When it comes to training, the key is to find what works best for you. Whetherpreparing for a short-distance race or an endurance paddle, we focus on strengthening our bodies. As important as technique is, we believe physical and mental toughness is even more important. In preparing for our current channel-crossing adventure, Destination 3 Degrees, we worked on making our bodies capable of paddling eight to 20 hours at a time. These are our top five training tips for a paddling expedition.
1. Paddle: Time on the water is invaluable. We can easily mimic the stand-up paddling stroke in the gym, but what's the point? We would rather get out and experience the realthing! The ocean’s conditions are always changing, and we never know what to expect, so the more comfortable we are in a variety of elements, the better off we will be.
2. Balance, Balance, Balance: Stand-up paddling revolves around balance. The better your balance, the less likely you'll fall. And in a race, falling can be the difference between first and second place. To improve our balance, we work with Bosu and Swiss balls and focus on core strength and stability exercises. One of our favoriteexercises is to stand on one leg with eyes closed and then lean over and touch the ground.
3. Cross Train: As important as time on the water is, we are also big believers in cross training. Stand-up paddling involves using all of your body, so it is essential to be strong from head to toe, and, trust us, those toes do a lot of work! In trainingfor this adventure, we put a lot of time in at the gym. In addition to paddling threetimes per week, we put in three to five hours on the bike and three to five hours of strength training. The bike is not only a great cardio tool, it is also an easy way tostrengthen your lower body. And for those toes, soft-sand running isthe best workout, and it's a great strength-training exercise to do outside if you don't like the gym. You can check out Surf Stronger for surf- and paddle-specific strength and conditioning workouts that can be done anywhere. Let's face it, one-legged squats are a lot more enjoyable when you're doing them outside, next to the ocean.
4. Rest: Taking a day off from training is often difficult, but it is crucial.Giving the body a break and time to heal is a vital part of getting stronger. Last year, Jenny trained hard for a race, and a few weeks before the big day, she started to have shoulder problems. She was worried that not being able to train would put her at a disadvantage, but she listened to her doctor's orders and rested for the remaining time. On race day, she felt strong and rested and ended up winning. Looking back, she really believes she would have had a different outcome had she not given her body a break. Bottom line: Resting is just as important as training.
5. Have Fun: If you don't enjoy what you're doing, you're not going to stick to your schedule. Wedon't always feel like going on a five-hour training paddle, but if we can get a few friends to come along, it makes the process much more enjoyable. Find what you like to do and what works best for you. Whether you prefer to spend all your time on the water or the majority of your time in the gym, get out and do what you love. And don't forget to smile!
--Morgan Hoesterey and Jenny Kalmbach
Morgan Hoesterey and Jenny Kalmbach launched Destination 3 Degrees, a stand-up paddleboarding expedition, from the Big Island of Hawaii on April 7, 2010. It's an adventure that will take them through the Hawaiian islands, across three degrees of latitude, over 200 nautical miles, and acrossnine legendary open-ocean channels. Their goal is to raise awareness and funds for the Algalita Marine Research Foundation,which works to identify and understand the impact of plasticscontamination in our oceans and on marine life and the human food chain.
Top and middle photos by Joseph Libby; bottom photo by Chris Aguilar