I don’t have many chances to take time off. So I’m going to take this time to relax, enjoy life and reflect. During the last three weeks I have been my own coach. It has been said that athletes need to rest as hard as they train. There needs to be a good balance between training and time off. Plus having time off will create a new motivation to get back into training.
Many of you know that I’m training to be part of the Olympic team for the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia. The last season was extremely tough and life changing. I made huge changes in my training which allowed huge gains in my racing. That being said, the last twelve months really took its toll on the whole team. The grueling summer training, intense race preparation… We deserve some time to unwind. So I took some time off to road trip and visit family/friends.
Being on the world team is a great experience. When the racing season was in full swing, I had my whole calendar filled and training mapped out for me. However, there is a flip side to that. Now I am slowly getting back into training and I have my own schedule. It’s almost like I’m relearning how to enjoy working out.
Being an athlete isn’t all about gaining strength and performing well. It’s also about knowing when to take it easy, moderating your training and having fun. Taking time to slow down and work on technique is important. Even if your teammates are racing you, some days there needs to be relaxed workouts. This will keep you from flat lining and getting burnt out.
The best way to keep yourself motivated is to constantly change it up. What I mean by that is always change the routine to keep your body guessing. Instead of doing to same workout everyday, change the intensity or add intervals. These are some of the things you can do on your own to get faster while still enjoying yourself.
The attitude you have in the beginning of your training plays a huge role in the outcome of the season. Most people like to make the start of the season fun. Actually, when you are just enjoying the work and going with the flow it can turn out to be your biggest gains. It’s true for all sports, when it’s fun you perform better!
When I do get back into training, it’s going to be a fun atmosphere. The dry land and running workouts will have plenty of rest and lots of variation. The bike rides will be easy-going. When we get into the longer bike rides they will be at a talking pace, where we can hold a conversation during a hill-climb. After all, it’s not only your legs pushing you up the hill… It’s your desire to be out and enjoying the ride too! How can we train and enjoy getting faster/stronger if we don’t have a good time?
This advice isn’t just for professional athletes, it’s for everyone. Anyone who is thinking about getting into racing: professional, amateur, international and domestic, and weekend warriors. I am speaking to cyclists, runners, skaters, you name it. It’s even advice for that guy who wants to try to ride to work as much as possible. It’s not about reaching your peak performance every ride. Just go out for a ride with some friends and enjoy the sheer pleasure and unique challenges sport has to offer.
For now I am enjoying some time away from skating. I’ve been able to spend some quality time with my girlfriend and visit friends who I haven’t seen for a while. During my road trip I had the opportunity to see some great people. Not to mention I had three weeks away from everything that is speed skating, so that was Really nice.
While I was gone I visited my family back in NJ & PA. as well as friends in Michigan and Wisconsin. I want to make a shout out to some of the medical professionals I also saw during my trip. The head athletic trainer of the USOEC at NMU Colby Lash, also Dr. Greg Nelson DC CCSP is Marquette Mi. Also Dr. Eric St. Pierre with ESP Sports Medicine is Boulder Co. They have helped me tremendously ever since I started skating with the national team.
And lastly I’d like to thank Dr. Gregory Pamel with Pamel Vision in NYC. Thanks for the check up, my eyes are great by the way. We had a good time in the city. What I enjoyed most was seeing the 9/11 memorial. I last saw the aftermath in 2002 or 2003 (can’t remember which) so I wanted to see what the memorial looked like.