Training in Jericho, VT during the week of August 13th went very well. We spend time training there because it is the nearest facility that has a paved rollerski loop and firing range. That becomes especially important this time of the year as we start integrating more 'combo' workouts into our training that better mimick on-snow biathlon. A typical workout includes eight or ten combos, each of which consists of a 5-10 minute loop and then one shooting stage (five shots). This training can be done slow or fast depending on what our focus is for the workout. During this particular week our training included one easy combo workout in level 1/2 (on a scale of 5), one level 3 workout, and two time trials that were done in levels 4 & 5. Lest you get too confused by the numbering system, let me quickly explain. (This is important only if you care to know a little more about how we structure our daily training - if you don't care, skip down to the next section). Levels 1 and 2 are done at a sufficiently easy pace and low heart-rate so as to allow the athlete to comfortably talk to his/her training partner. If I can't talk because I'm breathing too hard, I know I'm at least in level 3. Level 3 workouts are done at a 'marathon' pace. That's to say, you're going hard, but you could theoretically do that pace for a couple hours if required. Level 4 workouts equate to a 10K race pace so they are done very hard, but not all out. Level 5 is done at an all-out effort and usually will only be seen in sprint situations - 100 meter sprints are good examples of an all-out, level 5 effort.
The training and time-trials were just what I needed. We were on the range twice a day for almost a week so we got lots of focused shooting instruction and I finally started feeling more comfortable with combining skiing with shooting. I didn't win either of the time trials, but I wasn't very far out on the skiing times, which was encouraging for my first and second ever biathlon races. I shot around 60% both days, which isn't too bad considering. It's by no means the 80-90% being shot by the best World Cup skiers, but I'm confident that my percentages will get better in the next three months of training before racing starts.
At the end of the last block of training I flew to Alaska to spend time with my family and celebrate one of my brother's weddings. The first week home was a much needed off-week. I took advantage of the down time to do some focused dry-fire work with my rife and also spent some time doing absolutely nothing. I didn't completely veg out, but that was high on the list of priorities for a few days. I was able to help my parents out by doing projects around the house in preparation for fall and the snow that will be on the way in a couple of months and I also got out in the mountains one morning for an early fall ptarmigan hunt with my dad and a neighbor. What a beautiful day that was!
Stay tuned for more exciting, perhaps random, but always interesting posts from yours truly.