Principles of Training

How to Improve your performance

Our Slalom Coach, Rick Moore has written the following information in order to help our paddlers, get fit, stay fit and generally improve their performance.

Whist we are in Lockdown, it is more important than ever that we give ourselves structure, set objectives and earn rewards, but in truth these guiding principles are true all of the time if you want to improve your performance in whatever you do.

In order to help motivate each other join our WhatsApp Group, Paddle Pal.

Over to you Rick.

Training Principles

3 simple principles will help ensure your training is effective:

  • Train regularly, but do take 1 rest day each week
  • Address specific energy systems each time you train: aerobic, anaerobic or acceleration
  • Track progress, reward yourself


Aerobic Sets

Continuous work duration of at least 20 minutes, eg paddle, run, cycle, row/paddle ergo. Think about good technique throughout (notes on Paddling technique to follow).

Session examples:

A 40 minute run earns you 2 apples (ie 2x 20 minutes), a 60 minute run earns you 3 apples; record your time over a set course, or record your distance run in a set time (use Strava free app) – beat your time/distance next time.

A 20 minute paddle earns you 1 apple.

Anaerobic Sets

Repeated high-intensity efforts for a short time period (30-90 seconds high-intensity work), and rest times less than or equal to work time. 5 repetitions (ie work/rest /work/rest /work/rest /work/rest /work/rest) to complete the set.

Session example: sprint kayak for 60 seconds, stop for 60 secs, sprint again 60 secs, stop 60 secs; repeat til completed 5 sprints. Cumulative work time = 5 minutes, earns you 1 orange.

After 5 minutes rest, repeat the set, earns you a second orange.

Variations: Try 45 seconds work with 15 seconds rest, repeat 8 times – earns 1 orange. Try 60 seconds work with 30 seconds rest, repeat 5 times – earns 1 orange. Keep up the intensity!

Try setting a course of 50-60 seconds duration; note your time for each lap and record it while you rest, start the next lap as your stopwatch passes each minute (so you never have to stop the watch). Aim is to not allow each lap to be slower than the last.

These sessions will make you extremely out of breath, with muscles stiff and burning due to lactic acid. Be sure to keep moving slowly throughout the rest periods to dissipate the lactic acid and aid recovery.

Try it running in the park, as a variation to paddling on the river.

Acceleration Sets

10 seconds of maximum intensity effort from a stationary start. Rest to get your breath back then repeat. Repeat 10 times; earns you one kiwi fruit. Best done kayaking, or running.

Training Plan

Write down at the start of the week what days and times you can train, and what your objective will be for each session, eg if you know you will cycle to school each Monday for 20 minutes, then you will earn an apple there and an apple back (if less than 20 minutes it doesn’t count, so you could deliberately make it a longer ride to earn the fruit!). If you know you will be at the river on a Saturday, plan and write down what your session will include. Aim at earning an equal number of apples, oranges and kiwis each week.

Mixed sessions

If you can’t train every day, you can still do sufficient work on the days you can train to achieve your targets.

For example, start with an aerobic set, to ease you into exercise and get your body properly warm before higher intensity efforts; earns you 1 or 2 apples (20 or 40 minutes). Do one or two acceleration sets to earn yourself a couple of kiwis (takes about 15 minutes). Do the high intensity, short rest, most exhausting anaerobic sets last (20 minutes for 2 sets), earns you 2 oranges. You could finish with another 20 minute aerobic piece (earns you a 3rd apple), total duration of 1 hour 40 minutes would make this a really long training session. Then always stretch before you shower. Then message this Whatsapp group to share how much fruit you earned: 3 apples, 2 kiwis and 2 oranges for that day.


Ideally keep a written log of your training achieved, compared to your training plan. As a minimum, each day message this Whatsapp group with your fruit totals, even if its zero (eg for a rest day, once per week), or maybe 1 apple if all you did was a 20 minute cycle. I will add up a weekly total for each participant and for the sum of all participants – we can then start to set ourselves weekly targets as individuals and as a team. Eg aim to earn yourself 4 apples, 4 oranges and 4 kiwis this week, then 5 of each next week. Reward yourself by buying the fruit on the weekly supermarket shop and eating it (rewarding yourself with chocolate or crisps would reverse the gains made!).

To track your own fitness, record in your training log your resting pulse each morning before you get up: find your pulse in your wrist or neck, count how many beats in 1 minute, write it down. Over a few days it may be a bit higher or a bit lower each day; just record what you count each day, same time of day, while resting. Over a few months, your average pulse should get lower if you are getting fitter.

To improve your own general fitness, ie to become fit enough to train hard, adopt a daily routine of simple exercises before breakfast or before dinner each day, eg 20 pressups, 20 burpees, 20 crunches, stretch your hamstrings. Takes 3 minutes; makes a huge difference.


Rick, 4th Jan 2021

Get active, let us have your pictures of what you are doing so you can be an inspiration to help motivate other people. Project 21, #teamthesharks.