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Refresh and Refocus: Take your own approach
By:  Alana Thomas   (2008/07/15)


This year I decided I needed to do something to refresh myself as an athlete, I had started to feel a bit too routine in my training and was lacking inspiration. The first step was to set some goals to give myself some mental focus and the next step was to create a plan that would help me achieve the goals I had set. I have found in the past that results oriented goals do little to motivate me in a positive way, so most of my goals were focused around specific daily actions to make my training good quality, monthly testing, maintaining a positive attitude and improving my running. These may not seem like typical ski racer goals but I have found them to be incredibly motivating and have been able to approach my training with more enthusiasm and energy than I have in quite some time.


The next step was to make a training plan. Over the past 6 years I have followed 6 different training plans, some being more similar to each other than the others. After some assessment of perceived fitness and racing outcomes I decided on the style of plan that had worked best for me in the past. I then crafted a draft training schedule for the months of May to September and took it to my coaches for input and assessment. As a result I have a plan that I feel very confident and excited about, which is so refreshing!

I eased back into training in late April with a focus on building my running base (I have historically been a weak runner) and getting back into the strength scene. Since then I have gotten the rollerskis out (all the fun of skiing without having to wax!), done a 10k and a 5k running race and started doing timetrials of “the loop” in the park. I am LOVING the long skate TTs, they’re definitely getting me stoked for my first crack at a 30k skate this year!

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to head home to the Hardwood Hills area to participate in back-to-back mini training camps, the first being an Ontario Development Team Camp and the second being a National Ski Team outreach camp. Both presented positive and unique opportunities to learn, get some great training in and of course, have fun. We did a couple of ski-stiding hill workouts, a strength/plyometrics workout, a few skate and classic rollerskis, some score orienteering running and beach volleyball on Hardwood’s new court. The Ontario Development team camp was pretty cool. It’s been a long time since Cross-Country Ontario has held summer training camps only for the development team skiers and I found it to be a great chance to get to know some of the newer or younger members of the team who I didn’t know well before. The NST outreach camp was also a neat opportunity as Perianne Jones and Devon Kershaw came to show us how it’s really done. Both of them have a lot of enthusiasm for what they’re doing and I definitely think some of this energy was transferred to the skiers in Southern Ontario.

While at Hardwood I also had a special chance to demo next year's Alpina skate and Classic boots thanks to Mike Doble, the Aplina Canada rep. The boots are just about the sweetest things I have ever put my feet into, basically just competing with each other. The interior of the boots resembles a gold soccer shoe and the outside is a sleek new spin on the classic Alpina red. I found that they were nice and stiff in all the right places and felt like they wanted to ski fast!

 Tomorrow I’m heading to Canmore, Alberta for a 12 day training camp with the Ontario Ski Team. We will be spending several days training and acclimatizing in Calgary and Canmore before heading up to the Haig Glacier to ski for a week. After that it's back home for a rest and back to summer school!

Until then, happy training!

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