I hope everyone’s summer has gotten off to a great start! I can’t believe it's nearly July already! Things have been going pretty well for me, as I have settled into a nice rhythm of training and working with Tenderfoot Outfitters here at home in CO. I have gotten nicely acclimated to the altitude and am feeling things are going in the right direction! Nothing too terribly interesting to note, just getting the work done CONSISTENTLY, day after day.
Which brings me to this week's topic of choice....CONSISTENCY! May you find this helpful as summer training starts to really get into full swing.
In my last article, I talked about my “spring experiment” which essentially was having an 11 week training block; training everyday, but in a manner that meant I could do it again the next day. (If you would like to read the full article, here is the link: Update+ The Spring Experiment (garrettbutts3710.wixsite.com)) In this article I also commented that I was keen to see what would happen in 4-6 weeks time once all of that work had time to soak in. Interestingly enough, I would say that came last week. This is when I noticed what seemed like a significant increase in performance on a daily basis. Not that I was doing any testing, but more that the routes that I rollerski, bike or do intervals on, were taking less time, with less effort, etc. I think there were a few things that attributed to this like being fully acclimated to high altitude, being the week after a smaller week of training, and of course the gains from that spring training block coming to fruition.
So, consistency. Consistency is the name of the game. I cannot tell you the reasoning and scientific verbiage as to why it works, but I reckon the simple answer is because the body likes to be in a rhythm, like homeostasis. The bottom line is that if you are wanting to get better at any given thing, whether that's skiing, cooking, or playing the piano, you have to work on those things consistently to see progress.
What does this mean in the realm of skiing and more importantly how do you achieve it? When you set out your training plan at the beginning of each season, month, week, and even each day you have to think about it like a race, and how you would pace it. Maybe you could train 40 hours one week but it might take 3 weeks to recover from it. So you have to find the sweet spot that lies right before you cross the fine line of being too much, and you ride that. Typically that's how you build a season. Starting in May, you progressively add layers to your training. As you become stronger and more resilient, you can tolerate more and more. Days and days become weeks. Weeks and weeks become months. Months and months become years. The years continually stack up on each other, and hopefully after a number of years, you reach your potential.
Now here’s the how...
There are a ton of things that can play a role in your ability to be consistent with your training, but here are a few that I have found that make a big difference.
1.) Fueling: Of course you need to make sure that you are generally eating well in order to allow your body to do what it needs throughout all of the daily rigors that you put it through. This also means being conscious of how you are fueling before and after workouts, and what I have found to be a huge piece of the puzzle, fueling DURING workouts. No matter what the workout is, fueling during training will help you recover faster after the workout because you won't have to replenish so much of what you lost during training, and it will also allow you to have higher quality sessions as well. I use a range of PowerBar products, from gels, bars, and drink mixes, and I can tell you with certainty that training would not be the same without them. Generally during distance training I’ll use bars, energy chews, and isoactive drink mix. While during higher intensity sessions, I’ll use their isoactive drink mix and gels, then use their RecoveryMax drink mix as a post session recovery drink. (You can get 15% off all PowerBar products by using code GB15.)
2.) Utilizing various methods to aid recovery: The biggest limiting factor on how much you can train on a consistent basis is how well you recover. The closer and closer you get to being at the limit of how much you can train, the more every little thing starts to make a difference. As mentioned above, fueling properly aids recovery enormously. Now, I’m addressing, getting enough sleep, foam rolling, stretching, massage, and one that has become an everyday go-to of mine, my Speedhound recovery boots. (Which you can find here and can use code Garrett21 for a nice discount on those.) I like to use them at the end of the day to give the legs a nice flush. I have found that it's the equivalent to going for an easy shake out jog in terms of circulation, but without the effort.
3.) Other Biggies: Two major hurdles to keeping consistency in training are injury and illness. If you can stay on top of number’s 1 and 2 you’ll be on a good path to staying injury free and healthy. However, there are a couple things that might not be obvious to think about, but can help tremendously. Those things are making sure you have proper equipment, and getting blood tests. Two examples of proper equipment that can have an impact, are having the right running shoes for you, and something as simple as wearing gloves when you roller ski. The wrong or worn out shoes can lead to various types of injuries ranging from blisters, stress fractures, to a ruptured achilles. All of which you want to avoid. Roller skiing with gloves can still give you blisters but will make it less likely. Sometimes they can also act as a buffer between your hand and the pole strap. I’ve had it happen before where the strap rubs my hand the wrong way and have developed tendonitis as a result. Blood tests, of course, provide abundant information and are a great way to track areas where you can improve your nutrition (ie... if it might help to take a supplement), or even if your immune system is compromised.