Summer is the heart and definition of "work". It is the time that we put all our "money in the bank" for the season ahead, building on previous years. We wake up every morning, work as hard as we can all day, and rest to prepare for the next day. It is an easy time to feel like you are working on a "check list". You accomplish your daily goal, only to set out for another daily goal, another weekly goal, and another monthly goal. We measure our "work" by the amount of hours we are training, and the number of workouts we are finishing. With this continued daily "work list", it becomes easy to fall into the mindless effort to check the workout off the list, and forget about the actual "value" I am working towards.
For that reason, I have made one overarching goal for this summer, and it revolves around value. Rather than getting my workout done, to know I accomplished my daily volume goal.. I have used this summer to use every workout to accomplish a skill. I finished last season wanting to improve skills such as classic uphill running, uphill skating, sprint finishing speed, efficiency in high speed double pole, etc. All of these skills can only be accomplished through starting every workout working towards more than an hourly goal.
So what does that mean? It means that this summer I have learned to manage both my physical as well as my mental fatigue. On speed workouts when I am so focused on adapting to new technique changes while also going at my 100% speed, as well as staying on my feet to avoid road rash… all of these things leave me exhausted by the end of the workout. This has meant that I have learned the importance of rest a little more than before. I have started to learn what "value" actually means. It means putting myself in a place to show up twice a day with a brain fully switched on, muscles rested, and heart that is ready.
Last week I had a "recovery" week, which means that I got to take a week to slow down mentally and physically, and spend a week to "shut down". I always look forward to these weeks, because I know that if I put in a great push of valuable training, I am rewarded for an entire week. I was lucky to be spoiled with some amazing summer weather during that week, so I was able to have a little "vacation" at home, which has been wonderful.
I am now headed into another block of intense training before I get to take my next "vacation" home to the Methow to visit family! During this block of training, the National Team will be coming up to Alaska for two weeks of training, one in town, one on the glacier, which hasn't happened for a few years, so I am really looking forward to it!