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What can you do to be Better?
By:  Alana Thomas   (2008/11/06)

Yet again it is November and race season is quickly creeping up on us. If you are like me, you don't like things creeping up on you that you aren't prepared for so this is a good time of year to do a mini-evaluation and asses just how ready you are. I find that the more aware I am of my strengths and weaknesses the better I can plan my training to maximize the benefit of each workout. Knowing that my training is focused on what I need to work on most gives me peace of mind that I am doing the best I can and allows me to relax and enjoy my training.

Regardless of how perfectly or unperfectly your summer and fall training has been going, chances are there are a few key things you are doing well and a few more key things you still need to get better at. For me, figuring these things out involves looking over my training logs for the past month or two, and sitting down with a pencil and paper to do something of a "strengths/weaknesses" table. Comparing your training logs and performances with previously set goals is a good way to measure how well your training has been working but should not be the be-all-end-all of this exercise. The point is just to evaluate where you are and make a plan to proceed forward.

For me, the summer and fall of training have gone very well. By no means were they textbook perfect but I can say that I am feeling much fitter than in the spring or at this time last year! After a one minute celebration, it was easy to come up with a list of things I still need improve on in order to race my best. I won't bore you with all the details (although if you've seen me out training you probably know what I need to get better at!) but the basics include kick double pole technique, skating leg strength and medium grade climbing. Adding things like legs-only skating, more plyometrics, and more medium grade hill intervals to my training plan will help improve these things and keep me from being bored with doing the same old training every week. I've also been getting a bit of a sore back so need to make sure I get enough stretching and core strength training in.

The main message here is that no matter what level you're at in your training or fittness, it is always a useful and interesting exercise to sit down and really think about what you can do to be better. Write it down, make a plan and re-evaluate in 3-6 weeks, you might just be suprised how much you have improved! If you're getting ready to race in just a few weeks, like us on the XC Ottawa team, all the more reason to do this now instead of later!

Interesting Reading. . .
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