Oscar on Training

Thursday, 08 February 2007 15:08 | Written by  Oscar Chalupsky
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Image[Editor: Oscar Chalupsky was recently asked a series of questions about training by a paddler in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. 

Here are they are with answers from the big O.]


How important is gym training?

It's very important - to balance all your muscles and to be more specific on parts of your stroke. Strength helps to catch runs in the sea - you need explosive strength to catch waves. 

Can you email me a gym programme?

I tend to warm up with a 30 minute run or cycle then do my work out.

I do 3 to 4 sets of 30 push ups then alternate with 60 stomach exercises: sit ups, crunches or any other abs work out. Once this is complete I alternate between pull ups and one-arm rows. I like to do 3 or 4 sets of 10.

The one-arm rows are done on the pulling machine. I concentrate in using my back and not my arms so I can pull nearly my body weight with one arm. I get close to 100kg in one arm.

After this I like to do 3 x 10 triceps push downs and alternate with shoulder presses.

That's all and I do this every second day.

Does your gym programme change for different parts of the season?

Off season? I like to keep the gym going all year round

Paddle training:

Can you email me a training programme?

This is more difficult as I'd need to know specifics about the race but what I will do is give you a program that is generic and that you can use for any race and the adjust the session according to the length of the race. The most important thing is that you only paddle ski which makes it a lot easier.

Depending on how many times a week you like to train also determines how hard and how much rest you should take. I like to alternate the gym with swimming: at least 2km, doing intervals.

The afternoon/evening is when I paddle and a golden rule is that if the wind is howling I will do a downwind or flat paddle.  I never paddle into the wind if I can help it. I tend to do 1 to 1.5 hours everyday. On a 7 day week I would do this:

Day 1.   

Always 10 to 15 minutes of warm up, concentration on style before you start your session. After the warm up, do a solid 1 hour paddle at near you max cruising pace. This set the tone for the week. I use a Garmin 305 to try and keep a constant speed for the whole 1 hour and to try to keep my heart rate from going through the roof. The more efficient your stroke the lower you can keep you heart rate. As a % of your max heart rate you should be at 80% at the beginning and if you keep the same speed it will be 100% at the end. 

Day 2.
Focus on speed - this is speed work for paddling in the sea and catching runs. I suggest a 1 hour paddle after the warm up. You will keep race pace but every 20 minutes you will do a set of intervals. The set will be 20 strokes (counted on one side) followed by 5 strokes rest then 10 strokes then 5 strokes. This must be done for 20 minutes then back to race pace for 20 minutes. This will help your explosive speed for catching waves.

Day 3.
Depending how you are feeling on the day you can make it a rest day.  On rest days I tend to just paddle at 70% concentrating on style. I will do the odd surge just to test my style but remember that today you need to recover for day four. Remember if you do style it must be in totally flat calm conditions.

Day 4.
This day is for general speed and endurance and the session can be done on the flat or in the sea with chop. Basically it is a ladder. Start at 10 strokes increasing by 10 till you hit 100 or 150 on each side then go down the whole way back to 10 strokes.

The rest up to 50 strokes is the same as the hard effort. For example 10 hard 10 easy till 50 hard and 50 easy the 60 hard 50 easy till 150.

The effort must be at max and the easy stroke must be total recovery. Don't forget to loosen down after the sprint sessions. This session can take about 1 to 1.5 hours to do

Day 5.
Today after the sprint session should be easier and here again I would try and do a short down wind or a 1 hour race paddle like we did on day 1. Remember that if you are too tired just do a style session.

Day 6.
I tend to have one day off in the week when I am fit but if I am not fit and am in the building faze I will do a simple but tough session of 10 x 60 stroke or 1 minute with total recover in between. That is till my heart rate is down to under 100 BPM. I try and keep a pace that I can nearly hold the whole way say 15km/h. You will slow down even at 1 minute

Day 7.
It's important to make training fun so take one of the above session and chop and change to make it interesting. Try and paddle with someone with similar ability to yourself or better, this will always make you push harder. Remember if the wind blows hard and you can do a down wind, do that as a priority. You can make up the most time on a downwind with that little extra skill and experience.

I hope this is a good guide line and the longer the race the longer the sessions but also the more recovery days     


Do you change your length of paddle depending on the conditions, if so what is your thinking?

Yes I have been doing many experiments with this and I am more and more convinced that changing paddle lengths helps immensely. When I paddle against a strong wind I reduce my paddle length up to 5 cm. When I am doing a flat paddle for training I will increase my paddle by 2 cm from my normal paddle length. I have on occasions made my paddle longer in big long ocean swell down wind runs. I also shorten my paddle during races as I get tired. In the PE2EL race I dropped my paddle to 210 from 215 on the last part of the 1st and 3rd day. The last day I paddled with a 212 as it was into the wind. I also adjust my paddle on a run as I get tired in the Molokai. I equate the changing of lengths to that of a cyclist and his gears

Image
Oscar paddling in the 2006 PE2EL Challenge


What length do you recommend - I'm 1.87m?

I suggest you go to my website www.epickayaks.com and go and look at the paddle wizard this will give you the best measurement for paddle length

On hunting runs:

So Boetie what is the secret - what are your suggestions on linking more runs?

As I have said time in the runs helps improve, but the extra explosiveness will help a lot. 

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