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Season of David - Part VII
By:  David Zylberberg   (2003/06/10)

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The followingis the first in a series of weekly articles 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. While David does not possess an advanced degree in physiology or sports science, hopefully the articles 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.

This week was dominated by a minor head cold I started to develop early in the week. Luckily, I reacted to it quickly and was able to prevent it from getting serious or preventing me from doing any real workouts. It did reafim the importance of being healthy since, even though they did not make me sicker, one or two workouts felt a little impeded. Racing sick, something I have rarely done and did not do this week, is a miserable experience and highlights the impediments of illness. It ends being a situation in which one is wheezing, unable to go hard, hurting and unable to feel like racing. Training sick can also be this bad but the lower intensities generally make it tolerable, though not always beneficial. These last few sentences are only a general reflection on rare past experiences and do not properly describe my narrow aversion of illness this week.

One thing I like to focus on while training is doing every workout and segment of the workout better. Most workouts have some quality that can be measured and all workouts have some designed purpose. It is important to focus on the prupose of the workout and to try to maximize that purpose in order to improve as a skier. The parts of a workout that can be measured are time (assuming a measured distance or repetition of the same route), repititions (strength, maybe intervals) and distance (this applies to jumping or throwing things and is less common). I find it helpful in maximizing workouts to try to improve the measured quality over previous workouts. In doing body weight strength workouts, I focus on doing more pushups or chinups than previously. If doing intervals on the same route as other times, I try to challenge my times. I even do this a bit with easy distance workouts by trying to cover a certain distance quicker while still working at an easy effort. Challenging distance workouts becomes risky and should only be done with a heart rate monitor to make sure you are not going too fast. I find challenging these different types of workouts useful in order to push myself harder ( when appropriate) and keep myself focused on improvement. It also helps to maintain focus since summer training can sometimes feel monotonous since there are so many months of it and the workouts do not change that much. Furthermore, I am a competitive person and I enjoy the challenge of bettering myself every workout.

This is something I have found beneficial but it is important to remember that attempting to go faster or harder should not jeapordize the purpose of the workout. Also, be careful not to sacrifice technique for more repetitions while doing strength since this will actually reduce the sought after benefits. Also, do not allow a focus on some objective inside the workout allow you to sacrifice technique while rollerskiing. Overall, attempting to beat previous workouts is a way to improve training but must not become an all-encompasing desire.

 
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