SUP racing is a drug: once you start, it's hard to stop. That first race can send you down a path of racing every weekend, training during the week and basing your whole life around your next competition. While there's nothing wrong with that, it can often lead to burnout. Race season is long, especially in warmer climates, and as the sport continues to grow, there will always be opportunities to get out there and compete. Here are some tips to have a healthy and enjoyable racing season.
Pace yourself. What races do you really want to do? Do you have one that trumps all the others? If you're constantly competing you're going to get fatigued and not be able to race at your full potential. Pick the event(s) you absolutely want to do and put them in a top tier. Then choose some second-tier races that you'll do to prepare for the bigger ones. You can use a third tier as "maybe" races that you can take or leave depending on how you're feeling.
Mix it up. Not only does participating in other sports keep you stoked but it's also crucial cross training and rest time for your body. Activities such as mountain biking, running, climbing, hiking and weight lifting will keep your SUP juices fresh and supporting muscles strong for your next competition.
Paddle with a partner. Having a partner to train with will make you a better paddler, end of story. You will race them to the next buoy, get out of bed for that pre-work interval session and have them to celebrate with when you achieve your goals. Plus, everyone needs someone to brag to.
Rest up. Sleep and rest days are two frequently overlooked elements that can make or break your training schedule. The more you tax your body, the more you need to recover. Yoga, naps, massages and flat-out couch sessions will all help your body recuperate from your last training binge. You earned it!
Fuel up. The longer your race season, the more critical your diet will be. Make sure you get some protein in you within a half-hour of hard workouts, replace electrolytes during long stints on the water and supply your body with the necessary ingredients to perform optimally. These things will help ensure that you're ready to go when the horn blasts on the start line. And of course, you should sneak in a small treat here and there. You burned the calories anyway. -Will Taylor
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