James River Rundown 2016

Yesterday I registered for the James River Rundown, an epic kayak and canoe race in Central Virginia now in its third year.  The James River Rundown began as a two-day 100 mile paddling race in 2014 with all proceeds supporting the James River Association.  For 2016 they’ve added a challenging 140-Mile race in addition the the classic 100-Mile Rundown and the  20 Mile Rundown.

The race will be held June 11-12, 2016, and I entered the 100-mile race in the Elite division.  This will be the longest single day kayak trip and my longest kayak race ever attempted.

If you recall, I raced in this race last year when they had a 40-mile race option and ended up coming in first place.  That was my way of testing the waters, so to speak, to see if I might be ready for the 100-mile race in 2016.

Well, it is 2016 and I’m going for it!

The weird thing is, I’ve been hitting the gym and lifting heavy for the past few months, trying to pack on a few pounds of lean muscle while also trying to gain some strength and the training plan I created for myself has me continuing to lift heavy and eat at a caloric surplus through the end of February and then start eating at maintenance or just below through March and April while lifting moderate weights and rep ranges to try to lean down while not losing too much muscle and strength.

But now I find myself in a sort of mental no man’s land where I want to stick to the plan but feel the urge to jump the gun and start backing off the weights and ramping up the cardio to get in top paddling shape for the Rundown.

I hopped on my basement kayak ergometer after work and planned to put in 30 minutes of paddling (the local water is frozen,) but my shoulders are a little too sore from lifting moderately heavy at high volume yesterday to paddle that long so I hopped over to my gym after 5 minutes and put in 30 minutes on the Concept II rowing ergometer, then did some leg presses with calf raises and then three sets of 10 back squats with 85 pounds on the bar.

6300 meters with high intensity intervals on the Concept 2 rowing ergometer

I’m exciting to start training hard for paddling season and will keep you posted on how my training changes now as the seasons change and my fitness goals change.  I’m going to back off any and all overhead work that stresses the shoulders like wide grip lat pulldowns and focus on moderate to maybe even light weights at moderate to light rep ranges while ramping up the cardio with a primary focus on paddling and working on my stroke technique.

Maybe it is time to read the excellent book,  The Kayak Coaches’ Manifesto, one more time.


As soon as the temperatures rise and my local water thaws I’ll be hitting it hard on the water.



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