Welcome to Wednesday Workout, where we provide and break down training ideas on a weekly basis. This week, Caitlin Gregg, 2010 Olympian and the defending American Birkebeiner champ, shares a group workout that pushes her to the max. Formerly of Central Cross Country (CXC), Gregg is currently training in Minneapolis with her husband Brian and racing for the Methow Olympic Development squad in Washington.
My favorite workouts are all during the fall months of training. I absolutely love doing hard intervals (Level 4) from 3-5 minutes in length, over and over again, sometimes feeling invincible and sometimes feeling like I am going to pass out! No matter what the mode, running, rollerskiing, bounding or biking I can never get enough.
Every fall I have come to love, and sometimes hate, a particular workout that Piotr Bednarski, US Biathlon’s director of athlete development, and Loppet Nordic Racing (LNR) run in the evening at Hyland Alpine Area in Bloomington, Minn.
The group is a mix of juniors, masters, Olympians and Birkie champions. Some people have been coming for years and some are just getting into nordic skiing. The camaraderie is high in this group and we all push each other to do our best.
The next phase is a series of plyometric jumps using the hill and medicine balls for resistance. We do side to side skate jumps, cross over glute leaps, broad jumps and 20-seconds all-out bounding with poles. The jumps are done in sets of 8-10 per side and are 100% effort followed by plenty of rest.
After almost an hour of effort we move onto the final portion of the workout. My favorite! Starting at the base of the hill we all leave together and run up to the top along a nicely wooded trail that offers a bit of shade and some agility as well. The last pitch is extremely steep and makes my legs and lungs burn more than any other workout.
After a 3-minute jog back down to the start its back to business. I strive to get under 3:30 for each interval and be able to hold the same pace for the entire workout. Some people get 3-4 in and some get 6-8. It all depends on each person’s fitness level and how they are feeling. The best part is everyone suffers together 🙂
After the intensity is over everyone jogs a cool down for about 20-30 minutes and spends some time chatting while stretching in the parking lot. I am lucky to live in such an active nordic community and it’s awesome to have such a wide variety of training partners for this workout.
I usually have someone who can push me for each individual segment, which makes the workout fun and super high quality at the same time. I also think it is pretty cool for the other participants to train along side an Olympian and see how I approach the same workout they are doing! I have been joining Piotr for this workout for the past 9 years and I have never been disappointed in the results!