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Slow & Steady WINS the Race

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

Maybe not DURING the actual race, but the person who logs a ton of mileage in preparation for an event is setting themselves up for success. We've all heard it at clinics from the world's best athletes: "time on the water" is what they say time and time again.

However, in our always busy lives, we try to maximize our benefits for time spent. That's the whole HIIT craze. You can get more calories burned, more endurance, increased VO2max, better anaerobic thresholds, be thin, get endorphins, and a slew of benefits in under an hour with HIIT. The internet says so...

Don't get me wrong. I L-O-V-E a good burner workout. They are quick, hard, and you feel pretty good afterwards. They don't require a lot of focus or attention, which also seems to fit the current modus operandi of humans (we're social media flippers, channel surfers, and we can't be asked to focus on anything more than a few minutes at a time). But this lack of focus, and lack of aerobic work isn't good for the mind or the body the way that those long, slow, steady paddles are. The HIIT have a place in the annual training plan. They have a place for stress reduction. They have a place for busy people that want to lose weight or improve fitness. But why are you working out? Why are you running, paddling, or exercising? If it is to look good in a bikini or speedo (yes, sir!) and lose weight, or to just grind out the stress of the day at work, then keep up the HIIT. But if you want to train to WIN a race, slow and steady has a bigger part to play than you may think!

A personal anecdote:

After the stress of packing up my life and moving to California, there was more stress. The town I moved to was ON FIRE which was additionally stressful. Then there were mudslides with more death and destruction, which continued the stress. I kept paddling through the smoke and the muddy water (where I paddle, for some reason unknown to this Marine Scientist, is where they think its safe to dump all the mud from the slides) which compounded my mental stress with physiological stress in my respiratory system and a little bit of a staph infection in my feet. I kept pushing harder on the water and harder in CrossFit. Why?

Because when life is stressful, we try to retain control. Even when the things that are happening are COMPLETELY out of our control; we're human. As athletes, one thing we can control is how we train. A lot of times when we stress out, we train harder. And harder. And... yes... harder. Because we CAN. Its in our CONTROL. We keep doing it until we're run down and tired a