I've spent the past couple of seasons concentrating on doing hiking trips, but this summer I want to get back to expedition paddling. I have a 300+ mile route in mind that has one 30-mile open-water crossing, and then later followed by a 25-mile open-water crossing. I've done these sorts of crossings before, but obviously it is still a committing undertaking. My question is directed at the experienced expedition paddlers here. How many months before a long and potentially difficult trip do you start to train if you haven't been doing much paddling prior to that point? Tendons and ligaments strengthen much more slowly than muscles do, and I'd like to ease into shape progressively and maybe be ready by June or July, perhaps as late as August. I've done some hard trips 'cold' in the sense that I trained for a running marathon and then jumped in a kayak and did a 350 mile expedition, but that was a miserable experience since running did not prepare me at all for paddling. I'd probably just start with shorter, easier paddles after work as our days get longer (I'm at 58 degrees north) and add in some dumbbell free weight excercises, and build up from there. As background, I have many 200+ mile solo trips behind me and average about 33 miles per day on my trips (days on the water, not including weather days). So, what do you do to get ready, or is it a bit freeform?