In October, I had the opportunity to travel to Pau, France, to train for three weeks under the direction of National head coach, Michal Staniszewski. It was inspiring to be sharing the course with Olympic medallists and a fun opportunity to soak in all the culture. In addition to the exciting opportunity to travel to a new country, it felt great to settle into a training routine once again.
Training camps are invaluable because they let us focus. Instead of being a student, employee and an athlete, our job during training camps is solely to work towards becoming the best athlete we can become. They provide an environment in which we are able to focus entirely on improving ourselves. We get the opportunity to spend our energy on fueling ourselves and working as hard as we can everyday.
Training camps at different sites provide us with new challenges. On each course, the water moves differently and requires a unique combination of aggressiveness, technique and patience. Unlike most of our courses in Canada, most European courses are artificial, meaning each feature has been designed and built from scratch specifically for that course. New features and new possibilities of combinations of moves force us into unfamiliar situations, adding to our repertoire of experience to draw from during future races.
Pau proved to be an ideal site for our fall training camp in Europe. Having a weight room located at the slalom course was a foreign luxury for those of us from Ottawa. With this incredible facility, a grocery store and the beautiful town of Pau all within walking distance from our hostel, it was the perfect setup to be able to train full tilt.
It was my first training camp overseas, and there were many, many lessons learned. Between learning how much baguette is too much baguette, to how to dig just a little bit deeper when I thought I couldn’t dig anymore, to how to paddle on a course that’s filled with 25 world-class athletes, I flew back to Canada with invaluable lessons learned and unforgettable memories.
I’m very thankful for Michal Staniszewski’s meticulous coaching, as well as for my teammates support and the fun, motivating environment they helped create. Huge thanks to James Cartwright for his support and organizational skills at CanoeKayakCanada.
It was an invaluable experience and I can’t wait to return!