The below 20 week training program will provide you with all the essential information you require to plan, practice and participate in the World’s Greatest White Water Event.
Water Safety Tips
- All competitors must be competent swimmers.
- Never race alone. The minimum number of participants on trips should be four with at least two experienced participants in each group.
- In the event of a capsize, try to hold on to the upstream end of the craft, then head for the nearest bank.
- Buoyancy vests and helmets are essential. Helmets must be of a rigid type and designed to give protection to the forehead and temple areas. Wet boots with hard soles or sand shoes, sneakers or gym boots are ideal. Adequate foot protection is essential both in the water and on the bank in the event of a capsize.
- Thermal clothing (tops and bottoms) and a CAG (windproof/waterproof top) are also recommended. Protect yourself against sunburn and windburn on all exposed areas.
- Ensure everything is waterproof before setting out.
- Be honest with yourself about your abilities.
- Allow enough time to reach your destination in daylight hours.
- Ask permission before using private property to camp.
- Secure spectacles, if worn.
- Acquire skills in capsize situations, rescue work and first aid.
- Leave a plan of the trip and an ETA with a responsible person.
- When the canoe is side on to the current, always lean downstream.
- Do not hold on to stationary objects such as overhanging trees.
- When starting out in a fast moving current, point the bow upstream. When the current catches its nose, the craft will swing around, placing you in mid-stream, away from the bank.
- Take your own drinking water, do not drink river water.
Tips for Taking on the Challenge
- Always warm up and stretch before training and on the day of the race. This helps minimise the risk of tearing cold muscle tissue.
- Always cool down and stretch after training or after racing for the day. This will help your body recover and improve your flexibility. For sprains, strains and bruises remember to follow the RICER regime; Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Refer for further medical attention if it looks serious. If you do sustain an injury, avoid heat, alcohol, additional exercise and massage in the first 48-72hrs.
- Get fit! Make sure you’re fit enough to race in the ‘Act Belong Commit Act-Belong-Commit Avon Descent ‘. Maintain your training routine as high fitness levels reduces the risk of injury.
- Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after the race. Thirst is not a good indicator of hydration. Cool water is a good fluid replacement drink. Fuel up – keep your energy levels up by eating high carbohydrate and low fat foods before, during and after the race.
- Be prepared – assess the weather and river conditions and prepare yourself accordingly.
- Protect yourself always wear an approved buoyancy vest and protective helmet. Wear appropriate foot wear to prevent feet injuries.
- Prevent hypothermia. Keep warm and dry where possible and be aware of the warning signs. Change into dry/warm clothes immediately following the days racing or training session.
- When you’re racing or training, remember SLIP on a shirt, SLOP on a hat, SLAP on the sunscreen and wear SUNNIES.
- If you have an existing injury don’t return to paddling unless you are fully fit. If in doubt consult a Doctor or Physiotherapist or other Health Professional.
Hypothermia may be out and about
Cold illness and hypothermia can be a problem at this time of year. Watch out for yourselves and your mates and know the warning signs (shivering, muscle weakness, abdominal cramps, lethargy, hallucinations, aggressive behaviour and euphoria)! The best treatment is to get warm and dry, and seek medical help if symptoms persist.
The following are some possible causes of hypothermia: fascination in cold water; wind being too chilly; lack of adequate clothing; unconscious, immobile or drugged persons in a cold environment; young children and the elderly are more prone to the cold.
Over exposure to the cold can range from mild to severe illnesses. The severity of hypothermia will be effected by: age; physical condition; clothing; temperature; wind speed; period of exposure. Hypothermia will be accelerated by: low air temperature; wind; rain; fatigue; anxiety; hunger; poor fitness levels.
The best way to deal with hypothermia is to prevent it. Be prepared and enjoy the challenge!! be prepared and plan for all weather conditions; be sure that your craft and other equipment are in good condition; listen to all the up-to-date weather reports; be fit when taking on the challenge; wear appropriate clothing; have warm and dry clothing available for when training is finished; ensure you have adequate nutrition; ensure that you stay hydrated by drinking fluids before, during and after training.