Where to start huh? From the outset it can seem a complex task to decide what training to do, when to do it, how much time to spend doing it and then what to eat?!? The reality is it is a complex task. However when broken down into individual sections each aspect needed to prepare yourself for race day becomes clearer.
When we talk about race preparations there is the big picture, which I am covering throughout this article – actually getting you to race day – being fit, ready and fueling yourself along the way. Then there are the micro details for race day and the days leading up to the race itself. These micro details are just as important as all the work you’ve put in to get yourself to this point and can be the difference between having a successful race or everything falling apart on the day.
I’ll break it down in to some simple steps below that I hope you will find useful in the days leading up to your race and race day itself. I’ve drawn upon experiences from my past life as a middle distance runner and have been able to successfully apply them to SUP racing.
Choosing your race – where to peak
This is an interesting one as your season maybe long or feature a series of races that you want to perform well in, or just be one race you are aiming for!
Luckily the lead up is the same whether you are focusing on one race or a long season of racing!
The first 8 to 12 weeks of your training should be spent building a ‘base fitness’ this is often referred to as ‘zone 2’ – training at 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate.
The reason for this is you are building a solid foundation of aerobic strength also it is during these training sessions that you should be performing perfect technique so that when it comes time to train at or near race pace your technique will remain efficient and unaffected!
The next step once ‘base fitness’ training is completed is to start to do shorter faster training sessions at or near your race pace, you’ll want to do this with around 8 weeks remaining before your target race.
Incorporated within the training it is wise to incorporate strength training, resistance based (with weights) as well as body weight resistance, done right this will help to minimize injury from the increased intensity of speed/race pace training and racing itself!
Now you can look at the race you are aiming to perform well in or where you want to peak in your season and count the weeks back to work out where to start your ‘base fitness’ training.
Weekly Training Programs
Putting it all together – how your week is shaped with training is largely determined by how much time you can allocate to training throughout the week. It is important to be realistic here and take in to account your other commitments, work, family and commuting etc.
The main reason to balance your commitment of hours dedicated to training is to avoid becoming fatigued through a lack of time for rest and recovery! Below are some tips you can implement to help plan your weekly training.
Interval Training (race training)
This is a type of training that involves performing hard efforts interspersed with easier efforts.
It’s these faster sessions mixed with slow sessions for recovery that will increase your ability to sustain a higher pace (race pace) for a longer period of time and give you endurance.
Remember lower the volume of training as in the example speed training phase week and increase the intensity.
This can be done over very short distances, equal a total of your planned race distance or be longer than your total race distance. Remember to mix it up and progress the sessions by changing the effort time, distance and recovery.
This is an area where everyone thinks they are an expert! It’s definitely great to experiment, do some research and see what works for you individually and if you follow some of the basic steps below you’ll be on the right path to fueling yourself in the best possible way – getting the most from your training, and optimal performance on race day.
When preparing to train and get yourself race conditioned your diet is a crucial part of the 3 piece puzzle. Get it right and you will be able to train and perform to the best of your abilities, get it wrong and you can be left feeling fatigued, sluggish and worst of all become ill.
You’ve heard it before I’m sure, ‘you get out what you put in’ and in terms of exercise this couldn’t be any truer. The food you eat is the fuel that gives you the energy to exercise and perform so give yourself the best opportunity of success and try and implement the steps below in to your life and training schedule.
Well I hope the info in this article will go some way to helping your get closer to your competition goals and help you get the most from your training sessions. But ultimately, work hard in training and enjoy the races ahead of you!
All in all SUP racing is fun and accessible to all, check out our video from our annual Super SUP Sunday race: