5 tips for Paddling More in winter

New years resolution #Paddle More

That might seem obvious, but with cold water and limited daylight hours, this is going to come from an angle of driving motivation and being accountable.

I’m sure we all say, I’ll get out and paddle more this year and I’m sure all the good intentions are there. But like a lot of new years resolutions that quickly slip by the wayside, as life, work and other commitments get in the way. Often breaking our recently started good intentioned routines. So how do we hold on to those good intentions and persevere with our new and improved habits.

1. Make your goal specific: Paddle 1 hour (extra) a week

By nailing down exactly what you intend to achieve with your new paddling routine, it makes it easy to measure. It also clearly defines the time we need to put aside to make it achievable. A tip for helping to not waste precious paddling time, is keep the launch location close to home. ie 20-30min drive max.

2. Pick a sheltered and familiar location

This might seem a bit uninspiring. But it gives you less excuses for not going. Lets face it, we are not going to run a new river in the dark, or take on a new piece of coastline. But we will paddle a familiar stretch of canal, slow moving river or sheltered water. This opens up our options for when we can go. Because now its safely inside our comfort zone and it limits the effects bad weather can have on paddling conditions. Even paddling a familiar area at night can be a new adventure in its self. As you will often notice different things you did not see in the day.

3. Set a regular day/time

Again this might seems obvious, but have you actually made actionable moves to make this happen? Do it now! Block out a 2 hour time slot in you weekly schedule/calendar that works best for you and the other activities in your life. You will then come to schedule those other life chores and commitments around your precious paddle time and others will learn your routine too.

4. Make it achievable

People often think to squeeze that extra hour in on the water that they will have to get up at 05:00 or cram it into the end of a busy day. No, instead set the paddling for a good time of day, in day light hours on the weekend, or straight after work on weekday evening. Then move the boring simple stuff, like doing the laundry or food shopping to those more awkward hours. Both of which are also indoor tasks, which can be done during bad weather or any time.

5. Invite friends or have a paddling buddy

Once someone else is involved and you have made arrangements to meet for a paddle. You are far more likely to hold yourself to making it happen. After all that other person is relying on you for safety support and you don’t want your best paddling buddy/K1 rival getting more training miles in than you 😉 It also holds you accountable as someone else is going to ask you why you weren’t there and are you coming next week. This helps overcome any breaks in your new routine that are forced upon you and gets you back out there for the following session.

I hope these 5 tips help you fine motivation to paddle more in the darker months of the year. Best wishes for your paddling in the year ahead.

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