Sunday, October 24, 2010

Golden Leaves & The First Snow

I just returned a few days ago from the West following a very successful camp in Heber City, UT. Spending time in UT during the fall is nice. The weather is predictable - usually sunny with cool nights and warm afternoons - and the fall colors, although not as prominent as in the Northeast, can be just as breathtaking. There's something reassuring about knowing that the weather will rarely impact the training plan and, of course, soaking up lots of vitamin D in a beautiful locale is always welcome.
While in UT, the team's focus was on quality volume training with the inclusion of a number of head-to-head intensity sessions that were designed to challenge ski pace and shooting focus. We did many hours of running and hiking in the Wasatch range above the Heber Valley and Park City. Our timing was impeccable, so we hit the foliage peak in the aspen and oak groves. Spending several years in the Northeast has only added to my eagerness each year to watch the forests put on a color show and this year was one of the best for colors in the West that I can remember.

With on-snow competitions quickly approaching, it's most important to refine the technique adjustments already made without implementing too many additional alterations. The bulk of the training has been done so it's simply a matter of maintaining fitness and doing the final prep in anticipation of toeing the start line. I'll be in Lake Placid for the next two weeks, during which time my goal is to take advantage of the low altitude training environment and then the team travels to Canmore, Alberta, Canada for the first on-snow training camp, which will include several races. We've already had snow here in Lake Placid three different mornings, so we're in a delicate duel with the weather. Eastern fall weather is especially frustrating at times, but with access to some indoor training facilities and a little bit of creativity built into the training plan, we'll roll through the next few weeks unscathed and come out on the other end ready to race.