Paddy updates us on how his transition to fall is going.
Lake Placid camp is over and the equinox tomorrow marks the official start of Fall. True to her calendar Mother Nature promises us temperatures in the thirties later this week with a possible frost on the horizon. Pumpkins fill roadside farm stands and Halloween decorations sit at the ready in the general store. I think it is now safe to say that winter is coming. This time of year always brings a distinct shift of priorities for cross country skiers. Training big hours becomes less important while interval sessions become shorter and much more intense. Last week we wrapped up the final training camp of the summer in Lake Placid, NY. This week generally marks the transition from volume based training to intensity driven training. Given the shorter duration of the camp – seven days compared to the traditional fourteen days – we squeezed in as many high quality sessions as we could in order to take advantage of the larger training group. Most of the team stayed in the Olympic Training Center (OTC) along with other athletes from a variety of disciplines. While we were at the OTC we saw mostly bobsledders and biathletes, athletes from these two sports often live in Lake Placid year round. The cross country group for the camp consisted of SMST2, USST, Sun Valley Gold Team, CXC, and the National Elite Group (NEG).
Training camp started of with a bang on Monday with L3 (threshold) skate intervals in the morning and L4 (race pace) double pole intervals in the afternoon. Then, after a double distance day, we checked off one of the hardest workouts of the year: a L4 bounding workout up Whiteface Mountain. This workout is notoriously brutal and one that we repeat every year at Lake Placid camp. In total the intervals add up to just under 20 minutes of intensity making the workout short and sweet. In this workout I set a new peak heart rate and lactate reading for the year. Pretty awesome having such a strong group around to push each other through sessions like this!
To finish off the week we ran through a full classic sprint time trial. This entails an individual qualifier followed by three rounds of ‘heats’ with five skiers per heat. To make things even more interesting the winner of each round was promoted to the next fastest heat while the fifth place finisher was demoted to the heat below. This kept people rotating through the rounds and gave everyone a chance to move up and go head to head with fast sprinters. My final session of the week was the Climb to the Castle, the annual roller ski race up Whiteface Mountain. Big thanks to NYSEF and the organizers for hosting an awesome event. The race traverses the Whiteface Memorial Highway ending at the ‘castle’ on the summit of Whiteface. Five miles UP! Now its time to rest up, absorb our training and get ready for our next training camp in October – check back for updates from Park City soon!