Sadie Bjornsen, a new member of Alaska Pacific University’s ski team, gave this firsthand account towards the end of the recently-completed National Training Group camp in Utah. This post originally appeared on her blog, sadiebjornsen.blogspot.com/
For the past nine days, I have been training and hanging out in Park City, Utah, for the National Training Group camp. Earlier this spring, 25 promising top U-23 and junior athletes were named to this group, which is a new addition to the U.S. Ski Team’s “pipeline.” Six girls and nine boys traveled up, down, or across the country to join the group for ten days of training with U.S. Ski Team (USST) staff. It has been tons of fun, but super hard work.
Many of these athletes I have never gotten a chance to train with during the summer–I just meet them head-to-head on the race trails–so it has been fun to work alongside them. The coaching has been great as well. We have gotten lots of feedback on technique, training, and just simply our goals in the sport.
It has been great to train along with Andy Newell and Liz Stephen–it just raises the bar a bit during training. And not only have I been training with top nordie athletes, but also other big shots as well. Yesterday, I was walking backwards on the treadmill (an activity that seems to have no stress on my knee), while watching Ted Ligety speed squat what looked like three times his body weight. I also got to see Lindsey Vonn, an incredible alpine skier, bust out various weight training exercises. It’s funny how you make out these ski heroes to be supernatural people, but then you train alongside or with them and they are normal humans. It sure has a way of firing you up!
The camp has remained very focused for the entire time. Most days we have hit the pavement or the trails at 8:30 and trained for a couple hours, returned home for some down time, then headed out again for an afternoon workout. After dinner, we return to the “Center of Excellence” [the USST’s training center] for a meeting focused on various aspects of being a ski racer. These meetings have included talks from top athletes like Andy Newell, USST nutritionists, video review, and discussions on topics like relaxation and visualization, World Cup video, and the development pipeline.
We have hit almost all angles of training. The camp started out with an uphill running time trial, and then was followed four days later with a sprint race simulation. I have been struggling with knee issues, so I had to replace all the running workouts with swimming. I used to be a swim racer during my younger years, but the long break has made me realize how much hard work it is–it’s a great way to increase your upper body strength, for sure! The rest of the workouts have been distance, speed, strength or interval work. This morning, I finally felt the fatigue catching up to me when we did a level three interval workout, 3x14mins, around a loop in town. One more strength workout, a distance workout the following morning, and then I head home to Washington for a few days.
The weather has greatly improved over the course of the camp. The first few days were rainy and cold, so we have gotten overly excited about the sun coming
out these past couple of days. Yesterday, on our afternoon off, we decided to lie by the pool for no more than an hour and came home a little more sunburnt than expected. Turns out you get burned even when its cold out. I am trying to soak up every last bit of sun and heat before I move up to Alaska next week.