In the last post I wrote about the NAC Classic race in southern California and how wonderful it was to race pain free after a frustrating six weeks of shoulder rehab. This post picks up seven weeks down the road, as I mull over the last block of training and look ahead to the next race on the calendar, the April 13th Maui to Molokai (M2M) in Hawaii.

M2M is a special race for me. I have done it twice now and both times the conditions were fantastic and the competition was incredible, but both times I came away with a frustrating 2nd place. Not frustrating because I deserved to win, Pat Dolan raced superbly and without question outraced me on both occasions, but frustrating because on both occasions I made stupid and avoidable errors. This year, I plan to learn from my mistakes and show up to race in the best shape possible. Over the past two months, with my shoulder almost completely recovered, I have been working hard on my fitness. However, with an open ended goal of “get as fit as possible,” it’s easy to get lost in the minutia of training and spend energy on areas that aren’t crucially important. To help keep my training on track and not lose sight of the big picture, I created four goals/focuses to guide me through the week.

My first focus was speed development. While endurance and surging late in a race is a strength of mine, race starts tend to be a weakness. There can be a lot of confusion at the beginning of a race when paddlers are battling for draft positions and making a run for the hot spot prize. In the past I would hold back, worried that I needed to save energy for the long haul and doubting my capacity to push the pace with the leaders. This year, I decided to change that narrative. To accomplish this goal, I structured every week around 3 key workouts. Each workout was a high-end interval workout focused on pieces of 4 minutes or less and often centered on pieces as short as 30 seconds. Not only was the content of these sessions an important focus, but my goal was to schedule the rest of the training week around these three key sessions so that I would always arrive to them as fresh as possible and attack them with all the intensity I could muster. My two favorite sessions from this block were 20 x 30 seconds on/ 60 seconds off and 4 x 4 minutes on/ 4 minutes off. These sessions were brutal, but I came to enjoy them as they pushed me well outside of my comfort zone.

My second focus was time on the ocean. Because many of my key sessions were done in the flatwater, I wanted to make sure that my time in the ocean didn’t suffer, especially since I was an ocean racer. To address this, I made sure that every training day had at least one session in the ocean, even if it was an afternoon recovery paddle after a morning key session. My reasoning was that time the ocean would keep up my skills and feel for the waves sharp.

Last year, as I prepared for the Molokai race, I made a lot of mistakes when it came to my long paddle, therefore, my third focus was to concentrate on this session. In the past, my long training sessions were often done at too low of an intensity and I would over hydrate and fuel, leading to dependence on carbs and water. What’s more, I began to dread these sessions due to their monotony and because I would often finish chilled to the bone. This year, my long paddle strategy addressed all three of the aforementioned areas. First I would start with a steady paddle to get in some volume and warm up (my body was often quite beat up by the time I got to my Saturday paddle and the easier pace was mentally necessary to start my longest session of the week). Instead of keeping the pace low the whole paddle, however, I decided to finish these workouts by joining the San Diego Canoe and Kayak Team for their Saturday practice. By working out with the sprint team at the end of my long session, I was able to keep mentally focused and stimulated, making sure that the last 10-15km of my long paddle were both high intensity and high quality.

When it came to fueling, instead of using last year’s strategy that involved consuming energy gels and water on regular intervals, I would try to push my limits. I would still bring carbs and water on my paddles, mind you, but I would hold off on using them for as long as possible. Finally, I decided to overdress. This was important to avoid becoming crippling cold after two hours of paddling into the wind and it would also help me prepare for being in warmer temperatures come Hawaii.

My fourth goal was to listen to my body. This is certainly a buzz phrase in the sports world at the moment, but for me I have always found it to be very important. When starting this training block I wrote out a grueling program with little to no rest. My “ideal” training programs often suffer from this oversite, but I try now to listen to my body and schedule rest/deload weeks as needed. On this block I ended up taking two weeks to deload and rest. The more I surfski, the more I appreciate the need to listen to my body and adjust accordingly, rather than blindly follow my training schedule.

So there you go, a few tips and goals I use when designing and executing my weekly training and some insight into what I have been doing to build up to the 2019 M2M. Next week I will break down my racing mistakes from years prior and lay out my plan for this year’s race!

Thanks for reading and happy paddling!

  • NAC Classic 2019

    Newport Beach, CA
    February 9th, 2019
    Austin's Blog

  • Maui to Molokai

    April 13, 2019  - 26 miles.

  • Molokai Challenge

    May 26, 2019

  • Canadian Downwind Champs

    Squamish, BC, Canada
    July 13, 2019

  • Gorge Downwind Champs

    Colombia River Gorge, Oregon
    July 15-20, 2019

  • Lighthouse To Lighthouse 2019

    Sept. 14 & 15, 2019
    Norwalk, CT

  • Irish Coast Paddling Champs

    Saturday 28, Sept. 2019

In the last post I wrote about the NAC Classic race in southern California and how wonderful it was to race pain free after a frustrating six weeks of shoulder rehab. This post picks up seven weeks down the road, as I mull over the last block of training and look ahead to the next race on the calendar, the April 13th Maui to Molokai (M2M) in Hawaii.

M2M is a special race for me. I have done it twice now and both times the conditions were fantastic and the competition was incredible, but both times I came away with a frustrating 2nd place. Not frustrating because I deserved to win, Pat Dolan raced superbly and without question outraced me on both occasions, but frustrating because on both occasions I made stupid and avoidable errors. This year, I plan to learn from my mistakes and show up to race in the best shape possible. Over the past two months, with my shoulder almost completely recovered, I have been working hard on my fitness. However, with an open ended goal of “get as fit as possible,” it’s easy to get lost in the minutia of training and spend energy on areas that aren’t crucially important. To help keep my training on track and not lose sight of the big picture, I created four goals/focuses to guide me through the week.

My first focus was speed development. While endurance and surging late in a race is a strength of mine, race starts tend to be a weakness. There can be a lot of confusion at the beginning of a race when paddlers are battling for draft positions and making a run for the hot spot prize. In the past I would hold back, worried that I needed to save energy for the long haul and doubting my capacity to push the pace with the leaders. This year, I decided to change that narrative. To accomplish this goal, I structured every week around 3 key workouts. Each workout was a high-end interval workout focused on pieces of 4 minutes or less and often centered on pieces as short as 30 seconds. Not only was the content of these sessions an important focus, but my goal was to schedule the rest of the training week around these three key sessions so that I would always arrive to them as fresh as possible and attack them with all the intensity I could muster. My two favorite sessions from this block were 20 x 30 seconds on/ 60 seconds off and 4 x 4 minutes on/ 4 minutes off. These sessions were brutal, but I came to enjoy them as they pushed me well outside of my comfort zone.

My second focus was time on the ocean. Because many of my key sessions were done in the flatwater, I wanted to make sure that my time in the ocean didn’t suffer, especially since I was an ocean racer. To address this, I made sure that every training day had at least one session in the ocean, even if it was an afternoon recovery paddle after a morning key session. My reasoning was that time the ocean would keep up my skills and feel for the waves sharp.

Last year, as I prepared for the Molokai race, I made a lot of mistakes when it came to my long paddle, therefore, my third focus was to concentrate on this session. In the past, my long training sessions were often done at too low of an intensity and I would over hydrate and fuel, leading to dependence on carbs and water. What’s more, I began to dread these sessions due to their monotony and because I would often finish chilled to the bone. This year, my long paddle strategy addressed all three of the aforementioned areas. First I would start with a steady paddle to get in some volume and warm up (my body was often quite beat up by the time I got to my Saturday paddle and the easier pace was mentally necessary to start my longest session of the week). Instead of keeping the pace low the whole paddle, however, I decided to finish these workouts by joining the San Diego Canoe and Kayak Team for their Saturday practice. By working out with the sprint team at the end of my long session, I was able to keep mentally focused and stimulated, making sure that the last 10-15km of my long paddle were both high intensity and high quality.

When it came to fueling, instead of using last year’s strategy that involved consuming energy gels and water on regular intervals, I would try to push my limits. I would still bring carbs and water on my paddles, mind you, but I would hold off on using them for as long as possible. Finally, I decided to overdress. This was important to avoid becoming crippling cold after two hours of paddling into the wind and it would also help me prepare for being in warmer temperatures come Hawaii.

My fourth goal was to listen to my body. This is certainly a buzz phrase in the sports world at the moment, but for me I have always found it to be very important. When starting this training block I wrote out a grueling program with little to no rest. My “ideal” training programs often suffer from this oversite, but I try now to listen to my body and schedule rest/deload weeks as needed. On this block I ended up taking two weeks to deload and rest. The more I surfski, the more I appreciate the need to listen to my body and adjust accordingly, rather than blindly follow my training schedule.

So there you go, a few tips and goals I use when designing and executing my weekly training and some insight into what I have been doing to build up to the 2019 M2M. Next week I will break down my racing mistakes from years prior and lay out my plan for this year’s race!

Thanks for reading and happy paddling!

  • NAC Classic 2019

    Newport Beach, CA
    February 9th, 2019

  • Maui to Molokai

    April 13, 2019  - 26 miles.

  • Molokai Challenge

    May 26, 2019

  • Canadian Downwind Champs

    Squamish, BC, Canada
    July 13th

  • Gorge Downwind Champs

    Colombia River Gorge, Oregon
    July 15-20, 2019

  • Lighthouse To Lighthouse 2019

    Sept. 14 & 15
    Norwalk, CT

  • Irish Coast Paddling Champs

    TBD Fall 2019