“The biggest mistake you can make is the fear of making one.”

It comes as a surprise to some of the athletes I coach when I tell them to “fail fast.”

As fall approaches and most major events are over, now is a perfect time to fail fast.

You’ve probably heard the advise before to not try anything new on race day. The idea being that you should race like you train and you should be familiar and comfortable with the whole process to eliminate anything that might detract from your focus. Everything from your nutrition, hydration, board, paddle and even what you wear, should be dialed in before the first race of the new season come springtime.

The best time to sort all that out is in the fall \ winter when there is no pressure of an upcoming event.

Now is the time to demo boards. Experiment with different widths, hull designs, and constructions. Most shops have a few race boards to demo for free or a small charge.

Go extreme and don’t be afraid to push your boundaries of comfort so that when it comes time drop money on a new board your confident in your choice. If you wait for spring to go through this process it might not leave you much time to get comfortable before your first event.

Paddles. The “transmission” of all your dryland training flows through your paddle and converts your efforts in to speed. Give some love to paddles!! So many variables to play with; length, flex, blade size, blade shape and handles.

Hydration and nutrition. Find someone in your area and spend a few dollars on a consultation that can totally transform your energy levels and recovery times. What good is a race car without the right fuel?

Function before fashion. When race season rolls around next spring, the weather can be a venerable cornacopia of wind, rain, and cold. Get what clothing keeps you cozy dialed in now when a mistake might cut your session short and not ruin a valuable training day.

There are many other variables; sun glasses or visor, gloves or no gloves, fin sizes, etc…

All the experimentation should keep you excited to paddle into the fall and winter when motivation might be hard to come by. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. If you’re going to fail, fail fast so it’s over done with and you have time to keep pursuing what works for you.

Mark Colino is head coach for Stand Strong Paddle Fitness in New Jersey, the North East sales rep for Starboard sup & surf and a longtime mullet head.

www.standstrongpaddlefitness.com

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