2013 US Ski Mountaineering Championships- 2 Days Away

Thursday, January 3, 2013


By Luke Nelson 

Well it's time.  The first big race of the ski mountaineering season is Saturday, followed by the second big race on Sunday. I have spent the last several months working with Adam St. Pierre (Boulder Performance Medicine) and Rob Shaul (Mountain Athlete) preparing myself in the very best and systematic way possible.  For the first time I have included a very rigorous strength training program to kick off the training cycle and then at least twice a week since.  Adam developed a very thoughtful progression of endurance training, based loosely on my training from last year.


The training was going completely perfect until last Thursday when my body succumbed to a very nasty bug.  I spent 3 days pretty much completely in bed before I started to feel like myself again.  Other than some sniffles I have made a complete recovery.  It did effect my headspace some, going from feeling very top fitness, to being bed ridden and weak.  I do not think it was a training setback at all, but has made me even more humble and respectful of my competitors that will be toeing the line on Saturday. One thing that I have kept on the forefront of my mind this winter is to not take anything for granted, work hard to gain every bit of fitness possible, and never underestimate other racers.  I have a feeling that there are many out there who have worked harder than ever before to get ready, that have an absolute focus on preparing themselves to race.  More than ever in the past there is a deep field of racers, any of which could stand on top of the podium on Saturday.


 I am not able to fly under the radar this year after being so fortunate in last year's race, a place that I am envious of.  This I do know; a win this weekend will require the stars to align, for gear to function properly, for the body to respond perfectly, and an effort that will not soon be forgotten.  I also know that I will give my best effort,  and I will not be beat by anyone not giving the same of themselves.  It may hurt, but it will hurt so good!


Here are a few stats from the last 8 weeks of training for anyone still interested:


Nov. 4-10: 7:03 total time. 5000' ascent.

Nov. 11-17: 10:40 total time. 13,500' ascent. (plus 4 hours of lift skiing).

Nov. 18-24: 10:28 total time. 11,020' ascent.

Nov. 25-Dec. 1: 14:18 total time. 20,400' ascent.

Dec. 2-8: 14:48 total time. 24,400' ascent.

Dec. 9-15: 15:12 total time. 23,800' ascent.

Dec. 16-22: 12:49 total time. 24,000' ascent.

Dec. 23-29: 5:53 total time. 10,100' ascent.

Dec. 30-Jan 3: 3:30 total time. 5000' ascent.


For those scrutinizing the numbers here realize that I have a couple hours of strength training per week, some running, roller skiing, and touring.  There have not been any "junk" or filler miles.  Every workout has had a solid purpose and was high quality.  I take one day completely off every week to spend time with my family as well.  I also know that I am better and more specifically trained now for ski mountaineering racing than I have ever been in the past and I am ready to race!

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