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XCOttawa Athlete Diary: Erika Langman - Beating the November Blas
By:  Erika Langman   (2011/11/19)


Originally posted 2005/11/19, but timely.

It's that time of year again, the time when all the pretty colourful leaves start to disappear on the trees, you can see your breath when you're warming up for your workout, the time where it always seems to be raining but just never snowing, the canal has been drained and letting off a ghastly smell, everyone and everything around you seems to be sick, your alarm clock rings for morning training and you think "Why oh why?". It's still pitch black dark!

All you are thinking is please oh please snow hurry up and get here before I go crazy from these November 'Blas!' I think we've all felt it at some point in our training cycle where race season and pretty white sparkly snow is just taking way too long to get here. Well, I have thought long and hard and I now come to you with some little tricks on how to beat the November Blas. They aren't solutions because we all know we are skiers and can't kid ourselves on how much more we love snow than black pavement, but here are a couple tips to keep you going until the snow falls, they are in no order:

1.Train in Groups - Training in groups is a wonderful way to distract you from the ugly bare trees when you're doing LSD training. It also gives you a chance to socialize, catch up with other people or learn some new technique pointers through watching others. It's quite fun and surprisingly your workouts are over before you know it.

2. Buy some new clothes - I know this sounds extremely materialistic of me but it honestly works. Go out, get some cool, flashy new and improved dry fit clothing and suddenly you are excited for the next practice so you can show off your new gear. Chatelaine Magazine never lies, if you look good, man do you feel good! (This, however, doesn't mean you are good so working hard in practice is still probably a good idea).

3. Do Interval training - Intervals tend to be short and but not exactly sweet. (unless of course your doing ridiculously long ones, in that case I've got nothing for ya) Intervals also have this way of convincing you to believe they are extremely important. So if you're up early for training, you know you have an important workout to do that's not going to take too long, (and for some students can take a power nap afterwards) getting up when its dark all of a sudden doesn't feel so bad. Not to mention that doing a hard workout releases endorphins which will make you feel excellent afterwards! Intervals are an important part of fall training to build up speed and Vo2Max for racing, plus they make you feel as if you've accomplished something.

4. Carpool in the morning - This trick works wonderfully for me. If you have a car offer someone a ride, suddenly a responsibility for that second person to get to practice is a burden on your shoulders. No excuses, you better be there. If you're the person getting the ride you don't want to make others late by waiting for you, so you're also ready to get up and go.

6. Train in the afternoon - Sunshine! And Sunsets! Even in November you can't deny that sun and sunsets aren't beautiful. If your just doing some zone 1 along the canal or up in the park its actually still quite nice to see orange and gold reflecting off the water, or on the fallen leaves.

7. Race season - An-tic-i-pa-a-tion (Can you tell my mom listen to too much Carly Simon?) Race season is quickly approaching and take full advantage of it. Look on websites for updates on races, read article about other teams, analyze past results and set goals. ( I even write mine down and post them in my room, makes me want to achieve them just that much more). Do anything ski related that is going to get you pumped up to have your fastest racing season ever, this is going to make you want to train hard.

8. Go to bed early - Do I even need to elaborate on this one? (We'll considering that I'm a culprit for late night rushed assignments or going out for a beer or too I guess I probably should) It is inevitable; if you do a lot of morning training you need to get enough sleep to keep you going through the rest of the day. If you're guilty for napping or falling asleep in class/work (I say I) you can avoid it by adding on a few extra hours to your goodnight sleep. (As for time management and avoiding last min work, I'm still trying to figure that out so let me know if you have any suggestions.)

9. Training Camps - I know not everyone has the time/money to go up to Quebec (Foret Montmorency) for a weekend but if you do I highly suggest it. It gives you a chance to get on snow for a few days which gives you a) a competitive advantage and b) something in the near future to look forward to. Plus it's a ton of fun.

Oh yeah one more thing, dress warm and take vitamin c - this will help you avoid catching all the sickness that seems to go with November.

We'll there ya go...I hope these tips help you as they tend to help me, now let's all go outside and do a snowdance so maybe it will snow tomorrow.

Cya out on the trails,


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