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Archive for October, 2011

Utah Camp Week 1

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

I just wrapped up a successful first week of training in Utah with the second intensity workout since arriving at altitude last Saturday. Reaching the end of the week sore and tired, yet feeling well acclimated, I knew that the camp was off to a good start. The key consideration this camp is pacing, because I’ve got a three-week camp at altitude with two races coming up this week and plenty of other intensity combo workouts to prepare for the approaching race season. I think I’ve done a good job so far, most importantly by keeping the level 1 sessions very easy and starting intensity sessions a little more conservatively than usual. It helps that we do lactate testing every two intervals or so, in order to ensure that we’re staying within the right training zone.

I’ve seen huge improvements in my shooting speed, as well as accuracy, over the summer and early fall, and the best part is that it seems to be a natural reaction to the repetitiveness of training rather than the result of a forced or conscious effort. Since I prefer not to overload my mind with biathlon for too many hours per day, I like to restrict as much of my shooting training as possible to the range during active training hours. During the rest of the time I keep busy with alternative activities and hobbies, which are taking the place of studying, for now. But I’ve always emphasized balance and the fact that it improves focus, so I’m not ready to become strictly a “full-time athlete” and certainly continued education in the near future.

A successful combo workout is always rewarding, but some of my favorite workouts take place off of the rollerski loop. This week a four-hour bike ride on Park City Mtn. Resort topped them all. I haven’t been able to incorporate very much mountain biking into training lately, so this was a highly enjoyable and satisfying workout. I’m hoping to take advantage of the opportunity a few more times before I leave here!

Arrival in Utah

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

I just arrived in Midway, Utah for our last big national team training camp of the year. I was in school all through October last year and wasn’t able to attend this camp, so I’m excited to be here once again, and to see snow in the mountains! I’ll back track briefly first, however, to fill you in on the last month or so.

The day after taking my very last finals at Dartmouth, I hopped a plane to Munich, making the last flight out of Albany before the rest of the flights were cancelled due to Hurricane Irene. I missed the first two weeks of dryland training but made it in time for a week of on-snow training in the Oberhof ski hall. Before arriving in Oberhof, however, we spent a morning in Salzburg for shooting tests to measure the pressure in the butt plate and trigger, and the weight distribution in our feet. Once in Oberhof, we trained inside the tunnel every morning, working primarily on technique with a little bit of sprinting and a short time trial at the end. In the afternoons we rollerskiied, ran on the Rennsteig, or did shooting combos at the World Cup venue. The weather was great for my entire stay at the camp and I made noticeable improvements in shooting over the course of just a few days, so even with the high proportion of travel for such a short trip, it was worth it.

After returning from camp I had a few free days to sort through all of the possessions I’ve transported between school and home for the past five years, and prepared to move fully into the Lake Placid OTC. I would finally be able to work with my coaches daily without the pressure of an impending departure date on which I would have to leave them to return to school. During those first few weeks we did a few workouts side by side with the U.S. Ski Team, which was a great indicator of how training is going so far this year. It was certainly a shock to the body to be thrown into a packed block of high intensity sessions when we had been doing mostly volume and threshold intervals throughout the summer, but it was an important reminder of the psychological threshold that the athlete faces each time he or she exerts at ‘full gas’ in a race.

We’ve got one sunny day to recover after the travel here in Midway. I’m planning to head out for a run and some exploration after I get moved in.