Hi, Lauren here, reporting from two great weeks in Bend.
Every year we start the new training year on snow in Bend. It is the best way to get back into the swing of training; it’s beautiful, and the “play” is high in the ratio of work to play. Bend feels like an adult playground with endless skiing, mountain biking, trail running, and even river activities. River activities are only sometimes in the mix, but we experienced incredibly nice swimming-weather temperatures. It was maybe a little warmer than we would prefer up at Bachelor. Still, with that, we took advantage of training in slushy conditions as we often (and sadly, increasingly more often) race in them, but we rarely have the opportunity to train in them.
Even though the work feels like play, we are still hard at work. And all of us can attest to our sore bodies after straining them again post a restful spring. It can be a rude awakening to jump cold turkey into a 20+ hour week, so we stay active in April and get back into the swing of things come May 1st. But even with that, I was still unbelievably sore. Maybe the sorest I’ve ever been in my entire life. It was pretty comical watching us hobble around, taking baby steps around, ensuring not to strain our sore hip flexors.
It was a hip flexor-heavy camp! We are a team, and even a country, that excels at skating, and many of us see the low-hanging fruit of improving our classic skiing. So, the camp’s focus was on classic skiing, mainly because roller-skiing on classic skis doesn’t transfer to making skis kick. Therefore, the opportunity to train on snow in the non-racing season is rare and super important to take advantage of. Compounded with tricky spring snow conditions, it is a recipe for focusing on good technique. You can’t fake it in mushy, slushy, sugary, and slightly icy conditions!
If you’re trying to improve your classic technique, here are some of the main drills we worked on. (a lot of these work for skating too).
- No pole with breaststroke arms up above your head. I really liked this drill because it forced you to have your hands super high and forward (above your head). This causes a forward lean; therefore, you must commit fully to each ski. It allows you to feel the glide on each ski and feel weight transfer from one leg to another. The breaststroke arms ensure you’re activating your core, too as it is challenging for balance.
- Skipping on classic skis. Yep, looks super funny and feels super funny. The skipping also forces fully committing to weight transfer.
- Work on technique off skis. Yep, just on your feet, hopefully while watching video. Our new coach Maria worked a lot with us on this, and I felt a lot of really great positive changes!
Now we are all getting ready for an amazing summer in Stratton!! Please enjoy some pictures from a very very sunny Bend camp 🙂
One thought on “Bend, Bend, Bend! Back on snow!”
Love reading about all your training adventures. Kudos on keeping the blogs going!! We’re all living vicariously through you all (in our delusional dreams)!