Monday, October 6, 2003 - Perspective
Haywood National Team Report: Some Do It This Way

- By: George Grey

Every year has been a new learning experience for me, but none more important than the previous season. During the season of 2002/03 I made my debut on the World Cup circuit and the Senior World Championships. I was quickly humbled with a 69th place finish in my first World Cup in Asiago, Italy. Then I moved onto the World Championships where I came away with a more positive 39th place finish.

After the last World Cup I had accumulated an abundance of new knowledge and formulated a list of things I need to improve upon. This summer I have unrolled the list and challenged myself to be stronger at double poling, more dynamic in skating, increase my classic tempo, raise my pain threshold, and lower my body weight.

Lets start with double poling. I wanted to shorten my lever action and increase the total power output. So I needed to recruit my core in the initial stages of the poling and create a shorter more powerful burst of energy without wasting time by going too low and therefore having longer recovery time. That involved getting tougher and more aggressive in my core and abdominal routines and forcing bad habits out with many hours of uphill and flat double poling.

I have felt that my skating has been a little behind in terms of results compared to my classic. In order for me to improve I need to become more dynamic in all movements and especially my leg movements. The past has shown that I ski with little flexion of the ankle and knee, forcing my hips and upper legs to compensate for what should be performed by my quadriceps and gluteus maximus. The answer was to drive my knee forward creating a lower and more powerful position. Initially my legs did burn and tire quickly from the change but I believe it has helped my overall technique.

It is hard to say if my pain threshold is any higher than previous years but there is one reason why I believe it is, the V02 maximum test. This test involves a treadmill where you are brought up to critical speed (very fast) and then urged to stay on the speeding belt as they increase the grade. The speed varies per individual and the end number increases exponentially the longer you stay on. Therefore you need to endure the most pain possible and ignore your suffering, screaming body in order to attain a worthy number. My V02 has increased from 73 to 76 and I hope to beat that in our fall testing so I do believe I have elevated my pain threshold.

Other areas of my training have been changed as well, including a total hour increase to 800. So far this summer I have completed 415 hours, done ten days of single six hour sessions, and one ultimate day of seven hours continuous. Yes…it has been some very long days and aching nights of restless sleep but it is what I must do to raise my game. Paying attention to your body during these days is very crucial. There are times to be tired and suck it up but also times to cut back and be smart. If you’re sore…stretch, if you’re tired…sleep, if you’re weak…fuel yourself more efficiently, and so on and so forth. When none of these lead to change then it is time to cut back! Every year is a new one and there will be new ideas and areas where seconds can be gained and people can be beaten.

This article consists of some of my beliefs and ways that I can improve. My changes are looking good at this point but may need to be revised after a long winter on trial.

Good training.

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Source: Cross Country Canada

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