The final block of summer ski training has kicked off this week. I decided that it would be a good time to look back at all the training I have done and evaluate some of the “off-beat” things I tried this summer. Over the last couple years, I have learned that the best training plan is one that you can adapt to your lifestyle and commitments. Finding the balance and making the most of what you’re given is the key! I am going to share a couple of different training tactic’s I have implemented this summer.
1.) Thinking ahead of the game:
I started off this spring with a little bit of a new approach on training. I often just “grind” my way through the summer hours, week after week and all while working full time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It can be easy to forget about some of the basic training principals like paying attention to your body and what it needs. The worst part is the consequences of such stubbornness might not be seen until deep in to the race season. After ending this past season on the ol’ antibiotics, I thought it was time to be smarter. I mean it’s not exactly my first rodeo either, so it was time to get it straight… I started thinking more about the outcomes and paying extra attention to my health and fitness. Some of things I did differently were having an easier training load in May, while transitioning back to living at home and starting a new job. Other things were as simple as not training while sick, eating healthier food and planning my training weeks for what will be manageable.
Enjoying a little spring skiing at home in Labrador in early May. Best start to summer training!
2.) ‘Granola’ Training
Granola training is rather simple. It can be used at a variety of times through out the summer or winter. It is more of the concept of what it involves than rather what exactly you do. So what do you do? Well, you just go do whatever, whenever, for as long as you want or can. Yeah, I mean like run, bike, hike etc. Just leave your watch/fancy HR monitor and meticulous dryland workout at home. Just go out there and enjoy it! I find this helps when you are lacking motivation, or overwhelmed with work or life or even more so the thousand and one things you have to complete on your training program this week.
A look out view on a long mountain bike ride mid summer!
3.) Barefoot/minimalist running:
Last summer, I started to dabble a little with the barefoot running trend. Yeah, like many others I have read (at least most of) “Born to Run” and ended up buying some Vibram 5 fingers. This spring I got to try it out a little more, having more time to ease in to it. For some reason it got me a little more in to running and motivated. I built some stronger muscles in my running legs and I think overall my technique has improved. I rarely use the toes shoes anymore with the end of summer high hours but every now and then I get out for a quick jaunt in them or the new Brook’s Pure Connect shoe. I am hoping this will make the 4hr runs with Karl in the future much more bearable!
One of my favorite training areas for trail running!
4.) Bench-press showdown:
Coach John and our team has really been pushing strength training this summer. I think it was sometime in June when I got a team email about a Bench press competition that will take place at John’s house in September. I am not exactly sure if this is some kind of inside joke that I missed out on, but I decided to take on the challenge anyways. I have won some of his Rollerski races in the Fall and they didn’t really seem to pay off for me in the Winter. So why not shift the focus to this sort of competition. It was also good to have a short-term goal this summer in an area that can always be improved on. And yes, I focused on strength as a whole not just bench pressing… Only time will tell who takes the cake on this one! I hear John has been training hard himself for the showdown. Also, thanks to John for always keeping the team motivated and on our toes!
The gym where I put some quality time in this Summer. Really hoping it pays off and Coach John doesn't take me to school on this one!
5.) A Vacation with a touch of Training:
In the last part of July I managed to get a hard earned week off work. I went on what I like to call, “The Great Canadian Vacation”, where I enjoyed a wedding on a lake in northern Ontario, some camping, canoeing and hiking in Algonquin Park and a music festival in Guelph. It was a pretty busy 10 days but I got to enjoy some training and different outdoor activities along the way. Spending some time to deviate from the same ol’ same, endless weeks of summer training can have its advantages. Trying something different in new setting can help refresh your body both mentally and physically, which is important before heading in to those long hard hours in August and early September.
Kayaking on Kukagami Lake!
Over night camping trip in Algonquin Park. First of three portages!
Sunrise paddle to get Vesta back to her sweet new job at Wildlife Research Station.
Running on one of many cool hiking trails in the Gonq'!
6.) A new social sport:
When I am at home in Labrador for the summer, I end up spending most of my time during the week training alone. This can be pretty hard at times but in the end I just think it makes you mentally tougher! One thing I do to help keep my sanity is to pick up a social sport for the summer. In the past, I have usually played soccer and rowed. This summer I thought I would try something new, so I signed up for the local Men’s Ball Hockey League. It’s fairly intense and competitive and at the same time it gives me that social training aspect a couple nights a week. It ended up being a good opportunity to work on my agility, coordination, balance and sprinting skills all in one go. I also came out with a few goals and limited bumps and bruises – which were good! Oh and our team won the playoffs, so that was sweet too!
Thanks for reading. Looking forward to getting back to Ottawa and pounding my poles in to the Parkway again!