NNF Athletes Hailey Swirbul, Hannah Halvorsen, Julia Kern and Leah Lange check in half-way through their time at the NTG Podium Project Camp.
It’s easy to tell that a hard bounding interval session or long hours of roller skiing make a skier better. It’s easy to forget, however, that the little things are what allow skiers to excel to an entirely new level: a small coach-to-athlete ratio or practicing body awareness, for example. At the NTG Podium Project camp, we are bringing these small things into the spotlight.
Before every training session, including: bounding, roller skiing, running and strength, we ensure that the little things are a priority. We perform one or two specific body awareness enhancement progressions lead by USST strength coaches, who have prepared five such progressions for us. Each progression carries with it a different focus, including: core and hip stability, running mechanics and bounding, and forward and lateral ladder or hurdle drills. Each connects directly with power and technique on skis by the end of the progression. After performing these progressions for the past 5 days, we are beginning to truly understand how these simple athleticism exercises transfer directly to proper ski and running mechanics; increasing stability and power, while lessening potential for injury.
As far as injuries go, movement progressions will prove pivotal in preventing further injury and mending injuries that certain athletes were dealing with at the start of this camp. Injury seems inevitable as an endurance athlete, with repetitive motions and long hours of training, but movement progressions can act as a sort of “prehab”—repairing damage before it even happens. Three of the four girls at this camp have been working with physical therapists at the USSA Center of Excellence to repair a knee, an achilles tendon, and a lower back issue. Working with these therapists is a unique experience. They communicate with our strength coaches to ensure that therapy is a 24/7 experience, and that we are not injuring ourselves further during other training sessions. All three of the injuries have improved due to this individualized therapy combined with strategic movement progressions—and lots of stretching!
All of the movement progressions have transferred into our day-to-day training already, as coach Bryan Fish noted after our L-4 urban bounding session Saturday morning. We drove to Salt Lake City for an urban lower elevation workout, and also got to tap into Bryan’s efficient lactate testing kit during our intervals. We focused on establishing an L-4 base with a steady pace. This was the first L-4 workout of the year for all of us athletes and we felt great. This camp has been incredible thus far, and the little things are finding their place in the spotlights of our daily training regimes!
A big “thank you” to everyone who supports then NNF for helping to make this camp possible!
The NNF's mission is to support athletic excellence in developing nordic athletes in the United States.
“NNF: Thank you for making so many exciting race and training opportunites come to life! You’re pushing the USA forward!”- Jessie Diggins