Torbjrn’s December training
I trained 40 hours in December. 2.5 hours of running, 33 hours of skiing, 2 hours of weight training and 2.5 hours of walking (the walking was done with a 5 pound vest). My lowest week was 6 hours and the highest one was 13.5 hours — the last week of the year. I did 4 races and 4 interval sessions.
It was a strange month, where I had a tough time focusing on my own training and racing. I got mentally caught up in some “athlete rights” issues, focused a lot on the athletes I'm coaching and spent some time testing wax and coaching in conjunction with the recent Gold Cup race at Soldier Hollow. I also started off the month by getting a cold that reduced my training for 8 days. I did no intervals or hard training during that period.
My first race was on the 8th, a 5-K relay where I skied the classic leg. This was one day after I was “off the cold” and the race was hard. I skied well but not great and I could feel for hours afterwards that I had pushed very hard. I was coughing and had sore muscles. The following 4 days went OK but I might have pushed a little bit to hard with 2 intensity workouts and two 2-hour distance workouts. The first hard session was two days after the relay and was 55 minutes of uphill in Mill Creek Canyon at heart rate 156-166 (I had not planned to go that hard but I skied classic on slick skis and there were no tracks, and yes the hill really takes that long when the conditions are poor). My PR up that canyon is about 34 minutes.
My next hard session was two days later. Classic intervals: 5 minutes easy, then 2-3-2-3-2-3 minutes gradually harder with the first one at intensity 3, the next two at intensity 4 and the last three at intensity 5. I was able to follow Cory Smith on two of the intervals (was 2 and 1 beat from max heart rate) and felt great about that, however it caught up to me the next two days, which I took off since I now felt tired and sluggish. Three days after this interval session was the first 10-K of the year. Bragging rights with Gordon were at stake and I hoped that the two days off would make me feel good. When I woke up that Saturday I knew that it was going to be a long race. I considered skipping it, but stuck to what Gordon and I have been discussing regarding showing up for races. If you are sick don’t show up. If you are healthy show up and race. Well, I wasn't sick, only sluggish, and the race was only 10-K. It was a hard race, Gordon beat me by 1 minute and 10 seconds and I was 3rd overall in the over 30 Master division. Not bad but not what I had hoped for.
I dropped the training volume down to 6 hours the following week to make sure that I wasn't starting a downtrend. Then I did a 5-K skate time trial on the Olympic course with Gordon the following weekend. I gave him the advantage of starting 15 seconds behind me (since he always makes me that offer when we time-trial on the road bikes). I was beaten by 12 seconds but not passed and reasonable happy about that. My general feeling was Ok but I was not feeling fast and couldn't shift gears up the last long hill to the 4-K mark. I was building up too much lactic acid too early and need to work on that.
I started to feel better after that time-trial and put in the biggest week of the month, 13.5 hours. Mostly distance training. At the end of that week and on the last day of the year I participated in the Utah Winter Games Sprint Championship held on the Olympic Sprint course at Soldier Hollow — 1500-meter tough course. I had felt a lot better the last 3-4 days and hoped for a good result. Nine skiers entered in the 40-49 year old class so we skied one qualification round where the best 4 skiers advanced. I was one of them after winning my heat. In the final I was able to beat the infamous Barry Macarovizch and Don Pollari by less than a second. Only one other master type skier, the winner of the 30-39 year old class posted a faster time. I felt great, for the first time of year I was able to accelerate and find my long lost 5th gear. What a way to end the year!
Gordon wasn't there (he was in Lake Placid for World Junior qualification races with his Nordic Combined Juniors) but I, and not him can answer the phone (at least to the next race) by saying; “Utah Winter Games Sprint Champion Torbjrn speaking, how can I help you?”
By the way, my wife didn't think that the reason Gordon beat me so easy in the early races had much to do with my training. I think my Christmas present from her says more than words: a scale that not only gives you your weight but also your percent of body-fat.
This present along with a very nice fruit basket (instead of the annual chocolate cakes) from my friend Dave Bong tells me that I still should loose a few more pounds.
Plans for January
My January plans include going to the US National Championship in Bozeman, Montana from January 3-13. I am going there to help and support the skiers I'm coaching and not to race. I’ll miss participating in some races because of this, but I get a chance to ski a lot since one of the ways I test glide wax and stone grinds is by “skiing and feeling”.
After that I’ll try to get in some races.
In weeks with one competition I will do one interval session. I usually do this session 3 or 4 days after the last race. In weeks without competitions I will do two interval sessions. Here are some examples of such session:
– 3 x 4 minutes easy intervals (intensity 3) and 3 x 3 minutes hard intervals (intensity 4-5).
– 4-6-4-6-4 minutes. The first two intervals easy, the next three harder.
– 5-kilometer easy pace (intensity 3), then 1-2-1-2 hard intervals.
– 4-8 x 1-2 minutes of build-up intervals.
Reduce your interval sessions or skip them towards important competitions. Ski easy instead. It’s feeling good and having rested legs and circulation system that makes you ski fast and not doing well in that last tough interval session.
Happy New Year!