This past week has been Kris’s first week of training with the focus firmly placed on intensity rather than volume. Having said that, there’s hasn’t been a particularly large amount of intensity this week - it’s been more of a ramp-up into training week. That last period, concluding with 69 hours over the final 14 days, was large enough that we felt Kris could make use of a little extra space prior to turning the corner and getting after it with a lot of high intensity.
As it turns out, the relatively low-key week appears to have been a good idea. Kris start off with a 5-mile running race last Saturday which was unimpressive. His time was about a minute slower than he had hoped for, and while it was quite hot, it was also apparent that he wasn’t flying. This is not a surprise, and it’s not a crisis. Kris does absolutely no training specific to building foot-speed for running on flat terrain. He was coming off the highest training load he’s ever had. He’s not going to be blazing fast. He was a bit disappointed, but realistic about the situation. I told him that we could train him as a runner next year, and he could almost certainly get a lot of PRs. I was joking, but when I mentioned it to Vordie his reply was unequivocal: “Sorry, we can’t train him as a runner next year either. Maybe when he retires at 35 or 40. Then he can go on a full-time schedule of competing against his brother in everything from chess to the 100m dash. Until then, ski training only.”
On Wednesday Kris had a really good sustained intensity session, followed by a two hour classic ski in the afternoon that also felt great. Good signs. But on Thursday the three hour run with poles left him feeling more tired than it should have. He made it home from the session, decided to go to bed, and slept for 12.5 hours. Friday morning he woke up sore, and when I talked to him Friday mid-day, he was about to go out for his scheduled three hour double pole, and was wondering how he’d feel. It’s a little hard to know how to interpret a bad day at a time when the training load has come way, way down. Kris should be feeling really good, not really bad. It’s unlikely to be “overtraining” because that generally doesn’t come on a day after feeling great, two weeks after the conclusion of the last major training load. It’s more likely that Kris was fighting some kind of virus, and may have actually had a virus-doping effect on Wednesday when he felt so good.
In any case, he’s scheduled to be out running up Mt Sunapee right now. When we talked at the beginning of the week Kris thought he had a shot at another new record (20:44). I told him I thought he’d run a 20:48, and he was a bit surprised. It’s not a vote of no-confidence. I just think he’s pretty well tapped-out his aerobic capacity gains, and the refined focus on specificity last period is not going to translate into a faster Sunapee time. He needs some hard intensity to make those gains - and that’s coming up in the next couple of weeks, provided he starts feeling good again. We’ll know more later this afternoon.
Reprinted with permission from the Kris Freeman website at http://www.krisfreeman.net/. Copyright © Zach Caldwell and Kris Freeman