When it comes to training, there are a lot of voices competing for your attention: fitness magazines, quick fix books and, regrettably, that guy in your office that prefers the Ron Burgundy “gun show” workout. But for SUP-specific training, who better to consult about on-the-water fitness than Danny Ching? The 29-year-old has been paddling his entire life and excels in many disciplines, winning titles in outrigger paddling, Olympic sprint kayaking and surf ski racing.
Fresh off his win at the Paddle Royal event in Puerto Rico, we caught up with Ching to get his advice on intervals. He competes in everything from sprints to three-milers to long ocean races, so his on-the-water prep is designed to challenge all his body’s energy systems. The following program might not give you Ching’s freaky athletic genes, but it will boost your anaerobic capacity, improve your body’s ability to use fuel and oxygen and enhance your paddling performance over any distance, whether you’re a competitive SUP athlete, a newbie or somewhere in between. —Phil White
Danny’s Workout Notes:
1. Don’t perform more than two interval workouts per week, with a max of two additional, non-interval workouts.
2. Listen to your body. It’s easy to go out super hard on the first set and suffer in the next one – the old ‘fly and die.’ Instead, set a pace you think you can hold for all of the sets, and then go harder on the last set if you’ve got something left. The next time, look to improve your performance. Compete against yourself.
3. Eat and sleep enough. You’ve got to be able to recover from hard interval sessions. Your body gets stronger from rest.
4. Maintain proper form. Even though your stroke rate will be higher during intervals, and particularly the shorter, most intense workouts, you should still go for the maximum reach with which you can be powerful on each and every stroke.
5. Be mindful of your technique, particularly on longer pieces. This is a good opportunity to iron out any inefficiency, which you may not notice during the shorter intervals.
6. Cross-train on off days and go on longer, slower paddles that get you moving but don’t over-stress your body while it’s still recovering from the intervals.
Workout 1: Top End Speed
Duration: Mix it up between 30-second, 45-second and 1-minute intervals
Rest: Double your work time
Number of sets: As many as you can do without hurting yourself or your technique falling apart
Intensity: 85 to 95%
Workout 2: Speed Endurance
Duration: 5-10 minutes
Rest: 1 to 2 minutes
Number of sets: Make your total workout time 45 minutes +; Ching goes for up to 90 minutes total, but you can build up to this.
Intensity: 75 to 85%
Workout 3: Building your Base
Duration: 10-20 minutes
Rest: 3 to 5 minutes
Number of sets: Up to 1 hour total workout time.
Intensity: 65 to 75%
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