words, "I've not had a serious fitness program", so I've got a bit a work to do.

So how does one train for a distance adventure paddling race? First you need to decide on your goal. Are you a racer, wanting to compete against the other challengers, or a cruiser hoping to just finish the Challenge in the allotted time? Next, you need to devise a training plan to met that goal, one that includes both physical and mental conditioning.

Don't underestimate the mental work. Endurance races are a huge mental challenge. In these Challenges, all the paddling and physical conditioning in the world isn't going to help if your afraid to be alone on the water at night in the dark, in fog, in all kinds of marine conditions, crossing unfamiliar inlets, being a couple miles from shore, dealing with boat (sometimes ship) traffic, needing to do surf landings and launches, and all in a sleep deprived state. You have to be able to keep your calm when your scared, cold, feeling totally lost, and hurting everywhere. If you can handle all that, then you are in for the adventure of a lifetime :)

Personally, I'm a cruiser, and I even like to say I'm more a tourist. It's enough for my ego, and hard enough on my body and mind, to just meet the deadlines. Cruisers still need to train. In the end, it's the cruisers who paddle longer hours every day, and often for more days during the challenge week.

There are a number of archived articles on the WaterTribe Magazine that are directly related to preparation and training for this kind of Challenge.

If your interested in doing a Challenge, there are also many articles about the Challenges from previous participants in the Magazine. Lots of information on preparation and planning, including routes, potential camp sites, suggested equipment, nutrition advice etc...

Then it's time to start working. A future blog posting will detail my training plan, and I'll start maintaining a daily online training log.

P.S. My son Alan (left) and his friends Matt, Chris, and Mike, are also planning to enter the Challenge next year, beginning with building their own boats. Check out Alan's blog, they just bought the wood.

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