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Season of David - Part XXVI
By:  David Zylberberg   (2003/10/21)

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The following "The Season of David" article is part of a weekly series by the "infamous" David Zylberberg, one of the original members of XC Ottawa. He is the writer of numerous amusing and sometimes controversial articles which have been the subject of much discussion within the Canadian cross-country racing community over the last 8 months. Hopefully, it will be the source of much entertainment while you are putting off work,school, or chores. David's articles will be candid and will not be censored by the editors of XC Ottawa. (At least not usually) Please address your comments and questions directly to David.

I like to watch professional football and I remember hearing it said that no player goes through the season without some niggling injuries. In skiing the problem is less severe but still seemed like a good topic for this week. I have just completed a very easy week of training in which I was tired during most workouts. This was because I had trained hard the previous few weeks and did 5 days in a row of intensity the week before, with a bit too much volume thrown in.

Back to the topic. It seems that training a lot, especially dryland, breaks down the body in undesired ways. Training is generally planned around stressing the aerobic and muscular systems in order to produce adaptations that will lead to skiing faster. Problems often arise with bones, joints and tendons from training. These foot pains, minor stress fractures, knee and wrist problems are what I am thinking about in reference to people being battered and bruised. I don=t have all of these at this time, have never had them all simultaneously and currently have no serious problems. But I have had a number of these over the years as a result of dryland training, as have pretty much all other senior racers.

A lot of these things I refer to are minor problems that generally do not require altering training. But some of them grow and cause serious problems while most heal themselves with easy weeks and days in which other training methods are used. This is one really useful feature of recovery days and weeks in a training cycle. They allow the body to recover from these minor problems so that the main focus is not impeded. Also, this is one reason why skiers generally take the month of April off, it allows the body to recover from whatever niggling problems existed during the racing season.

This time of year is particularly bad for these problems since the hardest and highest impact training has been going on for months. Getting on snow generally helps since it is low impact and lacks the pounding of poles on pavement that characterizes roller skiing. Snow does not solve all problems since there is still the possibility for overuse injuries. Given that my shins are getting a bit sore again, I start to really anticipate the early snow training camp in 3 weeks and 5 months without impact. When this occurs it is a sign that the body is ready to leave dryland training and approach the real season.

I also should mention that trying to prevent these problems and balance recovery of bones and joints can be included in training planning. It is hard to do and does not take away from normal periodization. In this I am thinking of spreading out running workouts throughout the week. This can allow the bones to recover between workouts and either stabilize or prevent running related injuries. I also think of alternating activities during the week so that there is a mixture of activities at every point. This is very much related to feel and understanding how much your body can handle of each activity before it begins to break down. It is just a suggestion for something to think about since running twice in a day can make problems worse.

I am only mentioning this as something to think about in terms of training. Skiing is one of the sports with the fewest injuries and problems with overuse. Competitive runners are always hurt and cyclists suffer from crashes whereas skiers can generally train entire years with only minor alterations for injury. That said, if you are going to train a lot then the body will start to break down and these minor problems are part of that. They are something that must be understood to be part of sport, dealt with (alternate activities, icing sore bones, wearing tensor bandages on wrists when sore, etc) appropriately and considered in a training program. This is one reason why a mix of roller skiing and foot workouts are useful as well as the use of activities like paddling and cycling in training.

I hope this can make you think about these little problems that affect all skiers and that you are able to avoid any serious problems.

 
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