Friday, November 1, 2013

Its almost time!!!  Better get your fitness freak on.


I think Im speaking for us all when I say I am having a hard time focusing on work as the snow line creeps down the mountains and the snow pack deepens.  This seems to be a good time (maybe even bordering on being a little too late?) to look aback and then start thinking about what to do between now and the first race which for me will be the Wolf Creek Pass Cosmic race on 23 November!

The summer in review

After trying hard all summer to stick to my endurance training goal of 5 hours per week with some leg strength stuff, core stuff, a few 1 hour zone 2 sessions, one 1 hr intensity session (typically threshold training) and a long run in zone 1 Ive assessed myself as failing to set a realistic goal!  AGAIN!!!  Well, no one said having a great family, steady job(s) (a must to live in a small mtn town) and being addicted to climbing would be easy...

It seems that Im averaging about 3 hours per week with some higher and some lower.  No matter what I do, I try to always do the threshold training as that is basically a running version of a skimo race and a zone 2 run.  Ive been doing OK with integrating leg stuff.  Ive been mainly doing either 3 sets of 30 reps of deep squats with a dumbell as weight (those deep squats make me have to really go down in weight) or single leg body weight squats with 3 sets of reps of 10, 8, 6 trying to go as deep as possible.  Core is a variety of pilates workouts.  
Towards the end of the summer I started using a Nordic Trac for one of the zone 2 workouts which I had in the closet.  The motions are very sport-specific, especially with a little incline and Ive enjoyed that.  I bet roller skis would be great but I dont have the cash.  Speaking of dreams, I wish I had a spare set of skimo boots and bindings to mount on the Nordic Trac.  Anyone have some beat up stuff they want to donate?  (gotta dream!)

Getting my freak on

OK, so looking ahead, it seems like its time to do some leg strengthening as well as keeping the endurance stuff going.  For me that means ratcheting back the run quantity to squeeze in some strength conditioning.  Ive been looking at a LOT of youtube videos and websites and it seems the internet consensus is circuit training.  The duration is usually about 1.5 months or so.  There seem to be a variety of opinions on how to do it best so Im sticking to Nina Silitch's plan.  If you are psyched about skimo and have not followed her blog, you need to.  She is an amazing person (which I got to confirm once in a chance meeting!) and one of the most accomplished US skimo racers out there.  With her creds, it is an easy decision to use her rendition of circuits!  

In a nut shell, its a workout done 2-3 times per week.  It consists of a series of exercises for about 20 minutes which you repeat 1-3 times.  1 min on, 30 seconds off to transition to the next exercise.  The sequence she recommends is legs, arms, core repeat.  Pretty simple but when you look at her plan in the link above, it does not seem to strictly follow that.  So, Id take her exercise list as a suggestion, something she hints at in the last line or two of her post.  Since its about 15 exercises here is a quick run down of my rendition of Nina's plan with the often missing descriptions of each for those of us who were slackers in our youth and never grew up around this stuff.
I should note I took out her Ski Erg station as I think most of us dont have one of those lying around.  If you have one, Im jealous! They look cool.  You would need an exercise ball, a medicine ball and something resembling a ladder (tile squares, tape on floor etc) and a bongo board which is a really amazing device.  Ive used one for a few years and feel much better about my skiing balance than ever.

Circuit

10 min warmup

1. Ladder drills (slalom or skate technique)
Slalom technique
Skate technique 
(this isnt on a ladder but its short and to the point- you get the idea)

2. Push-ups.  Self explanatory, right?  The only thing here- do them with arms shoulder width apart.  This mimics the form of poling technique best.

3.  "Russian twist" with medicine ball (or any weight handy)
This is a nice short demo.  He shows both the more strenuous technique and what to do if thats too much.  You can also twist farther to the sides if you can.  An important note I saw on one ski-specific demo is do not cross your ankles, keep your legs side by side as that is a more sport-specific posture.  Dont know how important that is but the guy seemed to know what he was doing.

4.  Walking lunge.  Just keep your front knee over your toes and you know what to do.

5.  Dips (or pushups again if no dipable features are around)

6.  Plank pose (with a few variations that I like - you can also do opposite arm and leg simultaneously switching poses every 10 seconds during the minute of exertion)

7. Tuck jumps.  
This has that "Stephen Hawkings" auto voice thing going on but it is short and to the point.

8. Pull ups.  Once again, no need to explain.  Try to keep hands at shoulder width.  If you cant do them for a minute, put your feet on something to take just a little weight off og your arms.

9. Superman on the ball.
The goal.  If you cant do it though, try putting a foot or hand down like the image below.



10.  Single leg squat.  Put one leg out in front, go as low as you can on the other.  Great for stability!

11.  Some sort of double poling exercise (could be a ski erg if you had one).  This is apparently really important for performance as these Swedes discuss (hilarious intro sequence).  The poor man's exercise is the Ball Squash as demonstrated below.  Note that this is the mid way point of a nordic training circuit video which is very informative.

12.  Gym ball crunches. 


13.  Box step ups.  Kinda like going up hill!



14.  Hamstring curl with gym ball.
15. Bongo board.


In summary, here is the list in a format ready to cut/paste or print:



1.     Ladder drills

2.     Push-ups

3.     Medicine ball russian twists

4.     Walking lunges

5.     Dips

6.     Plank pose

7.     Tuck jumps

8.     Pull-ups

9.     Supermans on ball

10.   Single leg squats

11.   Shoulder exercise (probably ball bounce)

12.   Gym ball crunches

13.   Box step ups

14.   Hamstring curls w/ gym ball

15.   Bongo board


Have fun and let me know what you think!

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