Before a weekend of World Cup freestyle-sprint racing in Planica, Slovenia, we caught up with Sophie Caldwell of the U.S. Ski Team, who recently won her first World Cup in the Stage 4 classic sprint at the Tour de Ski.
The 25 year old wrote to FasterSkier via email while still in Italy, with plans to travel to Slovenia on Thursday. She explained she was still battling “a little nagging cold I got after the Tour, but I should be good to go by Saturday.”
After the eight-stage Tour de Ski from Jan. 1-10, the regular World Cup season resumes in Planica with an individual freestyle sprint on Saturday and freestyle team sprint on Sunday.
So how does Caldwell prepare for a day of sprinting, or World Cup racing in general? Is it a day-before kind of thing? Not necessarily, she explained.
“Something I’ve been playing with this year is my ‘race prep’ workout the day before the race,” Caldwell wrote. “A lot of skiers do a bit of a shorter harder workout to wake the body up the day before a race. I found that doing this right before a race often tired me out more than it woke me up, so I started playing with doing that same ‘race prep’ workout two or three days before the race.”
The Workout: Sophie Caldwell’s Race Prep
Warm up as usual.
– 1 x around sprint course, Level 3
– 1 x sprint course, Level 4
– 5-6 speeds across important parts of course
“It’s not a crazy hard workout,” Caldwell explained.
She opts to do it 2-3 days before the race, “This way I can get in a semi hard workout on the race course, but have enough time to recover before the race itself and go in feeling fresh,” she wrote.
“I think it’s important to find a race prep plan that works for you,” Caldwell continued. “Most of my teammates do race prep the day before the race, and this works great for them. There isn’t a perfect workout that is a recipe for success, but I think it’s important to try different pre race plans to figure out what works the best. Sometimes it’s also necessary to alter the plan based on energy levels that day and that week and being flexible and willing to change the plan is key.”