HOUR O’POWER – The One Hour Challenge

This fall I wanted to try something new during the winter months that tend to be my off-season.  I still get out in a boat 3-4 times most weeks and increase the number of dry land runs & gym sessions.  Though ideally the best way if get quicker is to prioritize increasing the number of quality paddling sessions, but between work, family obligations, and other winter activities, I’ve been focusing my training efforts around the one hour challenge.

The basics of the challenge

I was introduced to this idea last summer as a way to gauge base fitness over an hour period.  I’ve mixed up paddling workouts since jumping in a ski between super intense interval sessions and long slow distance paddles (LSD), all which have a purpose depending on type of race (waves vs. flat) & target distance.  Over the past two years I’ve felt that my top speed is OK and I can go the distance with proper hydration/fueling, but had room for improvement on an hour all out threshold test – thus the hour of power challenge sounded like a perfect fit.

The hour challenge needs to be done on flat calm water with no current or waves.  No drafting, taking turns pulling, or chasing a faster boat – just you against the gps watch!  In doing a couple test time trials I found it useful to have target distance markers within the hour distance and focusing on the separate interval markers made the hour test more manageable.

Preliminary Results –

Because I wanted to have a before & after winter comparison, I did a test of the hour of power in October and since then have done a couple 40 minute time trials.  Going into this challenge my goal is to be in the 8-mile club & I knew this would be a challenge.  My test run in perfect conditions (good temp, glassy flat water, no wind) resulted in 7.8 miles over the hour – which left me a bit off my mark and I’ve been discovering the 0.2 mile distance gap is as big of a physical challenge as a mental barrier.  Interestingly, I can bang out a 40 min test holding an 8.15 mph pace fairly consistently, but it’s that last 20 minutes that kills me.

What others can do –

Probably what turned me on most about this test is what the top international surf ski racers can pull – we’re talking being in the 9-mile plus club.  I seriously know that it will be a good milestone to hit the 8 mile mark, but knowing that folks out there pull a full additional mile in mind numbing.

Here’s what several other ski paddlers responded when asked what they thought their hour of power results would be;

Don Kiesling – 7.7 miles

Carter Johnson – 7.98 ski/ 8.16 K-1

Austin Kieffer – ‘think I could do an 8.0, but would be hard’

Gabe Newton – did not respond, too busy cooking moonshine

Larry Goolsby – ‘probably 7.8 at best’

Dylan Thomas – ‘I have never been gutsy enough to measure this quantity since I am truly a lazy ass paddlers trying to hitch a ride on swell’

DeAnne Hemmens – ‘probably 7.1-7.2’

Joost Zeegers – ‘somewhere in low to mid 8’s’

Brandon Nelson – ‘my best on this test is 7.82’

Eric Mull – ‘I can average 7.8 on the cold water’

Duncan Howat – ‘late summer 7.2-.3 or so, right now after working all winter, and another year older, no time to paddle, hard to say’

Time to get cranking team, I’ll post looking for hour o’power results in May and again in September, it will be interesting to see people improve.


Posted on January 30, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hey DJ,

    Thanks for a great kick in the butt with this report! Man I’d be happy to post a 6.5 as I’ve been trying like crazy to get my ” fish” past low 6’s around Sequim. But maybe I’d get a handicap for being a 68yr old lightweight!

    Had a great 2 weeks paddling with Dylan in Kauai last fall and am headed back for 6 weeks mid feb. I hope to improve my stroke, speed, and catching runners in WARM water. It’s fun paddling with just shorts on eh?

    I’m having lots of fun in my Swordfish, getting out a few times a week when it’s not < 39 and too windy. Still trying to figure out the right gear to not get overheated but still have enough on to survive a spill. I'll try to get over to Bellingham for one of your Wed all comers races in the spring. Good luck on getting to the 8's.


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