By Robert Norman
Greetings again readers! I’m Robert Norman, SUP paddler from Florida and today we will be delving into my training and supplies for the 24 hour Guinness World Record attempt on Feb 10th-Feb 11th at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota. The current number to beat to be put into the Men’s record is 99.4Mi or 160KM. My current training is suggesting a number closer to 120 miles or 193KM. Click here to see what equipment I will be using!
In the world of SUP, ultra-endurance paddlers (anything over 8 hours) are far and few. Getting enough quality information for training and preparation for an endeavor like this is very difficult. Ultimately I have had to turn to other sports to competently piece together a game plan. Ultra-marathon runners are equally niche, but they seem to have numbers in the low thousands of participants in races of 50, 75, 100, and 200 miles; where SUP has numbers in the 50-100 range for many endeavors passing 50 miles. Ultra-marathon events have more research studies, more personal testimonials from individuals and structured endurance training documented, and this is how I’ve pieced together most of my strategizing.
Races in the realm of 1-2 hours are an entirely different beast. You’re focusing on a very high intensity threshold for as long as possible, and all of your energy used for the race are already in your system. For races beyond 3 and 4 hours, your body starts to run out of stored energy (carbo-loading) and you need to “refuel” yourself during the event adequately enough so you don’t crash. Many accounts of ultra-endurance athletes failing to finish a course, typically arise from poor nutrition DURING the event, rather than physically being unprepared. Not dialing in exactly what you are going to intake and when is a recipe for disaster (which I will cover next issue.)
6, 9 and 12 hours
Keeping that in mind, when training for the event and starting to branch out into those very long distance workouts, half of the battle is making sure you are fueling yourself, one quarter of it is conserving energy, and the last quarter is mentally fighting fatigue. Structuring long distance workouts became the next difficult task, how do you approach training for a 24 hour event? I took some advice from the (current) 24 hour kayak record holder Carter Johnson on how to approach these workouts. I eventually decided to approach the long distance workouts as 6, 9 and 12 hours.
Typically a 6 hour workout is to gauge your overall long distance strength, so you typically want to go faster than your 24 hour pace, or have some disadvantage (heavier paddle, slower board) and maintain your 24 hour pace.
In the 9 hour window you want to shift focus from working beyond the 24 hour pace and focus more on making sure you are adequately hydrating and eating at the correct intervals.
Finally the 12 hour stretch is to dial in how your body feels going into the halfway point. This is really the way to decide what exactly your pace is going to be for 24 hours. At 12 hours if you are keeping up with fueling and not falling off because of a lack of food, but because you physically are reaching your threshold… then your pace is too fast and you need to reconsider your overall speed. At the 12 hour mark you should still feel “fresh.” Fresh meaning, minimal blisters, sufficient leg strength, and nothing going from sore to hurt.
And short workouts!
On top of these long haul workouts which I’ve put together every 1-2 weeks, I typically still have short, intensive workouts. This is the time to train your heart and muscles in a more efficient manner and really make increases physically. The long haul workouts are more about seeing HOW strong you are, rather than making you stronger. Usually I’ll have 1 hour for the workout, but the intervals may only be 2-5 minutes long for multiple sets. Heart rate level and muscle fatigue reach the absolute limit in a short amount of time. Interestingly enough, in my opinion having a workout that is 6 hours /30 miles / 48.2km long is easier for me than doing 8 sets of 5 minutes at full exertion with rest between. One I am working well within my limitations and the other one is pushing my body to the limit.