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Going It Alone

Training to Train Harder

July 9, 2005 - By Mike Muha


I did nothing the first five days of June - I stayed at home, calling into meetings at work as necessary, doing office work remotely, and taking naps as I recovered from pneumonia. Unlike the many people who do not make it a priority to stay in aerobic condition, the pneumonia was more of an annoyance than a danger. Besides being a little tired, the only time I could really feel it was when I tried to train.

After that first week, I started doing occasional short and easy training sessions, leading to sessions where I picked it up for a bit. Overall, I did more distance sessions and fewer "quality" sessions than I had planned.

Strength training sort of fell by the wayside - did OK with core strength but really backed off the legs and upper body strength training. I'll try to fix that in July.

I took an allergy test when I went back to the doctor a couple weeks after the pneumonia diagnosis. It appears I've developed on allergy to my cat! I'd noticed that I always felt stuffy at home, but the stuffiness went away whenever I went out of town. I think the cat allergy was a contributing factor to my pneumonia.

So, do I get rid of the cat? I thought about telling my wife, "Jill, it's me or the cat" but I was afraid of the answer - and I'd rather spend money on skis than on an apartment... The cat stays and I go on Allegra.

June 2005 Plan Execution
Training Goal Number of sessions planned The Reality
Rollerski camp 2 days And a great camp it was: I'll be making several adjustments to my technique that will hopefully make me faster and more efficient. Thanks Sten & Jen!
5 mile rollerski time trial at 85% MHR 1 Nope
Anaerobic Threshold (AT) intervals
(85-90% MHR)
18 I probably got the equivalent of 6 AT interval sessions in - way short of plan.
V02 Max intervals
(90-95% MHR)
None None, but I did get into the 90%+ heart rate range on some of my distance sessions...
Distance sessions Whatever
I have
time for
10 distance sessions
General strength 1-2 per
4, some core and abs only. Not a very good showing.

The highlight of the month was clearly Sten Fjeldheim's racing clinic that Ernie Brumbaugh of the Grand Rapids Nordic Ski Team organized. Sten's teaching background clearly showed itself - he did an excellent job of breaking skating technique into simple additive drills that really resonated with me. I now (finally!) understand how to let gravity work to my advantage uphill. And he fixed my V1 poling, which I've known was screwed up but I just didn't know in what way!

Now if I can just translate that knowledge into more efficient and faster skiing. For July, distance sessions will be user to focus on technique, and I'll end the sessions if I feel I can no longer maintain proper technique.

A second highlight was the evening before Sten's clinic. I arrived in Grand Rapids and Dell Todd took me for a run. The first half was mainly downhill meaning the return was uphill. It was my first hot weather run of the summer and I felt miserable. I didn't want to blow up, so I tried to keep my heart rate around 85% of max. Dell generously slowed down so I wouldn't feel bad, but still tended to pull away on the uphills. On the final incline, I decided, "To hell with it" and took off hard, catching Dell off guard. Dell recovered from shock and quickly reeled me in. As he caught me, I looked down at my heart rate monitor: 102% of max!

This is the second time in three years that my observed max heart rate has increased.

July Plan

July's theme: Longer Anaerobic Threshold intervals and longer distance sessions. I'm taking what I've done in May and June and increasing the difficulty. I'm not increasing the heart rate at which I'm doing these intervals, only the length the interval. Increasing length and heart rate simultaneously would be too much stress. This training will increase my fitness so I can train harder in August.

July 2005 Plan
Training Goal Number of sessions planned
5 mile rollerski time trial at 85% MHR 1
Anaerobic Threshold (AT) intervals (85-90% MHR) 8, some up to 8 minutes long.
Rollerskiing or ski walking only.
V02 Max intervals
(90-95% MHR)
Distance sessions Longer (2+ hours) distance sessions if possible  in Zone 1-2 (60-80% of max heart rate), with one "easy for the first half, hard for the second half" session
General strength 1-2 per

I was originally planning on July's sessions being mainly rollerski and ski-walking sessions - I want to be as sport specific as practical.  But I just spent the 4th of July holiday up in Ellsworth and put in a number of road bike rides with my future brother-in-law. Then I just bought a mountain bike from Dick Fultz's "The Bicycle Shop" in Grayling - and I'm certainly going to take it out for a few sessions! Guess I'll be starting the more specific training toward the later half of the month...