Prepared By J.D. Downing, XC Oregon Coach/Director
Important Note: All training and technique information posted on xcskiworld.com are suggestions only and should not be considered a substitute for supervised fitness programs. Use of such material is done at your own risk with full knowledge of the inherent risks of any fitness or exercise program. Before beginning and throughout any exercise or workout plan, readers should regularly consult with your physician, follow all reasonable safety precautions, have complete knowledge of all equipment, exercises, locations, and methods as well as your own fitness and ability levels.
Out The Year
This week's installment is not a physical workout suggestion, but it very well could be more important than any single workout you will do all year. The all-important mission? Sitting down and designing your personal year-long training plan complete with goals, objectives, tentative calendars, etc..
"Oh sure," you are thinking, "I'll get to all that eventually." Wrong and double wrong. Nine times out of ten, athletes that begin a training year without a solid plan complete with all the details they need end up "faking it" all the way to next spring. You might have a couple goals written down. You might have a few target numbers with regard to training volume. But rarely will you ever take the time to really buff out all the details such that you can honestly claim that you have a bona fide "PLAN" written out.
Well, even for the most casual of ski racers and skiers, the lack of a written plan usually translates into a very hit and miss success rate. For the really serious (all ages), lack of a written plan is a surefire way for you to repeat past mistakes and totally miss the mark on your goals. You might spend a couple thousand bucks on equipment, travel, race entries, coaching, etc., but without a couple hours of spring planning, you will be left without a roadmap of where you want to go; where you've been; what you need to do to get there; how you'll be able to manage logistics and life; and the hundreds of other factors that go into athletic success.
Bottomline...if you haven't done it already, this is the time of year to sit down and get it done.
Thus endth the lecture. Class dismissed.
Anywhere you can think straight and work productively. Often a good plan is the result of several sessions isolating different aspects of training life. If you are too casual with this process, you will likely end up with a "casual" ski year filled with roller coaster results. You need to put in enough planning time to match your ambitions!
Step One: Evaluate all aspects of the previous season. Look at your training log for performance trends (good and bad). Compare results with training and racing versus other seasons. Factor in what was going on in your life...school, work, relationships, etc.. Come up with a list of positives and negatives...things to work on and things to build on.
Step Two: Evaluate what you want to accomplish this coming season. List your goals (broad). List your objectives (focused). Include measuring sticks for both.
Step Three: Evaluate what it is going to take to get you from where you are right now to success with your goals and objectives. List all the challenges you are likely to face plus the resources in your favor. Draw up preliminary plans for working through challenges and working with the positive elements. For example, a skier in high school might face such challenges as making good grades while missing lots of school; dealing with multiple sport seasons; dealing with various "pressure points"; worrying about college or what to do after H.S.; etc.. Conversely, a 45 year old master might face such challenges as squeezing in 7 hours of training on average; raising a couple high school skiers :-); getting a major house project completed; big pressures at work; etc.. The point is that we all face challenges. Thus, we all need to lay out a plan ahead of time if we are going to be successful in our athletic pursuits.
Step Four: Last but not least, comes the fun part. That is, laying out the actual training plan design taking you from this spring all the way through to the end of next ski season. You don't have to plan every single day or week! What you are aiming for in this part of the process is a systematic outline of what your training mini-cycles should look like in terms of volume, intensity, strength, technique, etc.. The key is to be able to integrate all the information you compiled in the first three steps to generate a plan that has "your real world" stamped all over it. Once completed, this plan will be a living, breathing roadmap that you'll (no doubt) occasionally modify but generally should be able to follow to a final, satisfying conclusion.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT
- When working through
these steps...Be honest. Be realistic. Be thorough. You
have to take a tough, but fair, look at your life on and
off the skis to do a really good job with a season plan.
Don't be afraid to give yourself credit for a job well
done, but you also can't be afraid to acknowledge where
you have weaknesses.
- Don't let yourself
drag the planning process on for months and months. If
you don't have a coach to enforce a deadline, set one for
yourself and name a "reward" for getting it done.
Something like a new music CD or a night out on the town.
Good luck and happy training!