Thursday, March 22, 2012

Timing Your Intervals

Wow! Do I love March! It’s been snowing like crazy this week. Currently it’s piling up behind my house so that my "Stealth Run" is going to be awesome. I’ve been skiing back there the last couple of weeks as the snow has finally gotten good enough so that I won’t wreck my skis. Last summer I laid out a little 1.5 km loop. It has a steep bootpack, short steep uphill section with 12 switchbacks, then a steep narrow descent that requires jump turns and squeezing between pine trees. I didn’t cut down any trees except the one wind fall at the very bottom that hikers will be glad for as it fell completely across a wide meadow trail.

I’ve been doing intervals on my course and have seen my times come down. The uphill takes me around 13-14 minutes. This year I’ve begun to see the value in consistently recording interval times. It makes you go harder and try to find seconds, even milli-seconds in various places. Transitions, working harder, skin selection and technique are areas you can shave time. Yesterday, 3 days before my last big Canuck race I did 3x 5-6 min. intervals on a course I put together at the nordic centre. When I started timing 2 months ago it usually took me around 6 minutes for the uphill. Yesterday I did it in 5:33, 5:36 and 5:31. It felt great to drive home knowing that my fitness has improved, is at my best so far and i’m ready for the Lake Louise skimo race. I`d been feeling like my confidence was shaken as the previous week I’d done 2 xc races and in both of them felt like I was about 2-3 minutes slower than a couple of years ago. A few people beat me that usually do not. One exclaimed at the end of our race last Sunday, "I never thought I’d beat Sellers"...oh well, enjoy. I guess my fitness is more dialed in to skimo as that’s what most of my training has been, skimo, not xc.

Back to quantitative training... since the goal in racing & training for racing is to go fast and hopefully get faster it only makes sense to time yourself during your quality-intense workouts. If your times don’t improve then either an adjustment is needed in the training, or more likely, rest. Weight trainers normally record their lifts and expect to lift more. If not, same thing, make an adjustment technically or in training or rest.

That last interval I was telling myself that this could be the last interval of the ski season. It made me really move! Although I really wish there were more races to do!

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