When I first began paddling in 2003, there was very little technology to work with as a measure of efficiency and performance. Coaches worked on stopwatches set to alarm every 60 seconds so that you knew where you were in your interval. Regular routes in similar conditions, combined with said stopwatch habits, helped to gauge on-the-day performance.
Then there were the heart-rate zone athletes, these guys can monitor and manage their training based purely on their heart rate feedback, they were usually more mature and had a good understanding of their athletic abilities already. I imagine that it is similar with other sports.
It always fascinated me how marathon runners can pace themselves so well in training. It’s common to “go by how you feel”, but how does that work out when you’re having an off day and need to push through it?
The first speed-gauging devices I saw in paddling were hijacked from other sports. I remember a little propeller and monitor kit, I imagine that came from sailing or windsurfing. Sports GPS made a massive impact on paddling. Apart from being able to gauge how far you were training, you could now also monitor your speed in real-time. This was not only particularly handy when following a predetermined training session in a group, but also allowed you to make sure you don’t slack off when training on your own.
Just as there are thousands who learned to train and race without even a stopwatch, there is a generation of paddlers who are dependent on a GPS for training purposes. We all use them, and on the odd occasion that it is left behind, we set into a mild panic, almost to the point where we might as well just go home. Downwind course record claims are ignored if not available to be ratified by a GPS track these days. In a way it’s a little disappointing, why should we depend on technology to be able to do something as simple as paddle or run? Therein lies the answer: We should really maximise these gadgets to their full potential, being aware of course of the “paralysis by analysis” syndrome…. READ MORE: Issue 5 of 2018: https://issuu.com/thepaddlemag/docs/tpm_5_2018