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This week we talk to ex Under-23 European Champion and current GB kayaker, Lani Belcher.

Please describe a typical week’s training?
We’ve just changed our routine from 6 days on and then 1 day off, to 12 on, 2 off.  The change has also seen the number of daily sessions go from three to two, but both sessions are absolutely max intensity, so we need the hours in between to recover.  In a 6 day period, we’d have 4 morning paddles and 2 morning run sessions, with afternoons alternating between upper and lower body strength sessions, usually in the gym.  We’ll do yoga once each week around midday, otherwise the time spent between morning and afternoon sessions is used for serious recovery efforts. Winter training involves more endurance work.

What is your favourite training activity?
As I come from a marathon background, I love the endurance sessions (2km) where you can ride the wash of the paddler in front until it’s your turn to do the work.  They are shattering efforts, but enjoyable.

What is you least favourite training activity?
We do ‘split 500m’ sessions that are a real nightmare.  200m max effort, 100m recovery, repeated once before a final 100m burst.  They really build up lactic acid and hurt a lot.  The 300m sessions are even worse and are almost guaranteed to make us vomit.

What is the single most important or effective part of your training?
Technique, because without it all the power in the world will get you nowhere.  We practice drills that reinforce the vital connection between upper and lower body.  It’s a common misconception that kayakers don’t use their legs.

What are your top tips for any aspect of achieving sporting goals?
Never give up and train smart, so that you get reward for your efforts.  A balanced programme (train, eat, sleep) should acknowledge that proper recovery is just as important as training.

What activities do you enjoy that are not directly linked to kayaking?
I enjoy walking, tennis and shopping, but can’t really do any of that at the moment as we need every ounce of energy for training and every spare moment for recovery.

What’s your guilty pleasure on recovery days?
I love a good lie in, especially now that I rarely get one.  Other than that, I’m fairly good (or admitting nothing)…