Frozen Thunder is just four short weeks away and its time to get nordic ready which will entail some nordic specific strength, SkiErg and some short roller ski efforts.
On the XC running side we will wind things down with the last Franks XC Races of the season and maintain the running fitness daily with the USRPT training and will look to incorportae a few indoor track races over the winter to keep the speed up for the Nordic Sprint events through the winter.
On the strength side I quite excited with the addition of gymnastic style ring work and light plyometrics for the legs as I feel this is going to transfer well for both the skiing and running.
Reading through some old notes I made when I chatted with Dr Brent Rushall about USRPT I forgot that he had mentioned when applying USRPT to running and skiing you may need to increase rest portion from 20 seconds to 40 seconds to account for not having the cooling aspect of being in the water as you have with swimming.
The other note I made, when applying the USRPT concept to longer distance events such as the half marathon and marathon distances, would be to keep the sets the same, so 30 x 40 seconds with 20 seconds off, but take a 6 to 12 minute recovery break and then complete a second set for the half marathon and a third set for the full marathon as a long run weekend option.
If I was to look at training for a longer event, I would look to keep the mid week sessions to two 30 minute sessions per day. When two workouts per day are not an option then I am looking to do 2 sets within one workout which would possibly give a greater aerobic stimulus then just the one set. The benefit of the shorter sets, I feel, is it allows the pace to stay sharp without the fatigue of the longer workout.
From there I like the possibly at looking at a forth set once every three weeks if I was to take on the marathon distance.
As I say these are conversations at this point and too soon to say if they are to be effective but I have been feeling strong in events and refreshed after workouts with the workouts I have been doing. At this point my only consideration while doing the short intervals has been technique and using pace only as a reference.
After a few weeks of USRPT sets I have started to add a second set of intervals after a short break between sets.
The first set is aimed at 10km race pace with the 20 second and 40 second intervals and then after a 6 minute break I do another shorter set at 5km race pace with 10 second intervals, all with 20 seconds rest.
The first set takes 30 minutes after a 6 to 12 minute warm up and then the second set takes 10 minutes at this point and will add more time as things progress.
The fall training project has been progressing well with ultra short intervals with short rest. On average I have completed two workouts per day with 40 x 20 seconds with 20 seconds off in the morning and 30 x 40 seconds with 20 seconds off in the evening. Each workout takes 30 minutes to complete and I use the first 10 intervals to get up to desired pace after either a 6 or 12 minute warm up.
In both the morning set and the afternoon set I included ISO static holds with the the same 20 second hold, 20 second rest format. The workouts get after it quickly and are manageable, the best part is the constant technique focus as the short intervals keep you on point.
Fitness, am I stronger, I believe so, aerobically and technically.
Track season has come to a close and the focus now is on transitioning to the upcoming XC running season.
In terms of the track season I feel I made good progress in terms of overall postural strength and now run with no back pain. Things that will continue to be a focus are hamstring strength and ankle mobility.
The one area that needs addressing is nutrition as I let things slide over the course of the summer and by the end of the track season I could feel the effects.
Moving forward the focus will be the following key items;
Looking at the training side, looking forward to November, the key components will be as follows;
Note: As a reference my last 10km road race was completed in 37 minutes which converts to 5:57 minute pace and my max pace hit would be in my last 800m event in 2:19 which converts to 4:40 pace.
In terms of Master Track Nationals the scheduling didn't quite work out and spent a little more time at the beach taking in the views but I am looking forward to XC Nationals in November and the start of the Nordic ski season.
Part of what I love the most about racing is the preparation, the lead up to the event and being in the environment. Attending Senior Nationals may be arguably outside my wheels house but playing outside my comfort zone is kind of my thing, it is what I enjoy.
In terms of the race itself, toeing the line in the Senior 1500m was a treat. No real race story to tell here, the race started the young guns went and played with themselves and I followed them around the track from a distance.
These next few track meets I will be playing with kids my own age, 50-55 at Master Provincials and Master Nationals and then we take a break before the start of fall XC and then winter Nordic.
Winding down from the Foote Field Open this past weekend where I did the 1500m and 800m events.
The goal of the weekend was rhythm, running a smooth effort over the full distances. I took the 1500m in stride on the Friday as my main goal was the 800m on the Saturday.
Overall I felt strength was on point but aerobic power in the 1500m and top speed in the 800m was not quite where I needed it to be or where I had planned on it being.
With that I mind I entered the 1500m at Nationals instead of the 800m, staying the course. No matter the event I decided, it will be a "tuck & roll" as it is Senior Nationals but I'm living the dream toeing the line.
On the training side I have been focusing on the short tempo runs with reduce strength work and keeping the intervals sharp but controlled.
With track season in full swing I am continuing to use the weight room to expand movements and create challenges to increase the high hip position and better hip drive. I am finding overall that the exercises that are the most effective for me are the ones that resemble the movement patterns I use on the track.
Some of the exercises I have used seemed to have had no real impact but others have been very effective. Overall if the stimulation is new and with purpose the body is receptive.
The journey is the exercise choice, the volume and quality of training and finding the balance that works for your specific demands. I have made good decisions and I have made poor decisions with my training but each decision has been "living the dream"!
With the strength work and run training my key points of focus have been the following;
I feel body alignment has seen the most improvement and the idea of the Frans Bosch hip hitch has been very effective in terms of stride efficiency. The big thing I am working on now is foot position as I feel I am losing considerable power through my feet.
My thinking at the present is not so much lack of strength in the feet / ankle but more placement and range of motion in terms of how the foot / ankle reacts to load due to the activation or use of the postural chain, #GlutesFiring.
A new study by French researcher JB Morin, who works with Christophe Lemiatre, on Force/Velocity profiles and maximal power output show that training should be specific to the Force/Velocity profile of the athlete. He believes, if you are already strong but produce force slowly, then abandoning heavy strength exercises and working on increasing velocity, even if you lose strength will increase your sprint speed.
In contrast, if you are fast but have no force behind it, focusing on heavy strength will improve your sprint speed.
Overall speed is critical. The change in focus from pushing heavy weight to moving less weight quickly producing force and producing force quickly with velocity has helped with my training considerably.
You need a strong motor in the hips to move quickly with strong glutes, hamstrings and even quads but you also need strong ankles to transfer force effectively and this has certainly been an area of weakness for me.
To help increase ankle strength I have been working on incline sprinting as well as jumping from one foot to another on the ball of foot with 30 to 45lb bar on shoulders for 2 minutes and jumping with higher frequency on one foot for 20 reps and then switching from foot to foot for the two minutes.
In terms of progression and how these quicker movements have helped, the 800m times have come down slightly with a 2:19.36 this past weekend in St Albert.
Next week we hit the track on Sunday with a 1500m.
Passionate runner and nordic skier who happens to own a run & ski shop!