Four Essential Chattajack Training Tools

Chattajack Training Tools

Chattajack is just around the corner…in fact, today’s the start day for Paddle Monster’s CJ focused training plan with Coach Cain.

A training plan should be your number one training tool, but after having done six Chattajacks, I thought I would share some pieces of kit that have become absolutely essential when I train for this race.  The things I don’t leave home without, or will ruin my training paddle if I do.

It goes without saying that lifejacket, leash, emergency communication device, water and nutrition should always be on your paddle checklist.

1. Interval Timer.

Interval training is essential for building up the endurance needed to do a race like the 32-mile Chattajack. Paddle Monster’s training plans are based on it. So using some sort of programmable device or app to help you accurately keep track of and complete your interval sessions – especially the more complicated ones – is indespensible. It can be an app like this one or a device like the Speed Coach or a Garmin watch like the Fenix 6. I like the programmability of the Garmin.  It’s very simple to set up my daily Paddle Monster intervals in the Connect app on my phone and upload to my watch as a workout. Start the workout for the day and the watch will signal me when it’s time to start and end my zone training.

2. Heart Rate Monitor

Interval training is based on working out in various heart rate zones, so if you don’t have a HRM, you are at a disadvantage. Despite having a wrist-based HRM on my Garmin Fenix, I still use the chest strap because it is more accurate.  If I happen to forget the strap, then I use the wrist-based, built in HRM on the watch as a backup.  I love the Garmin set up because it is so integrated with my interval workout program and my HRM.  It’s super convenient and easy to use, once you get past the programming learning curve.

Any HRM strap will work, as long as you get the real time heart rate info and can use it to do your interval sessions accordingly.

3. GPS Tracking Device

Having some sort of device to track your distance, time, speed and stroke rate is extremely helpful – both to keep track of your training and progress, but also during the race.  Because of the integration, I find the Garmin Fenix to do all of those things in one convenient package.  However, the head-up display of the Speed Coach is a fantastic tool for finding where the current is flowing fastest during the race. It is easy to read and can help you maintain optimal performance.

There are any number of other ways to track your paddles including the Paddle Logger app, as well as Strava.

4. Some sort of Speaker

Music can be incredibly motivating, inspiring and boredom breaking.  Having an external speaker that interfaces with your HRM and interval timer also can help you hear the cues better.

I prefer an external speaker as opposed to earbuds for two reasons.  One, I want to be able to hear everything around me on the water. Two, I don’t want to risk losing or flooding expensive headphones if I fall or hull.

I use a small, external waterproof Bluetooth speaker that I can attach to my PFD, GoPro mount or stick on my deck. I like the Speaqua suction cup speaker –which is easy to slap onto the deck of whatever I am paddling – or the Outdoor Tech Buckshot 2.0  which can be clipped onto a PFD strap or bungee cord or mounted on a GoPro tripod compatible mount. It also has a silicone mounting system to make it easy to attach to bike handlebars or the an outrigger canoe iako.

I keep the volume low enough to hear but not loud enough to bother others on the water and I always turn the sound down when leaving the dock and returning, and when I come close to other boaters.

Inexpensive Bluetooth speakers abound – just make sure you get one that is IPX6 rated or above for waterproofness.

Do you have a Must Paddle With piece of gear? Let us know in the comments!

Happy training!