Living in the UK is great for winter kayaking, however with the cold wet months and days with limited light, it can be hard to get pumped up to get out on the water. It’s not always sunshine and smiles. Having to put on wet, sometimes frozen kit in minus temperatures and trying to not shiver while the wind blows hard can be enough to make the hardiest of us feel the blues.
Kayaking on a weekend is often the only option, so having the will power and determination can be difficult, especially if there is no water for a few weekends in a row or family commitments get in the way, meaning we don’t always get to paddle.
So the big question is, how on earth do we manage to kayak all year long and keep in top shape and peak performance? Well here are our top tips and ideas to make sure you stay on your A game this winter and keep you fired up through the cold season.
1. SET YOURSELF GOALS
You don’t need to be a professional athlete to set goals, giving yourself something to achieve is a great way to maintain drive in most sports. Kayaking however is different from other sports because most of us are not in it for the competition, to win things or be the best. Many are in it for the social and adventurous elements, but goal setting will improve your paddling. Set your goal; maybe it will be purely practical like learning a new trick or getting that perfect line dialled in, or a motivational goal to get you out on the water at least 3 times a week.
Whatever targets you make yourself, having something to achieve will increase personal motivation and dump a ton of self pride and satisfaction on you once completed!
2. GET FIRED UP!
‘Fired up’ may not be the pyrotechnics that you are imagining. ‘Fired Up’ means getting your self pumped or psyched up before you set out. This may be watching paddling films to see what other kayakers are paddling, or the moves they are throwing to give you some extra inspiration. There is absolutely no reason you are not able to throw down the same as them. And no, the extra layers wont effect your performance so don’t make excuses…
Get the tunes pumping. Music can focus you and psyche you up for those next rapids or flat water session. The choice of music is all yours, some people will get a kick from blasting a bit of D&B, whilst others will prefer a chilled out reggae vibe. Music can be the cutting edge between gaining that extra second chasing sticks or just simply getting out of bed when the ground is frozen.
3. WINNING WITH KIT
We have all heard of the saying “all the gear, no idea”, being under prepared for the cold days on the water will do nothing but put you off. Wearing an old leaky wet suit or a dry top which resembles a sieve is never a good idea! With the beginning of the cold period perfectly aligning with Christmas, what better time to ask for some essentials? Obviously the price of a Gore-Tex dry suit isn’t within everyone’s budget, however simple things like good thermals that are fast drying or even a warm pair of pogies will be very welcome gifts from Santa.
Having all the best kit will ensure you can easily cope with the worst thrashing nature can throw at us.
Just remember kit can be expensive, but it looks after us – make sure you look after it or don’t be surprised if you have to fork out all over again for the following season!
4. THINK POSITIVE
Its really important in not just kayaking but in life, that we take every positive situation and run with it! Always seek to create a positive environment for yourself and you’ll begin to become more motivated to achieve your dreams and goals. There are times when negativity surrounds us and presents us with what seems to be nothing but problems, we can’t control that. We can however control how we respond to these problems and situations. Take control of what you can, and stop worrying about what you can’t. You will only waste energy trying to control something out of your hands! Learn from your mistakes instead of repeating them – it’s human nature that we will make mistakes – but by moving forward and rectifying what we have done wrong previously will become an achievement. Celebrate every achievement no matter how big or small!
Keeping positive will not only make you happier and healthier, but will keep you motivated all year round even when the water is Baltic, the wind is driving in sideways and your spray deck is frozen to the ground.
So there you have it, no need to let those winter blues get the better of you. Pack some kit, grab your boat and we will see you on the water soon!