Hey there! It’s Natali from team RVR2RVR, and we have exactly 10 weeks until our first River Racing Event, the Back of Beyond River Race in Moab UT.
I want to make sure you all are set up to have a fun and successful season, so I wrote up a training countdown on things to focus on before that big race.
Before you jump right in, I do have a couple questions for you:
- Do you feel Rested and Recovered from last year? Have you given yourself enough time to relax? You shouldn’t start any intense training program until you feel fully healed up from the previous racing season.
- Do you have a base level of fitness? Before building strength and adding load to your body, you need to have a healthy AND mobile foundation. Do you have any injuries that need to be taken care of first? Can you perform all the necessary primal movements needed to start training? Pushups, Pullups, Dips, Squats, Lunges, Planks and Deadlifts? If you can’t perform these movements, I suggest working on these first. Nothing is worse than injuring yourself because you didn’t start with the right foundation. Start a yoga routine, get regular massage/rolfing, and invest in a mobility set up from Trigger Point, these tools will enhance your training by speeding up your recovery so you are ready to train hard so you can play hard!
Feeling good with the above requirements? Great. Let’s break it down!
Are you serious and dedicated about having your best year yet?
Ya? Great! Write down your goals and place them around your home, workspace, computer, and bathroom. This will help you stay motivated and accountable to stay on track!
Do you have a specific event you want to win? A race you want to podium? Write down your goals so they are clear and attainable! Make small goals you can achieve everyday, like drinking enough water OR rolling out your body for 10 minutes.
From there write down 1 week, 1 month, 2 month, and 3 month goals leading up to the big races you want to do well in. Scan all your goals often so they stay congruent to what you want, and how you’re going to get there.
Create your perfect WARMUP
Figure out a 20-30 minute dynamic warmup (with your favorite playlist) that wakes up your muscles and gets you in the right head space to go hard. Get this warm up dialed in so you can preform it before any major race. This familiar routine will help you relax and focus on the race vs feeling scattered and nervous in those crucial minutes leading up to the big event.
Tear it Down and Build It Up
Do you have a membership at a gym or a crossfit box? No? Get one. You won’t get the results you want unless you invest in YOURSELF and YOUR TRAINING.
For the next 4 weeks, start lifting 3-4x/week. You have your primal movements down? Great. Time to kick it up a notch and add in strength training. Tear those muscles, correct the imbalances, take your recovery, and build up your strength..the right way. Focus on your muscles working together in full range of motion and proper form so you can perfect the movements in anticipation for increased volume and load.
Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
Breath work is proving to be one of the big secret weapons of well seasoned athletes. Laird Hamilton says it wasn’t until he started working on his breath was when he became a better athlete. I agree.
Here’s Lairds 3 tips on improving your breath work:
Tread and breathe (Do this 1x/week)
Treading water is great for practice because it’s so demanding on the breath. Tread while breathing in through your nose and out your mouth. Then breathe in through one nostril and out the other, and switch. Afterward, you’ll feel so oxygenated – like you’ve been wearing an oxygen mask.
Interval breathe (Do this 3x/week)
Try holding your breath when you exercise. For example, I’ll run the beach and breathe normally until the first lifeguard tower – then I’ll hold my breath running back. This makes the training harder than the activity, so the activity itself can become easier.
Breathe for 100 (Do this every night before you go to bed)
Take 100 inhalations through your nose, exhaling through your mouth. Then try taking 100 breaths through one nostril, breathing out through the other. Increase the difficulty by holding your breath after you inhale and exhale – exhale, hold, inhale, hold, exhale, hold, and so on.
Abdominal breathing also improves the flow of lymph, which contains white blood cells, helping boost your immune system so you can stay stronger for your races! So get breathing the right way EVERYDAY!
Want to slay your workouts every time? Focus on mobility. Get a membership to a yoga studio or an online platform of videos that you can do from the convenience of your home. Breath work combined with daily yoga and mobility will enhance your training and elevate you to the next level. This is something you GET TO DO EVERYDAY! Just 10 minutes a day adds up, I promise it’s worth it!
4 minute Core
The core makes up your entire midsection, both front, back, and side to side. Best way to strengthen your core is with Planks. Challenge yourself by adding in a 4 minute plank hold to your daily to do list. This will help keep your low back strong in those long paddling races, and your mid section on point for bikini season. 🙂
Week 5-10 (Maintain Weeks 1-4 Training PLUS…)
Rack up those miles
Time to get out on the water and build up your endurance! Strive for at least 12-20 hours per week. Make sure and focus on the other parts of racing too: race starts, buoy turns, passing paddlers on the river, drafting, and race finishes in all weather conditions. It’s good to train in the uncomfortable and the unfamiliar so your body never gets “USED” to just one condition of training.
You should also be practicing: paddling through rapids, navigating the current, eddy (buoy) turns, peel outs, or paddling through gates all while varying your intensity and speeds throughout the workout.
If you miss a paddle day, no problem. Get in the gym and train your paddling muscles with bands, cables, dumbells or the classic rowing machine. Your body will still get a lot out of it and your muscles will stay strong until your next paddling day.
HIIT yo’self so you don’t WRECK yo’self
Intervals are my favorite things ever. Short, sweet, and to the point. The classic ones we all know of are Tabatas. 4 minutes of torture, 1 minute recovery of bliss. Interval Training plays a huge role when you’re getting closer to race season. 3x/week max
Balance, Speed and Agility
You’ve spent awhile building up your strength, so now it’s time to power up the muscles and get them moving faster. Think, plyometrics, hill sprints, agility ladder drills, and medicine ball throws. This is the fun part of training. HAVE FUN and GET CREATIVE! 3x/week max
Week 11: You’ve done the work, time to reap the rewards!
Timing is everything
Your races are probably every weekend for the next few months now. So, let’s break down a sample week so you are smart about how you recover between races.
Day 1. Recovery Day. Great day for a massage, immune boosters, turmeric, and Netflix.
Day 2. Roll out. Do Yoga. Increase your Range of Motion. Hold a 5 min squat. JUST MOVE.
Day 3. Paddle, play, surf, and get back on the water. Don’t push it.
Day 4. Burst it out. Perform a few intervals to keep up your intensity. NO more than 30 min max.
Day 5. Eat right. Fill up your storage, and avoid the alcohol. It’s all about consuming the right nutrients from here until the race.
Day 6. Meditate. Visualize paddling your course or actually get on the water to keep your skills in check. 1 hour max.
Day 7. Race Day. Max Effort Given with Max Recovery Received. Think hot tub, sauna, lots of fats and good nights sleep for recovery.
Remember, you’re done getting strong for the season. There’s no value in training between races, it’s better to be undertrained than over trained from here on out.
Maintain your Routine
Nutrition, Recovery, Health and a Positive Mindset are your cornerstones of a successful athlete. These are just as important as your races. Make sure you find a routine and stick to it. Try not to go too far out of your norm.
Nutrition: Hopefully at this point you know what foods fuel you, hurt you, and make you gassy. Figure out the ones that will help you during racing season and stick to them.
Recovery: DAILY Yoga, Mobility, Ball and Foam Rolling every damn day. ’nuff said.
Health: Keep up with your vitamins, minerals, BCAA’s, and micro-nutrients. Think of these as your support team. You won’t be able to get very far with out them. So invest in them now and know what works and what doesn’t before you have to rev up your performance.
Positive Mindset: Meditation. Visualization. Verbal Confirmation. Find that mental space where you feel unstoppable and tap into that before every race. The mind is more powerful than we give it credit for.
I hope this information helps you figure out a clear and attainable workout plan in helping you achieve your best race season yet! The more focused we can be when we train, the faster and stronger we become when we race.
Moral of the story? Don’t discount training. Set goals, achieve goals, rewrite goals. Write a plan and stick to it! Try this out and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts!