As you may know, I often ask for you to send me your questions about your training. Oddly, the most common question I get is not about you, it’s actually about me! You guys want to know how I train.
Since I just moved across the country to train in beautiful Bend, OR, now is a good time for me to share some of my awesome training adventures! Look for them on the new Facebook page, where I’ll be sharing posts, photos and the occasional video about my own athletic career. Here on the blog I’ll go into some detail about the training plan I’m currently following.
First of all, a good training program reflects
Your Athletic Goals
My current lifestyle is that of a semi-nomadic, full-time athlete. My current athletic goal is to set new personal bests on the US Super Tour Circuit. (For the non-Nordies out there, that’s essentially the Domestic Pro Circuit, though it’s open to anyone.)
My training is based on three main factors:
- The Rule of Specificity
- Volume vs Intensity
- Smart Scheduling
The Rule of Specificity
The first thing to note is that I am currently training very specifically for Nordic ski racing. Competitive athletes usually train following the rule of specificity, meaning the more closely your training simulates your racing, the more beneficial it will be. A majority of my workouts right now are rollerskiing, though I also enjoy some trail running and mountain biking. As race season gets closer, I will do more and more rollerskiing and less of everything else.
Volume vs. Intensity
Endurance training has two primary components: Long, easy distance (volume) and intervals or races (intensity.) Generally speaking, as one goes up, the other goes down. This applies when scheduling a week’s training, and when scheduling a year’s training. For Nordic skiers, the pattern goes like this (roughly):
Summer: Volume. Lots of training, much of it at low intensity.
Fall: Mix. Less volume than the summer as intensity sessions take a larger role.
Winter: Intensity. Lots of racing, lots of intervals, low volume.
Spring: Easy. Low volume and low intensity. Recovery from race season.
So right now I’m doing a LOT of training, much of it at low intensity, but I have one or two interval sessions during a standard week. Other components of training include strength, injury prevention, stretching/rolling/recovery work, agility, and mental training. From June through August, I will train about 200 hours, and will spend another 100 hours stretching, foam rolling, and doing other recovery and “pre-hab” exercises. I spend anywhere from 2 to 6 hours training every day (except on rest days!) But it’s not just fitting all the workouts in…
The key is in the scheduling.
A good training plan plays to your strengths. This takes into account your work schedule and other commitments, times of day you feel your best, training resources such as gym schedules, and environmental factors like heat or cold. My days have a smoothly-flowing structure to them.
The morning: I’m a morning person, so I get up well before our 7:30 a.m. workouts to eat and meditate, and maybe arrive to training early to get some additional warm-up in. This primary workout may be anywhere from 90 minutes to 4 hours.
I always schedule plenty of free time after my first workout and before my next commitment, so that I can have a good snack, stretch and foam roll, and shower. This recovery time is critical to absorbing the workout effectively.
The afternoon: Time for work! You’ll likely to find me on my computer writing blog posts, creating more resources for you guys, or working on one of my athlete’s training plans. Though you may also find me at a yoga class, or taking a nap.
Late afternoon: About 4 days per week I have a second workout. This is generally an easier workout aerobically: both shorter and lower intensity than the primary workout, and usually includes some sort of strength training. It might be rock climbing 😉
Evening: The routine includes another round of foam rolling and putting my feet up for a bit. I’m also a fan of flossing while I do this 🙂 I sleep about 9 hours per night most nights.
Due to my personal athletic goals and lifestyle, I do schedule pretty much everything around training. If your lifestyle and goals don’t lead you to this, smart scheduling is still one of the most important things you can do to make your training more effective and enjoyable. Here are a couple things to think about to get you started:
- If you have a big block of time in which you will be sitting (hi desk job!) schedule your long or hard workout before this time. That way you’ll be resting after your workout, and won’t feel sluggish trying to exercise after a long period of sitting. *If you try this, be sure to factor in at least 15 minutes of post-workout stretching or foam rolling before sitting down again, to alleviate stiffness. And get up and move around for couple minutes every hour (but that’s something you should do anyway!)
- If you have lots of little pockets of free time throughout your day, try to consolidate them into one bigger block of time, so you can fit in a workout as well as some stretching.
- What time of day do you want to train? Forget the rest of your schedule for a minute. Do you want to avoid the heat by training in the morning or evening? Do you want to be able to meet a friend for a workout? These motivations matter, and if the rest of your schedule has any flexibility at all you’ll want to factor these things in when arranging your days.
Keep an eye on the Facebook Page for some specific workouts from my summer training! We’re doing some awesome workouts, like last week’s combination rollerski/run/hike, which featured a couple hours of rollerskiing uphill to a mountain, then hiking the mountain in the snow!