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First step in training for 2008

by Doug Ritchie
Vice Chairman USA Wildwater

July 5, 2007

After considerable discussion with various national coaches, here is what I think you need to do first.

  1. You need a base of time trials so we have a gauge to use to measure your improvement. I need you to set up 500 meter, and 1,000 meter distances. If you have a GPS you can simply find a lake and go out and warm up and do a bunch of time trials with lots of rest. The idea is to amass a data base over about two weeks of your times on various distances.
  2. Along with the 500 and 1000 you need at least two longer time trials. 2,250 and 3,375. They don't have to be exactly that long but that is pretty much what you get if you do a "down and back" on the 1,000 meter course. You need time trials set up that take roughly 12 minutes and 17 minutes respectively.
  3. Ideally you should have a 10,000 meter distance as well. Tom Weir simply uses his GPS monitor. He does not have a course marked off on the lake he trains on. When he is doing time trials he just uses his GPS.

So the thing you should do is try to get out and do lots of time trials at various distances to create a data base that we will use as a bench mark to monitor how your training is going. You have to do the time trials a lot! Meaning if you were to go out and do 500 meter times, you not only need to do 4 or 5 of them, but in a few days you need to do that same set again. Then in a few more days come back and do it yet again. This way you will have done the 500 meters maybe 16 times over a period of about 10 days. Every other day you should go out and do a time trial of one of the distances. The whole process takes about two weeks and when you are done you have a really good idea of what your 500, 1,000, 2,250 (12 minute) 3,350 (16 minute) and 10K times are. Again, if you prefer to use a point to point time trial, like from a bridge to another bridge and it happens to be 25 minutes GREAT! What matters is not the distance so much but the repeatability of it. The European coaches I spoke with suggest doing a number of time trials and doing each one a number of times so that you will have a very clear idea what your actual speed is.

Then in about 90 days we will repeat the process.

Best, Doug

Email me at if you have any questions.