Loving the Process

And just like that we are already two months into the training season. The start of 2020/2021 season has looked quite different from previous years. Without the travel to training camps, on snow and dry-land, I have had the chance to have a more personalized season start-up.

Less options have brought an increased freedom to focus on the little things and the local things that I have always wanted to do and have just never fit in.

Starting off the training season with some crust skiing at Burstall Pass in Kananaskis once the Provincial Parks reopened.

This spring I have also taken the time to reflect a bit more on my process as an athlete. I asked myself many questions, a few of which I can summarize on one page: What am I training for? Who am I training for? And what keeps me loving the process?

In times of uncertainty it can sometimes be hard to remember what exactly you are working towards. The World Cup calendar for next winter is still up in the air, which makes it difficult to stay motivated by the short-term results goals, but the long-term goals and process goals are still clear. I have been reminding myself with the help of others to carry motivation through this period by thinking of the end goal. A couple weeks ago our National Team coach, Erik, sent me a text message that said, “600 days to the Olympics today. Have a nice day.”  A good reminder, I am training for the next Olympics and of course everything else in between. The in between remains a bit murky. However, 600 days is not that much time, sparking motivation to continue towards perfecting the process goals before then.

In busy years filled with team training, camps and meetings it can be easy to get pulled along with the current of the team, without putting much thought into where the motivation to train is coming from. In structured group training, it is easy to focus on the task at hand, easy to work hard, and easy to do what it planned out. This spring was painted in stark contrast to this picture. Most of us spent many hours more isolated or only with our local training groups. The environment I created around me would be key to staying happy, positive and motivated. Although slightly lonely at times this spring has been a great exercise in self growth and discovery. In sport I am training for myself, for my love of racing and to try to accomplish my goals. Hopefully the results of my pursuits puts me in positions to do good for others and share knowledge and inspiration while also learning from those around me. But it all has to start with the motivation and intention coming from within. The specific ingredients I need to acheive that in our current global situation is what I have been figuring out. Between reflecting and training, I also spent a lot of time painting this spring. This little one made the cut to go up on my wall.

Watercolour with all my favourite colours.

From a training perspective I have been able to do that vast majority of what I had planned. The biggest change was not having on snow spring camps at Sovereign Lake and Sunshine Village, some of my favourite skiing of the year. In the absence of late season snow, I opted to replace a lot of those training hours with time on my road bike instead of on roller skis. Luckily for me, Icycle Sports set me up with a new road bike last summer, so I was ready to ride. Roller skiing is a great training tool, but honestly not my favourite activity. I felt it was important for me not to burn out my roller ski motivation before the summer even started. Throughout May I built up my base mostly running and riding with the occasional roller ski mixed in for technique focus before ramping up the roller ski hours in June. It has been pretty fun getting myself to the point where a 100km bike ride doesn’t feel like a big deal.  Now that summer is here, biking has returned to a more supplemental training mode, but I am hoping to get in one more big ride during my volume block in July, 100 miler (160km) here I come!

One of many road rides this spring in the Okanagan.
Making sure my mountain bike wasn’t feeling left out.

I am feeling extremely grateful to have spent the last few months in great training locations with my small but mighty pod of training buddies. Starting the training season in the Okanagan with warm sunshine and endless country roads to bike on made it easy to build up the volume base. That was followed by a short break chilling on my couch after I got my wisdom teeth out at the end of May. Sorry to disappoint you all, but I didn’t turn into a swollen chipmunk. However, I did discover another great use for a Buff®, see photo below!

Hands free icing!

Since then, spring training in the Bow Valley has been great and Monsoon June has been slightly less “monsoony” than usual. The extended road closures in the National Park has given us even more safe roller ski and biking options and I have summited a few new peaks close to home. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to do any indoor treadmill testing. However, I just finished off a few weeks of outdoor standardized tests on the roller ski loop and the running track. The body is feeling tired, but the baseline fitness is looking good!

Track days, preparing for the pain.
Summiting new mountains with my biathlon buddies!

I have been truly enjoying what training has looked like this spring and I am hoping that by the fall things will have progressed to a point where I will be sharing updates from a team camp. But first, a couple of months of hard summer training in and around the Bow Valley and interior BC.

Thanks for reading, Dahria!

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