Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Skimo Canada Training Camp

I just spent the last few days at the SMC Training Camp in Revelstoke, BC. Our training camps are not like your typical training camp, they are not too long, we do not travel to a snow covered destination, and we don't stay in hostels or dorms. It is a lower budget affair, but in many ways much better than the high priced camps of other sports.

The big focus of this camp was to spend time with the team. This gave us time to catch up with old friends and time to get to know new ones. Come winter we will be spending lots of time together in unfamiliar surroundings and stressful situations, so it's good to have a friend around.

Another important part of this camp was to talk about and plan for the winter. This way we can coordinate travel and accommodation plans. This is particularly important with this season being a World Championship year in Europe.

Fall is a hard time to get together with the team because we spread out all over western Canada and still working hard to fill up the training bank account for the long winter of travelling and racing to come. That being said, we had a good turn out with 7 athletes and 2 support staff.


The camp started Friday afternoon with a short trail run and an evening meeting. On Saturday the group split up, with five of us heading up to Rogers Pass for a trail run and scramble up Mt Cheops. After running up amazingly maintained trails to Balu Pass, and a short scramble up the ridge, we were on top of the peak. Our round trip time was around 4.5 hours, followed by a dip in the coldest creek I have felt. After 3 minutes my legs were numb. The other two members of our group, Andrew and Peter, attended the Martha Creek Melt Down mountain bike race. Peter won and Andrew came in 4th.

On Sunday, we all met at the track in Revelstoke for the first annual Skimo Canada "Pentathlon". Events included the 100m dash, shotput, a star run, long jump, and the 800m run. This was probably the best part of the camp. The rest of the day was filled with another meeting and some riding. And just like that, the SMC September camp was over. See you in November everyone!

Thursday, 13 September 2012


Recovery: the most important and most overlooked aspect of training. If you don't have a good recovery from a hard block of training, you put all of your hard work and time into jeopardy. In this blog post, I am going to talk about some of the things that I like to do to help promote strong recovery:

The Rest Day

For me, this is time to do things around the house and enjoy a day off. I try to get some extra sleep, make more elaborate meals, and watch a movie. There are several things I avoid doing on rest days. First, I avoid exercise in any form. This may seem obvious to some, but to others it is not. Second, I avoid running too many errands as the rest day is the time to rest the body and mind. Third, I avoid travelling. Travel on rest days is not always avoidable, but I avoid it if at all possible. I never feel as recovered after a rest day that becomes a travel day. Some coaches even schedule travel into training plans as a workout.

Cold therapy

Taking a dip in the creek after the Comfortably Numb race (Whistler) 
Otherwise known as jumping into an ice cold creek. After a hard session of training or a long workout, I like to find a deep pool in a creek to sit in for five minutes and cool off my legs. This helps with soreness and swelling, and seems to help me recover from hard or long efforts faster. One theory is that when you cool your legs, the veins constrict, pushing more waste-containing blood out of the legs. In cold water hot muscles are cooled much quicker and more effectively than icing, and this cooling helps to reduce swelling. Fresh blood quickly returns to the legs after the therapy, providing lots of oxygen and nutrients. Although there is not a lot of scientific evidence to back this up, cold water therapy is a very common practice amongst high level athletes.

Post Workout Meal

I love this cook book.
I don't get too bent out of shape over the specifics of my post workout meal, but there are a few things to keep in mind. For starters, I usually eat my calories as opposed to drinking them. Protein shakes and recovery drinks can get really expensive if you are using them every day. That being said, I like to make a fruit shake with hemp protein and omega oils after a hard work out because it tastes really good and cools me down.  But the most important thing is to eat some carbohydrates as soon as possible after a workout; this allows your muscles to better replace glycogen stores. Right after working out your muscles are very sensitive to insulin, which is need to bring carbohydrates (in the form of glycogen) into the muscles. It's important to intake carbohydrates while your muscles are still "thirsty".


This is one that I need to work on most. Most of us that run a lot are probably quite tight. I try to stretch after working out and then again in the evening. In the evening, I also do some work on the foam roller. The foam roller is use for self Myofascial release.


That is a look at some of the things that I like to do to help with my recovery. If you have something that you really like to do for recovery, please post a comment. For example, does anyone out there have experience using compression socks for recovery?