Massive Murray Paddle - Bill's Tips for Training and Preparation for Marathon Paddling
Bill Robinson is a Legend of the Murray - not only has he participated in the Murray Marathon / Massive Murray Paddle for nearly 3 decades, but he has also paddled the Murray solo from Yarrawonga to the Murray Mouth. This is his blog of training and preparation tips for Marathon paddling - opinions expressed herein are his own. Reproduced with permission.
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Welcome to my Blog—I have probably paddled more Murray km than anyone else over the past 25 years, and as a result of a combination of experience and trial and error, I have accumulated quite a few useful tips which I would like to share with the paddling community.
In my opinion I believe nothing beats time in the boat—I suggest a minimum of two reasonably long paddles a week in the period leading up to the event, with an aim to paddle 4–5 times a week in the last 4 weeks leading up to the Marathon.
Food is often a matter of individual choice, but I will give a few basic guidelines and foods that I have found to be useful when marathon paddling.
One of the most common problems encountered by marathon paddlers is blisters on the hands. This is totally preventable. I have paddled 2000 km in 5 weeks on the Murray River and did not have a mark on my hands. Please see image above of hands that did not follow my protocol, resulting in blisters and general discomfort.
If you are in a relay, most people use the CamelBak or similar type of water bladder which is contained in a small back pack and has a tube with a one way valve and mouthpiece which comes to the front. The advantages of this system is that you can jump in to the boat very quickly if you are doing rapid changeovers and it stays with you if you capsize. The disadvantages are that they can chafe and rub and also that you are carrying extra weight on your back.
Though toilet breaks are not usually a topic for polite conversation they can be a major source of discomfort for some paddlers.
Tendonitis can occur at the wrist of your feathering hand. It causes swelling and pain and sometimes you can even hear a noise as you flex your wrist. It is more frequent when we paddle in windy conditions.
The majority of experienced paddlers wear paddling shorts and either a Lycra or thermal long sleeved top. I have always used thermals and find it amazing how they can wick the sweat away and provide sun protection, yet keep you warm in winter.
Cotton clothing is generally not advised.
Sun protection is vital and I have seen many paddlers get in strife, because they failed to have a proper plan. My Plan consists of:
- Spraydeck / Sunshade
- Paddling Top
Bum pain occurs when the muscles of your buttocks are deprived of blood after being in a sitting position for a long time. It can be quite debilitating.
You need to find a system of prevention that suits you, so do plenty of long paddles in your training and work out a system that suits you.