Tuesday, July 31, 2001 - Athlete Perspective
NSDT Update: Big Volume Week

By: Erik Carleton

The National Senior Development Team is in Rossland, BC for a two-week training camp. The focus for this period is high volume. In this type of training period we need to pay extra attention to certain aspects of our lifestyle. Without proper training intensity, recovery and nutrition, we would slowly get too tired to continue training. To give you an idea of the big hours, our first day here we hiked and ran up "Old Glory", and followed up in the afternoon with a classic roller ski, for a total of five to six hours. However, there is more to training than just training.

The proper intensity is important to make the training effective. Very few athletes train too easy, but it is important to maintain a steady pace which keeps you working. It is more common for athletes to train too hard. When you train too hard in a big volume week the loading effect snowballs. In general, as you increase the intensity of the exercise, the recovery time increases even more rapidly. The duration of the training session also affects recovery time, so a longer workout requires more recovery time. We always train with a heart monitor, to make sure we "stay in zone", approximately 100 to 60 beats per minute below max heart rate. This way we keep the right pace for easy distance training.

Recovery time is very important in big volume weeks. Time away from training should be spent relaxing and stretching. Adequate sleep, including naps, if needed, is required to prepare for the next workout. Also, one should reduce sources of stress, and minimize excess activity between workouts. This week we have watched entertaining movies like "Road Trip" with Tom Green. Others may think you are lazy, but recovery is a vital part in becoming a well-trained athlete.

Another part is diet. With proper nutrition we can increase our training capacity, and improve recovery times. It is also very important to keep calorie intake high. During our workouts, especially on a hot day, we usually drink at least one litre of water per hour of exercise. We eat a lot, for the most of this it means a minimum of 4000 to 5000 calories per day.

We start our day with a large breakfast consisting of oatmeal or cereal, bread, eggs, fruit, yogurt and juice, at least one hour before our first workout. Immediately before and after each workout we consume a specially prepared drink. The post-workout drink contains Basic Sport Nutrition's glutamine and Elite MRP. During each workout, we ingest one litre per hour of fluid containing sport drink, maltodextrin and glutamine. For lunch, about one or two hours after the first workout, we have sandwiches and fruit. Dinner consists of lots of carbohydrates in the form of pasta or rice as well as lean meat, vegetables and bread. We also take a multi-vitamin and vitamin C and E supplements in the morning. This week we have had the luxury of great meals prepared by our hosts at the Swiss Alps Inn, here in Rossland. To give an example, one night we had pasta with chicken and vegetables with bread, followed by freshly baked fruit pies. It is easy to eat a lot when it tastes so good.

Of course, throughout our training we never forget to have fun and enjoy what we are doing. Training in groups it is easy to stay motivated. Last night, to keep the competitive juices flowing, we played street hockey. It is never easy since none of us likes to lose. We are very fortunate to have the lifestyle we do.

(Erik Carleton has been a member of the Canmore National Development Team for 5 years. He has represented Alberta at 8 national championships where he has won numerous medals.)


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