Some Basic Principles
1. Always enjoy yourself.
2. These are events as much as they are races. Maybe you just want to complete these events. That's perfectly acceptable. No-one says you have to "race". Most people don't truly race in a 5K or 10K run either. Participants, competitors, and spectators are welcome.
2. Vary your routine. Keep a mix of short distance/high intensity, moderate distance/moderate-high intensity, and long distance/low intensity.
3. Paddle with friends.
4. Cross train by running, biking, swimming, etc.
5. Complement your training with core work and weight lifting. If you don't enjoy weight lifting then at least try to mix in 10-15 minutes of core work each week.
6. DO NOT worry about a faster boat until you've mastered what you have. Besides, a faster boat will place you into steeper competition. Milk it out for a while.
Include some of the following items in your regimen.
1. Core work - planks, crunches, situps, etc.
2. Weights - military press, deltoid raises, lat pulldowns, tri pushdowns, etc.
3. Sprint Paddling - 30-60" sprints with long RI or multiple reps of 100-200 meters
4. Longer pickups - 4-6' intervals, or maybe reps of 500-2000 meters. Good for stamina.
5. Endurance training - Volume training of 1-3 hours. Low intensity.
6. Always use proper technique whether racing, training, or out for pleasure.
A Small Sample of Videos