Use fall for your last push into the racing season

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Photo credit: Marc Amann (@ amarcster.sport) – US Ski Team (@usskiteam)

It’s hard to believe it’s October already. For World Cups (and even some young FIS athletes), the racing season is just a few weeks away and, for most runners, a few months away. What I consider, phase I of the ski racing preparation period is over. Hopefully the summer has been spent laying the foundation for your success next winter. In all likelihood, your efforts have focused on two areas. First of all, you have embarked on an intensive fitness program. The reality of ski racing in the second decade of the 21stst century is that it has become a sport of power. Therefore, your summer conditioning program was likely aimed at increasing your functional strength.

Second, if the opportunity arose, you also spent time on the snow. Summer snow training usually begins with a base camp in which you break down your skiing into its most basic technical and tactical components. Another reality of ski racing is that consistently fast skiing is not possible without solid technique and tactics. If you had a second snow camp this summer, it was probably dedicated to transferring those fundamentals to the gates.

I also hope you used Phase I of the preparation period to train your mind and lay the mental foundation for your success this winter. Mental training, as you’ve probably heard me say many times, should be treated like your physical conditioning and training on snow; it must be comprehensive, structured and coherent.

With the end of September, you have entered Phase II of the preparation period for the ensuing racing season, which is just as important as your summer efforts to achieve your ski racing goals. With the racing season quickly approaching, you will shift your efforts and focus on your fitness from strength to agility and your snow training from ABC to speed.

So what do you need to build on this fall to make sure you’re ready to “send it” this winter?

Physical education

Your physical training should focus more on quality than quantity (although you should definitely maintain a good level of volume). It means getting the most out of your conditioning efforts, which will allow you to be the fittest version of you. This change also reduces your chances of burnout or injury at a time when you need to be healthy and rested.

You can increase the quality of your physical training and at the same time further develop your mental skills by understanding that mental training start in the gym. This involves thinking about what makes you ski your best in snow training and applying those same skills and habits to your fitness:

  • Confidence: Make positive statements about your ability to meet your training goal for this set (eg, “I’m going to do 10 reps”).
  • Commitment: Focus on giving maximum effort in each repetition and finishing the set strong.
  • Intensity: Match your physical intensity to your exercise. If you are doing power squats, you want to actively increase your intensity before going under the bar. If you do yoga, you want to actively relax your body.
  • Concentration: Focus your attention on anything that will help you to fully perform the exercise. The focus could be technical (eg, hips forward) or mental (eg, exploding).
  • Breathing: adapt your breathing to your exercise. If you are weight training, your breathing should be more intense. If you are doing flexibility training, it should be quieter and slower.

Mental training

Phase II of the preparation period is essential for continuing to strengthen your spirit as winter approaches. The most powerful mental tool you can use to build your “ski racing build” is mental imagery. Right now, you’re probably fed up with me telling you about it all the time, but I’ll say it again: if you’re not using mental imagery as part of your mental training program and diet Overall training, you’re not going to be the best ski racer you can beat this winter.

Fall is a great time to actually engage in mental imagery as it allows you to travel a ton of miles on snow and in gates (in your mind) before you actually get back on the snow and back on. drive to the gates. You can anchor technically sound and fast skiing deeper with mental imagery, so when the snow flies it will be like you’ve been skiing all fall and you can continue your ski development from your first day on the snow. .

To help you develop an off-snow mental imagery program, you can download my Prime Ski Race Imagery Program.

Here’s what you need to do with mental imagery:

  1. Choose one or two areas of technical (eg, a wider stance), tactical (eg, going deep at the top of the turn), mental (eg, relaxing at the start) or performance (eg, skiing fast) that you want to focus on in your imagery.
  2. Create a scale of training and racing scenarios, from training camps on your home hill to low level races to your most important races of the season.
  3. Set aside a specific time each day three times a week.
  4. In each imaging session, get comfortable, close your eyes, take five deep breaths, then guide yourself through two training or running runs incorporating your imaging goals (see # 1 above) in your imaginary ski (I have downloadable mp3 audio recordings for coaching, 2 race events, and 1 round events which can guide you through these scenarios).
  5. Stay engaged and consistent with your images throughout fall.

Snow training

If you have the chance to ski this fall, your snow training will also be targeted. As winter approaches, you should focus on your skiing as follows:

  • From big technical and tactical changes to small adjustments and fine tuning;
  • Focus on details to focus on your skiing in general;
  • Experiment with your equipment to compose it;
  • Try out different ways of being physically and mentally before training runs to establish a cohesive training routine that you can translate into a running routine;
  • A solid technical and tactical ski for always fast skiing.

Prepare for fall for the Winter Grind

The long winter of training and racing is incredibly taxing both physically and mentally. Another important goal for fall is to prepare yourself to stay healthy and rested from your first turns of the season until the last. The habits you establish in the fall will hopefully get you through the winter with strength and endurance.

These habits that you instill during Phase II of the preparation period should include:

  • Sufficient and constant sleep (young people do not get enough sleep these days);
  • Healthy eating (food feeds or contaminates your body);
  • Good study habits (stress at school will affect your skiing);
  • Make your ski racing a priority over other interests (don’t let bad choices hurt your skiing);
  • Balanced use of technology (which threatens sleep and distracts you);
  • Rest and recovery (allow your mind and body to rejuvenate after intense training blocks);
  • Be happy (a happy runner is a fast runner).

What you do this fall will have a big impact on the way you ski this winter. Using what I just described above, along with advice from your coaches and parents, take advantage of the fall to prepare yourself to be the best skier you can be this winter. So when you enter the starting grid for your first race of the season, you are physically and mentally ready to enter Phase III of your racing season, it’s called “rock & roll time!” “

Want to get your mind in the best possible shape for your ski racing life? Learn more about my two Online mental training courses designed only for ski racers: Prime Ski Racing 101: Train Your Mind Like a Champion and, if you have already taken PSR 101, Prime Ski Training 202: Total preparation for maximum performance.


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