by Tara Geraghty-Moats
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. Make sure your intensity is high quality. It’s not a L4 session unless your HR is actually in L4 for the right amount of time. If you are lacking motivation, drink some caffeine and stick yourself on a treadmill. Treadmill intervals are incredibly “boring”, yet, utterly effective because of the controlled environment and repeatable conditions. When running on a treadmill or Ski-Erging (shout out to Concept 2 ) motivation comes instinctively from the mere fact that you don’t want to fall off the treadmill, or let your speed on the monitor drop. Secondly, you can control your heart rate exactly, and get the most out of limited time. Treadmill intervals also have the added benefit of making you mentally tough.
MAKE SURE YOUR HAVE SHORT AND LONG-TERM GOALS. Maybe your goal is just reaching a new strength level (I like doing more reps). Maybe you want to improve your time in a local race, or perhaps you are working towards your first international podium. Make sure you have goals for each training session and focus on those goals. Create small steps that will bring to your bigger goals. Value your goals. Don’t base them off of others. Choose things that will make you proud, not anyone else.
FOCUS ON YOUR WEAKNESSES NOT YOUR STRENGTHS. Work on improving your weaknesses and not your strengths. This may sound obvious, but I’ve seen high-level skiers who are horrible at downhills focus only on the VO2 max intervals—so they continue to stay horrible at downhills. If they took a step back, they would realize that objectively they could get 30seconds faster a lot easier by focusing on skiing better on downhills. If your goal is to have a stronger upper body, don’t spend your short gym session warming up and doing static core. Do a 5min run instead of a 30min run and make time to do a lot of pull ups. This will enable you to make actual progress on the weak areas in your skiing and it will help keep you motivation. Focus on your weak points.
POLARIZE YOUR TRAINING. Cut out all the fluff, reduce your hours. Balance your training with work or school. This could mean you won’t have the staying power to race fast every weekend from November through March, but it will mean you’ll be rested enough to go really fast for a few races that matter. I would always use a block training plan i.e. easy week, speed week, strength week, distance week. Or easy week, speed week, distance week, strength week. That being said, I did some form of HIT training on all weeks.
INTEGRATE YOUR TRAINING INTO YOUR LIFE. Try to make sure your life isn’t taking away from the training you do. Be creative. Use all the resources you have available to you to integrate training into your life. For example, if you are a parent and you don’t have enough child care, do intervals with a kid on your back or in a trailer. My mom did this, so I know it’s possible. If you need to stack a bunch of wood, do it fast, make it dynamic, and count it as circuit strength. If you work at a desk all day make sure you make use of your lunch hour to exercise even if it is only 30min. You can totally do intervals in 30 min by the way! 10min warm up, 3*4min L4 and 5min cool down. It won’t feel good but it’s effective. To help get the most of the training you do, create time to eat healthy and drink enough water. Use a creative office, try a standing desk, or a balance chair. Keep yourself active and your physical body engaged even when you are not officially training. Don’t get defeated. Do what you can with what you have. If all you have time for is 15min of strength on a strength day, make the most of it and be proud of that.