For most of us Lake Placid camp marks a turning point in off-season training when we transition from summer to fall virtually overnight. The training session goals transform from controlled efforts to seeing how hard we can push our bodies doing up to 3 interval sessions a week.
For me this transition always comes as a bit of a shock; my muscles have been incredibly sore over the last two weeks. But it’s also a really exciting time as an athlete because this is when you start to make big fitness gains and the stoke of a new season really starts to build. We have spent the last 4 months building a base and now it’s time to work on the top of the pyramid and get in race shape, or as Sverre likes to say ‘let your hair down’ (classic Sverreism).
Part of this big transition to more intense training also means more time trials on rollerskis. For most of us Lake Placid will be some of the first real ski specific time trials we have done all off-season. For me this means getting back in touch with the physical and mental demands of a race day routine and familiarizing myself with the process.
Last Saturday was our annual Lake Placid sprint time trial at the ski jumps, which was a perfect opportunity to practice getting in the zone. Although there is a massive group of ladies at this camp we are a little light with depth on the guys side. In fact it was just Ben Saxton and I doing the time trial on Saturday. Personally the number of people in a time trial doesn’t matter, because getting in the race zone is up to me, the athlete. Regardless of whether it’s a World Cup or a practice race, I’m working on the same things.
Primarily throughout Saturdays sprint workout I was very in tune with what my heart rate was doing. As a sprinter our warm up and cool down routines are very dialed and this was the first time I’ve been able to practice my routine in a while. During the warm up I was taking mental notes on how many minutes I was spending in each zone and how effectively that was warming me up.
Paying attention to how high my heart rate got at the end if each heat was also a priority to get an indication of how much L4 I was able to access. I think the most important and helpful information to monitor is simply how well I’m recovering throughout the 20 minutes in between efforts. This is a great indicator because as I get closer to the season I want to feel like I can recover faster and faster and still find the mental and physical energy to max out in the final.
It turned out to be a really successful training race and Ben and I hammered on each other during each heat. Even with just one other person it was fun to practice the simple tactics of one on one sprint racing try to lay down fast heat times. It was cool to see Ben skiing so fast and it was a positive result to see that we were both able to ski within 1 second of our qualification time in the final! That’s what team workouts are all about!