Sunday, 1 November 2015

Altitude Camp

Firstly I apologize for not updating my blog sooner. Training and recover has taken precedence over blog writing for the last 2 weeks. I’m having a rest day today and I’ve got a spare moment to catch up on my blog.

The first 10 days of this training camp were spent in Livigno. Training there went quite well. I didn’t train that much, nor did I train that hard. At the start of a long altitude camp it’s important to take care of recovery and not over due things. By taking it a bit easier at the start of the camp I’ll be able to train more and harder at the end of the camp.
Annika joined the camp after a few days and we had a good week of training. We did some hard session over in Valdidentro, using the rollerski track there. The sports center in Livigno has just been taken over by new management. They’ve refurbished the gym and so we took advantage of that and had a few good gym sessions. They gave us a good deal as a national team, in exchange we had to sign the “famous wall” and have our picture taken.
By the end of our stay there the temperatures had dropped and they had started producing snow on the cross country trails. Our last morning was spent skiing on a 1km loop of man made snow.  It was pretty icy and hard conditions, the kind of conditions that had it been a sprint race mid winter, I’d have been loving it. But to have your first session back on snow skiing on almost pure ice was quite difficult. I spent the morning feeling like Bambi.

After 10 days in Livigno we headed to Val Senales. We met up with Callum  and Philip last Sunday morning down in Naturno. Philip is the new “technical” coach for the team this season. We normally have a technical and tactical coach with us at training camps and races throughout the season. This was Philips first camp before he starts working with us this winter.  The first training session was a rollerski from Naturno at 500m to the hotel at Maso Corto at 2011m
The next day we got the cable car from Maso corto up to Senales Glacier at over 3000m. Here there is a 7km ski track with perfect cold powdery snow.  The conditions were pretty much ideal for working on technique and getting used to skiing on snow again.
That night the rest of the squad arrived, so we were now 6 athletes 2 coaches.
We spent the mornings skiing up on the glacier. The conditions were perfect apart from 2 days where the cloud came in and visibility reduced to approximately none.  If you get a pair of glasses and cut out paper to match the lens shape, then stick the paper over the lenses and head out skiing. Only then you’d get an idea of what it’s like to ski on the glacier on a cloudy day. Despite the cloud we still got some worthwhile skiing done.
The afternoons have been spent running, rollerskiing , in the gym or doing hard sessions. One afternoon we even had a football match against the Swiss ski team. We won 4 – 3, which is quite remarkable considering we could barely string a few passes together. The Swiss guys were much better than us, but unfortunately for them they couldn’t convert their skills into scoring goals. We made the most of our victory and for the next few days it is all we could talk about with the Swiss guys. They left Val Senales today and I think they where actually quite glad to leave, just so they didn’t have to listen to us bang on about “4-3” anymore.

I’ve had two hard sessions this past week. We are staying too high to do hard sessions so we have to drive down into the valley to do them. The first one was 6x6min ski bounding. We bounded up a path to a small village called St Katerina Berg and then further up the mountain on a road. The total height gain from the session was just shy of 1000m. The second hard session was classic rollerskiing. I did 4x15min at quite a controlled pace. I used the main road up the valley and stopped at the lake beside a village called Vernago. It was another good session. I feel as if the hard sessions have been going well and I’m where I want to be for this time of year. 

I have 11 more days up here and the training load is going to increase a little bit for the final period of the camp. There are still a lot of hours to be done before the winter racing really kicks off and a lot of technique work to be done. The first races are now less that 2 weeks away and we really are in the final push to the race season.

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