As a hardcore skier, there are likely times when you’re tempted to spend every waking moment on the water chasing your next personal best. Sometimes, however, you can push yourself too far and overtrain. But how much is too much? To find out, we asked three world-class coaches, who specialize in trick, slalom and jump, how skiers in each of these events can find the optimal balance between training and rest.
Assess the conditions and manage your expectations Every set has environmental and personal factors that affect performance. To get the most out of your training, analyze conditions like weather, water temperature and time of day. Also, get a good reading on your strength/fatigue level. From there, your goals for that set can be realistically identified and pursued without as much risk for overtraining. – Camilo Espinosa
Listen to your body Trick skiers frequently encounter several common aches and pains. When these ailments arise, the pros know what their bodies are trying to tell them and act accordingly to prevent overdoing things. For example, sore abs means no flips, specifically no flips starting backwards and definitely no flips starting in reverse half-wrap. Sore, stiff hamstrings mean no toe tricks. When hamstrings get tight, they load up the knees, hips and lower back, preventing you from skiing correctly and more importantly, opening the window for injury. – Camilo Espinosa
Identify how hard you can push yourself Figure out when to work out and how much recovery time you need between workouts. Decide which foods benefit your training and which detract. Find out the vitamins and minerals that give you more power. Finally, use these assessments to gradually push yourself to increased fitness levels. Everyone is different, so personal trainers, nutritionists, coaches and other professionals can be a great help. – Steve Schnitzer
Write out a plan of action Detail all of the areas where you need to improve to achieve your goals, and put the plan into action immediately. In order to fulfill your goals, you need confidence and knowing that you’ve followed a carefully laid-out plan will give you the self-assurance to face any challenge. – Steve Schnitzer
Mix it up Mental burnout usually precedes physical burnout because people get easily bored with the same routine. Skiers often won’t even know why they’re burned out, and they’ll try to change how much they ski or when, but it’s really about having a varied training program. Change things up and try different activities every week, so you don’t fall into a rut.
Planning is key You want to set goals and then plan your training backwards from those goals. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to get in all the training you need at each step of the way. Failing to plan ahead and skiing without clear goals will quickly burn you out on training.
Stay fit outside the course If you’re in subpar shape, skiing will become your primary fitness activity, and that’ll make it a drag. You want skiing to be a sport – not a way to stay in shape. After all, you don’t see 100-meter sprinters doing the 100 meters to stay in shape. To maintain fitness, incorporate cross-training activities, so skiing isn’t the primary way you get exercise. – Matt Rini