We can all be thankful for this early season snow. The extra days on natural snow have allowed us to hone our skills and become more ready for this season. As we ski our bodies need some extra time to get used to the new training load. Here is an old but relevant article from an expert on the subject.
Keeping the Turkey Fresh
By Pete Vordenberg
My name is Pete Vordenberg, and I was a Thanksgiving Turkey. One particular season I ripped through two weeks of intervals in mid November and pronounced myself fast, faster than I had ever been. Two weeks later I pulled off exactly one and a half OK races. Two weeks after that I couldn’t ski my way out of a soggy paper sack. My best races that season were spent in a few interval sessions in November – I was an extreme Thanksgiving Turkey.
Top racers are able to ski fast from November to April. The key to consistent results is consistent training in the preseason, and making a wise transition onto snow.Here’s how to avoid racing with the stars in November and hanging with the hard-luck crowd for the rest of the season.
By building steadily and progressively toward ski-specific modes and intensities of training throughout the summer and following a ski specific routine of dry-land ski imitation, such as ski walking, bounding and rollerskiing you can be sure that your summer and fall training base will support your winter-long racing efforts. Snow skiing, however, still has a much higher energy cost than any mode of dry-land training. Therefore, the transition onto snow demands a decrease in overall training intensity because of the increased load of skiing. Training volume generally peaks during the first month of snow skiing. Couple the increased demand of snow skiing with the increase in training volume and you have a potentially drastic rise in overall training load. Skiers who do not monitor their training intensity properly during this phase often unwittingly raise the overall training load too dramatically. The result is often fatigue and sickness or a short-lived spike in fitness followed by a longer lasting decrease in race performance – this is the essence of being a Thanksgiving Turkey.
To insure that the training load continues to rise progressively, skiers must make sure the intensity of their aerobic endurance training stays low (level 1!). Training in level 1 when you are excited about skiing fast takes discipline. At the same time, high-intensity training should take a back seat to aerobic work. During this transition, many skiers continue to do their higher intensity training on foot where the intensity is easier to control and the overall energy cost is not as high. For skiers with a long and ski specific training history and/or who train on snow periodically throughout the summer, this transition period can be shorter (a week or so), while for most it should be at least two weeks and up to four.
Enjoy your Turkey but do not become one!