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Sea Kayak Session #1 Ainsdale – Physical by JG

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Sea Kayak Session #1 Ainsdale – Physical

Tonight, was the first session looking at the physical aspect of sea paddling. These mini write-ups are for all to see what the main points of the evening were about. Four participants joined me at very short notice for a very pleasant evening’s paddling. 

Firstly, we discussed warm-ups, this is an often neglected area of paddling and I have certainly been guilty of not warming up prior to paddling. We discussed frozen chicken and what happens when we get it out and try to bend it in half….it will snap. Yet if we warm it up and defrost it, it will bend and return back to its normal state…muscles can be similar. We only get one body so try and look after it!

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Many warmup structures are available and there is plenty of research out there, so this is not the only option. But we discussed RAMP.

Raise – raise our pulse, this could be the 200m walk to the beach, star jumps, little jogs. Just something to get the blood pumping and moving around our body.

Activate – this is engaging the muscles we will prepare to use during the activity, we did this on the beach and replicated paddle strokes both forwards and backwards.

Mobilise – no stretching, just nice gentle movements, starting with our legs, hips, looking behind us for paddlers we are unable to see, laying out the sand and then sitting up and exploring our range of movement right up to our head. Just to get the body used to moving around.

Potentiate – stressing the muscles, this is where the paddling comes in! Some short bursts of paddling.

Its worth considering some Olympic athletes can spend over an hour warming up, find your balance and what works for you. But look after your body. 

Once paddling we discussed Session Relative Perceived Effort (SRPE). This is an overall score out of ten for the whole session, 1 being sat on the couch watching tv, 10 being I can’t sustain this for longer than 20seconds ish. This can be used to reflect on how hard we have worked and if we think we could push harder next time for a similar session.

RPE could also be used in the moment, if we consider the start of the Hilbre race, how many of us go out of the blocks at 9/10RPE before dropping down to 7RPE only to finish at 4/5RPE. Finding our limits and our comfortable pace we can maintain in a different environment requires practice. Would we have gone faster if we had just stayed at 6RPE the whole way?

As for the paddle, four of us headed out north, generally towards Southport and into wind, we progressed slightly offshore to the calmer water. As we did a front could be seen progressing towards us from the Northeast with some dark clouds, so we returned closer to short and embraced the tailwind and wave return.  It was nice not having to drive 150 miles! Exposure to swell and waves are not a million miles away. 

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