More Spring Training

FasterSkierJune 4, 2012

This spring is perhaps my busiest ever, largely due to that wedding thing in two weeks… Alison and I have been steadily tying down plans and getting things ready for the ~200 people who will converge in my parents’ back yard for our union. Should be a great time. The food is certainly going to warrant a party; our friend Leds is in charge of grilling up some spectacular flat-iron steaks, and my Dad and our friend Laurel, a semi-pro homebrewer, have crafted some amazing custom brews for the reception. Nobody will go hungry, nor will their whistles go un-wet.

Overdistance ski touring session, North Cascades, WA

But on to training. This spring we have started up in a more aggressive fashion than in years past, with more intensity incorporated with the “base” training. I use the punctuation because we’re now training the next level above the base, with higher training speeds and greater resistance loads. So far it’s been great and I’ve found I’m handling the increased stress well. In addition, Brian Gregg (CXC) is out here for a few weeks to deepen his own training. It’s been great having a workout partner for the last month.

Each year we learn more and more about the most efficient methods to train and improve. One of the recurrent themes we’ve encountered is the frustrating lack of quantifiable training methods for skiing. Cycling, running and swimming all have equal distances and relatively constant courses, allowing for infinite possibilities to data mine your efforts. Not so with skiing, at least in the traditional manners. But we’ve developed some exciting means to better understand and execute the training and both Brian and I are already seeing big differences in our daily performances. By using GPS and being more meticulous with workout venues we’ve been able to keep closer tabs on day-to-day fluctuations, as well as hone in on more exacting progressions of a given method. All good stuff.

Brian on top of Hart’s Pass. Pretty sloppy snow.

Last Friday we took what may have been the last on-snow adventure, up to Hart’s Pass Guard Station. The highest road in Washington State, Hart’s Pass road is unplowed and rarely clear of snow before July. Brian and I drove up as far as allowed and through a combination of hiking and skiing on zeroes and fish-scales, made it to the pass and back to complete a great recovery session.

We’ve started using some old Russian strength training, too. I don’t know where Scott digs this stuff up, but apparently the guy who developed it was the guru for Renato Canova, our Italian patron saint of kick-ass workouts. These new Ruskie workouts involve lots and lots and lots of sets and reps of squat jumps and split jumps and such with about 40% of your max squat weight on your back. Did you know you can buy 70# weight vests? You can. Donning one is quite awkward, but it has compelled me to elicit great sympathy for Octo-Mom. I’m glad I won’t be bearing huge loads of children.

And finally, I have to give another shoutout to Scott Shoes for the slammin’ kicks I’ve been using lately. The newest version of the e-ride Grip trail shoe is unparalleled – lightweight, low-profile and grippy. If you would’ve told me when I was 16 that I’d be running 50 miles a week and yearning for more, I’d have probably spewed Capri-Sun juice right out my nose. No foolin’.

Best trail shoe I’ve ever had, complete with Euro-stylin’ color schemes

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