Kayak Training with Tim Dwyer

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Kayak Training with Tim Dwyer

The Race the State Kayak Leg traverses Narragansett Bay and while at 5.6 miles it’s length is not exorbitant, it does require you to be adept at understanding tides and ocean kayaking.

Tim Dwyer, the kayaker with the overall fastest time in the 2015 Race the State Kayak leg (with a time of 1:01:25.4) has teamed up with us to give our racers tips to prepare them for the 2016 5.6 mile kayak leg!


To be fully prepared to Race the State, training both off and on the water is imperative, below Tim lists some suggestions for building your overall fitness and specific paddle strength.

Off the Water

  • General fitness: a good aerobic base from endurance sports, running, biking etc. establishes a good base for paddling
  • Core work: planks, stability ball, bodyweight exercises, burpees, mountain climbers, Russian twists.
  • Paddle specific exercises: pushing and pulling exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, bent over rows, band pulls, lat pulls

On the Water

  • Paddling:
    • Early season–establish a base with long slow paddles of 90’—120’ using quality technique to create muscle memory for proper form.
    • Gradually introduce speed work by doing 4’ easy with good form and 1’ hard efforts x 15 repeats or more if you have time.
    • If you can commit to 2x/wk. paddling do: 1) ii. For up to 2 hrs. 2) intervals 3’ on x 2’ easy x 10
    • If you can commit to 3x/wk. paddling do: 1) ii. For up to 2 hrs. 2) intervals 3’ on x 2’ easy x 10 3) intervals 40” on x 20” easy x 40
    • On water drills—designed to improve technique and power but beyond of the scope of this writing.
  • Training tools: A Garmin type GPS/heart rate measurement device that gives Time, Speed, Distance and Heart rate is an essential training device. You can set up the workout and the beeper goes off to keep me from slacking.  The Garmin Forerunner is one example and there are others. I use the Garmin 910XT but there are less expensive equivalent options. I get mine at REI or EMS in case they die and they are quickly replaced.

Stay tuned for more tips on: 

  • Forward Stroke: posture, efficiency, power, endurance
  • Hydration/nutrition: pre-race, race and recovery
  • Navigation: familiarity with the course, the portage, currents/wind, set/drift
  • Race tactics: strategy/pace/drafting

About Tim DwyerPhoto Aug 09, 1 37 50 PM

As an outdoor guide and instructor, Tim sailed with Outward Bound and led kayak trips in New England and the Pacific Northwest, Florida and Alaska. For a fundraising effort Tim paddled 300 miles around Long Island for the Memory Paddle Challenge in a record setting passage. He has earned a number of national and regional Championships including the 2002 USCA National Kayaking Championship, the New England 2010 Surfski (kayak) Championship and the Paddle the Bay Kayak Racing series from 2002-2006. Tim completed the Kayak leg of 2015 Race the State finishing first overall in the kayak along with first place on Team Kettlebottom in the 4 person relay. Tim is a child psychologist and lives with his family in Jamestown, RI and consults for Epic Kayaks.

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