Sunday, 22 January 2012

Training

The summer and autumn is when most of my training is done. By the time i have got to the winter i am preparing for racing. Which means, less and harder training, and lots of resting. The best was to rest is to sleep. To rest enough, i try to sleep 12 hours a day, or at least be quiet and inactive for 12. This means a fairly early night. During the winter most training is shifted to the middle of the day, so as to train in daylight. Instead of the 8am and 4pm start times for sessions most days i train one session starting from 10am. On the days i do train twice i start at 9 and 3, so as to get some vitamin D.
Because of this cycle of training, with the largest amount being done the the summer and autumn, as soon as you train a bit more in the winter it feels weird, and out of place. This past week i trained 17 hours. Not that much, and certainly 2 or 3 months ago this would have seemed strikingly normal if not on the easy side. But now we are in winter, this felt like the most training i haver done in a week. Resting was reduced, and the typical hour and half training session became 2 hours. I look at my programe from the week, and i think wow its full. At only 17 hours, i have no idea how on earth i manage to train more than that per week in the summer. Let alone my longest week of 30 hours. It feels like i must have added extra days or been working on a 26 hour day not a 24 hour day. My brain knows i managed it, and i know this week wasn't THAT much, but my body is telling me otherwise. It was not prepared to ski for over 2 hours again.
Naturally with training a little bit more, and longer easier sessions my form or shape has dropped a little bit. Its hard to have top form or shape all season, so with a small gap between important races ive taken the opportunity to allow it to drop and hopefully build back up into even better form.
Next week training ressumes to normal, with almost an exact copy of how i trained over christmas. Medium hours and high intensity. 4 hard sessions are on the plan next week. It will be fun to go harder again, and hopefully set me up well for racing the following week.

Monday, 9 January 2012

First Norges Cup

So the first Norwegian Cup weekend has been and gone. Things this weekend took a slightly topsy turvy turn. The first race on friday was a 20k freestyle (skate) mass start. With 2 laps of 5k on a wide flatter loop before switching to two laps of 5k on a harder narrower loop. With 198 people on the startlist there was about the be some crashes, spills and broken poles and maybe the occasional broken ski. But having a start position on the front row certainly helped. I had an excellent start. There were, as per usual, a few kamikazi skiers double polling up the outside or the middle, breaking poles, annoying people and generally making a fools of themselves. Being British i waited politely at around 20th place. Here i would stay until around 13k. Now out on the harder loop, on a steep narrow climb. A small attack went and 2 small gaps opened. I fought my way round the side of the narrow track to try and close the gaps. I closed one by the top of the hill, and kept fighting back towards the stadium. In the stadium on the flat terrain i came into 10th place, and closed the gap to the front group down to just 5 meters. Everybody was shouting at me, "this is the front group, stay with them". But i never really got back to the group. I hang between 5 and 10 meters off the back for 2.5k. Then big attacks started coming. I dropped well off the back and skied with another who also came unstuck by the attacks. We skied together chasing a few others who had cracked. As we descended down into the stadium three of us were in the race for 8th. I was out sprinted by 0.1 seconds into 9th place. Happy with the days efforts, but a little annoyed i got dropped in the first place, as i feel i had the power to be fighting for podiums or at least top 6.
The skate sprint was a bit a of a disaster on the saturday, Qualifying in only 12th. Then having a bad begging to my 1/4 final, and not being able to make up for it. There was heavy new snow, and i tried to fight my way round the group, but being only one good skied track i was stuck in the new snow. It became clear i couldnt make it to the front, i couldnt go on to the semi final.
So on to sunday. The 10k classic time trial. I started quite early. At least all the big names started behind me, and as it turned out only those that beat me started behind me. I set out quite hard and caught a few people (15second start intervals) that started infront of me. As we came to the first big down hill i quickly noticed my skis were not helping me today. Infact they were quite slow. I should have had two split times on the first lap, but missed them both. Through the stadium i got a split from the announcer, i was in 3rd. I glimpsed a guy start their first lap about 15 seconds infront of me. It was Callum, from the British national team. I sprinted like crazy to try and get onto his skis, but couldnt manage. It took me almost 4k to get up to him. On the second lap i received one of my two splits. It was pretty simple, "you lead. go faster". I went as hard as could back to the stadium, but i was still losing time on the downs and in the final flat to the finish. I went into first place at the finish, the winner of the race hadnt even started yet. I ended up 7th. Again i was extreamly happy with my efforts. Its important to note my skis were not that bad. Its just with Geir Endre at the helm of the waxing team, you rarely have a bad skis day, in fact you rarely have a day when there is anything to complain about at all. Last year we had one complete disaster with skis. I hope this slight hiccough is it for this year. But had i the usual standard of skis, and a later start time to get time splits i feel i had the power and the ability today to get an even better position. Regardless, 7th is an epic result. To be top 10 in this field, which had 2 World junior championship medalists, is a great result for me.

Now i am back in Geilo to prepare for the round the lake race next weekend. Its a pretty small race, but last year Geir Endre beat me in it. This year he has been ill so looks like i will have the upper hand.
After that its onto the second norwegian cup weekend in the begging of February before the world juniors in Turkey.