I’m waiting in the starting pen, the 20 degree wind blowing gently across the stadium as the clock beeps the tell-tale tones of another racer starting. I chisel the chunks of snow out of the bottom of my boot and clip into my skis. I step up to the wand.
“Beep… Beep… Beep….Beeeeeeeep”
I try to start but for some reason my feet just won’t move.
“Beep… Beep… Beep…. Beeeeeeeep”
Groggily, I fumble through the sheets looking for my persistently beeping phone. It’s 5:52 am and my body feels like a sack of bricks. I roll over placing my index and middle finger on the underside of my wrist. 10 beats in 15 seconds, 40 basic metabolic panel (BMP). Not a bad AM pulse, but that’s a little higher than normal. I’ll have to drink lots of water today and make sure I haven’t caught the back-to-school-plague that seems to have taken over the school.
Stepping outside, the entire town seems dead. If it weren’t for the street lights, I’d be unlocking my bike by starlight. Occasionally I’ll pass by a group of Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) students running in synchrony, but until arriving at the Student Development Center there’s no one in sight. This morning we’ll be doing metronomes, a workout where we double pole around the track at different tempos to work on technique and speed.
Total Time: 45-60 min
Goal: Focus on high quality technique while using different tempos. Immediately apply this to sprints and starts.
Warm-up: ~10 minutes or 3 songs
Set 1: (with metronome playing over loudspeakers)
2:30 @ 50 BPM
0:20 @ 60 BPM
0:10 @ 80 BPM
Set Break: Length= one song of your choice
6-10x 100m sprints
Cool down: ~10 minutes
This workout has a lot of benefits.
- It teaches the athlete how to ski using varying tempos
- By skiing around the track, it is much easier for coaches to work with athletes of different speeds and track progress throughout the session
- Technique and tempo can be applied immediately during the 100m sprints
- It’s good mass start practice due to the amount of passing that occurs
- Pace lines will form and it’s fun to go fast in a group!
- There are a lot of opportunities for younger skiers to ski with, watch and learn from older people on the team.
- You get to listen to music
- No Cars!
But be careful, this is an intensity session and should be counted as such. Recovery in between the 80 BMP and sprints should be a priority.
By 7:30 the sun is painting the sky hues of pink, purple and yellow. It’s not hard to realize how lucky we are to live in a place like this.
In class, while other students are guzzling coffee trying not to nod off, I’ve got positive endorphins keeping me engaged. However, as the day continues I find myself gazing out the window as storm clouds congregate on the horizon. It’s supposed to rain tonight. Right now I keep my fingers crossed that the rain will go somewhere else, keeping our roads dry for practice this afternoon. In a few weeks these clouds will hold potential for snow. As my professor fills the board with equations, I day dream about how much snow we’d get if it were 15° cooler.
Excelling in any sport takes an extreme amount of commitment and self discipline. It takes over your thoughts, drives your decision making process and rules your schedule. Every moment of the day is carefully crafted to strengthen your body through nutrition, intensity, recovery or education. It’s an all encompassing full time job. Luckily, this job comes naturally when you have passion for the sport. It begs us to reach higher, to do one more pull-up, to push the limits of comfort and ultimately persevere. What are your goals this season?