The past month has been a big whirlwind of training camps, testing, technique work, strength, and intensity. With such a busy first chunk of the training season, I’ve found that it’s been important keep both my day-to-day small goals as well as my big picture goals in sight. To do this, I like to take the time at the start of each week or training block to sit down and review my last week of training and set short-term goals for the upcoming week. This is also where I like to touch base on the goals I set at the start of the spring to make sure that I am slowly working towards each one of them!
One of my big picture goals coming into the spring and summer has been to work a lot on my technique. Skiing technically well is such an important part of our sport, and technique work is something that can be integrated into nearly every training session (little picture goals!). The other AWCA girls and I have been lucky to have Kathy Davies coaching us on technique this year, which has been extremely helpful! I’ve also had the opportunity to do a few technique sessions on the rollerski treadmill, which has been very useful because the treadmill speed and incline can be easily adjusted to fit the type of technique you want to work on. Although skiing on the rollerski treadmill isn’t the same as skiing on snow, it is a great place to practice and try new technique adjustments in “perfect” conditions before transitioning onto rollerskis and then onto snow in the winter.
Something that I find always reminds me of my big picture goals is going home to Athabasca. At the end of May I was able to do just that; I took advantage of a rest week and headed home to hang out with my sister and parents. While there, I was able to stop by one of my amazing sponsors, Home Hardware Athabasca, for a quick visit! I also had the opportunity to lead a strength workout with the LTIS/EPC School Ski Team, as well as to run “1km Club” at my parents’ school. It was so fun to see how excited and motivated the kids were to be active! Being at home, doing workouts with my family, and training on the trails where I grew up skiing always reminds me of how much I love this sport and why I continue to pursue it.
June kicked off with a week of testing in Canmore, which for me meant a max effort ski-until-you-fall-over test on the rollerski treadmill, and a time trial up Ha’Ling Mountain with my RMR teammates. Although testing week may not sound like fun to everyone, I personally love the challenge; testing is all about you and your mental strength, and it’s hard to beat the satisfaction of collapsing at the end of a workout and knowing you pushed yourself as hard as you absolutely could. My short-term goal during testing week was to break through all mental barriers during both Ha’Ling and on the rollerski treadmill, something that is very important to practice during training season so that by the time the winter comes around it is easy to do. With lots of encouragement from both coaches and teammates, I was able to do exactly that and finished the week proud of my effort!
For the last week of June and the start of July, I got to attend a National Team/Training Centre camp in Montreal and Mt. Tremblant, QC! This was my first time going to Mt. Tremblant, and I absolutely loved it there. Although the heat made training a bit harder than usual, having a week of hot, humid weather felt like a tropical vacation. I went into the trip with lots of small goals like working on technique, keeping my long slow workouts in low zone 1, and maintaining proper recovery between workouts. Because I’m still pretty new to the whole NST / Training centre system, my big picture goal for the camp was to see how athletes from other teams train and to try and pick up new ideas!
The camp started off with two days of indoor bike testing with B2ten in Montreal, followed by a double pole workout on the F1 track. We then headed to Mt. Tremblant and spent the week putting in the hours both on the pavement and on the running trails. It was great to be able to catch up with all my friends from across the country, and to have so many motivated athletes training together in the same place! The camp finished with a skate team sprint, which was really fun because athletes were mixed together to make each team as equal as possible.
Throughout the week, I was able to see that although some of the day-to-day workouts and technique styles between teams are different, the general training is the same (almost all Canadian coaches this year, for example, are putting a big emphasis on double poling). From what I can see, there aren’t any big secrets about becoming a fast athlete, which is great because that means that getting faster is possible for anyone!