Sunday, June 14, 2015

Four Things, Forty Minutes

I love reading other people's training blogs, especially stories from ordinary people with jobs and stuff.  Sure, it's inspiring to read about the training the women on the US Ski Team are putting in, but I can only admire that from afar; it's like they're from another universe.  So I was tickled to come across Tony Mommsen's Wave One Project on the Gear West blog.  His goal is make it back to Wave One at the American Birkie -- okay, that's almost as unimaginable to me as Liz Stephen's goal of podiuming at the Tour de Ski (go Liz!!), but I can relate to what he sees as his shortcomings.  He sees four weaknesses in himself, and figures if he can improve each one enough to cut ten minutes from his time, he's gained forty minutes and Wave One.

1.  Not too strong
2.  Overweight-who knows how much
3.  Some major technique short-comings
4.  Short on endurance

I'll never be in Wave One, but hey, I'd be happy to shave forty minutes off my time!

Then he recruited Matt Liebsch to lay out the main components of a training plan for middle-of-the-pack skiers (I'm pretty sure this works for me, too, as a lowly back-of-the-pack skier!):

June training advice for master skiers

Strength: This is important all times of the year. There are some very good studies backing up the benefits of resistance training from a hormonal response and also a general health standpoint. The benefits of strength for a skier are clear. Try double poling for any duration at a strong pace and you will feel the need to be strong. Once per week resistance training is a good goal. Summertime is a great time to work on general strength. Sit-ups, pushups, dips, pull-ups are all skier favorites along with some leg plyos. Add weight as the level of general strength comes up.

Endurance: It’s important to get one longer over distance workout every 7-10days. It does not have to be on roller skis. Bike, run, paddle… all are good. Even a combo workout is great. The goal is to train the body to burn fat as an energy source.

Intensity: I like to focus on longer intervals to start the year. Lv3 type work. 3 by 10min or 4 by 8min… anything that gives 30+ minutes of “on-time."

Specific: It never hurts to start working on specific strength. It can be a short high-quality workout like double-pole for 40min+ or skate no poles. Later I like to up the intensity by doing specific strength up-hill.

So ... it's not rocket science.  I know what to do;  the challenge is finding the time.  I only need one or two extra hours every day, or one extra day every week.  I think I have to move to some distant planet that rotates more slowly than Earth.

But here on Earth, I joined Rune on Saturday for another Killer Hiller workout, striving to build strength and work on technique (see re: Endurance and Specific above).  As I made my way up a particularly steep and sharp corner, I heard a pack of cyclists coming up behind.  When they caught up with me, one called out, "The Norwegians are coming!"  I turned to laugh at him ... and flipped right over backwards, smacking my head and elbow on the pavement.  My head is already six feet off the ground, and when you add a couple of inches for the steepness of the hill, my head had a long way to fall!  I ended up cracking my helmet -- better my helmet than my head! -- and bloodying my elbow.  The cyclists stopped, amazed that their silly comment had caused such destruction, but I just laughed it off and sent them on their way, then gingerly put myself back together and continued on up the hill.

The crash put me quite a bit behind schedule, and Rune passed me much earlier than he usually does, so rather than making him wait for me at the top, I told him he could just come back and get me after he got to his car.  So he did, and I didn't quite make it to the top this time.  But I will next time, and now I have a bright green new helmet to take the place of the one I cracked.  RIP, good old helmet; thanks for doing your job and saving my noggin for another day, another workout, another stab at trying to find forty minutes!

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