32 Minutes: 32 miles
High Intensity Training to Paddle 32 Miles
Physiologically, to hold threshold pace for 32 miles a paddler needs a high level of stamina. Sports science experts have varying opinions on how best to achieve the highest level of endurance to compete for 3 – 8 hours. But they all agree that it must be done in shorter intervals at intensities above and below what will be experienced in the 32-mile effort.
So, to break down a 32-mile race into shorter intervals and find a Training Intensity above and below your 32-mile pace, really isn’t that difficult. For example, if a paddler can hold 10-minute miles in training for one mile, then how does that paddler build the stamina to hold 10-minute miles for 32 miles? You design an interval training plan that progressively increases total work tome per session above 10-mile pace, while adding training volume in the aerobic intensity zones at approximately 70 – 80%.
These high intensity intervals are known as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Short intervals done at 103 – 105% above your threshold pace (1 hour pace). HIIT intervals can be broken into 2 types – short or long. They should be done throughout the whole preparation of the 32-mile paddle.
In the early preparation, we would do the short type HIIT intervals e.g. 30 sec on and 30 sec easy and add repetitions to increase the volume until improved conditioning. Then extend to the long type HIIT intervals e.g.2-4 minute/ 2 minute easy. The HIIT session, combined with the aerobic intervals, gives the paddler the training volume to increase muscle endurance to paddle longer distances than covered during these interval training sessions.
Most paddlers put all their emphasis into paddling distance and not intensity and are reduced to a slow slog after just a few miles. As you build total work time above your threshold paddling pace in your HIIT session to 32 minutes in your season, you will have peaked your endurance then in your distance session you will have the stamina to hold your best mile pace for 32 miles.
Remember that it’s uncomfortable to hold pace for 1 hour, so to achieve improvements in 1 hour pace/32-mile pace, the training intensity is heavy to severe for each HIIT session, to gain maximum benefits.
In summary, you need to build up to a total work time of 10 – 32 minutes of HIIT within your weekly interval training session, which will make up 20 -30 % of your volume. During seasonal training, you must also have a high volume of Aerobic threshold intervals which will make up the remaining 70% to 80% of training volume within your weekly Training Plan.