During the fall of 2017, in cooperation with TUNA, I started up the Competitive Masters Dryland Training Group for Nordic skiers. This training group was designed to help adult Nordic skiing athletes prepare for a successful winter racing season. It was for skiers interested in improving their performance, and were willing to work hard in rigorous group workouts. It was also specifically designed to help local skiers prepare for the World Masters Championships in Minnesota in January 2018.
The training group began in early September, and met twice each week through mid-November. The emphasis was on growing an aerobic base, developing top-end performance through interval training, time trials, strength training, and improving ski technique. The modes of training ranged from running, hill striding, hill bounding with poles, rollerskiing, and circuit strength training.
The workouts included two strength tests: a classic rollerski time trial up the Big Mountain road — with a car shuttle down — the infamous “Agony Hill” run, lots of hill bounding in Sugarhouse Park, and numerous specific strength sessions with weights, balance tools, and good old gravity. We tried to have an even mix of classic and skate skiing dryland training.
The benefits of training in this group were numerous. It was harder to skip a workout when you knew your buddies would be there training hard and expecting you to show up. Friendly rivalries are fun and beneficial for all involved. The group atmosphere helped everyone push themselves harder while doing it in a fun and casual environment. We practiced technique drills on foot and rollerskis to improve body position, power application, and efficiency. We also used video analysis with critical feedback during three of the rollerskiing sessions. It is interesting what you can learn from seeing yourself ski on video.
One of the highlights of the fall training group was a weekend “training camp” in Torrey, Utah. We had a fun group join together near the beautiful town of Torrey and Capital Reef National Park for a long weekend of training with group dinners and comradery. The mountain biking, rollerskiing, and hiking in the area are fantastic and the weather in October is usually superb!
All of the participants who attended regularly seemed to improve their fitness, strength and skiing technique, but the proof will be when the snow flies and the racing begins. That is when their hard work throughout the summer and fall should pay off with strong performances and happy memories of dryland training.
The finale was a happy hour social gathering at a local watering hole after the final workout in November, where we all prayed for snow and made plans for skiing fast this winter.