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Diggins Reports from Sweden; Randall in a Walking Boot

How do you know you’re working hard at a cross-country skiing training camp? Go bowling.

The youngest woman on the U.S. Ski Team, 20-year-old Jessie Diggins felt the post-workout burn last night during a laid-back bowling session with the Swedish national women’s team.

On Wednesday night, the U.S. Ski Team women went bowling near Salen, Sweden, with members of the Swedish national team, with whom they’ve joined for a 10-day training camp. From left to right, American teammates Holly Brooks, Jessie Diggins, Liz Stephen and Ida Sargent. (Photo courtesy of Jessie Diggins/jessiediggins.com)

Diggins, four of her teammates and Canadian Chandra Crawford kicked off their joint camp with the Swedes four days ago in Sälen, Sweden. On Friday, they’ll head south on a rest day to the Torsby ski tunnel, then go hard again with the team for four more days.

According to Diggins, it’s definitely been challenging so far.

“Last night we went bowling as a team, and it was very funny because our arms were so tired from strength that we could barely lift the bowling balls!” she wrote on her blog.

That was after a 2 1/2-hour run Wednesday morning and a 1 1/2-hour skate session that afternoon. In the two days before that, camp participants logged 6 hours of rollerskiiing and a 3-hour run.

Diggins described the first day of the Swedish/U.S. ski team training camp:

“A 3 hour adventure run through mud, rocks, streams and a bog, followed by a 2 hour classic with speed work in the afternoon! YAHTZEE! This camp is so totally awesome. Not only are all the Swedish girls fun to train with and nice, but they’re tough, too. We’ve been putting in some good hours and quality training no matter the weather.”

She detailed the rest of their completed workouts and wrote, “if it sounds a little intense, that’s because it is!”

“But the camp is only two sets of 4 days, so when it’s short like that you can cram in a lot of quality training and then go home and REST,” she added. “If you don’t let your body recover in-between training and after camp, as well as eat lots of good food, your body just won’t soak up the training as well and you’ve been wasting your time.”

Swedish National Ski Team members Lisa Larsen and Magdalena Pajala at a bowling alley near Salen, Sweden. (Photo courtesy of Jessie Diggins)

Diggins doesn’t see that as a problem. The condo she’s sharing with three of her teammates (Liz Stephen, Ida Sargent and Holly Brooks) is just a short walk from a restaurant.

“It’s the best feeling ever in the middle of a cold and rainy workout to know that a hot meal is waiting for you! While it’s fun to cook for ourselves most times, during intense camps it’s often much better to have good food prepared ahead of time so that the athletes can focus on rest and recovery.”

With all that nourishment, she’s focusing on learning some Swedish.

“On today’s run I had a blast learning some new Swedish words and trying to remember the correct phrases,” Diggins wrote. “My goal? To remember enough so that when we come back to Sweden in the winter, I can meet even more of the Swedish team and be able to finally speak to them in their own language, which sounds so beautiful to American ears.”

***

In the same blog post, there’s a photo of Diggins’ teammate and sprint world champion, Kikkan Randall, wearing a walking boot.

In an email, Randall explained it’s just a precaution.

“I have a bone in my right foot that is ‘stressed’ and so I have been instructed to wear the walking boot when I’m not training to let the foot rest a little,” she wrote.” So far I’ve been able to do all of the training fine. We’ve been taping the foot as well which is helping. Mostly I’m just trying to start a new fashion trend :)”

For proof that she’s OK, check out this video by USST women’s coach Matt Whitcomb, which shows Randall training in the Torsby ski tunnel on Sunday.

Kikkan Randall (l), Chandra Crawford (c) and Holly Brooks posing in front of an enlarged map of the world-famous Vasaloppet, a 90 kilometer cross-country ski race from Salen to Mora, Sweden. Randall is wearing a walking boot on her right foot to rest a ‘stressed’ bone, but is training normally. (Photo courtesy of Jessie Diggins)

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