It’s a long grind on the World Cup circuit, especially for biathletes, who potentially race three times — three separate days — every week.
That leaves four days for recovery between the next stop, but in that time, an athlete has to fit in travel, rest, easy efforts and then race prep. That can leave them worn down at the end of what international biathletes call a trimester, but it also gets them into phenomenal shape.
As Biathlon Canada’s Rosanna Crawford — who notched a career-best fifth on Sunday in Hochfilzen, Austria — explained, as the season progresses, she doesn’t need to do as much to be race ready.
On that days that she and the rest of her team are revving up — this week Wednesday, the day before the women’s race in Pokljuka, Slovenia — Crawford does race prep.
“For me that involves skiing Z1 (easy) for about 20 minutes and then I’ll zero and confirm my rifle,” she wrote in an email. “Then I’ll do 1×2.5km our race loop in Z3 (just below race pace) and shoot 1x prone, ski around the fence, and 1x standing.”
After that, depending on the course, she usually tries to find a loop that takes about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes and finishes in the range. She does that four times in max-aerobic speed (MAS), just above race pace.
“If it’s too difficult to find a loop that’s hard enough that ends in the range then I’ll just do them other places on the course,” she added, “And then do 4×15-20 sprints with shooting, total workout is usually 1hr15.”
Rosanna Crawford’s race prep (takes approx. 1 hour, 15 minutes)
– Warmup: Ski Zone 1 (easy) for 20 minutes (then zero and confirm rifle if you’re a biathlete)
– Do one 2 1/2 k loop at Zone 3, just below race pace. (Shoot one prone, ski back to beginning of range, then shoot one standing.)
– Find a loop that takes 2 to 2 1/2 minutes to complete. Ski it four times at max-aerobic speed (MAS), just above race pace.
– Finish up with four 15 to 20 sprints (with shooting)
In the afternoon, she’ll typically go for a 20-minute run, followed by some mobility and stretching.
What about the rest of the week? Mondays, they travel.
“This week that involved driving 3 hrs from Hochfilzen, Austria, to Bled, Slovenia. Much nicer than the 10 hr travel day from Ostersund, Sweden, to Hochfilzen,” she wrote.
Once in Slovenia, she and her boyfriend/teammate Brendan Green went for a “little walk” around the lake, then Crawford took a nap.
“The rest of the afternoon is pretty chill, stretching, maybe a massage and getting settled into our new location,” she explained.
Tuesday is typically their easy day, in which she likes to classic ski for 1 1/2 hours or less if she’s feeling tired. This week, she shot 60 bullets on Tuesday to get used to the range in Pokljuka. Height levels can vary between ranges, she explained.
That afternoon, she planned to take a nap and go for a 20-minute jog, followed by some mobility and physio exercises.
Thursday of this week is race day for the IBU World Cup women with a 7.5 k sprint. The men’s 10 k sprint is on Friday.