The past month or so has been quite busy for me and has brought some great progression in my training. This summer the BSF PRO Team was able to train a lot with a great squad of collegiate athletes that were working with the Nordic Team Solutions group. Having the opportunity to be surrounded by so many fast and motivated athletes all summer allowed me to greatly improve my technique, along with getting in some very quality interval sessions. I think that skiing behind your teammates and learning from each other's strengths is the best way to improve as an athlete.
(Leah Lang, Sophia Laukli and I working on technique during an interval session)
After injuring my foot at the beginning of the summer, I finally received the go-ahead from my doctor to resume all training, which means I can run, ski, bike and lift normally again! As someone who really enjoys running, I am so thankful to be back on the trails! A few weeks ago, the BSF Pro Team had a training camp in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. This was a low altitude camp which focused on speed and L4 Intensity. Throughout the camp, I was able to work on my sprinting speed, dial in my race pace during a team time-trial, practice fast double poling on flats, and work on my uphill L4 skating. This camp also gave our team the chance to get to know each other better, talk about season goals, and have fun!
(The BSF PRO Team L to R: Andy Newell, Leah Lang, Logan Diekmann, Lauren Jortberg, Simon Zink, Hannah Rudd, Finn O'Connell )
After our low altitude camp, I came back to Bozeman, took a few rest days, and then went straight into a big volume week. During this week I trained about 24 hours and was able to get in some long Mt. bike rides, scenic trail runs/hikes, and L3 bounding sessions. After several weeks of hard training my body was feeling quite tired and in need of some recovery! So, this week I have been sleeping in, catching up on work, having lots of brunches, and doing some easier training.
(Hydration and fishing are essential for a successful recovery week)
SkiPost: How are you preparing mentally for a season that poses so much uncertainty? Hypothetically, what do you think you would do if all racing was canceled next season?
Hannah: This is a very great question. With all of the uncertainty around the upcoming season, it is easy to lose motivation or to become stressed about the unknown. Since nobody knows what this winter will look like, and since it is pretty much out of our own control, I think it's important to treat this summer and fall just like any other normal year. In a time of so much uncertainty, I have been trying to focus on the things that I can control, like my training, sleep, nutrition, work and friendships. To "go with the flow" is easier said than done, but that is the approach I am trying to take! As of right now, I have absolutely no idea what this winter will bring. There are still a lot of decisions being made by USSA about the Super Tour races and most of the European boarders remain closed. I think we will have to wait a bit longer to determine what kind of racing will be safe and feasible for this season.
SkiPost: As high-level athletes know, the mental game is so important. In many cases the Olympians work with sports psychologist to gain the athletic advantage. As a professional, what are you doing in this area?
Hannah: Another very great topic here. Our minds our so much more powerful than we tend to realize, and I really believe that training them is equally important as the training we do on the trails. Throughout my years skiing and racing I have had my ups and downs with my mental game. I have struggled quite a bit with anxiety when it comes to skiing (and just normal life :/ ) along with confidence issues as well. I have seen firsthand how powerful of an impact my mind can have on my performance. I think that sports psychologists can be a great tool for a lot of athletes- I saw one all throughout my college career. Talking with a psychologist, coach, or other experienced athletes about your mental game and your mental health can make a world of difference. Performance anxiety, low self-confidence, feeling too much pressure, demotivation, and not having fun are mental challenges that SO many skiers face, including myself. Addressing these issues and talking with others about your struggles can drastically increase your performance and change your outlook on the sport.
SkiPost: If you could give two pieces of advice to all of our athletes returning to high school and college in the next few weeks, what would it be?
1) Keep on training hard and studying as you normally would and find ways to keep skiing fun and exciting amidst the uncertainty of the race season.
2) Focus on the things you can control (like your training, school, sleep, nutrition...) because if you start to think about all the things out of your control it will be quite stressful.
Thanks for reading and happy training!!