We're deep into summer now, with these gorgeous warm days and cool nights, bright blue mornings and long lingering evenings. But winter and ski season are marching inexorably toward us, and in case you, like me, could use some fresh training ideas, I checked in with a couple of club racers for their training reports and added some training thoughts from a successful racer outside of the club. See you out there!
Marathon mama, mid-pack racer, full-time job, kids
Way back on December 31, my husband said that he wanted to race more and that he thought maybe he would do a race a month in 2023. I nodded and didn’t think too much of it, but we went off and had a great time skiing in the Rodeo. Then came the Gunnar Hagen and the Stampede and the Race of the Methow and a race in White Pass and the Ozbaldy and … then a 5km run in Maryland… and all of a sudden I was seeking out a random race on a Tuesday so I could get in a race for May and now I guess I’m on this “race every month in 2023” thing, too.
I will say this -- you really do learn a lot when you show up and try to race your best on a regular basis. I learned that I can survive a race with food poisoning. I learned that warm-ups do matter, and that a better V2 makes all the difference.
Now that summer is really here, I’m following my training mantra of “only do it if it’s fun.” As usual, my work and life commitments mean that I’m lucky to get to train 8-9 hours a week. I’m glad that the new bike track around Green Lake gives me another roller ski option when it is too hard to get to the better trails on the Eastside. The trail races are giving me an extra intensity session every couple of weeks, which is helpful when heat saps my will for intervals. And I know I never regret any extra summer strength sessions once the snow starts to fly, so on those days when the hammock is calling, I try to focus there.
Do I have a goal? I guess I’m going to keep going with this one-race-a-month concept. Main focus will be running (mostly trail) through the fall, but maybe I’ll stop talking about wanting to try cyclocross and just do it. I have never been one to take racing too seriously, but I’m enjoying learning more about my own edge, my own middle-of-the-pack best.
World Masters contender, mid-pack overall, age group podium, retired, kids and grandkids
I just started thinking I want to get back into my more or less serious training routine. My body is telling me it is ready to do another year of this, which it wasn't telling me before. My goal this year is to pick up my speed on the uphills. For right now, that means not much new in my routine (every day some kind of activity; three times per week a bit more intense and one of those three really long; weight training a few times each week).
But I have been including more short bursts of intensity in the daily activities, with the idea that when I get close to ski season, I will be able to really up my intensity workouts without it feeling like a huge thing. Last winter we got a puppy, which interfered with weekly interval training. Not good for the hills! And this year I have more competition in my age group at the world masters races so I am thinking not only to get back where I was on the hills before last winter but to actually improve so I can maybe compete with those women. Kind of a long shot but I can at least try.
So there I am.
Outside voices: Phillip Violett, who has a job and family and still manages to podium at MWC
1. You gotta want it. To ski fast in March you have to want to work hard in the hot summer. That means the first week of May you're roller skiing and doing hard intervals. You have to want to eat healthy and not over-indulge on sweets and alcohol or other poor food choices. You have to want to go to bed at a reasonable time so you have the energy for a workout or two the next day.
2. Develop a plan. As much volume as possible in the summer, with one weekly hill bounding session. As the summer progresses, so does the elevation gain and the duration of the hill bounding intervals. In the fall, keep the volume high and increase the intensity with another weekly intensity workout.
3. Have a training partner, group, or team to keep you honest and accountable and push you harder on intervals. (ed. note: This should be a no-brainer as a KSC member, right?)
4. Enjoy the process and don’t worry about the results. Have the goal, do the work, and enjoy the process. Spending time outside exploring and pushing myself physically makes the process fun.