Hannah here, checking in from Bozeman, MT where the sun is cooking, and the summer is in full swing. As I sit here and look at the date on my computer screen, June 17th, it’s crazy to think about how fast the summer flies by. We all know that summer training is important, so now is a great time to make sure that we have everything dialed in to ensure a successful summer and race season. There are so many small, and sometimes overlooked aspects to our sport that can make such a huge difference in our performance. Whether you’re a collegiate athlete, a master skier, a professional athlete, or a high schooler, I would encourage you to take the time to dial in your training to maximize your summer.
So, what exactly are we dialing in?
There are endless aspects to skiing that are great to refine, however, I will just share a few of the things that I find to be the most important and the things I am currently trying to dial-in. Here we go.
1)Dial-in your L3 (Threshold Training)
Now is the time to make sure that you know what your real threshold zones are so that you don’t finish the summer having done all of your L3 workouts too fast (or too slow). This past summer, I did a lot of my level-three training slightly above my threshold. During interval workouts, I would often ski too fast and climb into my L4 zones. At the time, I didn’t think it was a big deal, but as the year went on, I started to feel the consequences. True level-three training is a crucial step in creating muscular aerobic efficiency. If you don’t do enough training in your real threshold zone, you eventually lose your base fitness and can plateau in your performances. So, one of my goals for this summer is to make sure that I do all of my L3 workouts in my actual L3 zone. This can sometimes be challenging when you’re training with a big group of skiers, however, I have come to realize that it is very much worth it to stick to your own pace.
2)Dial in your L1 (Easy training pace)
To go off this same idea, another important thing to dial in is your L1 training pace and to ensure you are doing all of your easy distance L1 training at a true L1 pace. The same reasonings apply, and it can be quite costly if you do all of your “easy” training out of zone.
3)Dial in your fueling habits
This is another very important one. Getting into a fueling routine that works for you will make your summer training go even further. At the beginning of most summers, I tend to forget how much more food I need to eat when I’m working out all the time. One thing that I have been doing this year is keeping a box full of food in my car at all times, so I always have a snack to eat after training. I usually keep it stocked with protein bars, fruit leather, Nuun tablets and salt chewables. Getting some fuel in you right after training really helps to kick-start the recovery process.
4)Dial in the hydration
This week in Bozeman, the temperatures have been in the 90’s almost every day-so lots of sweating. I’ve always been notorious for forgetting to drink water and getting really dehydrated, so I’m trying to improve in this area. Most times, water alone is not enough to fully hydrate us while we are working out. Especially when the weather is warm, I would suggest adding some sort of electrolytes to your water pack- whether that be Gatorade, Nuun, Scratch (etc.).
5)Dial in the rest
Resting is by far the hardest thing for me on this list, and arguably the most important. During the summer I find it extremely hard to make time to rest, and often times I catch myself thinking that rest isn’t even a good thing. Dialing in a time in your day to put your legs up, take a nap, and relax is so important for recovery and makes your next training session feel worlds better. Although it’s not possible for everyone to take a mid-day nap, I would suggest finding time to at least be off your feet to give your body a chance to recharge. In addition, getting enough sleep at nighttime will also make an enormous impact on your summer training. Getting into a habit of going to bed around the same time every night helps to maintain your body’s internal clock. This intern helps you to fall asleep better at night and wake up more easily for training in the morning!
That’s all the dialing-in for now. No matter what kind of sport you’re training for or what level you’re competing at, I hope this short list of tips will get you thinking about how to maximize your summer. Thanks so much for reading!!