Since this is my first time training for a full year in the northern hemisphere, I thought it might be timely to share some thoughts on summer training and my experience training for a summer.
Living in Australia means our seasons are obviously reversed, and as a cross country skier, you never really have an “off season”. We race in Australia on our circuit July-September and then the challenge arises with what sort of training to do in preparation for coming overseas to race the northern Hemisphere winter. Do you base train for a bit, then hit the intensity, or jus try to keep intensity going the entire time? I personally believe this is one of the biggest challenges facing Australian XC skiers and one which I hope living in Ottawa has helped me overcome.
Never before have I built up my training slowly and progressively over the summer, to the point where right now I feel everything is building nicely. My strength has come on slowly over the last few months and I have had an opportunity to change, develop or enhance my technique in both skating and especially in classic skiing. I feel the dryland drills and ski walking at Mooney’s Bay has helped dramatically with this.
An ongoing stress fracture in my foot has proved the only hurdle thus far, preventing me from running and doing the normal amount of ski striding and bounding that I like to incorporate into my training schedule. I have hence substituted most of my running for rollerskiing and kayaking on flat water. The added arm strength, and core strength has been a welcome addition to my base and the extra rollerskiing has been fantastic for my ski technique. Perhaps this injury has been a blessing in disguise?
There has been a large pressure, purely self inflicted, to train more intensity at this time of year as I read of my National Team-mates racing hard back home. Normally at this time of year I am whipping myself into race shape to re-qualify for the Australian Team. So it is very difficult to read of the racing my friends are doing and not push myself into the red zone during interval training. I hope I am keeping a lid on my enthusiasm by reminding myself that no-one cares about how fast you go in October, and by constantly checking fatigue levels, resting heart rates and of course training heart rates. Training with the other members of XCOttawa also helps to keep things in perspective and provides much needed stimulus during some of the longer workouts of the summer.
This season I am paying more attention to the little things. Things like eating faster after a workout, even if I do have plenty of recovery time before the next workout. Taking some extra E-Load with my daily water intake, which helps combat the humidity and potential dehydration. Wearing sunscreen and Rudy Project’s so I don’t get sunburnt or a headache from squinting into the sun whilst out training for 3 hours. Thinking ahead about skis and waxing requirements and making the necessary orders. Looking at the race calendar early, planning the travel and adjusting my training program now to ensure I am skiing fast at the right times. Making every skating kick count, every stride with better body position and every double pole with more power.
I hope these small details will combine with the summer of training and the results will come. Guess we wait and see……….