Canadian National Ski TeamHealthLifestyleRacingTrainingWorkoutsWorld CupWednesday Workout: Mini-Tour Recovery with Alex Harvey

Brainspiral BrainspiralDecember 10, 2014
Alex Harvey (r) of Canada leads (r-l) Russian Mixim Vylegzhanin, Dario Cologna of Switzerland, and Evgeniy Belov of Russia in Sunday's 15 k classic pursuit in Lillehammer, Norway. He finished in 10th position in the mini tour.  (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)
Alex Harvey (r) of Canada leads (from right to left) Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin, Switzerland’s Dario Cologna, and Russia’s Evgeniy Belov in Sunday’s 15 k classic pursuit in Lillehammer, Norway. He finished 10th after starting 11th. (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

After three races in three days, and top-10 results in two of them, Alex Harvey — like most elite racers of his caliber — makes a point to recover.

The Canadian World Cup Team member, who finished 10th overall in the Lillehammer World Cup triple last weekend, typically skis for an hour or so on a rest day following a mini tour.

But on Monday, Harvey opted for a run in Davos, Switzerland, instead.

While Davos has been dealing with a lack of snow leading up to its World Cup this coming weekend, Harvey explained in an email on Tuesday that it had been snowing “almost nonstop” since his team arrived on Monday. “But it’s very light, ‘Christmas ambiance’-like snow,” he wrote, with an initial accumulation of just about 6 centimeters (2 1/2 inches) in 36 hours.

Early this week, Davos organizers offered two skiing options: 2.1 k on a golf course, and 1.4 k on the upper part of the race loop.

“They actually have covered a lot of the rest of the race loop with manmade snow that they produced at the top on Flüela pass (2100 M) but they haven’t groomed it yet!” Harvey wrote on Tuesday.

“Since I didn’t feel like skiing on the hamster loop [on Monday], I ended up going for an hour fifteen jog with TA [coach Tor-Arne Hetland] and G-Kill [Graeme Killick],” he wrote.

Hetland, who lives in Davos, led them over running trails and farmers’ fields, and with about 5 centimeters of snow on the ground, Harvey described it as “perfect.”

“TA gave us a tour, we ran across Dario [Cologna] twice, seems like he did the exact same run as us,” he added.

For anyone looking to replicate Harvey’s post-race recovery sessions, he explained it’s important to take it slow.

“The day-after ski is very mellow,” he wrote. “I focus on drinking lots and skiing slow, nothing else, no technique work or anything.”

“The day-after ski is very mellow. I focus on drinking lots and skiing slow, nothing else, no technique work or anything.” Shoot for an hour or so, Harvey explains.

But recovery starts the moment you finish a race. Harvey makes sure to eat and drink immediately after, usually eLoad (electrolytes) or ProBar. Then he changes into dry clothes, skis for 20 minutes and heads back to the hotel.

Back at the homestead, he eats something solid for lunch: pasta, rice or potatoes with some meat, poultry or fish. “I usually will skip salad there, just ’cause my stomach is normally a bit upset after a race and I’m not actually that hungry,” he explained. “But I know I have to jam some food down there so I focus on what has actual calories and carbs.”

Then, he showers and squeezes in a nap if possible, even if it’s 4 or 5 p.m. When he wakes up, it’s time for more food and a massage, followed by a 30-minute run (or a 30-minute run, then the massage).

He showers again, puts on compression tights and heads to dinner — usually similar to lunch, but with salad and/or other vegetables. After that, he takes the tights off and stretches his legs with a 20-minute walk. His night wraps up with an evening “carbo” meal around 9:30 p.m.

“The trick for me is to turn the page quickly after the race, whether it’s a good race or a bad race,” Harvey summed up. “I give myself max, max, max, 1 hour to get pissed or psyched, draw some conclusion on what went well and what went wrong, then I move onto the [next] race.”

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