Potential for kayaking to undermine training | Uphill Athlete

Potential for kayaking to undermine training

  • Creator
  • #46579

    Hey folks, this is maybe a slightly off-piste question but I’m wondering about the capacity for hard whitewater kayaking to undermine the training of my aerobic base.

    For the last two years I’ve been mostly training for wilderness races with landscape crossing and mountainous traverse objectives as personal goals. Those interests brought me to whitewater paddling, and my objectives have shifted towards trips that combine difficult mountain traverses with hard whitewater.

    My sense is that training for these objectives is similar to training for a technical alpine climb in that it combines the need for a strong aerobic base with the need for well-trained strength and technical skill in the upper body and core. The difference as I see it is that in hard whitewater it’s very difficult to control one’s heart rate, as control in general is often a bit more…fluid than it is in climbing. Certainly when things go a bit sideways you tend to need to exert yourself REALLY hard, often to near max HR, and often while holding your breath for an extended period. Can’t just fall and hang on the rope until the heart rate comes back down. And it’s very difficult to train for hard whitewater without running the stuff.

    So the question is this: do I have any hope of improving my aerobic base if I can devote 10ish hours/week to that training but I’m also paddling twice a week and those sessions include several 15-30 second bursts of Z4 effort? Or will those efforts undermine the improvement of my base?

  • Participant
    WillB on #46608

    Wore my HR monitor on the water today and it was worse than I thought- in a 3 hour session I spent an hour and 15 in Z3 and 15 minutes in Z4. It was an unusually intense session, playboating rather than river running. But still worrying for my base.

    Anonymous on #46614


    You’re probably in luck. High intensity upper body training is not going to have a negative effect on lower body aerobic base. It will give you a global fatigue however so appropriate rest will be in order.


    WillB on #46618

    Wow, I didn’t realize that, thanks for the response.

    Just for my understanding of the principle, that means that the mitochondrial changes produced by high intensities are localized to the muscles?

    Anonymous on #46640

    Correct! To a very great extent, only the fibers that are recruited see the training effect.


    WillB on #46696

    Awesome, that’s great to know, thanks

    Anonymous on #47473

    @will-blum5: It may be helpful to compare this to biathlon. Different sports will have different demands, thresholds need to be measured separately, training needs to be done specifically. Metrics that apply to one won’t apply to the other.

    WillB on #47912

    Right, that makes sense, I think it’s even moreso the case than with alpinism.

    Do you have any particular advice for how to put these whitewater sessions into TP? In other words, if I just add them in as usual I’m going to start getting a single-number CTL that reflects the combination of both forms of fitness. But it sounds like they really don’t represent a combined fitness- it’s almost like I need two separate TP interfaces to track fatigue and fitness from each discipline separately. Maybe the crux of this question is really how I should the additive fatigue effect between the two.

    I imagine other folks may be in a similar boat, with some kind of “biathlon” type practice, and not clear on how to manage their load between the two.

    Anonymous on #48052

    You can set up two PMCs in TP and then choose which activity applies to which. Unfortunately, the fatigue metrics won’t be combined (which they should be).

    Reed on #48146

    TrainingPeaks was originally built for triathlon training, and the training stress score (TSS) and other metrics are in part intended to allow for normalizing that type of multisport tracking. It won’t necessarily tell you how fit you are for one vs. the other, but it can help to surface high levels of acute fatigue that might influence your planning. You could also tweak the decay rate of calculated fatigue if you split the tracking into individual sports – look at the Acute Training Load constant in the performance management chart settings.

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