Winter Training – Effective Warm-Ups

by John Willacy

In the moderate climate of the UK, paddling and training throughout the winter is reasonably straightforward. That said, the weather can still make things a challenge or on some days downright uncomfortable.

The trick to paddling through the winter is to get warm and stay warm; training performance will be enhanced and the whole affair can be more appealing. It’s so obvious, eh?

Effective Training

by John Willacy

Time is precious; none of us have enough of it. Training time eats into family life, work commitments, social life, study time and pretty much everything else. The trick is to get the most out of training with the least amount of time committed.

So we need to make training efficient and effective. Train hard, then get off the water and head home to get on with life until the next session. To get the best out of training takes a little reflection and bit of application. So let’s take a look at how to make the most of our training time.

The North Channel

by John Willacy

Going back a few years, I took part in the Hebridean Challenge.  At the end of a tiring but rewarding day I found myself sat on a beach with Bennie.  Bennie was a fellow competitor and we were discussing canoeing tales of past and future, as well as his rather strange tent with no poles.  Bennie regaled me with details of his trips across the North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland; it all sounded impressive and rather intriguing… could I paddle that far? Bennie made it sound like an (almost) everyday occurrence, though it sounded an unfeasibly long way to me…

Core Boat Sessions

by John Willacy

A regular question goes along the lines of ‘What sort of training should I do?’ Tricky… it takes you into the ‘how long is a piece of string?’ sort of area. So here are a few ideas of Framework Sessions that all sorts of training and sessions, at all levels, can be built upon.

Time Trials — Pull Hard or Go Home

by John Willacy

Performance Sea Kayaking demands a range of skills – across a wide spectrum of technical, physical and psychological abilities. The training toolbox of a Performance Sea Kayaker is usually pretty large, and composed of many different strategies, techniques and sessions. For this paddling discipline we need to work the range of physical systems, using a gamut of sessions to do this: Speed-Work, Speed-Endurance, Lactic, and of course Aerobic sessions. PSK requires it all.

Time to Ponder

by John Willacy

It has no respect for us, nor allows for our skill or reputation. It doesn’t care a fig that we may have a strong desire to complete our challenge or that we are raising money for a worthy cause. The ocean cares not for a desire to set a record, to make a name, or just ‘because it is there’. We need to be completely frank when we consider our abilities and limits, and we need to understand when we are pushing close to them. Let’s try not to fall for our own hype or worry too much about what others are doing. Pride, ego and a long-term future are not necessarily best buddies in this game…

Irish Sea 1969

by John Willacy

UK Sea kayaking history is littered with adventure and adventurers, not least three young men who set out to make the first crossing by kayak between Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead, back in the summer of 1969…