Tapering the Focus

For me, the training season is a bit like a funnel that gets smaller the closer I get to winter. In the early spring, the funnel is wide open, with only a small glimpse of the racing season at the far end; it’s a time to focus on the basics and involves lots of non ski-specific training.

Summer and early fall training are more like middle of the funnel; some baseline work is still being done, but there is more deliberate focus on skiing and I get glimpses of what what the winter might look like.

Fall and early winter training are like the end of the funnel; by this time of year, training is very ski-specific and the baseline work is done. I can see the start of the race season clearly, my focus is tapering, and I’m working on any last-minute adjustments before racing starts.

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Skiing in Lake Louise with my sister Anna

November can be a tough time for athletes. We start questioning whether summer training will pay off, and because we aren’t quite ready to race yet, our confidence has its ups and downs. The days are getting shorter (a.k.a. time to bust out the SAD lamp), and it’s getting colder outside, which means that training takes more energy than normal. A mixture of nerves and anticipation means that for many of us, November features some tears and anxiety.

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No better way to say goodbye to November nerves than a fun family ski! (L-R: Anna, me, Mom).

To stay focused and to keep me on track, I’ve been working lots with my sports psychologist. With Olympic trials just over a month away, there is extra pressure this year– for most athletes, going to the Olympics is a career goal. Right now, I’m working on keeping things in perspective and focusing on the small steps, so that I show up at trials as prepared as I possibly can be. High-pressure situations are nerve-wracking but exciting, so I can’t wait to see what everyone brings to the table in January!

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Birthday cake for Emma C (also my first time making a poppyseed cake… it turned out more dense than planned but was still tasty!).

From a training perspective, the last month has gone really well. I managed to stay healthy following the Park City camp, and raced on Frozen Thunder for the first time in a few years. On the sprint day, I lost a pole basket in the qualifier (and thus learnt my lesson about making sure my pole baskets are the right size), but in the heats I was able to sneak through for a 1st place in the women’s final. My distance race was decent, and a good starting point for the year.

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Frozen Thunder sprint qualifier (PC: Zone4 Timing).
Frozen THunder 2017
Final stretch in the Frozen Thunder Women’s Final. (L-R: Annika, Chelsea, me). PC: Zone4 Timing

After Frozen Thunder, I put in a short training block, which included a few hectic days where a 20-hour training week coincided with finishing up my Statistics course. Thanks to Patrick, who made supper for us pretty much every night that week, I made it through healthy and happy. Finishing that course also means I’ve completed a year and a half worth of university!

Right now, I’m coming off a short rest week, and have 3 more intensity sessions to get in before the racing season kicks off. I’m feeling nervous but excited to race, and can’t wait to put on a bib and give it everything!

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Adventure ski with Emily and Dahria!

For the next month, I’ll be racing in Alberta and BC. Then I’ll head home to Athabasca for Christmas, and then off to Quebec for Olympic / U23 World Championship trails in early January!

Here’s what the next month of racing will look like:

  • Dec. 2-3: Alberta Cup, Canmore AB.
  • Dec. 9-10: NorAm, Vernon BC.
  • Dec. 15-17: NorAm, Rossland BC.

Results will be available on http://zone4.ca/ for anyone interested!

Happy skiing,

Maya

P.S. A Canadian Women’s NST poster is also in the works for us and will hopefully be out in the next month or so… stay tuned for details!!


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