|INDi2010 Update: Independence (Part I) - The Training Program|
- By: Karla Mika
As an independent athlete, your responsibility is to yourself. You do not report to anyone, and there is usually not anyone trying to tell you what you can and cannot do. All of the efforts that you are putting in and all of the decisions you are making will make their biggest impact on your life. This can either be the greatest freedom or a heavy burden. As you make decisions about training, racing and all of the details in between, there is no doubt that two brains are better than one, and in the case of INDi2010 seven brains are much better than one!
As some of you may or may not know, the INDi2010 team does not have a dedicated coach. When we first came together as a team, we were all senior category athletes and we were all getting coaching support from different sources. We decided to keep this set up, and channel our monies into different avenues. This is very different from many teams on the circuit, as well as the national program. Each of the members of the INDi2010 team receives support from various coaches as well as physiologists and strength specialists. If you were to look over the names of the supporting staff, it is the crème of the crop. Individuals, who are knowledgeable, trusted and who see that being an independent athlete can lead to success. The advantage of being an independent is obvious here, where each individual has sought out the right coach and support team for themselves.
With many of us, the coaches and supporters give us guidelines and suggestions, and we go from there. In my case I create my training program, and then talk it out with those people that I trust. This is where many people would see their demise. Taking control of your plan and being responsible to your own goals and guidelines is not for everyone. I see the challenge as a great freedom to allow me to break the mold of boring training habits. I can change the days training at a moments notice, and not feel guilty because it was not on my plan. My training plan is ever evolving, as you might say a "living document". This means that as I learn more about myself and about what is working for me, I can change it accordingly. This is the same type of freedom that Tasha talked about in her article about following your fancy when it comes to racing; training is the same thing. At the end of the day, it is my responsibility to do what is right for me. This is not to say that having your own plan is a recipe for carefree living, I have spent many nights obsessing over hours and training schedules. Because having the freedom to write your own training plan means also having the freedom to screw it up. This is where bouncing ideas off of my mentors can be a life saver, but my approach is that as long as I learn from my mistakes and adjust accordingly, it can be a great thing.
When we (the INDi team) get together for training camps, planning mayhem begins. There are many basic training principles that we all follow, but since we each have an individualized plan, there are more training sessions then there are days. Luckily we are all easy going, flexible and eager to learn from each other. Many of our camps have brought fresh ideas and new workouts into my training program.
The most valuable thing that I have learned about training plans is that you have to believe in it. When I started writing my own plan I was resistant and didn't want to think about it, I just wanted to do it! But as I started to learn more, I realized that it is helping connect my body with my mind. Believing that each workout I am doing is making me a faster skier and helping me get one step closer to my own goals. I don't think that if I was simply following a plan created by someone else and not fully 'buying in' that it would be productive. I don't need to know all of the physiology behind a plan to understand why I am doing something. Connecting summer training to skiing fast in the winter will undoubtedly make me a more confident and faster skier.
As an independent athlete I enjoy the responsibility that comes with the territory and if that means being responsible for my training schedule then I am going to make it happen, one very careful decision at a time.
Ann made her donation through our web site in early 2005, and was the first individual to do this - the excitement of one day getting an email and discovering we had a Team Builder was great! Besides being one of the Founding Team Builders of the INDi2010 program, Ann also has the distinction of being called "Auntie Ann" by team skier Gordon Jewett.
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