Post Nationals Update

On the road again! Crazy that ‘22 US Nationals have already, come and gone! It seemed to go by particularly quickly this year, as I’m sure that the anticipation that was built up, due to the lack of racing, helped drive things along. Anyways, let’s jump right into the good stuff! I’ll give you a play by play run down on the week of racing.

Jan 2: The Skate sprint.

Over the past many years, sprinting has emerged as somewhat of a weaker link for me. In my opinion, it’s not because I’m physically incapable of sprinting, but simply that I’m continually learning how to move super fast on skis, aka…sprint. Not that I think I could be an out and out sprinter, but I think that how I was sprinting 2 years ago is far from what I’m capable of. Needless to say, I came in 44th overall in the qualifier, 34th American overall, and 9th u23 American overall. I did not accomplish one of my goals which was to qualify top 30 and therefore move on to the heats. With that said I would still consider this race a success, based on how I skied, and how close I was to athletes I race against regularly.

Jan 4: The 30k Skate.

I’m not gonna lie, I was very excited about this race as soon as I knew that it was on the race schedule. Given that it’s my first year as a u23, it is also my first year to race with all of the seniors, which means doing a 30k at Nationals vs a 10k. Since it was a longer, mass start, skate race, with no kick wax to worry about, I was “jonesing” to toe the starting line as all those things add up to a really fun race. I started bib 36 in the 4th row, which is a ways back when you know that the boys up front are looking to string things out from the gun. Long story short, I got a good start, eventually worked my way through the field, and 8×3.75km loops later, I crossed the finish line in 8th place overall, 8th place American, and 2nd place u23. Don’t get me wrong, I’m stoked with the result, as it is a clear sign that my hard work is paying off. However, I am still eager for more, because I know that I could have been closer to the leaders if I didn’t have as much traffic to go around and could’ve just started off right behind the leading group. But, that’s how it works. You have to earn that start spot. So, that is exactly what I intend on doing. It was also a fantastic day for the APU crew as well, which was awesome to see! We went 1,2,3,6,8,10,12 on the day. Not bad I’d say.

Jan 6: The 15k classic

Just 2 days after the 30k, I was very interested to see how the body would respond. In the end it responded very well! Oh, did I mention that it was 40 degrees, at race time 12:30? This meant super tricky waxing conditions in wet, slushy, glazy snow. Unfortunately, my skis/wax with which I intended to transfer this performance were simply not where I needed them to be. So, I ended the day in 48th overall, 36th American overall, and 8th u23. Despite the fact that the result was far from representing my capabilities, I was still left partially content. In my opinion, I think that was the hardest race I’ve possibly ever done. A race is only as hard as you make it, right? Right. I’ve never wanted to slow down in a race as much as I did in this one. So, I was very happy to have resisted this urge, and to have pressed on, full gas, through the finish.

Jan 7: Classic sprint.

Much like the first sprint day, this day was short and sweet. I ended up qualifying in 33rd overall, 24th American Overall, and was the 8th American u23. Today was a little bit harder to swallow as I was less than ½ a second away from qualifying for heats. But, again, based on where I was compared to my cohorts I was happy with the result. I was also super lucky to have some video footage during the race so I was able to find some things that I can work on, that are hard to know of unless you can see them yourself.

In the end, it was an overall successful week of racing, with ¾ races going to plan. Now I’m heading up to ID for a few days of downtime before revving things back up for next weekend’s Super Tour races in Sun Valley, 1/15-16! Stay tuned for more info on those.

Thanks for all your words of encouragement and well wishes! It means a lot! Also huge thanks to all the staff behind the scenes, and to Tobias, aka, @untraceableg and Lisa/ Erik Maurer for the amazing pics!

Until next time,

Garrett Butts

Happy New Year!

Checking in from Heber City Utah where US Nationals will commence tomorrow with a skate sprint! Tiny update for you. I had a fantastic, albeit short, Christmas at home with the family. Got some good skiing in and tried to soak in as much of the wonderful aura of Christmas as possible. Travel to Utah went smoothly, there’s some decent snow, and the weather forecast looks like it will allow for a good week of racing! Here are all the links that I have related to the event.

Event Website:

,2022 L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships and SuperTour | Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation

Event Schedule: (on page 8-9)

,FIS U23 Championships (utaholympiclegacy.org)

Timing:

,Summit Timing Race Results

Live Stream:

,2022 L.L.BEAN U.S. CROSS COUNTRY SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS on Livestream

Anyways, hope you had a very Merry Christmas, and have a splendid New Year!

Cheers,

Garrett

Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to write a note to give a quick update after the first races of my season this past weekend (12/18-19) and to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a fantastic Holiday season in general!!

As far as the weekend went, well, it was a good start! On Saturday 12/18, we had a classic sprint. For those who don’t know, sprint days have a qualifying race, where the top 30 qualifier’s move on to the quarter finals which consists of 5 heats of 6 athletes. From the quarter finals, the top 2 from each heat move on to the semifinals plus 2 “lucky losers.“ The semifinals consists of 2 heats of 6 athletes. From there, the field is whittled down some more, with the top 2 automatically moving on to the finals from each heat plus 2 more lucky losers. Then it all comes down to the final. 6 athletes, racing one short loop. (Usually 1-1.5 km and taking anywhere from 2.5-4 minutes) In the past, sprinting has not necessarily been my strong suit, and particularly the qualification part. As such, going into this day, my biggest goal was to throw down a solid qualifier. I ended up qualifying 3rd, but what’s more important is that I was a lot closer to the winner than I was last year at this same race. My percent back went from 10%, last year, to 3% this year. After some down time, we got on with the heats and needless to say, after some fast and furious rounds, I came in 3rd place in the final! I was happy with the day, and even happier knowing that my sprinting will only get better from here.

Given that the second day was a distance race, I knew I’d be more in my wheelhouse, and could have a good day. Although I will admit, I was unsure how my body would feel after a long sprint day the day before. I woke up feeling recovered and ready to go, however during the warmup I could tell that the sprint had dulled things down a bit, yet I remained optimistic for what could be a promising day.

It was a 3-lap race on a 5km loop on both manmade and natural snow. I got a decent start, and for the first lap was hovering between 3rd and 4th place, watching, and learning. As the race progressed, the field got smaller and smaller until the end of the 2nd lap and there were just 3 of us left. With about 1-2 km to go, an attack went off the front on the steepest part of the course. When the move went, I was sitting in 3rd. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get around my APU teammate Michael who was in 2nd, to try to reel in the small gap that the leader, another fellow APU teammate, Zanden, had obtained in this attack. With a sprint to the finish between Michael and myself, I ended up in 3rd behind 2 strong guys. Michael had some great results earlier in December at Period 1 Super Tour, and Zanden just returned from racing on the World Cup circuit, so I was in good company. My biggest takeaway from this race was that this particular course is very power oriented and used to be a weakness of mine. So it was great to see the improvements I’ve made in that department!

All in all, a solid weekend to get the season underway!

I just returned home to CO on Monday, to enjoy some time home for Christmas before heading to US Nationals in Utah on 12/30. For the remainder of the race season, I plan to send out content more regularly to provide links to results and live streams before the events, so that you can follow along in real time, as well as race recaps. I’ve included a link below with the results from this past weekend of racing.

Day 1: Classic Sprint

,https://ccak.snowio.com/index.php?io_view=event.results&event_id=1677

Day 2: 15-kilometer skate mass start

,https://my.raceresult.com/188584/

Wishing you the very best this Holiday Season!

Merry Christmas!

Garrett

Update+ The topic of choice: Mistakes

Update:

And just like that, it’s December! Luckily for me, I have been able to make the full transition to winter, meaning coooold temps and some bomber ski conditions. I know that at home in CO, they’ve had the longest period without the first real winter snow in history, so I’m grateful to be in a place where I can ski! Since I returned from my October altitude camp/ trip home, I’ve been able to, more or less, settle into a nice routine, training in the morning and the afternoon, with school related endeavors in and around that. At the end of October, training conditions were pretty crazy, as we had roller skiing in Anchorage, and on snow skiing up at Hatcher pass. This lasted for about 2 weeks, and then in an answer to prayers, we received well over a foot of snow in one night! This meant we could skip the nasty shoulder season conditions and get right to the good stuff…Skiing! With early snow in Anchorage, I’ve been able to get a lot of skiing under my belt in the past 4 weeks. Originally, I had planned on racing at Period 1 Super Tour in Duluth MN, and Cable WI which took place last weekend and this upcoming weekend, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go. I was super bummed given the lack of national level racing last season. The upside is that the skiing in Anchorage is probably the best in the country right now, which has enabled me to invest more time into training.

Mistakes:

First off, I’ll say thanks for writing in with your input on what you would like to hear! Today’s blog topic is “mistakes”. As a noun, a mistake is defined as an action or judgment that ended up simply being wrong. Reading that you would think, “Ah well then mistakes are bad…” While in a lot of cases it’s hard to argue with that, there’s something to be said about the upside of mistakes. It is in this perspective that I will focus on.

In my opinion, the biggest mistake of all is not learning from your mistakes. In fact, I would say that is just plain dumb. It seems that a lot of people/athletes live in fear of making mistakes, whether it be with their training, diet, life choices, etc. However, it is in my estimation that if you make a decision by using all the information that you have at that time, with sound judgment, and that decision ends up being a mistake, all you can do is take note, learn what you can from it, and move on. Mistakes are how we learn, and how we grow.

Here are a couple examples. Last season, as I’ve written about in a previous blog, I pushed my training a bit too hard leading into the first big races of the season. I ended up anemic, low on vitamin d, and overall just flat and run down. This season, I learned from that mistake. I made sure that the training I’ve been doing has not been overdone, and I’ve stayed on top of blood testing so that there aren’t any surprises. After having low Vitamin D last year, I thought, well I better start upping my dosage, right when I get back to AK from CO. I was determined to avoid the big mistake I had made last year, that it ended up leading to another, yet different mistake, one of lesser consequences. I ended up having too much Vitamin D!

Likewise, over the last many seasons, there have been times when different variables on my skis have been altered in a way that hindered performance. Some examples: bindings not being on the same/ proper setting, kick zone being applied too long or short, or even having structure put into a ski backwards. Now, I always check my skis, bindings, wax job, etc before a race, and carry a cork, scraper, wax, etc in case of an emergency. On a relevant side note, this is why knowing how to wax skis for both classic and skate, and having other general knowledge of what it takes to make a fast ski is very important. This will help enable you to recognize flaws when they arise.

The important part in both of these examples is that I learned from my mistakes, have not made the same mistake twice, and have applied the knowledge gained from my mistakes to other scenarios.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is looking forward to Christmas and the rest of the Holiday season! I know I am! Stay tuned as I will be sending out information regarding races as it becomes available, so you can stay as up to date as possible.

Until next time,

Garrett Butts

Update+ Body Work and Therapy

Update

I know I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, but man, time really does fly when you’re having a good time! It’s already been a month since the last time of writing, and I’m already back in Alaska! I had a great couple weeks of hard training at altitude, and was able to follow that with some nice chill time up at the Tenderfoot Outfitter backcountry HQ. Being at 10,000ft, not having any service, and being a long way from any kind of civilization was just what the doctor ordered. Personally, I have a hard time not training if I have the opportunity to do so. Knowing this, it was clear that I had to make those opportunities null if I wanted to accomplish my training goal for the week. That goal? Rest. It was the first easy week I’ve had in over a couple months, and it was the perfect place to do so. Between helping pack out elk, ride horses, get plenty of good sleep in the high mountain air, and BS around the wood stove every night, I was able to completely unplug. Now, having been back in AK for a little over a week, I’ve been able to get back onto the ole skinny skis, and start doing what we spend all summer and fall trying to mimic and prepare for! Man is it getting close! If the next several weeks goes by as quickly as the last few have, then I’ll be racing in no time! The majority of the real hard yards of preparation for the season has been done by now, however between now and then, there’s one thing you have to make sure to do…

Body Work

That one critical thing is to take care of your body. The most frustrating thing is to come so close to what you’ve been working towards, and have it slip through your fingers because you neglected the very machine that allows you to do what you do. At the beginning of this fall, my back was pretty tight, which isn’t abnormal for me, and probably isn’t abnormal for a lot of nordic skiers out there. When I was at home in CO over the course of this last altitude block, I hit a point that started to frighten me a little bit because I’d thought I might’ve injured myself. The good news is that while there were certainly a few things out of whack, luckily nothing was injured. On the “bad scale,” I was about an 8/10. Make no mistake, I was a certified “tight a**” as my PT clearly stated. Quite literally!! From my butt all the way up to my skull you would have mistaken my muscles for rebar, and not in a good way. Between Dr. Sue Schappert helping me with chiropractic work, Trent Ezzel at Heights Physical Therapy with all things PT, Cia Mount at Alpine Acupuncture, and my Mom with the magic massage touch, I was able to get down to a 4/10 in a few weeks. Despite the fact that I do a lot of self care utilizing stretching, foam rolling, nomatic compression, mobility, etc, there are some areas that are just tough to get yourself. Your entire posterior chain is one of those areas. Out of all this I learned two crucial things.

One: It’s easier to stay on top of things and maintain than it is to try to get something back to the way it was.

Two: PT, acupuncture, chiropractic & massage work, all make changes to the body. I went to Heights PT and got some manual therapy and dry needling. If you ever get the chance to be dry needled, have them do some work on your quad so you can watch. (Hunter if you read this, don’t watch, you won’t be able to stomach it.) Then a bit later that day I went and got some chiropractic work done. By the time I got home and was supposed to go out and train again, I was pretty tired, and really sore. Heeding my own advice from my last article, I took the afternoon off, drank plenty of water and let my body absorb the work it had just undergone to make the necessary changes. Body work like this needs to be looked at like training in the sense that you have to allow your body to recover from it. The chiro and PT were more of a stress I’m unaccustomed to and I could therefore feel that after the fact, whereas the massage I’d been getting on most days, and was the glue that brought it all together. Now, thanks to the great folks at Advanced Physical Therapy, I’ll be able to keep up the body care while I’m up in Alaska.

Next time I write, it’ll be just about GO-TIME for myself and many other skiers. So do yourself a favor, and give yourself the chance to show what you’ve been working on all year by keeping your body running on all 8 cylinders.

Until next time,

Garrett Butts

Update+ Body Work and Therapy

Update

I know I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, but man, time really does fly when you’re having a good time! It’s already been a month since the last time of writing, and I’m already back in Alaska! I had a great couple weeks of hard training at altitude, and was able to follow that with some nice chill time up at the Tenderfoot Outfitter backcountry HQ. Being at 10,000ft, not having any service, and being a long way from any kind of civilization was just what the doctor ordered. Personally, I have a hard time not training if I have the opportunity to do so. Knowing this, it was clear that I had to make those opportunities null if I wanted to accomplish my training goal for the week. That goal? Rest. It was the first easy week I’ve had in over a couple months, and it was the perfect place to do so. Between helping pack out elk, ride horses, get plenty of good sleep in the high mountain air, and BS around the wood stove every night, I was able to completely unplug. Now, having been back in AK for a little over a week, I’ve been able to get back onto the ole skinny skis, and start doing what we spend all summer and fall trying to mimic and prepare for! Man is it getting close! If the next several weeks goes by as quickly as the last few have, then I’ll be racing in no time! The majority of the real hard yards of preparation for the season has been done by now, however between now and then, there’s one thing you have to make sure to do…

Body Work

That one critical thing is to take care of your body. The most frustrating thing is to come so close to what you’ve been working towards, and have it slip through your fingers because you neglected the very machine that allows you to do what you do. At the beginning of this fall, my back was pretty tight, which isn’t abnormal for me, and probably isn’t abnormal for a lot of nordic skiers out there. When I was at home in CO over the course of this last altitude block, I hit a point that started to frighten me a little bit because I’d thought I might’ve injured myself. The good news is that while there were certainly a few things out of whack, luckily nothing was injured. On the “bad scale,” I was about an 8/10. Make no mistake, I was a certified “tight a**” as my PT clearly stated. Quite literally!! From my butt all the way up to my skull you would have mistaken my muscles for rebar, and not in a good way. Between Dr. Sue Schappert helping me with chiropractic work, Trent Ezzel at Heights Physical Therapy with all things PT, Cia Mount at Alpine Acupuncture, and my Mom with the magic massage touch, I was able to get down to a 4/10 in a few weeks. Despite the fact that I do a lot of self care utilizing stretching, foam rolling, nomatic compression, mobility, etc, there are some areas that are just tough to get yourself. Your entire posterior chain is one of those areas. Out of all this I learned two crucial things.

One: It’s easier to stay on top of things and maintain than it is to try to get something back to the way it was.

Two: PT, acupuncture, chiropractic & massage work, all make changes to the body. I went to Heights PT and got some manual therapy and dry needling. If you ever get the chance to be dry needled, have them do some work on your quad so you can watch. (Hunter if you read this, don’t watch, you won’t be able to stomach it.) Then a bit later that day I went and got some chiropractic work done. By the time I got home and was supposed to go out and train again, I was pretty tired, and really sore. Heeding my own advice from my last article, I took the afternoon off, drank plenty of water and let my body absorb the work it had just undergone to make the necessary changes. Body work like this needs to be looked at like training in the sense that you have to allow your body to recover from it. The chiro and PT were more of a stress I’m unaccustomed to and I could therefore feel that after the fact, whereas the massage I’d been getting on most days, and was the glue that brought it all together. Now, thanks to the great folks at Advanced Physical Therapy, I’ll be able to keep up the body care while I’m up in Alaska.

Next time I write, it’ll be just about GO-TIME for myself and many other skiers. So do yourself a favor, and give yourself the chance to show what you’ve been working on all year by keeping your body running on all 8 cylinders.

Until next time,

Garrett Butts

Update+ The Late Fall Training Phase

Update:

My last newsletter I sent out was titled: “Fall is in the air!” Now, with skiable conditions high in the mountains of AK, I’m thinking I should’ve really titled it: “Fall season to be skipped this year. Winter is already here!” Since my last writing, time has absolutely flown by thanks to some great training, fun adventures, and the addition of more classes in school. Adventure wise, I was able to go out to my friend Hunter’s cabin, do a little fishing, moose hunting, canoeing, and s’more roasting. During the middle of this last 8 week block of training, I took a few easy days, and did some exploring with some friends. We headed north up to the Denali Hwy, out to a place called Tangle Lakes for 3 days, did some canoe camping on the lake shore, and enjoyed all that makes Alaska amazing. At that time, and that far north, the fall colors were at their peak, yet back in Anchorage, things were still green, and looked like summer! This meant we still had some time to get in some quality dry land training. This included a focus on high intensity training which was really fun, with many high quality sessions with the team, and some roller ski time trials in the mix as well. It has been really cool to see how I’ve managed to continue to progress throughout my training, which can be seen simply by looking at the numbers in my training log. Long story short, I was able to achieve 8 consecutive weeks of solid training, with increased intensity, and also managed to log the most voluptuous week of training I’ve done to date. Consistency, check! Quality, check! Progress, check mate!

The Late Fall Training Phase:

Through any given year, I always go through many different phases of training. Currently, I’m going into what I would consider to be the last few weeks of “the general preparation period,” which will go into the last week of October. By that time, the bulk of the training will be done, and all that will be left is transferring all this general fitness to specific fitness once we get on snow. That said, these next few weeks will be very important leading into the competition season. If training has been going very well through the spring, summer, and early fall, a very important thing to remember, over these few weeks, is not to be greedy in training. When things are going well, it doesn’t take much to keep that momentum, but trying to take things up another notch could mean the difference between coming into the race season feeling flat and tired, or fired up and ready to go. Here’s an example of how to approach this late Fall phase if training has been consistent and going well. Let’s say for example you have been building your training up throughout the year and during this last 3 week training block you averaged 20 hours/ week, and you’re feeling “fit as a fiddle”. All things equal, during these next 3 weeks, rather than increasing that average to 22/ week, just keep things rolling along at 19-20 hours/ week. Although this may take some extra self control, make no mistake, you will continue to build fitness, without the risk of pushing things too far. Last season, things were going well for me during this time. We had some races lined up in late November that ended up getting cancelled. Rather than continuing with the plan, I got greedy, kept training real hard, and as a result came into the first “important” races of the season, flat, deficient, and raced far below my potential. The lesson here? It’s better to air on the side of caution, if you want to show up in a good place at the beginning of the race season.

I’ve recently returned to CO where I’m taking a few easy days, before jumping into this last general prep block here at altitude. During this block, I’ll be taking part in a US Ski Team lead training camp in Park City, Utah, which will be my first official training camp in 18 months. Super exciting stuff!

Until next time,

Garrett Butts

Update+ The Late Fall Training Phase

Update:

My last newsletter I sent out was titled: “Fall is in the air!” Now, with skiable conditions high in the mountains of AK, I’m thinking I should’ve really titled it: “Fall season to be skipped this year. Winter is already here!” Since my last writing, time has absolutely flown by thanks to some great training, fun adventures, and the addition of more classes in school. Adventure wise, I was able to go out to my friend Hunter’s cabin, do a little fishing, moose hunting, canoeing, and s’more roasting. During the middle of this last 8 week block of training, I took a few easy days, and did some exploring with some friends. We headed north up to the Denali Hwy, out to a place called Tangle Lakes for 3 days, did some canoe camping on the lake shore, and enjoyed all that makes Alaska amazing. At that time, and that far north, the fall colors were at their peak, yet back in Anchorage, things were still green, and looked like summer! This meant we still had some time to get in some quality dry land training. This included a focus on high intensity training which was really fun, with many high quality sessions with the team, and some roller ski time trials in the mix as well. It has been really cool to see how I’ve managed to continue to progress throughout my training, which can be seen simply by looking at the numbers in my training log. Long story short, I was able to achieve 8 consecutive weeks of solid training, with increased intensity, and also managed to log the most voluptuous week of training I’ve done to date. Consistency, check! Quality, check! Progress, check mate!

The Late Fall Training Phase:

Through any given year, I always go through many different phases of training. Currently, I’m going into what I would consider to be the last few weeks of “the general preparation period,” which will go into the last week of October. By that time, the bulk of the training will be done, and all that will be left is transferring all this general fitness to specific fitness once we get on snow. That said, these next few weeks will be very important leading into the competition season. If training has been going very well through the spring, summer, and early fall, a very important thing to remember, over these few weeks, is not to be greedy in training. When things are going well, it doesn’t take much to keep that momentum, but trying to take things up another notch could mean the difference between coming into the race season feeling flat and tired, or fired up and ready to go. Here’s an example of how to approach this late Fall phase if training has been consistent and going well. Let’s say for example you have been building your training up throughout the year and during this last 3 week training block you averaged 20 hours/ week, and you’re feeling “fit as a fiddle”. All things equal, during these next 3 weeks, rather than increasing that average to 22/ week, just keep things rolling along at 19-20 hours/ week. Although this may take some extra self control, make no mistake, you will continue to build fitness, without the risk of pushing things too far. Last season, things were going well for me during this time. We had some races lined up in late November that ended up getting cancelled. Rather than continuing with the plan, I got greedy, kept training real hard, and as a result came into the first “important” races of the season, flat, deficient, and raced far below my potential. The lesson here? It’s better to air on the side of caution, if you want to show up in a good place at the beginning of the race season.

I’ve recently returned to CO where I’m taking a few easy days, before jumping into this last general prep block here at altitude. During this block, I’ll be taking part in a US Ski Team lead training camp in Park City, Utah, which will be my first official training camp in 18 months. Super exciting stuff!

Until next time,

Garrett Butts

Update+ The Work, Life, Training Balance

Hello, hello! Hope everyone is doing well, and have enjoyed a glorious summer of doing whatever it is that gets you going! Since the last update, a lot has been going on, so I will give you the short of the long of it. Then we’ll delve into a topic that I think will be applicable for most people out there. Whether you’re trying to reach an elite level in sport, or just trying to stay healthy and squeeze in your favorite activities, these tips may help.

Late Summer – Update:

As you might know from the last article, I had a slight calf injury early in the summer, was trying to build back from that, and was working a lot on the back of a horse. While I wasn’t able to get my running legs completely back to where I would consider “normal,” I was able to return to some level of consistent running, which enabled me to do more baseline testing to check in on my fitness. The tests included a 3000m run on the track, and a running hillclimb. I set personal bests in both events, and given that my run specific legs were sub-par I was quite happy with that because it meant that the improvements were made largely from fitness gains alone and not an improvement in the efficiency of either event. This brought me to the end of July, and from then on I was really trying to savor the time I had left at home because it was running out quickly. I continued to work until the day I had to leave, and after a hectic day of travel, I made it safely back up to AK. The timing worked out well because I got back at the beginning of a recovery week, which meant I would recover better coming down to sea level, and also have more time for getting settled back into the swing of things. After a couple of days getting myself sorted, it felt like I had never left, as my friends Hunter, Chip, and I took off for a quick caribou hunt. In the end, Hunter and Chip both filled their tags within an hour of each other, and we were 3 happy hunters headed out with heavy packs and a lot of high quality protein to fill the freezer. I’m currently in a block of training which focuses on some higher intensity as we get closer to the competition season. It has been great to get back with the APU crew, as it is a blast to do speed or interval workouts with a fast group of guys!! Last week we floated the Kenai and I was able to fish for my first time in AK. What a day we had! I’ve never seen so many fish in such a short amount of time! With that said, I am really excited to keep the good times rollin with training, Alaskan adventures and school.

The Work, Life, Training Balance

This past summer has been the busiest summer I’ve ever had. Between working full time, and training at an elite level, I didn’t have time for much else. Personally, I wouldn’t have done it very differently, maybe a couple more days off of work to go do some other things, but in general I enjoy both my work and my training. I like staying busy, going from one thing to the next, and ending the day feeling like I’ve been productive and accomplished something. This is where the work – training balance comes into play. Having now been in AK for nearly 3 weeks, it has been crazy to see the difference between training while having a labor intensive job as compared to training, and not working. Here’s an example: This summer, I was training 25-29 hours a week while also working everyday. I’m not gonna lie, that was challenging at times. By the end of a 4 week training block I would be getting tired, but by staying diligent and on top of things like calorie intake, hydration, recovery, and getting adequate sleep, I was able to achieve my training goals. In contrast, my first few week’s of training in AK with the team, without work & with extra O2, I felt like I could’ve trained 30+ hours with no problem and still have plenty of energy left over to be able to go do other fun things. Essentially, if you’re working and training, just know that work will take something out of you, it’s normal. Adjustments will likely have to be made, however it will be very individual in accordance to your needs.

Now to address a slightly different balance…the training- life balance. I’ve always had the mindset of, “If I’m going to commit to doing something, I will do it to the very best of my ability. This means doing things to the umteenth degree so that when I come to whatever finish line I’m presented with in life, I can look back on my journey and say, yes, I did absolutely everything I could’ve done to give myself the best chance of success”. However, this can be a dangerous avenue to follow without balance. Now, I love to train/race and challenge myself, and can very easily get completely consumed by it all. Because I’m wired this way, I also really need to consciously make an effort to incorporate other passions and interests into my life. ie: Hunting, fishing, horses, shooting my bow, time shared with friends and family, etc. I find that when I incorporate a balance of focus and fun, I’m happier and therefore can take a healthier mindset into training as well. For enjoyment and longevity in any area of life, balance is key and I’m constantly learning and adjusting to get the most out of this journey called life.

On another note, I’m looking for a job to be able to do remotely in between training, and school, so if you know of any openings that might be fitting, please let me know!

Until next time,

Garrett Butts

Update+ The Work, Life, Training Balance

Hello, hello! Hope everyone is doing well, and have enjoyed a glorious summer of doing whatever it is that gets you going! Since the last update, a lot has been going on, so I will give you the short of the long of it. Then we’ll delve into a topic that I think will be applicable for most people out there. Whether you’re trying to reach an elite level in sport, or just trying to stay healthy and squeeze in your favorite activities, these tips may help.

Late Summer – Update:

As you might know from the last article, I had a slight calf injury early in the summer, was trying to build back from that, and was working a lot on the back of a horse. While I wasn’t able to get my running legs completely back to where I would consider “normal,” I was able to return to some level of consistent running, which enabled me to do more baseline testing to check in on my fitness. The tests included a 3000m run on the track, and a running hillclimb. I set personal bests in both events, and given that my run specific legs were sub-par I was quite happy with that because it meant that the improvements were made largely from fitness gains alone and not an improvement in the efficiency of either event. This brought me to the end of July, and from then on I was really trying to savor the time I had left at home because it was running out quickly. I continued to work until the day I had to leave, and after a hectic day of travel, I made it safely back up to AK. The timing worked out well because I got back at the beginning of a recovery week, which meant I would recover better coming down to sea level, and also have more time for getting settled back into the swing of things. After a couple of days getting myself sorted, it felt like I had never left, as my friends Hunter, Chip, and I took off for a quick caribou hunt. In the end, Hunter and Chip both filled their tags within an hour of each other, and we were 3 happy hunters headed out with heavy packs and a lot of high quality protein to fill the freezer. I’m currently in a block of training which focuses on some higher intensity as we get closer to the competition season. It has been great to get back with the APU crew, as it is a blast to do speed or interval workouts with a fast group of guys!! Last week we floated the Kenai and I was able to fish for my first time in AK. What a day we had! I’ve never seen so many fish in such a short amount of time! With that said, I am really excited to keep the good times rollin with training, Alaskan adventures and school.

The Work, Life, Training Balance

This past summer has been the busiest summer I’ve ever had. Between working full time, and training at an elite level, I didn’t have time for much else. Personally, I wouldn’t have done it very differently, maybe a couple more days off of work to go do some other things, but in general I enjoy both my work and my training. I like staying busy, going from one thing to the next, and ending the day feeling like I’ve been productive and accomplished something. This is where the work – training balance comes into play. Having now been in AK for nearly 3 weeks, it has been crazy to see the difference between training while having a labor intensive job as compared to training, and not working. Here’s an example: This summer, I was training 25-29 hours a week while also working everyday. I’m not gonna lie, that was challenging at times. By the end of a 4 week training block I would be getting tired, but by staying diligent and on top of things like calorie intake, hydration, recovery, and getting adequate sleep, I was able to achieve my training goals. In contrast, my first few week’s of training in AK with the team, without work & with extra O2, I felt like I could’ve trained 30+ hours with no problem and still have plenty of energy left over to be able to go do other fun things. Essentially, if you’re working and training, just know that work will take something out of you, it’s normal. Adjustments will likely have to be made, however it will be very individual in accordance to your needs.

Now to address a slightly different balance…the training- life balance. I’ve always had the mindset of, “If I’m going to commit to doing something, I will do it to the very best of my ability. This means doing things to the umteenth degree so that when I come to whatever finish line I’m presented with in life, I can look back on my journey and say, yes, I did absolutely everything I could’ve done to give myself the best chance of success”. However, this can be a dangerous avenue to follow without balance. Now, I love to train/race and challenge myself, and can very easily get completely consumed by it all. Because I’m wired this way, I also really need to consciously make an effort to incorporate other passions and interests into my life. ie: Hunting, fishing, horses, shooting my bow, time shared with friends and family, etc. I find that when I incorporate a balance of focus and fun, I’m happier and therefore can take a healthier mindset into training as well. For enjoyment and longevity in any area of life, balance is key and I’m constantly learning and adjusting to get the most out of this journey called life.

On another note, I’m looking for a job to be able to do remotely in between training, and school, so if you know of any openings that might be fitting, please let me know!

Until next time,

Garrett Butts