Taking a look back on the training process and the gains I have made these past few seasons there have been a few things that stand out. A few ideas or additions to my program worked very well and a few things did not proceed as well as thought or planned. Some old ideas rolled back into play and a few ideas were modified.
Why modifications, the first and key reason for modifying training was to accommodate back pain and then the second was to accommodate for a achilles issue. Now that both issues have resolved themselves after a few years of specific strength work modifications are being made to account for this.
How did I over come the back pain, as I have mentioned a few times it was through static hold strength but the same is true for my achilles issue, static hold calf raises, holding heel off ground for 3 minutes. As was the case with the back pain it was not until I was able to do 3 minute holds was I able to run or ski without discomfort.
Through the period where I experienced back pain and then achilles pain I could only run or ski for 30 to 40 minutes before I would need to take a break, so I kept workouts short and I kept the racing short.
The exciting prospect of this, is that now that I am back pain free for both running and skiing in terms of my back and achilles, I can start to train higher milage and race longer races again.
What have I learned in the process of this or what am I thinking moving forward is that the milage increase will be through easy recovery work reducing the volume of tempo work but with a continued focus on technique with proper hip hinge.
Strength training will continue to be the corner stone of my training with long static holds and long plyometric sets. The intervals that I do will continue to be short in duration from 30 seconds to 4 minutes but predominately on downhills to increase the neuromuscular portion as this increases turn over and speed. The effort of intervals will also be slightly reduced as I have found with the short intervals there is a tendency to complete them too fast. The aim will be in that sweet spot of 90% effort as for myself 100% effort intervals are too hard on the body and recover is reduced.
The interval workouts themselves will be shorter in duration than in past years but the warm up and cool down portions will be considerably longer. I think the speed / interval work is important but I feel that the workouts are sometimes too long and they lose their effectiveness and the body needs more time to warm up and prepare as well as more time to flush and allow a longer regeneration period thus allowing for better sleep quality and in turn better recovery from training load.
Similar idea with the recovery runs, the speed at which they are completed can sometimes be overall too fast for the purpose intended which is recovery and building aerobic fitness. The goal here will be to move as effortlessly as possible with the lowest heart rate possible based on the terrain with quality technique. Quality technique is the over riding factor in that having heart rate go up to maintain technique is sometimes needed for a better training effect.
Passionate runner and nordic skier who happens to own a run & ski shop!