Shifting the Spotlight – NNF Athletes check in from the Development Podium Project Camp

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NNF Athletes Hailey Swirbul, Hannah Halvorsen, Julia Kern and Leah Lange check in half-way through their time at the NTG Podium Project Camp. 

Find more pictures of this camp on our Facebook page and Instagram!

 

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.

Focusing on the little things- stretching to give our bodies optimal recovery for the afternoon session.

Focusing on the little things- stretching to give our bodies optimal recovery for the afternoon session.

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.

Coach Bryan Fish tested lactate on each of the athletes throughout the session, as he is doing with Leah Lange here.

Coach Bryan Fish tested lactate on each of the athletes throughout the session, as he is doing with Leah Lange here.

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!

Hailey Swirbul during a strength and movement progression session at the Center of Excellence. Focus!

Hailey Swirbul during a strength and movement progression session at the Center of Excellence. Focus!

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!

Celebratory picture post intervals!

Celebratory picture post intervals!

Julia Kern mid bounding interval, focusing on applying bounding mechanics and core stabilization that we have been practicing before each training session.

Julia Kern mid bounding interval, focusing on applying bounding mechanics and core stabilization that we have been practicing before each training session.

On a distance roll up Emigration Canyon from Salt Lake.

On a distance roll up Emigration Canyon from Salt Lake.

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Julia Kern and Hannah Halvorsen bounding during a Level 4 workout in Salt Lake City. Not a bad view for some intervals!

 

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