As we prepare for the One Drop Caicos Adventure in June 2017, we are doing a ton of training. These training diaries are stories from the field and things I have learned from my time in training.
I sometimes get asked, “What do you think about for all those hours you are training?”
Between now and when I take off for Turks and Caicos, I will spend roughly two hundred hours staring at the bottom of a pool, or the cliffs on the side of the lagoon where I paddle, or the road that stretches out before me on my bike. At times that will be four or five hours alone with my thoughts.
Most of the time, there are two things that I think about: the details of my adventure and maintaining good form.
I love to think about how amazing it will be to glide along the crystal blue waters as I search for sharks and rays below. Or how satisfied I will feel as I lay down under the stars to go to sleep that first night after paddling twenty-five miles in another country.
Or how totally worked I will feel when we are finished and have one extra day to lay in the sun and recover from 120 miles in four days.
The other thing I think about is good form. When I began training for my 100-mile paddle in 2015, I knew that in endurance sports one of the biggest dangers is overuse injuries. Because we are doing the same movement over and over for sometimes hundreds of hours, the muscles and ligaments in our bodies can get overworked and not be able to repair themselves.
But good form can often prevent these injuries. Usually good form means that the stress of paddling or pulling myself through the water while swimming will be placed on bigger muscles that can handle the load. With paddling that means paddling with your core instead of with your shoulders.
This couldn’t be more apparent than on day two of my Intracoastal Waterway paddle. I had spent a good deal of my time training focusing on correct paddle form, but I hadn’t done a good enough job in relaying that information to my teammates.
So on day two, the girls who had been paddling with their arms were sore and hurting. Those of us paddling using mostly our core muscles felt a little tired, but ready to take on the day. And things only got worse as the days passed.
This year, I am trying to remedy that problem by spending more time talking about form with the team. We are studying videos, doing form drills, and I am sounding like a broken record when it comes to the importance of good form. But I know it will all pay off when on day two, we are all strong and feeling good enough to conquer the second half of our fifty-mile paddle.