Interval training, good or bad?

4 weeks 1 day ago #34936 by waverider
Interval training is effective in most sports. Is it counter productive if it becomes a major part of paddle training?

As well as fitness, technique is a major part of paddling. Improving your technique is about fine tuning your "default" style that you do instinctively without having to thinking. Can interval training work against this? If you are going flat out technique starts to get fuzzy, especially if you are just a beginner, then between bursts the temptation is to back right off and not really focus about keeping everything sharp as this is your "rest" period. Ergo you are rarely in that sweet spot where everything is coming together just right.

Not saying there is no place for it, but it maybe shouldn't be a major focus. I'm just a beginner so not professing to be an expert at this just looking for guidance for the most effective approach.

At the moment I build my speed until it starts getting sloppy, then I stop and restart rather than push on and let it all start to unravel

Any opinions?

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4 weeks 1 day ago #34937 by SpaceSputnik
I am also pretty green, but so far my experience is that slow and methodical technique work goes well with trying it in action. I.e. starting slow to make sure everything is where it's supposed to be and gradually racheting it up to a level when you actually putting power down but without a significant technique breakdown. Since I always concentrate on where things are it seems to help internalize it since I get more distinct sensation of how the power is produced.
When things get wonky I tell myself to back off a bit and when it feels steady and nice I load up again. I feel that I am beginning to cruise faster that way.
At this point I personally don't want to commit to a formalized HIT-like routine because I want to keep the focus on how my body is working (including under various load levels) and how well I am connecting with the water. Which doesn't mean going slow, but rather going fast but with your head in the right place.

Current: Think Evo II
Past: Epic V7

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4 weeks 23 hours ago #34940 by tve
Replied by tve on topic Interval training, good or bad?
Interval training does not mean going full out. In general, you should keep a steady level of effort through the entire interval, so if you're doing a 4 minute interval you better not start out at max power unless you're superman...

I actually find that very short intervals of ~15 seconds going all out and trying to achieve maximum speed are very effective for testing and practicing technique. If you don't manage to efficiently apply and transfer power you find out extremely quickly, and if you make small changes to your technique you also find out quickly whether they help or not. (I'm talking about 15 secs ON - 45-90 OFF, not 15 ON - 15 OFF, those have a different purpose.)

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4 weeks 21 hours ago #34941 by robin.mousley
Interval training is very much part of the elite paddlers' training routines, so I guess it must be "good"!

They do tend to mix it up, with both longer intervals at "steady" rather than "flat out" and shorter intervals going all-out.

An important aspect seems to be the rest in between each interval.  

The training program that was put together for us for the Cape Point Challenge included interval sessions like:
  • 8 x 5min steady with 2min rest in between each interval
  • Pyramid session: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 with 1 min rest in between.
  • 10 x 3min on, 1 min off in between each one
  • 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 with 1 min in between each one
In general we had two interval sessions per week, with downwind, cardio at gym and a time trial each week.  The aim was to do 6 days of exercise with one day of complete rest each week.Besides the basic benefits of interval training (speed and endurance), in surfski racing you quite often have to put in an interval to catch up with another paddler or a group in front - and the interval training obviously helps because you're used to putting in high short term effort.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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4 weeks 14 hours ago #34942 by mrcharly
What tve.

There is nothing like interval training for developing power and speed. Just doing long paddling won't build either.
However, if you only do intervals, you will not build resilience for sustained paddling (which is in your head and body).
I was struggling to find time for training, only managing 3 sessions a week at most. All ended up being intervals - and I did well, impressing people in my club. Managing to paddle level with some fairly handy paddlers.

When race time came along, I fell apart. Couldn't sustain that speed. 
My previous (and preferred) program had included 2 sesssions a week of intervals, one longish (at least 2 hours of sustained effort) session and something else (often a 10k time trial).
That was much better. 

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3 weeks 4 days ago #34966 by Spacehopper
I think there's a difference between interval training in a group and interval training alone.

Unless you're quite disciplined the competition in group intervals can lead to ending up with pretty ragged technique, bad habits and injuries.

I definitely found I started to regress once I got fast enough to join our local training group. Too much flailing to stay on the washes meant a very lopsided techniqe and longterm pain in one shoulder. Definitely made better progress before that paddling alone or with one other on a mix of long paddles and varied intervals.

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3 weeks 4 days ago #34968 by mrcharly
I don't disagree that pushing yourself in a group can lead to bad habits.

However, if you only ever train alone, you will really, really struggle when you come to race. 
Being able to cope with messy wash, knowing how to wash hang, learning how much power it takes to push through a wash, how to sprint through then pace yourself; this is also training. 
Interval training in a group offers lots of benefits. 
Add some long steady paddling into your training schedule for the technique work (and always concentrate on technique during warmup and cooldown).
If you can't maintain technique when in the chop behind a training group, you are not going to be able to maintain it in a race.

If you are flailing to stay on someone's wash; stop doing that. Dig deep and smooth instead, concentrate on being smooth, ignore trying to keep up, look for the lines you can grab to give yourself a boost. <advice from the middle-back of the pack>

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3 weeks 4 days ago #34971 by Spacehopper
I'd completely agree with you on that.

For me it was after passing the (very mediocre...) high water mark of my paddling. I wasn't very motivated to do the technique work and long paddles any more (on dark winter nights, with ice forming on your clothes and hair). The social and competitive aspect of the interval sessions became the primary motivation so technique and overall fitness definitely suffered.

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3 weeks 3 days ago #34987 by waverider
Good discussion, seems the best recommendation is to always mix things up, without going all or nothing which puts you at opposite ends of the technique spectrum. Think I will aim for 60% and 90% splits, with some longer hauls at 70% until weary. Focusing on technique at all times. Then stopping once weariness kicks in before everything gets sloppy

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3 weeks 2 days ago #34988 by Impala
Interval training is very useful to make progress by a) making you cardiovascular motor bigger and b) increasing your tolerance for anaerobic work.

But doing an all-out long-distance race requires more. In running I made the experience that switching to slowish 3h-runs made my legs tough enough to run a marathon without getting muscle and joint pains. So the long endurance runs a) make your muscles tough and b) improve you energy efficiency, particularly your fat burning capacity, which is crucial to sustain your pace once your liver and muscle glycogen has been exhausted more or less, and that starts earlier than you think.

A mix of both training approaches is the way to go, at least if you aim at race durations of half an hour or longer - which is the case for almost all non-flatwater canoe racing.

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2 weeks 4 days ago - 2 weeks 4 days ago #35016 by Impala
The best surfski interval training in my view (but I am not always in the mood for it) is going half a minute full sprint, then fall in, remount and relax, and start the next full sprint two minutes after the previous. It does wonders to your remount speed :)

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2 weeks 4 days ago #35018 by tve
Replied by tve on topic Interval training, good or bad?
LOL, very nice!

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