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Road to Marquette:
Training for the 2004 National Masters

Peaking for the National Masters
Jan 8, 2004 - By Mike Muha

It's here - less than two weeks away - the 2004 National Masters Championship. First time I've tried racing at Masters Nationals.

I had hoped to get at least one race in during December - the Holly Cup. The race director cancelled the race, however, because of relatively low snow conditions and a lack of pre-registrations. I think the latter was the main reason. Race directors should know that most racers won't pre-register for an early season race in Michigan - the snow conditions are too unpredictable! In this case, I think many racers were planning on attending the Holly Cup.

January's Plan

January's training plan is based on peaking for the National Masters. This is the very first time I've ever tried to peak for a race; usually, I'm just trying to be strong the whole season and do well in all the Michigan Cup races. 

Two weeks before Nationals, I planned on doing doing both the Chestnut Valley Freestyle and the Boyne Highlands Classic on January 3-4 (see December's plan). I was sure Torbjorn would disagree with the decision ("You shouldn't do races back-to-back") but he actually didn't seem to mind. He did made me revise my original plan for the week: the original had two interval session during the following week. He suggested I do one 8 x 1:30 - 2:00 interval session instead.

Now, since I'm writing this after the 4th, it turned out that the second race was cancelled. But I put in some hilly distance training after the race, then did a 10 x 20 second speed session the next day. I decide to keep my interval sessions at 1 for the week.

The peaking plan essential consists of some easier weeks of training: reduction in training volume, shorter intervals, flatter terrain. no long distance sessions in the last seven days leading up to the "peak". Of course, in my case, a "reduction in volume" means dropping my training hours back one hour a week! For my last hard training day, I'm doing a 12 km classic race on the Sunday before Nationals. I'm skipping the 30 km freestyle race the day before the classic even though it's probably my favorite race - the Michigan Cup Marathon. Not part of the peaking plan...

I'm trying hard to stay hydrated. I'm also trying to stretch more. Most important, I'm trying not to be negative: "I haven't done enough skiing. I haven't trained hard enough. I have a cold. Everyone at Master Nationals has been training 20 hours a week and I've only averaged 6 or 7." Etc., etc., etc. NO WHINING!

I've done my training, I'm going to do the best I can do, and I'm not going to worry about anyone else. I'm going to have some fun!