Friday, January 18, 2002 - Perspective
NSDT Update: Keep it Sharp During the Racing Season

- By: Charles Nadeau

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It remains a challenge for high level athletes of every sport. For us cross-country skiers, the racing season begins in early November and ends around March 15th. It means about five months, during which it is critical to be in perfect shape despite travelling, pressure, anxiety and fatigue. Fortunately, the biggest part of the training is done at the beginning of November. However, it is obvious that training throughout the racing season is necessary to keep the momentum into March for the National championship and the spring series. Here are some tips to stay tuned during throughout the whole season. The article is divided in two parts: the first paragraph includes physiological tips and the second, probably the most important, psychological tips.

For a few years the snow conditions all over North America and even in Europe make us more and more skeptical. We have to deal with lack of snow even on famous international racing sites. A good training tool to manage the absence of snow is to maintain a running routine. Wherever you are, it is easy to go out for a little jog. Running is also excellent to recover after racing and travelling days. It will improve the flushing of lactate out of your muscles as well as the production of endorphins in your blood. It is also really important to maintain core strength by performing a general workout including sit-ups and back exercise at least twice a week. Keeping up good hydration and usual nutrition especially while you are travelling on a plane or at high altitude are also important to consider for reducing stress and to stay tuned for upcoming races.

Despite the critical aspect of physical preparation, the most important thing during the racing season is probably to keep mental momentum. Success in amateur sport is all about attitude. Athletes and coaches are not working 24 hours a day because of money. The purpose behind sport is to become better humans and to find the extreme limit of our souls. It is essential during the racing season to remember this. It is also essential to leave all the frustration behind and to focus on a winning attitude and on the legacy you want to leave behind you. By winning attitude, I mean the personal attitude you have to have to reach your best as an athlete as well as a human. No matter how bad the situation is, if you work through these goals you will always be a winner. Finally, to stay mentally focus even when you are tired is also the key of peak preparation. Indeed, study on peak performance shows that the biggest breakthrough is the result of mental focus more than the physical recovery.

Before leaving you to your personal business I would like to thank, in the name of all the athletes, the volunteers all over Canada. Without their passion and their work developing the sport, Olympic goals such as ours remain impossible.

Charles thanks his personal sponsors:
Rudy Project

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