December 21st, 2009
There’s a phenomenon that I’ve seen among pretty much every group of Bill Koch League skiers that I’ve come across. For lack of a better name, I’m going to call it the “little jump phenomenon” and it goes like this: Someone builds a nice little jump on a decent-sized hill near the warming hut. Pretty soon there’s a pack of kids at the hill launching themselves precociously off the jump, then racing back to the top of the hill with surprisingly good technique and speed. By the time I’ve come back from my interval workout, the kids are still there doing hill repeats, albeit perhaps with a little less tempo than an hour before.
I think that possibly the most important thing that I remind myself of while training (and would like to pass on) is something you can learn from these little jumpers. And that is that from my experience, the best way to train well is to have fun in the process, and often the best way to have fun is to not even view it as “training.” Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for scientific training plans and training levels, heart rate monitors and lactate testing. But there’s also a time for just enjoying yourself and going as hard or easy as you like. If you’re excited about doing something and are having fun, you’re going to feel fresher and be able to push yourself harder. If you don’t feel fresh and aren’t excited about it, it might be a sign that you’re tired and shouldn’t push it.
For me, the best way to keep training fun isn’t necessarily to build a little jump, though I do love jumps. Often it’s to go on an adventure, or to turn a regular old OD into an adventure. Or even little things like taking an off-trail route down that big hill to practice a few tele turns, or wearing something kinda crazy. Anything to remind yourself that when it comes down to it, we are all playing on skis, and it’s awesome!
Hannah Dreissigacker races for the Craftsbury Green Racing Project. For Hannah, joining the Green Racing Project means returning to her home club of Craftsbury Nordic. Hannah spent her last four years at Dartmouth, where she skied 23 of the 24 carnivals held during her career, and captained the EISA champions her senior year. An NCAA All-American in her senior year, Hannah is excited to have an opportunity to focus on skiing when she’s not at school and see where it takes her. She is hoping to be competitive on the national scene and improve upon her past results at Nationals. She also likes balance, so she’s planning to put her environmental engineering degree to use when she’s not training. At the Outdoor Center, she’s working on a composting project, as well as a carbon inventory.