Update+ The Late Fall Training Phase


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