Holly Brooks had a super-fun May: being named to the US Ski Team, training camps in Park City and Bend, Pole Pedal Paddle, and a big ski-leg win at Ski to Sea (that's where this photo is from). Now it's onward to the big volume month of June. Here is her report. Thanks, Holly!
Let me just say that I love training in June!
I just finished a recovery week following my time in Bend (at my first official USST training camp) and I am literally chomping at the bit to train. Last week when I was discussing my training with Erik Flora, my coach (with familial Kongsberger ties!), he reminded me that IF I want to get stronger and faster, I need to take my recovery weeks more seriously. For me, resting is a really hard thing to do. I seem to have a natural sensor in my body that says, "more is better." Also, I love to train and love to be active so when he told me to limit my weekly hours to 8, I really had to control myself. I ended last week with 10 1/2 but that's by far, one of my smallest, easiest weeks ever. I turn in my training log religiously every Sunday for review and the response was, "Good job HB!"
So, starting today, I'm allowed to hit it hard again. Erik told me, "don't worry, this month will be huge. Expect to train 80/90 hours in the next four-week period." To me, this is music to my ears. My goals for June are specifically to build my endurance base, meaning June is filled with tons and tons of quality, solid distance training. If you think of training and training zones like a pyramid, levels 1 & 2 form the base of the pyramid. They are what holds the top end end together. (i.e., racing!) Without a good distance base, it's hard to sustain quality intervals and fast speed work later in the summer and fall, not to mention an entire winter of World Cup racing or Kongsberger/Snoqualmie events! That said, June will most likely be one of my highest VOLUME months of the entire year. Think of it like money in the bank.
This spring, I've been able to ski on snow quite a bit between spring in Alaska and traveling to Bend for great late-May conditions. This morning I went to practice for a skate roller ski and was amazed when I realized that it was only my third roller ski of the year. Last year by this time I had roller skied 14 times already!!!! Every year is different and condition-dependent, right?
So, if you're wondering how to plan your training for June, just get out there and KEEP GOING! I'm always careful to cross train (roller ski, run & bike) so that overuse injuries don't flare up. We also add at least one interval session and one speed session per week. This keeps my body used to fast work without taking a huge toll so that I can keep my distance hours up. [note: I asked Holly to define intervals and speed, and this is what she said: "Intervals - L3 - Threshold or L4 - Vo2Max .... Usually 4 minutes or more. L3 could even be 45 minutes up Tiger Mt....
Speed - L5 would typically be 90 seconds or less. For example, today I did a distance workout of two hours but in the middle I did 8 x 15 seconds - think pick ups!"]
Speaking of injuries, if you have anything that's nagging you, I challenge you to be proactive and take care of it! If you start the summer & beginning of the training year with things that hurt, they will likely spiral downwards as training volume and load increase. A couple weekends ago in Bend, I took a huge crash in the XC portion of the Pole Pedal Paddle. It was literally a chest flop OFF the trail. While I was able to do the kayak leg for my team team afterwards, the next day I could hardly get out of bed! Breathing, coughing, laughing - everything hurt. I thought it would go away but it hasn't. A couple days ago I got an x-ray to see if anything was broken and luckily it looks okay. I do have an appointment with my PT tomorrow. Get those aches and pains taken care of! And, if there is something you shouldn't be doing.... (for me - any speed work or double poling that uses my arms).... avoid it. Focus on other aspects of training. See it as an opportunity to improve something else while you heal! While I can't work on my double pole right now, I can work on my leg strength and running!
Have fun, be safe & get out there!