The Central Regional Elite Group (REG) camp has come to a close, but the motivation from training with peers, competing for spots at the National Elite Group (NEG) camp, and hearing from top regional and USST coaches has been cast out like a net over the region. Athletes are home now. Energy is high, and everywhere. It is said that the end game in cross country skiing is the athlete’s VO2. But the real end game is motivation.
Assessment. Each REG has its own battery of tests. In this photo, athletes prepare to compete in the sprint obstacle course. In conjunction w/ work ethic and results from last season, these tests are used to select the NEG for the October camp.
Anne Hart, 2010 Word Junior Team member and top-30 finisher, going for the one-second 180 time bonus in her obstacle course sprint.
Sprint obstacle course winners Andy Dodds and Summer Ellefson. The best sprinters on the U.S. Ski Team---Kikkan, Andy, and Simi are also among the most agile on their skis. Make the connection, get it done with a lot of practice.
Alex, coming in hot and blowing out of the course. If you want to fly…
…you have to try.
Diggins leaning in.
Energy abounds in Central. Here is one reason why. Yuriy Gusev.
Strength. Parr and Dodds on the dip bar.
The Central region is known for its’ skiing culture. From the American Birkebeiner to the 3,500 public high school skiers in Minnesota alone, people in the Midwest ski a lot. But many of the high school athletes also run cross country in the fall and compete in track in the spring. This makes well-rounded athletes, but does the three-sport athlete move on to becoming an Olympic champion? We tackled subject with the athletes this year in Central, but the same topic can be addressed anywhere that high school team sports are popular the standard.
The question is simple: Do you want to be well-rounded or exceptional? Follow the path of the average student-athlete and there is a strong chance that you will become just that. 50-70 races in a year are too many races to be able to train for the races. Commit. Train more, race less. If the goal at the top of your pyramid is to make or win J1 Trip or World Junior Championships, talk to your cross country running coach. Go to them with a well-planned proposal, not a demand. Many of the proposals would look like this: “Can I roller ski more, run slower and longer, and race less?” If they can help you become a champion with creativity and smart training, let them help. But if the only training prescription you stumble upon is one to two races each week, spaced with daily short and hard runs, revisit your goals and ask yourself what you need to do to get there. You know. Many great talents have their edges sanded down because they race too much “for the team”. Team is huge. Don’t misunderstand this. The difference is that champions identify early what THEY need to succeed, they search for ways to get there rather than waiting to see if path of the majority lands them on the podium. And it just may. Find a way.
When you try sometimes you fall. If you never fall, you aren't trying.