Greetings and Happy New Year from a very snowy Sun Valley! The Gold Team is in our final preparations for US Nationals, and the valley received several feet of snow over the week of Christmas. It really feels like quite the winter wonderland here. While we’re all excited for next week’s race series in Soldier Hollow, the week between Christmas and New Year’s can be challenging to navigate; while social media feeds are strewn with memes about this being a great time to melt into the couch and become the least impressive version of oneself, many American skiers are honing their focus on best-possible performances starting just after New Year’s. If you live in a place that has lots of fresh snow, powder skiing and sledding could be calling your name as well. US Nationals are trials for many international events: U18 Nations’ Cup, World Junior/U23 Championships, World Cup races, and, this year, the possibility of the 2022 Beijing Olympics. When it seems like everyone around is taking time to put their feet up and let the days blend together, it can be hard to get out the door for some fast, hard intervals. Here are a few tips for handling the cozy, indulgent holidays and fast training - and a hint: there’s room for bo.
An early moonrise on the trails
- Allow time for rest & fun activities. Extra training in the week leading up to a big race series won’t make you faster, and it might make you tired. Remind yourself that the work has already been done. While there is room to feel sharper and faster, there isn’t enough time here to make big fitness gains. If the powder, ice skating, or another activity really summons you, then substitute an easy distance day for a nice outing. If you’re feeling drained, try and get some extra sleep and don’t hesitate to take part of a day or a full day off before getting back to regular training.
An SVSEF holiday bonfire on the ski trails
Some excellent easy skiing
2. Keep your goals in mind. If you’ve had a great day of powder skiing or taken a day off and are feeling healthy, remember your plans and goals for the season and take the steps you need to take in order to get there. If it’s fitting in some intervals between family events or going for a run with a headlamp in the evening, make sure to carve out some time to do what you need to do. This is a great time to practice a little bit of adaptability; if holiday events are filling up a day or will keep you up late the night before, consider switching a harder session to a different day. Similarly, if it’s extremely cold or there is a lot of new snow, a fast and hard intensity session might be better suited to the day before or the day after.
Fitting in some final intervals
3. Balance holiday feasts and desserts with food that feels good for training. Holiday cookies and big celebratory meals can leave us all feeling sluggish. If I know I’ll be having a heavy and celebratory holiday dinner one night, I probably won’t have great intervals the following day. I’ll try and schedule a hard session for the day of the feast or the day after so that I can get a quality session and fully enjoy some delicious food. If I’m unable to change around the schedule, I’ll try and shift a session to an afternoon instead of a morning where I can get a standard pre-workout breakfast and or lunch in my system before asking my body to perform. Ultimately, figure out what works best for you!
My Grandma serving up some delicious tiramisu!