This is by far the longest race I have ever considered competing in, and training for such a huge distance is not easy.
So what needs to happen?! In short we need to be aerobically and anaerobically in good shape. We need to be physically strong and as supple as possible.
So, we have worked out that in the 1000 mile distance each of us will do almost 1,000,000 paddle strokes and, as you can imagine, your body needs preparation to be ready for this! However because I have been kayaking for over 20 years my body is pretty used to it, so I have a very strong foundation to build on. My training will include short sprints and long paddles (2 hours and more), gym work, swimming and running.
Food: Nutrition is probably the most important factor to get right. I have to treat my body like an engine and I need to keep plenty of fuel going in so that I can keep going. The right fuel is key! Over my life I have figured out in a general sense what seems to work well for me, usually lots of carbs and fats! Over the next few months of training I will have to get used to eating way more than I’m used to. In the past I have always struggled to eat effectively whilst moving, my solution is to try and take in as many calories as I can through liquid.
Mentality: This is where the race is won or lost!
It doesn’t matter how fit you are or how well fuelled you are; you are going to have moments during the race where you wish you are literally anywhere else. This is totally expected; especially during an 10 day paddle! It is a struggle that will be individual to every individual. Throughout my life as an expedition kayaker I have been able to find different ways and means of dealing with hardship for myself; I plan to share these with you as the race gets closer and as my ideas develop for the Yukon!!!
I hope you enjoyed the post and please check back next week for another update :)
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Colin Wong, co-director of Emerald Outdoors, is setting out on a journey with team mate Jim Kennedy to be the first Irish team to complete the longest kayak race in the world.
About the Yukon 1000
The Yukon 1000 is a 1000 mile kayak race down the Yukon river from Canada into Alaska. The competitors race for up to 18 hours a day and are expected to be completely self sufficient as they navigate the wilderness during the race. You can find out more on the Yukon 1000 website.