Larry Cain Interview on Atlantic Paddler

Larry Cain

If anyone is the visible personification of the saying “age is just a number” it’s probably our friend and Paddle Monster coach Larry Cain. Sure, he has, as this article from the Atlantic Paddler blog points out, stayed in top competitive form since his Olympic days, but with age also come experience that continues to serve him well, both on the water and in his role as coach.  In the interview, he talks about the increased importance of rest and recovery and clean eating for the older athlete, among other things.

Here’s an excerpt … you can read the full, candid interview here.

Atlantic Paddler: How much harder is it to stay at your level of fitness, post-50? Have you had to adapt your training with new types of workouts, training methods, etc.?

Larry: Because I never really let myself “detrain” after retiring from the National Team I seem to be able to tolerate a really high workload in training. I do notice a few differences:

  • I can’t handle the same volume of high intensity work and really have to space intense sessions out well. I also need to make sure these high intensity sessions (speed training, aerobic power, VO2 max type work) are a little shorter than they used to be.
  • I seem to be able to handle a considerable volume of lower intensity work within a one-week or two-week period, but need to make sure that the third week builds in recovery. Proper periodization therefore continues to be as important as it has ever been, perhaps more so.
  • I don’t run nearly as much as I used to because of my knees, but since I paddle year round more than I used to I’ve made up for that with time on the water in the winter, when in the past it used to be dryland work.
  • I have to pay more attention to things like rest (sleep), recovery, nutrition etc. than I used to.

So you have to focus more on recovery now, versus the first half of your paddling career?

Larry: Absolutely. I really feel it if I don’t get enough sleep and frequently fall asleep early in the evening before going to bed. Good thing I’m not a socialite. And I try much harder to eat clean while still getting the carbs and total calories to fuel what I do. I think that is part of parcel of aging in general but more so if you’re try to be a high level athlete.

I also need to address one nagging injury, lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) that I’ve had for 20 years. It’s been great lately but I do need to stay on top of it with stretching, ice, occasional anti-inflammatories etc.

You can find more insight, information and training help from Coach Cain on the Paddle Monster site.


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