So what training does 15 year old Men’s Paddle Board Marathon Champion Connor Baxter do that’s different from his older more experienced competitors?

Connor Baxter put’s it this way: “First, hit the water harder and faster than you ever have, faster workouts that many marathoner do only when coming upto the race. Then, it’s time to refine your paddling while keeping your mileage up, with lots of paddling at paddleboard marathon pace.” What Connor is doing, is 180 degrees of difference he has reversed the pyramid most paddleboard marathoners have traditionally thought of for designing their training schedules.

I’ve been stepping up my training schedule recently and seeing what the runners had to say and comparing it to some of the trends in paddleboarding. Culpepper who prepared for the U.S. Olympic Trials, prepared in a very similar way, here’s what he had to say about it “The benefit of this approach is that you get your body as fit as you can first, then you get as efficient as you can, “he also goes on to say “In the three weeks before the race, it’s hard to get much fitter–you make only small improvements–but you can get your body used to working within a certain zone that improves how efficiently your body burns fuel in the race.”

Straight up, David MartinExercise physiologist David Martin, Ph.D., gives an awesome metaphor for this “This approach makes you very strong, so that a submaximal effort like marathon pace feels easy. Think about when you shake a weightlifter’s hand. It hurts like hell to you, but because he’s so strong from harder efforts, he doesn’t realize how much force he’s using.”

To implement this approach at an upcoming paddleboard marathon, check out the following 12-week schedule Connor Baxter developed in consultation with his team of trainers in Hawaii. It’s exactly the sort of training program used successfully by top names in marathon running, and will produce the results you need to win wether you’re a beginner or expert you’ll be able to take something away from this.

A Few Things You Should Look At If Your Ready to Bring Your Marathon Pace Up and You Should Know Before Clicking Over to Page 3

How to Use This Schedule: This program culminates with your paddleboard marathon at the end of the 12th week. For every week, it lists the two essential workouts to do, try not to do them back to back days you need to have some down time in between. Listen to your body and find your rhythm Hard, Medium, Easy is Connor’s and for me I’ve been going Hard, Easy, Medium days respectively.

The Schedule Looks Like it Does Because: This schedule doesn’t list every paddle for the week; rather, just the two essential workouts. Some of you will want to sprinkle in easy or medium paddless on the other five days; others will only do two other paddles and a day at the gym. That’s up to you. Most people do longpaddles on weekends, but if you’ll have more time and peak energy on, say, Tuesdays, do them then.

The schedule also puts everything in terms of weekly mileage related to percentage of peak. I’ll break this down, if you plan to max out at 40 miles or so a week, match that figure with the percentages in the very first column of the schedule to see how much to paddle that week 40 miles in week 10, 20 miles in the last six days coming upto the marathon.

Before Starting On This Ultimate Paddleboard Training Schedule: You need to be out there paddling a weekly mileage around 20 to 30 before starting. Take the first week of this training schedule seriously and if you feel horribly fatigued or have acute soreness in a particular spot after the first week, this your body telling you that you’re not ready. That’s alright don’t get discourage back off and build up your mileage a bit more. This program will be especially effective if you’ve recently been paddling short races.

Grab your watch and start timing yourself today.

The Base of Your Workout Will Be: Steady long paddles: This schedule generally alternates between two types of long paddles on the flattest water you can find if you’re on the ocean or will be racing on it of course train there but we are going for consistency here. With the first, the steady long paddle, the bulk of it is 10 percent slower than your current marathon pace. So, if your marathon pace is 1o:00 per mile, you would do most of this long paddle at 11:00 minute pace (10:00= 600 seconds; 10% of 600=60; pace for this paddle=marathon pace (600) + 10% (60)=660 seconds per mile, or 11:00). Use the first few miles of these long paddless to get your muscles warmed up, then try to spend the rest of the paddle at your marathon pace + 10%. You’re the only person out there so keep an honest pace on these long paddles will increase your fuel-burning efficiency, but it shouldn’t be so intense that it’ll put you down for the rest of the week.

The Next Level of Your Workout Will Be: Evolution Long Paddles: The second type of long paddle you’ll be doing is a progression long paddle, in which you paddle the bulk of it at your normal training pace. With 45 minutes to go, pick up the pace so that your last 30 minutes is: Ten minutes at marathon pace (M.P.) + 30 seconds per mile (about half of what you calculated above); then 10 minutes at M.P. plus 10 seconds per mile; and the final 10 minutes at your M.P.

Where to paddle: When possible, do your paddles on terrain that mimics that of your marathon. But, at the beginning try to get on a consistent surface so you can calibrate your training schedule from the get go and make sure you are hitting your timing results.

Recovery periods: I’ll be doing an awesome post on this with Nikki Gregg next week make sure to check back next week or sign up for our mailing list drop me a message at

But for right now how fast you paddle between sessions of evolution long paddle or steady long paddles is key to this program’s effectiveness. The pace of your recovery paddling should be a steady training pace. If this hardly seems like a recovery, remember that your marathon pace shouldn’t feel so hard that you need drastic amounts of recovery after just a few of the 26.2 miles of it. Your marathon pace should stay fairly static and only your recovery pace should increase to meet it. The longer you work at paddleboard marathon pace with short rest, the more prepared you’ll be to hold that pace for 26.2 miles.

Rowing: The most basic element is the hardest to master and for some the most difficult to get themselves to focus on. Plan to do 15 X 100-meter pickups after at least one of your easy paddles each week. These short bursts of rowing will help you to control your paddle with better form at all paces. To do a stride, accelerate to near full speed while staying as relaxed as possible. Take as much rest between strokes as you need to padle the next one with good form.

The rest of the week: Again, fill in the rest of the week with easy paddles, Connor is utilizing the very sweet downwinders in his backyard of Maui. As your hard days get harder and increasingly focused on sustaining marathon pace, the pace on your easy days should get easier. One trick some marathon paddlers use to ensure that they’re absolutely recovering on their easy days is to wear a heart-rate monitor and not go above 70 percent of your maximum heart rate on your easy paddles.

We’re trying to keep this schedule as simple as possible, so, grab a pen and paper and start making notes forget technology for a while, do this Rocky 1 style…you know before he got a robot butler.

As we promised here’s the Paddle Marathon Schedule and suggested Pacing Guidelines

MP = marathon pace, the per-mile pace you hope to paddle in the marathon. In these workouts (and in the marathon), paddle as close as possible to this pace for each mile (rather than, for example, paddlening one mile 10 seconds faster than MP, the next 10 seconds slower than MP, and then saying that you averaged MP).

Story Source Starboard SUP