Our recent National Team training camp in Mt. Washington was the first NST camp we’ve had in too long to count. Earlier in the summer I did a 4-day mini altitude camp with the Alberta World Cup Academy women’s team in Kananaskis. The mini-camp was great training, team bonding and motivation. It also reminded me just how much value team training camps hold. After being reminded how much I love training camps, I was very excited for the two week NST camp in August.
Our original plan was to be up at Apex resort above Penticton, but mother nature had other things in mind for us. With the heavy forest fire smoke in BC’s interior, the coaching staff made a last minute decision to move the camp out to Vancouver Island where we could train free from forest fire smoke. None of us had every done a camp at Mt. Washington before and it turned out to be a success. The training locations were great with lots of options for workouts to end at our condos which made recovery easier. We also had the bonus of the ocean just short drive down the mountain.
During the camp we were staying as a team, so we had lots of time to hang out. All the girls were in the same condo and the boys split two between them. We ate dinner as an entire team and the para-Nordic national team was there for the second half of our camp, so team dinner doubled in size. We had a team movie night, played some beach volleyball, sea kayaked, ate copious amounts of blackberries and went swimming in every body of salt and fresh water we could find.
Despite all the fun, we did a lot of top notch training as well. I developed a love/hate relationship with the 17km road that climbs its way up to the base of the Mt. Washington ski resort where we were staying. I loved it because I knew all that climbing work was good for me, and we don’t have that many sustained climbs around Canmore. I loved it a little less when my whole body was sweating, the sun was beating down on me and my glute muscles were burning for climbing for so long. Overall, the training we did was execute well by the whole team and we had a lot of fun suffering and getting stronger together. In between the many Mt. Washington roller ski climbs, we enjoyed some beautiful running in Strathcona park, some flatter skis down in the Comox Valley and a couple mountain bike rides on Cumberland’s awesome trail network.
Post camp I returned to Canmore after a month on the road. I thankfully managed to avoid the smoky conditions Canmore had in July/August while training 2 weeks at home in Whitehorse in late July and then 2 weeks at Mt. Washington for the NST camp. My time in Whitehorse flew by and was a wonderful mix of family and friend time and high-quality training. One training highlight was testing out the new track in Whitehorse and running PB’s over 3000m and 1000m.
Now I am back in Canmore training with the Alberta World Cup Academy crew, we have begun a two-week block of MAS (Max aerobic speed) focus. The smoky weather that was here the past month has broken and it is cool and crisp and perfect for training. Doing these maximal 2-3min repeats makes me excited for the transition to fall. Following this block and a short rest, I will soon be back on the road for another NST camp, this time in Mammoth Lakes, California at the end of September. The Mammoth Lakes camp will be focused on long training session at high altitude in preparation for getting back on snow at Frozen Thunder mid-October before traveling to Europe mid-November the begin the season.
Looking back on the summer I am happy with the work that has been put in so far. I suffered a minor setback in the early summer when I sprained my elbow. I had to adjust my training for a bit but in the process, I also discovered that 10 second roller ski sprints with 1 pole are a beneficial thing to do for coordination, and core stability. I am planning to keep incorporating them into the plan periodically now that I’m back to sprinting with two poles again. It’s never fun dealing with an injury in the moment but once you recover from them you usually end with a stronger and more balanced body all around.
There was a fine dusting of snow of the peaks around Canmore the other morning and its crazy to think that it’s less than a month now until our altitude camp in Mammoth Lakes, only 92 days until the season kicks off and just 160 days until Beijing. The season is fast approaching and after a great summer I can hardly wait for the colder days, longer nights, and the race season that lies ahead.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check back mid-October for an update from our NST altitude camp!