Thursday, May 3, 2012

See Holly Train-May

The APU ladies on the glacier:  Kikkan, Kate, and Holly.  Erik Flora photo by way of Don Brooks.



The amazing Holly Brooks knows a thing or three about training, and I (and maybe you?) am always eager for more knowledge.  So I asked her if she would be willing to send us a guest post once a month, describing her training plans for the month, and she generously said yes!  With that, dear reader, I am excited to offer you ... the month of May.  Read on, and then go put on your running shoes!  Many many thanks, Holly!


Hello, XC Ski Girl's readers! Holly Brooks here, checking in!  Debbie had a fun idea that I write a short blurb every month or so about my training, what my focus is, etc, for her site.  Seeing that May 1st just rolled around and is the International start of the "Ski Training Year," this is my first stab at it.  My goal is to keep you informed on what athletes like me are doing year-round for training and racing. Hopefully it will give you some ideas for your own training, or just be a fun read from time to time!  
 After a busy season training and racing, most serious ski racers take some time off in April, followed by some non-structured activity.  April is really the only time of year that I get a chance to do things like back country ski in Alaska..... I also take it upon myself to do some grueling single-day trips. My favorite usually include some kind of multi-sport variety, ie, bike to a trail head, crust ski to a mountain pass, break out my running shoes and climb a peak kind of thing!  Anyways, I took some time to go to Hawaii with my girlfriends where I turned 30 (I was really dreading that one, sorry!) & took some time at home after a five-month absence.  This included getting used to being in close quarters with my husband again, who I think got used to the bachelor lifestyle while I was in Europe!   
But back to training: Starting May 1 every year my team, APU Nordic Ski Center, has a "start-up camp."  The purpose of this camp is to kick off the new year with a bang and set the tone for the next training period of May - November.  We train hard, basically two times per day with the group.  We do a lot of distance training but we also do some hard intervals simply to keep in touch with the specific on-snow ski muscles that we still have.  We're also lucky enough to still have snow in Alaska, so why not keep skiing?  The thought is, if we can carry our fitness over from year to year, we can improve every year.  Instead, if you take too much time off, or too much time without skiing, every year you're basically starting from scratch.  Who wants that when you're "chasing it" and making all kinds of sacrifices?  We're trying to improve!   
I've included our team's training plan for the week below so that you can check it out.  Along with getting lots of skiing in, we're gradually introducing other "summer" training activities.  Aside from skiing, we use this period as an activation period for other things - condition the body into more running, potentially introduce roller skiing, and do some light weight lifting.  It's important not to hit new activities hard as injuries can spring up easily, especially if you do a lot of something you haven't done in a while. I can still remember years ago when I didn't run over the winter.  I came home to Seattle and could hardly run around Green Lake even though I was in amazing (ski) shape.  Now I make it a huge point to run ALL winter.   
In terms of getting back in the gym, if you haven't been lifting, be careful!  We use the first 4-6 sessions for "range of motion" and activation.  This means we aren't lifting heavy weight at all. We're lifting for the motion and preparing our joints for later in the season where we'll make our big strength gains.   I'm guessing that most of you live in places where you cannot take advantage of skiing at this point in the year, so I would recommend a variety of sports and activities.  May is a great month to build a good "distance base" that you can use as a platform for later in the summer, when you can introduce more intervals and specific strength.  While we're doing some intervals up here, the majority of our training is L1-2 distance. 
Although our training plan caps out at a maximum of 90 minutes for many sessions, we've been going on lots of 2-4 hour skis.... the adventure component gets the best of us and even our coach gets too excited!   
That's it for now - off to morning training!  
Cheers & thanks for reading,  
Holly :) 

Date
Day
2013
Mode
Dur Min
Dur Max
Time
4/30
M
Interval and distance, L4 15-20 minutes
Classic
90
120
8:00 AM


track
foot
60
60
4:00 PM
5/1
T
Crust ski Glenn Alps Willowa or foot in Turnagain arm trail. If ski, we will depart Glenn Alps at 7:30 AM, Depart APU at 7:00 AM.
skate-foot
90
150
8:00 AM


str
foot
75
90
4:00 PM
5/2
W
Interval and distance (7:00 AM departure from APU). L4 15-20 minutes
Skate
90
120
8:00 AM


Easy distance or off
bike
0
60

5/3
T
Crust ski Glenn Alps Ship lake/Arctic Valley or RS. If ski, we will depart Glenn Alps at 7:30 AM, Depart APU at 7:00 AM.
Skate or Classic RS
90
150
8:00 AM


track
foot
60
60
4:00 PM
5/4
F
Interval and distance (7:00 AM departure from APU). L4 15-20 minutes.
Skate
90
120
8:00 AM


str

75
90
4:00 PM
5/5
S
OD
Skate
180
180
8:00 AM







5/6
S
Fundraiser





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