Always Learning

Posted by Hannah Rudd on Jan 27th 2022

Always Learning

The past few months have been packed with a lot of racing, travelling, and quality time with my team. Between Senior Nationals, the Sun Valley Super Tours, and the Eastern Super Tours, which is where I’m at right now, it has been quite busy and very exciting. Although we are in the heat of our race season and settling into the routine of travelling, I feel like I’m always learning something about how to be a better skier. Here are a few of my more noteworthy takeaways from the past month on the road.

  1. Uphill Skate Technique The past few weeks, I have been working on my uphill skating technique (V1). I have always struggled with my uphill skate technique, especially in regard to keeping up my glide and momentum. Over time, I have developed a bad habit of not gliding up the hills, but rather stepping up them. When you get bogged down and begin to lift/stomp your way up a hill, you waste a lot of energy and drastically slow yourself down. To try to change my technique, I think about driving my non-poling knee forward which forces me to glide more instead of stomping. I also think about moving each hip from one ski to another. This helps me get a more complete weight transfer which lengthens my glide as well.

First Uphill of the Skate Sprint at U.S. Nationals (Photo by Linda Kerker)

2. Preparing Well for Travel Days Although traveling across the country will inevitably be tiring, there are several ways to reduce the negative impact it has on your body. The thing that I have found most important is to bring a lot of good food with me as well as electrolytes. When travelling to Utah for Senior Nationals, I didn’t bring enough food with me for the drive and was also very dehydrated. This left me feeling drained and flat for several days. So, when flying out to New York a few days ago I packed a big breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also packed Nuun (electrolyte tablets) to drink during my entire flight. Making this small, and easy change in my travel day made a huge impact on how I’ve been feeling the past few days. I have a lot more energy and don’t feel very fatigued from travel at all.

3.Don’t Count Yourself Out During the morning of the classic sprint at U.S Nationals, I woke up feeling extremely tired and rundown from the past three days of racing. I ended up qualifying in 22nd, which was a lot further back than I was hoping to be. It was clear that I was going to have some serious work to do in the heats. Before the heats began, I made a conscious decision to not count myself out, even though I hadn’t qualified in the top. While standing on the start line of each heat, I had to fully believe in my abilities and in my skis. As the day progressed, I felt like I was able to gain momentum and energy and progressed through the quarters, and semis and onto the final. I ended up finishing the day with a podium finish in third place which was a personal best for me. I think that this race was a great reminder that you should never, ever count yourself out. 

Podium for the Classic Sprint at U.S Nationals (Photo by Arlin Ladue)

4. Strength During the Season It’s very easy to let your strength training slide once winter rolls around and the race season gears up. In past years, this has definitely been the case for me. This year we have been doing consistent strength all throughout the race season and I really feel the difference. I feel a lot more snappy and powerful during my intensity sessions and races. I also feel like it has been easier to maintain good technique when I am fatigued during my races because my core is a lot stronger. Depending on whether or not we have a race that week, we will adjust the strength routine accordingly. When we’re back in Bozeman, we’re able to do our strength workouts in the gym, but when we’re on the road we often do living room strength. I think that this kind of strength can be just as valuable if done well!

Living room strength session in Lake Placid, New York