Sprint Race Simulation Training: 6 x 100 second runs on Class 2-3 water.
The goal of this workout is to try re-create some of the conditions that you experience in a race situation. By habituating to the stressors in this type of training, a paddlers performnace willbecome more robust and variability will be reduced. In other words the paddler will start, with the appropriate feedback, to be able to perform consistently under race conditions.
Objective: To familiarise the athlete with race conditions and to provide a dress-rehearsal for competition. Preparation is the key to a successful workout and going through a thorough warm-up and performance routine is vital if these are to be used on race-day. Thus, process, performance and outcome goals should be set. For example, the following are possible goals:
Process: do full-warm up, mental rehearsal of course & stick to routine.
Performance: first and second runs to be at similiar pace and stick to the fast line.
Outcome: Be fastest kayak and 5% ahead of your rival.
Warm-up: 10 minutes progressive aerobic pace with 3-4 accelerations. Include edging at different angles and full range of motion in stroke.
Mental Preparation: View the course and plan route with particular goal for different sections of the rapids. Attempt several mental rehearsals of the course (break course into sections if necessary) and time them. You can compare them later with the running time.
Cues: Note the variance between planned line and route taken, changes in stroke rate, smoothness in start phase and ability to recover from errors. Did the paddler accelerate at the appropriate time? Did they judge the pace of the run adequetely?
Type of Feedback: Avoid useing the stopwatch as the only form of feedback. Ask to paddler to recall the feeling of their boat glide in key points of difficulty on the course. Get them to focus on self-evaluation and even engage in imagery to talk-through their run. Pointing out changes in stroke rate and their pacing may be particularly relevant.
Process: Facilitate planning of route but try let the paddler "see" the route for themselves. After each run provide time for the paddler to assimilate their experience of their performance. When they are ready offer the relevant feedback. Athletes can do further runs on the course to add to the volume of the session but just two will do for simulation. Additional runs may be split (e.g., halves) or involve other boats (e.g., team race).
Cool-down: Ensure adequate cool to clear lactic acid and facilitate time for reflection.
Outcomes: Athletes can learn from one run to another, and are in a position to evaluate their mental and physical preparation (does it enable them to perform optimally?) after this workout. A great sense of achievement can be developed by emphasising the multiple goals that were attained.
See here for a season long plan for wildwater-racing.
Relevant links: imagery goalsetting, video of white-water racing.