Friday, June 26, 2015

Sloppy Squares - 8 km grid workout SUP in the ocean

It's common sense that you should rest (not workout) the day before a tough athletic event like a SUP race. But it's less clear what you should do two days before. I asked on the "standupzone" forum what kind of SUP training is recommended for the day before the pre-race rest day and got some interesting replies. (See thread.)

The consensus was to do the same distance or maybe a longer distance than the race, but not at 100% race pace. Since the CGT Summer Race #1 on Sunday will be 6.9 km I figured 8 km would be good to do for the practice. Also, even though the race is going to be in a glassy river, I figured it would be more fun to do the practice in the Gulf of Mexico, which is cleaner with nice swimming and sunset views, plus the added interest of less than perfectly flat water.

The only problem with doing a set distance in the ocean is that there are few landmarks and no paths to follow. If you have a GPS you can meander around randomly until you hit your mileage goal, but I like to be more organized than that. So during lunch at work I sketched out a route on my notepad that looked something like this.

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I was planning to sketch it out on the sand for my training buddies, but I was a couple minutes late to the beach in the evening and they were already on the water. I explained it as best I could on the water and we started off. My goal was to paddle at 8.5 kph, which is a little less than the 9+ kph I'm going to be shooting for in the race. I told the other guys that if I got ahead they should cut corners to keep up. (Usually I'm fastest in this group.) The wind was light but there were some ankle- to knee-high chops coming in from when it was windier earlier in the day. That made it a little trickier to balance and find the right rhythm, but I like those conditions, and my Fanatic Falcon board handles them well. Anyway, I did the whole workout as planned, although most of the rest of the guys got bored or confused or tired and went back to the beach before the end. My own squares weren't all that square, either. (See below.)

 photo 8ksquares_zpsygqvc8nm.jpg

Nevertheless, I thought it was a successful workout challenge. I'm particularly pleased with how the route gives you a chance to navigate at nearly every orientation with respect to whatever the wind and chop might be doing. Riding the bumps on the way back in was the best. :) Hopefully this workout hit the nail on the head and I'll be ready for the race on Sunday.

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