I was recently down in Hollywood for an NBC Olympics media summit, and one of the most commonly asked questions was, "what is one thing that most people don't understand about your sport". My answer was always the same, "we almost never take time off. There is hardly an "off season" for our sport, instead we just continuously remain active".
My best method of forced resting is to take a week vacation to a beach, because this way, I am forced to lay down, relax, and truly recover. After that, we return to activity. We generally have about one month off of "scheduled training", but that doesn't mean we stop. Instead we take this time to do all the adventures we wish we could during our very scheduled and structured lives. We hike random mountains and take time to sit down and enjoy the view on top. We backcountry and alpine ski, enjoying gravity at its finest. We go for walks with friends that we never have time to catch up with. We participate in zumba and spin classes- enjoying the energy and enthusiasm of different groups of people. And we take our nordic skis off the trail, enjoying Alaska's mountains and glaciers while flying along the hard crust surfaces. It is a pretty enjoyable time of the year, because it is more of an "active recovery", rather than a training focus. But not to be fooled… we still keep moving! The amazing thing that happens during this month though is that we fully recover our brains. Six months of intense, structured training focus mixed with four months of intense, focused racing- all shaken up in a busy schedule of constant travel…. and your brain needs a break almost more than your muscles. April is the month to rest both your brain and body in our sport!
I had an amazing April full of a perfect beach break, catching up with friends and family, moving into a new house, catching up with wonderful sponsors and supporters, incredible adventures, and a quick stop down to LA for some Olympic NBC media. I also had a good month to absorb all my excitement and disappointment from this past season, channeling all the energy back into formation to constructively make a plan of attack for this coming season. As always, come May 1st, I found myself hungry to start my structured training again. I love the lifestyle of setting a goal for myself every day, every week, and every month. I love the process of deciding what I am going to work towards, and making the steps to get there. This summer, I have a new goal for myself. In the past I have worked so hard to keep making steps towards more training and harder training. This year, I want to absolutely nail the process. After this past summer and fall full of injury, my goal this year is to do the smartest training I have ever done. I plan to drive my own ship more than ever… and never just drift down the river, because that is where the water is taking me. With the Olympics around the corner, and some new levels of achievement this past winter, I am pretty darn excited!
I am just now starting up our first US Ski Team camp of the season in Bend, Oregon. This is my fifth year attending this camp, one of my favorites of the year. I love the set up of this camp with on snow training up on Mt. Bachelor in the morning, and dry land training down in town in the afternoon. It really helps the transition from our winter fitness to our summer training activities. We become darn fit at skiing in the winter, but it takes some time to build up our running, biking and other dry land activity fitness. We also have a new member, and fellow APU teammate joining the team this year, Scott Patterson, which will be a really fun addition! Our team is more motivated and excited than ever, so it is time to get back on the attack!
Let the 2017-2018 training season begin!