As a paddle coach, one of the most frequent questions I answer is, “how do I go faster or farther?”
Typically working on stroke technique is the first step in improving both. For these purposes, we will assume you have worked with a SUP instructor to improve your technique, and that you have selected a fast hull, such as the Three Brothers Boards Irish Twin or Racer.
In order to maximize the potential speed of the SUP, we must increase the speed of the paddler. As in many sports, practice makes perfect. But we don’t all have the hours we’d like to be able to invest in training, so we must look to get the most out of our limited training time.
The short story here is to increase your SUP speed, you need to efficiently increase your own ability to process oxygen; essentially increase your VO2 Max through specific short duration intervals. These intervals are designed to increase your ability to process oxygen and also to increase the time it takes for lactic acid to build up in your muscles.
At your favorite paddle spot, set up a plan to paddle for 30 minutes, preferably in constant conditions that are calm, if possible.
For the first 5 minutes, paddle at a moderate pace that is 50% – 60% of your max.
In minutes 5- 10, you will vary between your maximum speed and your moderate pace in 1 minute intervals for 5 rounds.
For minutes 10- 15, drop back to your moderate pace and recover.
Minutes 15-30 are where you will increase your lactate threshold. Paddle at your maximum for minutes 15- 20, recover for 3 minutes, and go all out again for minutes 23- 28.
At the 28 minute mark, drop down to a cool down pace.
If you can perform this routine twice a week, you certainly will increase your SUP speed.