Is there really such a thing as off season? Debatable. Wintertime can be filled with lots of fun activities, including running, lifting, skiing, swimming and dreaming. Personally, I also love to think about how to best train for an event, and fitting it all in around a busy work and personal schedule.
One such event is the General Clinton 70 miler. What is the best way to train for it, in conjunction with other spring races? What if you also compete in other sports at the same time? It is always tough to figure out which events/sports to focus on throughout the year, which is why settling on a partner early and also clearly defining your goals, matter.
For example, maybe you like to run and want to do a half marathon. Here is a classic Hal Higdon 12 week training program. As you can see, the duration and intensity of the workouts build over the course of the 12 weeks, starting at 3-5 mile runs, with a speed workout mixed in. Weeks 10 and 11 peak at 3-12 miles with a 10x400m speed day and a 45 minute tempo run. Simple, right? Yes! But now we also want to race the Clinton. Now lets apply the same theory but to paddling.
I always recommend putting in 15-20 easy hours on the water before starting higher speed, intensity or duration paddles. This is especially useful to prevent injuries, and also a good time to focus on technique and building up a solid base. The concept it simple, start with shorter/easier paddles and then build it over the coming weeks.
Week 1 we have a 30 minute tempo run. I define "tempo" as zone 4 heart rate, where you are going comfortably hard, but easier than race pace. Speed means intervals, all out! Personally I like to mix them up from week to week, doing various lengths/times/structures like ladder, pyramid, flat, etc. Fast means go fast! Simulate race pace with a long enough rest in between to recover and repeat the same pace again. Friday is rest day, Mondays can be too, but personally I opt to do yoga, gym, or other fun group workouts. Weekends are saved for long paddles. In this program we peak at about 7 hours, given the length of the race we are training for. I also recommend building in a couple "deload" weeks, usually around weeks 5 and 9. If you are doing a few shorter warm up races, the week leading up is the perfect opportunity to deload and recover before hand. Oh, I almost forgot about Medley. These are fun paddles where you get to choose what pace to go at. Go hard for 5 minutes, easy for 15, hard for another 5, ride a wake, talk, sprint for wires! Mix it up.
Now how do we put all this paddling and running together? Great question! For most people that largely depends on how busy your personal life and work life is as well. None of us are true "professionals" and able to solely live to train, as much as we wish we could! :) Doing double or triple workouts on the same day is sometimes not possible, or wise, so the fun comes in figuring out how to structure both programs to complement each other, while maximizing efficiency and not over doing it.