July Training

Hey, it's already July!  Hope you got something helpful out of at least one of the training plans posted last month.  I started this project thinking these people would give me a spark of motivation (and maybe you, too?), but here's what I discovered: motivation is not really the answer!  With the racers I surveyed and the pros I consulted, one thing really stood out: these people basically train, do something, just about every day.  Every.  Day.  When you're putting down that kind of consistency, week after week, month after month, we're not talking the spark of motivation, people; we're talking the steadiness of discipline.  Consistency matters; habit matters.

So here are their July training plans.  Keep up the good work, pick out what you can use, and maybe try something new!

Front of the pack, overall and age group podium, all distances:

I'm focusing on strength, hiking and PT/flexibility. I'm mixing my strength up by taking classes at NW Fitness Project which is on my way to/from work. I needed some extra motivation and so far it's been great. The classes are small and the instructors are constantly reviewing technique. Hiking/climbing focus - during the week I'm doing 6-8 reps of the stairs in my neighborhood and this translates to 1500/2000 feet of climbing. On the weekends I'm focusing on getting at least one day of 4000 feet during a hike/scramble.  Recovery is yoga and my easy ride to/from work.  I'm hopeful I'll be able to run again in a month or so. 

Middle of the pack overall, age group podium, World Masters distances:

The 6-8 min/km thing (mentioned in the June training plan] is just about the speed for the 2-3 more intense days. Those days, on flats, I try to do my ski-walking thing at 9-10-minute miles (6 mins/km) and when I do it on hilly terrain, I try to keep my speed at about 12-minute miles (8-9 min/km). On other days it is slower.  

In general, my June plan worked as planned. I had a few days where I did not ride or walk due to travel but otherwise did everything as I meant to do.

July is basically the same as June, except I will probably throw in two or three interval workouts (over  the month) on hills on days when I do a weight workout. Those involve going up and down steep hills (about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes up the hills) about 5-6 times. And I will lengthen one of my faster ski walks during  the week to 5 miles. 

Completely mediocre marathon-racing mom who trains to maintain sanity:

Serious skiers like to talk about how summer is for "big volume training".  I tend to think of "big volume" as "living my best life".  As a reminder, I'm a mid-to-back-of-the pack marathon skier and a mom of two with a more-than-full-time job, so "living my best life" means trying to get one or two 2+ hour adventures per week in beautiful places around our region (hiking, kayaking, biking, or roller skiing).  When we are out on those adventures, I do try to keep the pace up because I like to torture my tweens  so that I stay in  L1, a low intensity aerobic level that someone once told me was good for something related to mitochondria. :)  During the rest of the week, I run 2-3 times, including at least one session of intervals (thank goodness my kids are in the Momentum NW summer program because it gives me a good excuse to run on trails instead of sidewalks).  I also try to do at least one strength workout and one yoga workout a week. I have been really inspired lately by the idea that a big component of balance is strength and range of motion in the hips, which together give you the ability to get into and stay in the most naturally balanced position.  This means I've been doing a whole lot of squats, lunges, bridges, and clam shells in addition to a bunch of yoga to open everything up.  As I do every summer, I also recently recommitted to pushups and assisted pull ups - we'll see if that lasts through July.

Back of the pack marathon racer, aspiring to achieve mediocrity, trains because ski marathons are more fun when you're strong and fit:

Biking to work four days a week for easy distance and mental health (sunsets!).  Changing the weekly short spurts of baby bounding at Tiger Mountain to hiking with poles up the main trail to the top, because Reese Hanneman at APU says sustained uphill hiking is da bomb.  Added roller skiing once a week (or at least every other week) to the mix because (a) it's good to remind my brain and muscles about the interplay of upper body and lower body working together to get up the hill, and (b) I just really like to roller ski.  Continuing the pole hiking and bounding on the downhill ski slope at the summit every other week and increased distance hiking on the alternate weeks.  Strength training took a back seat last month, so I've moved my weights to a place where I'm more likely to stumble over them and be reminded.  And always, stretching stretching stretching. 

Professional coach:

Athleticism -- the ability to express one's physical self with optimal speed, agility, strength, balance, suppleness, stamina, and grace while avoiding injury -- is the goal.

Olympian, training to win:

Oh, July.  This is the month where we should start to see a shift in training.  The volume is still high, but in addition, more emphasis is put on intensity.  July is the month where it's still summer, but winter and choices about race schedules, etc, creep closer and closer.  Hence, in July, I would really recommend that you look at your goals (i.e., what you want to accomplish) for the upcoming winter and look specifically at workouts that you may or may not have planned for the next four-week period. Basically - do you have workouts planned that will help you reach your goals for the winter?  For example, if you want to become a better climber (on skis) and plan to spend the next three weeks on your TT road bike, your training is incongruent with your goals. Of course you want to continue with workouts that are fun & you are good at - strengths are always good - but I think that many people shy away from the aspects of training that are the hardest for them. Be it your subconscious or otherwise, it's easy to think, "I'm really bad at pull ups..... how about we go run uphill instead!"    

So, a couple goals and/or things to focus on for the next couple of weeks:  

•    The emphasis of June was to build your base. Continue base training but it's time to add some intervals if you haven't done so already!  

•    One of my favorite interval formulas is to do 1x speed, 1x race or TT, and 1x L3/threshold session per week!  Speed can be something as easy as integrating 8-10 10-20 second picks up in a distance workout. The race or TT can be a fun, local event, & my personal favorite threshold workout is ski walking/bounding uphill with poles continuously for 30-60 minutes.  

•    With the sustained high volumes and increased intensity, recovery becomes even more important!!!!  No matter how busy you are, take 10 minutes to get horizontal and put your feet up in the middle of the day - this will help!  

•    Emphasize nutrition!  Carbs preworkout, protein afterwards. My favorite is CLIF bar and/or banana pre-training and a single serving of greek yogurt afterwards!   Utilize that 20-minute window post-training and eat something right away. This will give you the best bang for your buck in terms of giving you the proper energy for your next workout - or next office meeting!  

•    Write down your goals and design 2-5 workouts per week that specifically TARGET those goals. What you want to accomplish and what you're willing to do to accomplish the goals should MATCH!  

Elite marathon specialist, training to win: 

(Pick and choose what seems reasonable from this menu if you're an everyday athlete instead of an elite!)

-- long steady jog/hike, two hours plus, twice a week

-- jog/hike 1-2 hours with pickups (fartlek), every other week

-- long steady roller ski, two hours plus, once a week

-- long uphill hike striding with poles, every other week

-- 10-20 minute running intervals, every other week

-- 3-5 minute running intervals, every other week

-- sub max speed roller ski, 30-60 minutes

-- strength: many reps, light weights twice a week, max weights twice a week