Sunday, 25 August 2013

Fall Ski Mountaineering training

With the ski season on its way, here are a few things I do to get ready.

Improving your uphill

Trail running is one of my favorite types of cross training for ski touring. Other than roller skiing, it most closely mimics the muscle groups used during ski touring. Long runs (3 hours or more) are ideal, but there's no need to start there. A few things that you can do to build up to long runs are
1) do a long 3 hour workout, but power hike the hills and run the flats and downhills; or
2) if this is still too much, go for a long hike with poles and push hard on all the uphills.

As you get stronger start running the flats and downhills and with some persistence you will get strong enough to run everything.

A tempo run once a week to work your top end is also a good idea. My favourite way of getting a good tempo workout in is racing. Doing some trail races in the fall will keep you motivated by giving you a short term goal to work towards and provide a good tempo work out at the same time.

Improving your downhill

A good strength class two to three times a week will go a long way towards to strengthening your legs and core, helping you have your best ski season ever. With stronger legs and core you will be able to ski longer runs without having to take breaks as often and you will be able to ski faster in variable conditions without crashing. My favourite place to train is Challenge By Choice. The advantages of going to a class are that you push harder in a group, the trainer will set up a class that is well balanced and works your whole body, and the trainer will make sure you are using proper form. Remember that you do not just need strength - you need strength endurance. Lower weight and higher reps are key.

If you put in some hard work this fall you will be rewarded with the fitness to push a little harder and be the first one to the top of the great powder run or the get in that extra lap at the end of the day. Get out there and get after it!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Summer update

Since I am going to be focusing on some other types of skiing rather than just skimo racing next winter, I have been able to be little more flexible with my training program this summer. Here are a few pictures from some of the longer trips I have went on this summer.

My longest trip this summer was accompanying my Dad and cousin for the first week of their ride across Canada. I spent a week riding with them and when I reached the Kootenays I turned around and started riding home.

Hwy #3 has some great vistas!

Danny with the first flat tire of the trip.

Paulson Summit, one of the many pass on Highway 3

Another fun trip I had was to Rogers Pass. I have spent some time skiing there in the winter but I haven't spent much time there during the summer. My wife and I climbed Uto Peak and then we climbed the NW Ridge of Sir Donald with our friends Michelle and Nick. We also did some trail running, and when the weather changed we headed home.

Making my way up Uto Peak.

Aimee and I on the top of Uto with Mount Sir Donald NW Ridge
in the back ground.

Making my way up Mount Sir Donald's NW Ridge.

Nick and Michelle looking for the easiest way down the NW Ridge.

The left skyline is the NW Ridge of Sir Donald and the route we climbed.
Beautiful trails for running in Glacier National Park.

I have been running lots this summer around Squamish and have entered a few trail races this year. The first was Loop The Lakes, right here in Squamish, where I was just able to hold off Nick Elson, a great runner and friend, to win. The second was the Kusam Klimb in Sayward BC. In that race I was no match for Nick's downhill speed and placed second behind him. The latest was the 23km at the  Squamish 50, which you can read about here.

Ski season will be starting in September for me this year (surprise!), so stay tuned to see where my next adventure will take me.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Squamish 50

Accepting my award from the race director
 Gary Robbins.
Last weekend I ran the 23km race at the Squamish 50 and had a great time. The race started at Quest University above Squamish, which is an amazing place to start a race with its great views, and ended in downtown Squamish by the farmer's market and all the atmosphere it brings. It is a pretty challenging course with 1000m of elevation gain over 23km on very technical trails.

When race started I was in the front pack right off the bat. I was trying to go out slow and ease into the race because I was anticipating it being about 2 hours long. But that did not last long, as a fast looking guy in a yellow shirt pulled up beside me and started pushing the pace. All I could think was that he seemed strong and that he was probably an experienced road racer. Once we hit the trails I was in front again, and by the time we hit the downhill after the first aid station I was by myself. This was 4.5 kms into the race and I would race by myself for the rest of the race.

The hardest part of the race for me (mentally) was the last 2.5km of flat running at the end of the race. I seldom run on flats because I do not find it very interesting and so I really have to work hard to keep my legs turning over. I ended up finishing in about 1:51, which was under my 2hr goal time. I think that I could have ran faster - it's hard to put down a really fast time without someone there to push you. A race where you have to fight to the end to win is also much more rewarding.

Results can be found here. Congratulations to Adam Campbell, who won the 50 mile race, and Eric Carter, who won the 50km race. Both of these guys are friends, and we all attended a pre-race pasta party at Eric's house the evening before the race. I think that Eric should cook for us more often!