Welcome to my blog! This is a site where you can keep up to date on my life as a full-time athlete in the sport of cross country skiing. You can expect regular updates throughout the year as I report on training, racing, life in general and maybe even some school. Sponsors, family, friends and fans: Enjoy!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Business as usual

June was a month of sussing out the current situation of the bod.  What to work on, what is weak.  No significant gains were observed, but the stage was set for how to systematically go about things over the rest of the summer.  

July has been a month of great progress.  At the top of the list is my move into the Whistler Athlete's Centre, at Cheakamus Crossing (what I like to call the Cheak-X), aka the Olympic Athlete's Village.  My new living arrangements are very comfortable and training is extremely convenient.  With all of my teammates in the same row of townhouses, team training outings are easily arranged and the area surrounding the Cheak-X is beautiful and contains a variety of excellent running/cycling trails.  We also live directly across from a state of the art sports centre, so we are soon to be in one of the best training situations possible once that opens in the next month.  

2nd on the list of things to be excited for for the month of July, is my improvement of overall fitness.  Instances of superior fitness are seen on an almost daily basis, and sensations have been great.  Good energy all of the time (likely thanks to the new training paradise I am living in), and notable improvements in running economy and double pole strength - two useful gauges over the summer months.  I am particularly excited about these two developments as they will directly influence my classic skiing, particularly my classic sprinting.  

My running improvements have likely come from specific track work of drills and strides (possibly supplementation of barefoot training as well).  The double pole has been changing perhaps due to technical changes recommended by Chris.  We are trying an Emil Joensson (top World Cup sprinter) approach to pole plant and power application - having the poles plant at nearly vertical and having the power phase end by the time my hands reach my hips.  

Some of the new methods with Chris conducted at the track in Brackendale.  Bounding, strides, drills, plyos, sprints...  Intended for:

- Practicing and strengthening my new found range of motion in hips and ankles (found through stretching).  Strengthening new range of motion is essential to prevent injury in the regions that were purposely damaged (stretched) for mobility gains.  
- Training proprioception with fun and coordination-challenging range of movement drills 
- Neurologic and strength training with all out sprints.  Finding that turnover, and learning to apply power too.

The main intended outcome of our track practices is being able to generate better power with legs, primarily for classic striding (where I am normally brutal).  

At the start of the month I was on-snow on the Haig glacier near Canmore, AB for a camp with my new teammates and with the National Team.  Even with specific fine-tuning and exciting new ideas, one mustn't lose sight of the most important part of training: getting in distance hours.  4-hour days are commonplace when skiing on the Haig.

A shot outside the dudes' room at the Haig - Peelix the mountain goat licking the pee off of the rocks.  

The guys of CVTC 2010, preparing for our 18km run out from the Haig base camp: (l to r) Chris Manhard (coach), Geoffrey Richards (Rossland), Jeff Wood (Whitehorse), and I.  Our glacier camp was a very productive time, both for training and for team bonding and getting to know each other. 

This is our new neighbourhood at the Cheak-X (Whistler peak in background).  

This year I have committed to spending more solid time chunks in Whistler - being here more, travelling less, and having consistent daily training and rest at a home base.  This was a commitment born from being inspired at the Olympic Games this past year.  It is easy to show integrity to my objectives, being a part of the Olympic legacy.  Every time I rollerski the paved finish line area at WOP, I get goosebumps as I remember Petter Northug claiming multiple gold on that exact spot...