Numb legs in marathon K1

Marathon, Freestyle, Polo, Slalom, Sprint, WWR, Surf, etc.
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sensiblesimon
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Numb legs in marathon K1

Post by sensiblesimon » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:05 pm

Are there any top tips to help prevent legs going numb? I have been paddling a variety of club marathon development kayaks for the last year but cannot seem to prevent at least one leg going numb after about 20 to 30 minutes. This affects power, balance and steering. I have tried various home-made pads for the seat and pieces of foam to extend the seat at the front to spread load. I think these have some effect but the numbness still comes. I have rarely had problems with numbness in closed cockpit, white water kayaks and still paddle my WWR regularly. I have tried various legwear from neoprene shorts to lycra shorts.
I am wondering now whether it is just an issue relating to core strength and the ability to hold a good posture whilst unsupported in an open cockpit kayak. Prior to last year I had never paddled in marathon kayaks.
It's a real problem as I cannot sustain non-stop paddling for longer than 30 to 40 minutes due to this and having recently been promoted to div 7 am conscious of the doubling in race distance in div 6.
Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated
Many thanks
Simon

webbymatt
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Re: Numb legs in marathon K1

Post by webbymatt » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:40 am

I feel you just have to keep trying and the numbness should take longer to come in. Also try and stretch out your legs before getting in the boat.

Hengle
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Re: Numb legs in marathon K1

Post by Hengle » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:49 am

Hi Simon
I am sure that we have looked at this so a search may draw more answers, but one of the most common causes I have found is the low seat height, how often do you sit on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you? - the solution to this is a higher seat - possibly requiring a wider boat. The other piece of advise is to invest in a good seat with the seat pan pitched forwards, once you have your own seat you can then cut holes in it as some people find that their nerves run over the bones in the bum.

Hengle

Eliza Dolittle
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Re: Numb legs in marathon K1

Post by Eliza Dolittle » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:15 am

Hi Simon
How much are you using your legs when paddling?
I have found that my legs are likely to go numb on the very slow paddles when I am coaching beginners but I don't have a problem with normal training sessions or racing. Now when out with slower paddlers I circle round to do a short sprint or throw in a false portage to get my legs moving and solve the problem.
Liz

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mharrall
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Re: Numb legs in marathon K1

Post by mharrall » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:55 am

Remember that in div 6 you'll have to do a portage anyway so you'll get an oportunity to get out of the boat.
Martin

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sensiblesimon
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Re: Numb legs in marathon K1

Post by sensiblesimon » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:11 pm

I have definitely found that the boat I first used which had the lowest seat is the worst for numbness - I tried it again last week and I only lasted 10 minutes. With a higher seat in the same boat it is better. I am a bit limited as I am using club boats so cannot put in any fixed customisation. At some stage in the next 6 months I will hopefully settle on boat choice and buy my own.

I am usually in such a rush to get on the water I haven't been doing stretches - definitely opportunity for improvement there!

I did a Hasler at the end of May and didn't get numb legs (although in same boat) - the paddling hard theory could have been proved. As a beginner to marathon I am learning to use my legs more but notice that the experienced/faster paddlers are working their legs more than me. Recently the river has been in flood & weather horrid and I think I have also been tensed up which won't help.

I continue to discover and attempt to overcome the previously unknown details and complexities of flat water paddling!
Many thanks for your advice
Simon

k1orange
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Re: Numb legs in marathon K1

Post by k1orange » Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:15 am

If you keep stretching your ham strings that will help.

The seat may need to be tilted further forwards to stop it digging in the back of your thighs where there are large veins.

Spill
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Re: Numb legs in marathon K1

Post by Spill » Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:52 am

I have been paddling skis for 5 years. Recently I upgraded to an Epic V12 ultra. Right from the beginning, I had trouble with numbness in my left leg to the extent that I couldn't paddle for any extended period. Not knowing why, I tried everything, lowering seat height, extending leg length, changing paddle action, compression pants, swiss ball to work on my core muscles, nothing worked. I started reading all the blogs trying to ascertain why. I decided one morning to try something so simple as stretching my hamstrings before jumping in the ski. Bugger me, after 15 k's there was little if any pain. It then dawned on me that up until recently I paddled in the afternoon when a day's work had been done whereas now I was paddling in the morning and my muscles were still cold. Something so simple and yet such a huge problem with so many people with all the remedial ideas. Go figure.

nigelhatton
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Re: Numb legs in marathon K1

Post by nigelhatton » Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:30 pm

I used to have numb legs but then I bought a Morrocan back scrubber that is used to scrub the back in the shower. I attached a bungee cord to the side handle and the cord slips over the front of the cockpit rim pulling the lumber forward and allowing the back to be supported with some of my weight on my upper hamstrings.
I have used this idea in a valley Rapier 20, a kayak pro vampire and now a point 65xp 18 and very rarely have any problems but I sometimes think it could just be a nerve in my glutes that has pressure applied because of the seat putting me into an unnatural position.
When I get round to it I'll post a picture of my 3 euro Morrocan back scrubber back rest.

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Simongelder
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Re: Numb legs in marathon K1

Post by Simongelder » Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:36 am

I noticed that the seat in my marathon K1 was relatively flat compared to other boats at the club. Many of the newer privately owned K1s seem to have higher backed seats than mine. I have now built up layers of foam mat at the back of my seat to replicate the high back shapes. I have also added a home made pull bar. These changes have made a remarkable difference, not only to the numb legs problem but also to control of the boat and feeling of stability. I can now paddle faster for longer as I am more relaxed. I think that my core strength has probably improved through more K1 paddling and this must help too. Thinking about this issue further, I have loosened and lowered the backrests in my sea kayak and WW boats to encourage me to adopt a better posture and strengthen the abs. A future project is now to mould a new seat from the successful foam padded seat. This will be something to do during the dark winter evenings!

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