Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Good news articles!

I just found a couple of good articles out in the news today.

The first one is a summary about why you need to get enough sleep. We have more detailed articles if you are interested but this one sums it up nicely. http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnews/20081016/ts_usnews/10reasonsnottoskimponsleep

The second one is just a quick one about the Industrial Food Chain that is really straight forward if you are interested in diet.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnews/20081020/ts_usnews/10thingsthefoodindustrydoesntwantyoutoknow

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall Training...

Well it's that time of year, when nordic skiers start to get grouchy. This might seem a little counter intuitive for some people, I mean it's getting cold and it's actually snowed! Therein lies the problem, it's cold, it's snowed and we're still rollerskiing!

This is the time of year when the training gets the hardest. Despite the fact that we ran in snow yesterday there is very little chance that we will actually be able to ski for at least 3 weeks. Starting now though, every day we'll gaze at the ski and look for snow, we'll put on the ski clothing and go for a run and we'll even put on the ski boots, hats, gloves and rollerski!

As we move into this part of the season I want to give a quick rundown of the team and training. So far we have 40 people who show up for practice at least half the time, this is the largest, consistent groups we've ever had. Within this group we also have some of the most dedicated people we've ever had.

The men's team has returned from the summer inspired. Last fall they were inspired but hadn't put in the time during the summer to really make a difference when they started racing. They have definitely put their money where their mouth is this time with several of them doing perfect training all summer. They do not want to be 3rd again and they have done everything they can to make sure that doesn't happen.

The women's team is also looking strong. Returning two of our top women, who missed last year, as well as some great talent from last year and several dedicated and fit new freshmen should have an astronomical effect once we start racing. We've never had such a complete group of women, not just a superstar but potentially 3-4 superstars!

We also did some changing in the training this season. The first major change is providing the opportunity to train with the team 6 days/week. We have required practice M, W, F and Sun and optional practice T, R. Our hope was that it would give the athletes who were training every day someone to train with and it might inspire some who didn't always train every day to put in a few more hours. So far we feel that this is exactly what's happening.

We also added a fall low altitude camp where we went down to Fort Robinson, Nebraska and did some hard workouts. You can read all about that in an earlier blog from John. We think this camp was a huge success for both low altitude and team cohesion.

On the whole we feel that this fall has seen the best training we may have ever had. What I mean by this is that we have such an amazing group of athletes. We have often had a handful who are extremely dedicated and fit but this is one of the first times we've had upwards of 20 who are with many of them coming to fall with a solid summer of training.

Anyway, whatever happens this season we are extremely excited and proud of all our athletes, it's been a great fall!

You Rock Our World!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Snow!

It's snowing in Laramie!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Woohoo!!

I'm done with a three day intensity block (3x5x1:00 classic on tue, 10x1:15 track, and 4x4:00 this morning) and done with my responsibilities for the week, all that is left is catch the Gangl tonight, and then off to Columbus, Georgia for my buddy Erik's wedding, let the debauchery (and by that I mean rest of course) commence!!!



Joe

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Night classes suck

Ugg. Usually I'm in bed before nine, but thanks to my mandatory Tuesday night hell of class from 7-9, I'm about an hour behind. Other than that class though, today was a good day. I woke at 6 as usual, took my time getting out the door because I had enough time today, and did a nice specific strength/intensity workout. 

I double poled to the hill just east of 30th and Reynolds, turns out it is just about a minute long, which was exactly what I wanted. I did three sets of 5X1 hard up this hill, with only the recovery of coming down, plus a little more time and a drink in between sets. The first set was double pole. This went pretty well considering I've been kinda slacking on my double pole, which isnt good. However, I was still manage 4 very good quality intervals, and the last one was still pretty good, I just bogged down on the steepest part of the hill a little. The second set was double pole kick. This is usually my weakness, but thanks to my newly strong back, I felt better double pole kicking today than I've ever felt in my life, hoorah. I felt amazingly strong on the last set as well, which was just striding up it technically well with a lot of power. 

After my intervals were finished, I took a slightly longer way home and ended up with a total workout of 1:15. I'm going to try to add in a little more warmup and cool down inn the future, but I think this workout may become a staple of my routine, I felt it helped me a lot mentally, and definitely makes me work technique and strength a lot. 

Up for the next couple days is a track workout of 400m repeats tomorrow, and then either a long slow skate or V2 intervals thursday morning, depending on how I feel after the track. 

Chao


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Weight Vs. Performance

My pre-bedtime discussion this evening will focus on the topic of weight vs performance, more specifically, weight vs uphill performance. I was riding along with a visiting friend of mine today who is a competitive cyclist. He's about 21 and a very strong rider with some solid results. As is a common problem with young cyclists in America, he's never had a coach. As we rode, the topic turned to body weight and climbing in cycling races. He was talking about how he felt his strength was in the hills, and he tried to keep his weight down because he wants to continue to be able to excel there. This is a pretty common sentiment among cyclists, especially younger ones, and is a myth which I think sometimes pervades skiing as well, which is why I would like to address it.  

When going uphill, it is not a matter of WEIGHT, but USABLE weight. While carrying extra bodyfat up a hill isn't going to help you out any, carrying larger amounts of muscle up a hill is not going hurt. In fact, it often helps. 

Of course, the best climbers in cycling look like skeletons with skin.....


but there is a big difference between a race that requires more than 3 hours of climbing, like a mountain stage in the tour de france, and a ski race where the total time climbing MIGHT be a half an hour. 

The biggest problem I see with athletes who try control their weight, which was this young cyclists problem, is that they end up shorting themselves on recovery. If you are counting and cutting calories, your body does not have the protein to repair muscle damage, nor the carbohydrates necessary to refuel muscle. So you end up with a toss-up, do you gain weight, but weight that enables you to generate more force, OR, do you keep your weight down so you don't have to generate as much force? Well, it seemed to me like an easy question to answer, but like many cyclists, my young friend remained unconvinced. So I steered us towards a long climb, told him to keep up. At the top I sat and waited a few moments for my friend to catch up. When he made it up, I asked him how much he thought I weighed, and we determined that I outweighed him by about 50 pounds, him being about 5' 9" and 135lbs, and I being 6' 1" and 185 lbs. I asked him again what he thought was better, being more fit, or being more light? He seemed to have changed his mind.

As I said before, it is not about the WEIGHT, it is about USABLE weight. As my friend noticed, it doesn't matter if you weigh very little and don't have much to carry, you still have to be STRONG to climb a hill fast, whether that be on two wheels or two skis. It comes down not to weight, but the ratio of specific-strength to weight. 
So the take home message is don't worry about what you weigh, toss the scale, and focus instead on optimizing that ratio, trying to be as absolutely specifically strong as you can, and eating well to minimize body fat, and then just kick some ass! 


Until next time. 

Friday, October 03, 2008

Ahh rest days

Today was a glorious rest day. 
Until fairly recently I hated days off, I just got antsy and lost motivation because I felt like I wasn't actively striving to reach my goals. I knew rest was absolutely the most important part of a successful training plan, and I did ok at easy days, but days completely off felt horrible. Recently though I've been much better at staying focused on rest days by focusing all of my energy on conserving energy. Wait,......
What I mean is, when I take a day off now, every spare second I have I am either laying down with my legs elevated (very good for decreasing inflammation due to muscle fatigue, thus speeding recovery), eating, or napping (often with my legs up). All of those are performed with a water bottle at my side (I try to drink enough to pee clear all day, hydration (not to much though, and make sure you get some electrolytes either with your food or drink) aids recovery as well). This helps me focus because it keeps me feeling like I'm doing something. A day off now isn't a LACK  of training, it's an ABUNDANCE of rest. Think about it. 

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I little bit of perspective goes a long way

This morning I had a crappy workout. Well, it started out that way at least, legs not feeling to snappy, just not feeling that into it. As I rollerskied, I was starting to get down on myself, as I often do when I don't feel so good. As I thought about it, I wasn't feeling BAD, just not awesome. after that realization I got to thinking about it, and I haven't had a "just ok" workout in a while. that got me feeling better, because as a rising athlete you're always told "Everybody has bad days." After that I felt much better, relaxed a bit, and the rest of the workout was MUCH better, I still felt a little tired, but my technique improved and it started feeling fast and easy again. After I came back home I checked my training log, and the last time I didn't feel absolutely kick-ass was August 19th. I'll take it.