Thursday, June 16, 2011

training and nutrition (alternate title: holy s#%t now I have to paddle across lake michigan!)

Well, now it's really sinking in that I'm actually going to SUP across Lake Michigan and that is no easy feat.  I trained all winter for the fun I knew I'd be having on the water this summer, but gym training is never quite the same.  Now that I'm paddling longer distances consistently, the first thing I noticed was how my nutritional needs have changed.  I've bonked a couple of times on training paddles over the last few weeks, simply running out of fuel to keep my body going.  I also noticed that I started losing weight, when I really need to be building muscle.  I needed some nutritional advice specific to SUP, so I went right to the source, Laird Hamilton .
Laird, along with Dave Kalama, is pretty much credited with starting this whole stand up paddle thing, and these guys were doing distance paddles way longer than what I'm doing back before any of us even knew SUP existed.  So, I didn't hesitate to order Laird's ultimate smoothie pack to boost my caloric intake.
I've added two to three smoothies of whey protein, fresh fruit, Catie's Organic Greens & Vitamin C Plus, along with a dose of Glutamine to aid in muscle recovery, to what I normally eat.  Those of you who know me know that I'm super into food and nutrition, so my normal diet is pretty rockin' already - lots of green leafy vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, so I'm just trying to eat more of all that good stuff to keep up.  According to my heart monitor, I burn about 500 calories an hour paddling at a moderate-to-fast tempo.  That's 6000 calories to make it across Lake Michigan!  Eat, man, Eat!
As for training, I'm paddling every other day then doing flexibility and strength workouts on the non-paddle days.  The paddles are 6-mile sprints with one longer paddle per week.  The longer paddles build each week so that by the week before the crossing I'm doing a training paddle of around 35 miles.  It's a pretty intensive program, and in the early weeks I have been learning a lot about how my body reacts to this increased activity.  This is the biggest thing I've ever done, athletically speaking, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous.  I will continue to post on my training progress over the coming weeks.  If anyone wants to do some training paddles with me, let me know.  I'd always welcome a little company.

One more thing, MAKE SURE YOU SAVE THE DATE OF JULY 7TH for the Windy City Waterman Paddle with the Pros Party at Windward Boardshop.  We'll be hosting Karen Wrenn and Chuck Patterson, my (dare I say?) teammates from the Naish SUP team for an evening of great Moveable Feast food, drinks and SUP discussion, tips and advice.  There will be a raffle with some killer prizes from Naish, Windward, O'neill, Kaenon sunglasses and more.  Proceeds go to our great charitable causes, the Alliance for the Great Lakes and Common Threads.  See you there!

PS I am adding to this post with a quick follow up on my first training session after starting my new nutrition regimen.  The consensus: it works!  Of course I'll be doing more testing and refining, but today I felt pretty good during my 6-mile sprint.  I had my shake in the morning, then a mid-morning snack of an apple and a little pasta salad, then a good lunch, then a smaller 8oz. shake about a half hour before I went to paddle.  I felt pretty energized throughout the paddle, actually warming up and improving my pace in the second half (probably could have that pre-workout shake a little earlier).  My routine for sprints is to maintain around 85% of my peak heart rate (I wear a monitor) with intervals up to and beyond my peak rate.  I did that today and finished with the first signs of fatigue just setting in (clumsy paddle switches, sketchy balance, etc) as I hammered back to the launch (I always like to finish strong).  So, after a very good session today I feel like I'm on the right track.  Now it's full speed ahead with training for my first race on July 9th in Madison, and of course for the big crossing.

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