Training take places throughout the year, and paddling only stops if there’s ice on the canal. Evening sessions during the winter are a mix of gym work in and around the clubhouse and running sessions, while some paddlers training for specific events will continue to paddle.

Groups are loosely based around the race ranking of the paddlers (see the racing tab for an explanation of this). Division 1-3 paddlers will train together, 4-6 and 7-9 will likewise be grouped together, with a separate group for the juniors. Upon joining the club you will be assigned to a coach who will talk to you about your aims in the sport and how to set about achieving them.

The coaching team publish monthly traning plans for every group. These offer a variety of sessions and will take into account upcoming races and events the club will be participating in.

The main training sessions are Saturday morning from 8.30 till around 10.30 and Thursday evening from 6.00-7.30pm.

The club 6km time trial is held on Tuesday evenings, this is a timed event with the results being published on the website and emailed to members. The time trial is handicapped with the fastest paddler being the last to start, timings are calculated so everyone finishes at around the same time. The 6k is a good opportunity to measure your own progress.

There is an independent paddling session on Sunday mornings at 9.00am, this is not coached (though there are coaches in attendance), so you are required to have reached a level of competence before joining in with this session.

Throughout the year there are strength and conditioning sessions for adults on Monday evening and Wednesday evening for juniors. These are by invitation if your coach feels they will be of benefit to you.

Explanation of the common training sessions:


Leads are commonly used in small groups, of 3-4 people. Each member of the group will take a turn to lead for an agreed length of time, for example a, 4 minute lead. The group will then rotate and the next member will lead for 4 minutes. This allows some degree of rest as the non leading members of the group are able to benefit from wash hanging the leader, a similar principle to drafting in cycling. Wash hanging is an important skill to develop in kayaking and these sessions help develop this well.


Pyramids are a form of interval training, usually measured by time or distance a session will feature an ascending then descending pattern, for example a 1 minute effort, followed by a 2 minute effort, then a 3 minute, then 4 minutes, then back down to 3 , 2 and 1 minute efforts. A rest of usually a minute will be taken between each harder effort.


Efforts are usually measured by distance or time. A 6×2000 metre effort will comprise a 2000m paddle followed by a rest period, usually of 1 minute, before starting the next 2000m effort.


Fartlek training blends continuous training with interval training. A session would be a continuous paddle to a set point interspersed with random harder efforts decided upon by members of the group paddling, so a call may be made to paddle hard to a set point or a 50 hard stoke effort, then reverting to the original pace.


Shuffles is a term used for a session held between the locks either side of the landing stage (Town Lock heading North and Grove Lock heading South), with no portaging. There are three shuffle sessions regularly used for traning:

Short Shuffle is from the landing stage to Grove Lock, then Town Lock, back to Grove Lock and finish at the landing stage

Long Shuffle is from the landing stage to Town Lock, then to Grove Lock, back to Town Lock and finish at the landing stage

Double Shuffle is from the landing stage to Town lock, then to Grove Lock, then repeat and finish at the landing stage.