Goals are important to focus effort and set a cadence to training and preparation. At the end of each ski season, I plan and set my goals and approach for the coming year, usually because I feel I still have a lot to work by the time I complete the last race of the season. I’ve only been racing nordic “seriously” for three years, so I still have a lot of improvement to make, despite carrying a good amount of fitness and training psychology from bike racing. The goals and the way they get captured don’t have to be anything real fancy, but they have to be realistic and actionable.
For the 2012 season, my ultimate focus was on having good, solid performances in races. To get there, I needed a good foundation of staying healthy and injury free. Last season, I ended overtrained and exhausted by early February. In planning, I optimized my training program to make sure I arrived fresh when the racing started and would maintain it through the season. Consistent training and progression are the most important elements of this phase. This really translated into managing volume and intensity of distance and threshold workouts. As a result, my peak fitness has lagged a bit, but that is better than being in the hole. Unfortunately, I was unable to avoid a three-week chest cold that slowed things down.
Many of the specific workouts focused on the core elements of technique: building specific strength, utilizing power efficiently and making fewer technique errors. This was done through a combination of balance exercises, hill bounding, core-strength sessions and roller skiing in the dryland season. One activity that has been extremely beneficial is doing V2 or striding down hills, at speed. I’ve also worked hard this season on my improving my descending skills.
The next level of focus was on stitching it all together during workouts, training races and during a race. This has been a real challenge because the terrain on my home track is relatively short and flat compared to the race courses further north. So, for things like striding up long hills or tackling hairy, technical descents, I haven’t been able to put in as much time as I need to, especially outside of races.
Finally, I set some targets for measuring results, each one increasingly more of a stretch:
- winning a Weston Tuesday Race
- a top-3 in a NENSA citizens race
- a top-25 for an Eastern Cup race
So far, I’ve achieved the first one. I won’t accomplish the last one since, as it turns out, I won’t do any EC cup races. And I’m running out of time and NENSA races.