As we count down the days until we are back in Europe for this year’s Wildwater tour, I wanted to share how I plan and prepare for the up and coming races and the time overseas, which can be somewhat overwhelming at times.
In previous years in preparation for overseas trips I would find myself taking a more relaxed approach in the lead up to the World Championships, however, as I have matured as a paddler I now realise that there is more to it. This wholistic approach makes for a better season overseas, so, I would like to share this as there are more and more younger paddlers coming through the ranks who may benefit from reading this.
Now that I am 25 and have been touring (majority self-funded) since I was 16, I have developed a strategy both physically and mentally which helps me prepare for the up and coming races. However, as Wildwater is not a funded sport as most of you would know, I have a full time job which I need to consider and plan for. This means, organising time off work and planning my year to allow for annual leave which can help pay for bills back home during my absence. Luckily, myself and Alex are vey fortunate to have a supportive boss who allows us to have time off for racing when we need it throughout the year.
And that is just work. You then have everything else going on in your everyday life. There’s organising and planning to ensure you have all things booked and prepared for when you get overseas; car hire, accommodation, budgeting and saving money for the trip and organising somewhere for your pets to stay whilst you are away. Ensuring your passport is up to date as some countries wont allow you to travel if it expires within 3 months of your departure is also key. Oh, and packing your bag and making sure you don't leave things until the last minute as there may be some sundries you need to buy before you leave.
Being that we often travel to countries where the English language is not well known, we organise a 'health-kit' as we have found that even things like Panadol or anti-histamines can be hard to find during your travels. In this health kit we include multi vitamins, olive leaf tablets, dressing for the cuts, antiseptic cream, anti-histamines, muscle creams such as tiger balm and ladies, make sure you prepare your 'items' because these can often be hard to find on the road.
You also have to keep right on top of your training and physical preparation. It’s a really great time of the year, between when the Aussies for Surf Life Saving finish and when the Wildwater Worlds begin. The air is starting to cool off as we head towards winter and training is solely in the Wildwater kayak. It’s been super pleasant lately and been awesome training with a big group of younger paddlers from Avoca, who are preparing for the U21 Asia-Pacific games which are being held in Adelaide this weekend. Given the Wildwater kayaks are a bit slower than a K1 sprint kayak it has been a really big challenge to try and keep up with these guys and has certainly pushed me along.
In the days prior to taking off, I would recommend writing yourself a checklist to guide you when packing your bags. Things like phone chargers, camera chargers, powerpoint adapters are all things we often forget - which can lead to quite the expense at the airport when you realise. I also try and adjust to the European time zone before leaving by changing the time I go to bed in the lead up to getting on the plane. I also plan when I sleep on the flight over so that I can get off the plane feeling fresh and ready for some training.
With all of that in mind, for the up and coming trip overseas Alex and myself have prepared ourselves efficiently for a positive trip. I hope this blog helps the younger athletes in preparation for their up and coming or future tours!