Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Summer Training

Every year British Nordic has a sumer training camp, it's nearly always in Scotland and this year the senior camp was split between Aberdeenshire and Glenmore Lodge. The plan for the camp this year was for it to be slightly focussed on sprint skiing with a lot of speed work before working on endurance for the second half.
As it is the year after the olympics a lot of people are doing different things, so I was actually the only athlete available for the entire camp. Posy was there for most of it, Callum unfortunately fell ill right before the camp started, Alex was working and has moved more towards coaching, Fiona was working and Andrew was only available for the first few days of the camp. I was joined by a few of the juniors for some sessions early on in the camp but after we moved over to Glenmore I trained alone.

I took a few easy training days after the week with the Norwegians earlier in the month, but after a short rest training kicked off again with a sprint session. It was my first sprint session of the year and I was a bit unsure how I would go. It turned out ok and I managed to go a little bit fast at times.
We trained a lot of strength at the start of the camp as well. This year to try something new we headed into Aberdeen for a gymnastics strength session. Having been told the session took 1hr to 1.15 I got a bit of a shock when 2 hours into the session the gymnastics coach told us there was only an hour left. It was a really good session and I learned a lot of exercises I can incorporate to my own strength training. We've also slightly changed how we do our normal strength sessions in the gym. We are testing a bit more and recording it slightly differently. It's really easy to see improvements, and really encouraging.
The second hard session of the training camp was a double pole speed session. Double pole speed is quite possibly my worst aspect of skiing, and something I've worked on for a long time now. Last year it kind of got forgotten about. I didn't do a single classic sprint, so I just focussed on skate speed. My self and Andrew wen't together for the session to push each other or alternatively so I could see just how much I got beat by. Bizarrely, although I got beat on every singe sprint, I think it was a good session and I skied pretty well. It just shows how bad I was at it before. Safe to say, this sort of session will be focussed on a little bit more this year, seeing as both the U23 worlds and the world champs have a classic sprint.
As the camp switched to having a more endurance focus, the sessions got longer and the intervals were longer instead of short, sharp and fast. We had a good 5 hour session when we double poled from Huntly to Portsoy the ran along the coast to Cullen before running back to Portsoy. The only issue with the long session was the lack of drinks. The scottish weather gods had decided to kind for a change and I wasn't quite used to it. The last hour of the session I was nursing the last 100ml of my drinks belt, taking small sips and hoping it would last me the session. The first thing I did when I got back to the van was to drink about 5litres.
The hot weather continued as we moved over to Glenmore. Our first session over there was a 7x7 intervals on the lift road. We had Julie from SIS with us doing lactate tests. It was another good interval session but the heat was brutal. On an interval like that I normally to go a similar speed on each one but by the end of the session the tar on the road had melted so much that my roller skis and poles were sticking to the road, making it much slower. On top of that I lost about half my body weight in sweat throughout the session so by the end I was suffering.
The theme of the heat continued and a few days later for a 6x6 bounding interval I felt exactly the same... about 50kgs lighter by the end of the session. When you need two bottle belts for an interval session you know it's warm.
By the second last day of the camp the heat had subsided a little bit. The plan for the day was a long running session in the mountains. If the weather was ok and the clouds stayed off the Hills We had planned to get in a few Munros. I started at 8.30 and ran from Glenmore lodge up to Ryvoan Bothy, then I headed into Strath Nethy, up to The Saddle and down to Loach Avon. From there I head up to the top of Cairngorm mountain, a long walk up a quite steep stream/waterfall. From Cairngorm I headed up to the top of Ben Macdui before heading back to Cairngorm car park on the path round Corie an Lochain. From there I ran back to the lodge. All together I was on the move for 5hrs 20min and covered 42km, a marathon. It was a pretty long session and probably the longest run I've done, but I felt surprisingly ok.
The last day of the camp saw an other interval session on the lift road, before a recovery jog and the trip home.
The Junior, youth and development camp was running at Badaguish for the last two days of our camp so we popped in to say hi, and see everybody there including some old faces I haven't seen in a while. It was nice to see that the sport is quite active in the UK at the moment with a large group of kids at the camp to train and get better together.

This month has gone by so fast for me. I'm on my way back to Norway tomorrow to train for the autumn. The season starts in a little over 3 months and whilst it is a long way off yet it is from now on that the training makes a huge difference to the results in the winter.
Even though there are still a few days left on the month I've beaten my previous monthly record of 93 hours, I'm currently on 97 for July. I am going to have to train 3 hours in the next few days just to get the 100. A friend of mine first trained 100 hours 2 years ago and ever since then I've been getting bullied by him for only having 90 - something hours. So this year I'm putting an end to it. Although I've trained a lot this month the weeks have worked out ok and I have had good easy days between the hard weeks. This week is an easy week before it all kicks off again for the next month.
A week by week look at my training so far this year. 

Monday, 14 July 2014

3 stories

I haven't updated for a while and there has been a lot happening. So this is going to be a big post... It will probably take you several hours to read and decipher. You've been warned.

The Story of The Shaven Legs.
Many of you may have noticed, and some of you have already commented on it. I've started shaving my legs. This must seem like quite a strange thing for those that know me and know how anti men shaving legs I have been in the past. Cyclists, swimmers, triathletes, runners even some rugby players... there are many sportsmen that shave their legs. The arguments ranging from aerodynamics to hairs being pulled out whilst getting massages. I've even heard of a rugby player claiming it made his legs slippery and easier to escape out of tackles. Then there are arguments about how it helps reduce the chance of infection after crashing off a bike. Very few say they shave their legs for the reason that it looks good... In the past I've been pretty sure this was the only reason they did it and have taken to making fun of sportsmen who shave their legs. I now take it all back.
I mentioned in my last blog that I cut my leg pretty bad after a fall at sognefjell. The decision to shave my legs came about a week after the crash when I pulled my trousers down to go to the loo. Inadvertently I managed to knock a large section of the scab off from where my leg had been cut... this caused me to yelp, but I noticed it wasn't actually the scab coming off that was sore. My leg hair had become matted and tangled in with the scab and as the scab came off it took with it the hair. I decided there has to be an easier way, and seeing as I am fairly prone to falling over it is highly likely that I could end up in a similar situation in the future. And that was it. I shaved my legs the next day.

The Story of Being Home in Scotland.
I'm home in Scotland at the moment. It's fantastic. Scotland in July is brilliant. There are fresh strawberries in the garden, the raspberries are ripening early this year, the weather is generally pretty warm even if there are one or two wet days. For training it is perfect. The weather isn't so warm that I have to alter all my training around it, but it's warm enough to train in shorts and t-shirt and be outside for most of the day. Staying at home is great as well. There's always food, the freezer and fridge are fully stocked and I get to eat stuff you can't get in Norway. Proper cheese, home made chutney and pickled onions!
Even things like showering is better at home. In Norway you can get this "sports" shower gel called dobel dusch. It is cheap, and comes with the scent of "mens changing rooms". It's pretty much all any sportsman my age buys in Norway. You see it at the gym, and indeed our shower in Lillehammer has 3 bottles of it neatly lined up on the shelf. At home however, the shower has a relative buffet of soaps, shampoos and conditioners to choose from. Lavender one day, and fruits of the forrest the next... or maybe even coconut if I'm feeling adventurous. It's wild. The soaps here have more edible things in them than my fridge. Anyone who doesn't admit it is lying... even though we only ever buy cheap dobel dusch, we secretly want to be going around smelling like fresh lavender.

The Story of When I Trained a Lot
At risk of this blog turning rather feminine I've decided I better add an update from last week. Last weeks training couldn't have been any more laddish if I'd tried.
Once again Muzzy had invited some of his friends from Norway to come over and train for a week. Callum had invited a couple of his friends from the year he spent in Hovden to come over as well. I knew all the guys from training over in Norway and 4 of them are also on my private team, Team Synnfjell. Muzzy invited me to come a long and join in the training for the week. All together we were 11 people.
We trained a lot. I trained just over 30 hours for the week, which is actually only my 3rd week ever over 30 hours. And all of the training was done at "lads" tempo, fast. There was quite a lot of level 2, and quite a lot of it I was just trying to keep up with the person in front for as long as I could. There was also a few occasions that I got dropped. But most of us had a few off sessions where we didn't keep up the whole way.
In Norway I can average up to 20km/h rollerskiing on big roads that are generally fast and flat. Here we had the same average speeds on small country roads with rough road surfaces and with lots of small hills and twists and turns. Rarely long straight sections. So we were going fast.
As well as rollerskiing we had a couple of good running sessions on Bennachie. Yesterday we had an endurance session to finish the camp off. 4 hours double poling followed by 2 hours running. My heart rate monitor reckons I burned 6500 calories during the session, and the recommended daily allowance is 2500 calories... But the 6500 is the total for 6 hours of the day so I would give a rough estimate at somewhere between 8000 and 9000 for the number of calories I burned yesterday. Or roughly 35 mars bars. When we are burning so much we have to eat just as much. I ate lunch at Andrew's and dinner there a couple of nights. His mum is a fantastic cook and I have to thank her for letting me eat there and providing great food! Perhaps the reason we went so fast all week was that we were fuelled by Hillary's  home made chutney!
We watched the world cup final last night, although I was pretty angry they didn't manage to get it finished in 90mins... it forced me to stay up an extra 30min when all I wanted to do was go to bed. Today I'm having a well deserved rest day. Sleeping a lot and of course updating the blog.