Olympic Gold, Silver and Bronze Medalist in Cross Country skiing for the USA
The number of hours spent training each year is unique to each athlete and should be tailored specifically to their needs. Quality of training is more important than quantity, and it is important to make sure you are properly recovering from your training. Transcript: "This is different every single year. We actually dropped my hours in the Olympic year to help me do kind of a four-year super peak cycle. This year, it will be around 875 hours a year. However, the one thing I will tell, especially young skiers is it really-- the hours that you train is super individual. It will be different for every single athlete. It will probably be different every year of your life. And I think it's really important to make sure that it's quality hours. Don't just chase the number. Don't just chase bigger and bigger hours. Make sure that what you're doing in those hours is right for you and that you recover from it, because it's recovering from the hours of training, that is where the magic is going to happen. And that's where you're actually going to get faster and stronger."
If you want to commit to something, commit with your full heart and see how far you can take it. Transcript: "Hey Michael. What is my single best piece of advice in life? I really like this quote that my mom shared with me years ago about basically if you have a committed heart, you're going to make something happen. Even if the conditions aren't perfect because often times in life, the timings never exactly right? You know, like, for example, at the Olympics, I had food poisoning 30 hours before the timing was not right? But if you really want something to happen, it's Worth committing your whole heart to it and committing everything you have and really going after it. So essentially if something is worth doing to you then go all in and really just commit to it because then, you know, that you've really tried and you've given it your absolute best shot and you don't have to wonder, you know, what, if I had tried this, what if I had just done it, you know, you know, I tried it. Here's what happened. And you get to live at peace with that answer. So, even if If it's not the outcome you wanted, you know that you gave yourself the best chance of success in whatever it is that you're going after. So yeah. Basically the advice I would give is if you if you want to commit to something commit with your full heart. Even if the timing isn't right and just see how far you can take it."
My strength training plan is written by Shawna Schiller, an incredible coach and high performance director for the US ski team. It involves a warm-up, dynamic movements, isometric holds, quarter squats, one leg exercises, fast pull-ups, med ball slams, core work, and using TRX and bands for resistance. All of these exercises are designed to improve my joint health, tendon strength, balance, hip strength, core stability, upper body strength, and overall full body engagement. Transcript: "So, my strength training plan is written by to Shawna Schiller. She's amazing. She's an Incredible strength coach and high performance director for the US ski team. So we actually go in phases. So in the spring were building up and trying to make sure that I have all the strength that I need. Then we try to get the muscles. I have incredibly strong and right now we're trying to make them really Snappy and fast. I think that's sort of a high level overview of it, but um, so I warm up for about 30 minutes, it's either a spin bike or run. And then we do a little Dynamic warm-up. We make sure we hit my postural muscles, so a lot of band pulls that activate the muscles in between my shoulder blades to help pull my shoulders back and down. So I don't end up like this from all the cross-country skiing. I want my I want my muscles to be strong so my back can be straight and have good posture. So that's a little bit of the life strength that we do at the start. And then I have a lot of jumps that I I do right now and then we get into some heavier lifting. So right now I'm doing some isometric holds its really working on improving my tendon strength and overall joint health. As well. As then I'm doing some quarter squats. I also do a lot of things that are on one leg to work on balance and hip strength and core stability. I have some really fast pull-ups and Med ball slams for kind of that Snappy. Upper body strength, especially because cross-country skiers need a lot of that lot strength because we do so much of that pulling motion. And then I have a lot of core and a lot of it's very full body courts. Not just sitting on a mat doing sit-ups or crunches but it might be using a TRX. And so my whole body has to be engaged a lot of plank work. We might use bands for resistance and a lot of things where you're putting your body in a position where it needs to work to be. Well, as well."
To handle being in a lot of pain during a race, I come up with a mantra and a mental goal before the race starts. During the race, I try to break it down to being in the moment and counting to ten over and over again. Transcript: "Hey, so how do I handle being in so much pain during a race? This is like the mother of all questions for cross-country, skiing and Endurance Sports. And honestly, honestly, it's really mental because physically your body has its own limits, but your brain has its own idea of what it can do or not do. So the biggest thing is I come up with a mantra and a mental goal Before the Race, well, before the race starts of what am I going to say to myself? When the going gets really hard, What am I going to remind myself of? And usually it will be something like how do I want to feel the Finish? Because when I crossed that Finish Line at the end of the race, I want to be able to honestly look back and know that I could not have given more of myself and I'm the only one who's ever going to know but I'm going to also be my harshest critic, right? And so I want to look back and know without a shadow of a doubt. I left it all out there. I don't have to wonder what if I tried as hard as I could and I did. Back down. I went all in on this especially if it's a relay where my teammates career goals are on the line, not just mine. So that's one thing. And then the other thing I do is in the moment, I try to really break it down to being in the moment. So if your 5K into a 10k race and you're in a lot of pain, I don't worry about how am I going to get through the next 5K? I just think about right here, right now, how fast can I see up this hill? The pace that I think I can sustain and sometimes I literally break Down to 10 seconds. And I just count to ten over and over again because you can do 10 seconds of anything. And then I try to reset and ski the next 10 seconds as well. And efficiently as I can,"
My pre-race meal typically consists of oatmeal with nut butter, a banana, and some plain Greek yogurt. If it's quite a while before I race, I might also have some eggs on the side. The mix of proteins, carbs, and fats will give me staying power, while being easy to digest. As a backup plan, I travel with jar peanut butter and either toast or muesli that I can soak in milk the night before. Transcript: "Monty wants know my pre-race meal is so this is really a cool one because I try to be really flexible and have multiple pre-race meals that would work for me. So I've got a plan to be planning to see plan because sometimes on the road, you don't know what you're gonna get, and you don't really have control over the foods, you're provided with, at different hotels, in different countries around the world. So my go-to is oatmeal with some sort of nut butter, like peanut butter, almond butter, or something, and a banana. And maybe some plain Greek yogurt. And if it's quite a while before I raise, I might also have some eggs on the side. So I'm getting a mix of proteins, some carbon carbohydrates and some fats for staying power, but it's all pretty easy for me to digest especially like, I know, banana peanut butter oatmeal, like, that's gonna stay down. No matter what my backup plan is. I actually travel with jar peanut butter so it's peanut butter. Butter on toast on otherwise like muesli if I can soak it the night before in almond milk or oat milk or something, to make sure it's easier to digest. So I've got a number of options that I know are going to work for me."
Strength training is essential for skiing, both to prevent injuries and to generate power. I do a full-body lift twice a week with dynamic warm-ups and plyos, as well as circuits with med ball slams, quarter squats, and jumps. This helps build the core, legs, and upper body. Transcript: "So strength training is super necessary for skiing. And I actually love getting the gym because I think it's super fun to train a different way. We actually spend a lot of time doing different cardio work and I think having the opportunity to get in the gym and make sure our muscles are really strong that really, really helps because not only is it great for injury prevention and also for our postures, you know, we spend a lot of time kind of in this hunched over position double pulling and, you know, leaning into the hill and You sure that we strengthen, the opposing muscles so we can stand and sit with good posture and not end up with that curved spine all the time. I think that's really important. So twice a week, we go into the gym and we have an hour-long. Lift it focuses on a lot of dynamic warm-up. So we make sure that we're ready for what we're going to put our bodies through. And then we do a lot of plyos I end up doing pretty full body lifting so the phase I'm in right now we end up doing Doing these circuits where it's a lot of, like Med ball. Slams that are really activating the full body going right in, you know, from that into quarter squats with quite a bit of weight back into jumps. You know, you kind of going through different systems and it's working the core of the legs and the upper body. And I think it's really necessary, not just for injury prevention, but power. So if you have a mass start race and it's 10 kilometers and it all comes down to the final. Final Sprint and in the last little bit you know you have 10 people spending for the line, you need to have the strength to generate the power to get to that line first. So I do think strength training is necessary for a number of reasons."