My teammates and I have been hitting the training pretty hard the past few weeks in preparation for a big US Ski Team camp in Lake Placid. We finished a two week intensity block, took a few days to recover from it and then scheduled another 10 days of hard work. We'll then get to spend some relaxing time celebrating Simi and Sophie's wedding this weekend. We are all so excited for Simi and Sophie to get married and for the gathering of so many friends!
In our 10 day Stratton-based training camp, we have planned 5-6 days of intensity along with a fair amount of volume filled in on the off days. The intervals are getting harder, but also more fun because it means we get to start moving faster!
My teammates and I balance our training lives in different ways. For example, Ian and Kyle have stocked up for the apocalypse and have since entered "hermit mode." It is my understanding that they have purchased 7 gallons of milk, 20 pounds of pasta, 60 bagels and 100 bananas. The science behind this is that they never have to leave Stratton Mountain except for training when we drive to find different roads to roller ski on or trails to run on. No grocery runs, few gas refills, just eat, sleep, breathe skiing!
As for my roommate Jessie and me, we've taken a slightly different approach. Although we have been prioritizing our recovery between hard training sessions, we're also okay with driving into town every once and a while. During the afternoons, we do work from our computers while sitting in a pair of Normatec pants (super fancy pants that squeeze your legs making them feel "refreshed") and planning our meals. Jessie and I have been CRUSHING the dinner scene on Stratton Mountain. So, I decided to give you a little look into what we've been cooking to help with recovery and to stay fueled through this intensity block.
I think the biggest takeaway from all of this, is realizing how delicious and nutritious a well-balanced meal can be. Jessie and I try to make sure that we include lots of fruits and veggies, carbohydrates and protein in all of our meals. We try to mix up the type of protein between red meat, seafood, and "boring" chicken. I'm no nutrition expert, but I think this insures that we get plenty of iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein to help our muscles recover from all of the training we've been doing.
Whether it's lunch or dinner, we make sure that each of our meals helps us recover and refuel. Also, that it tastes delicious! Some of our meals we just make up as we go along; a salad is pretty hard to screw up, throw some greens in a bowl and add whatever leftovers you've got in the fridge on top! Other meals, we find inspiration from yummy cookbooks or food blogs. Some of our favorite cookbooks are Run Fast Eat Slow and Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow (both written by runners Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky). We also have two books by Chrissy Teigen that include some pretty rich goodies. Our latest addition to this collection is The Birchwood Cafe cookbook. The Birchwood Cafe is a fun little joint in St. Paul, MN that always serves seasonal, farm-fresh food. I think that following the seasons and cooking with produce that is fresh helps add a lot of flavor, keeps the cost of buying food down and gets us excited about each new season.
Some days we really like to switch things up and get creative. One of Jessie's mottos is, "if we can make it at home, then why bother going out to dinner." So we've had a few pizza nights! These leftovers also make the BEST snack during a long run the next day ;)
When we're stuck between meals and afternoon training sessions, sometimes all we want is a little snack. Jessie and I take turns making fresh granola that we eat with yogurt and fresh fruit. I've also added a new hobby to my daily routine this year and have been taking care of a little sourdough baby. This starter has traveled all over the country with me the last few months and has caused some stress, but mostly it provides the best fresh sourdough loaves that make great breakfast or snack food.
Finally, the moment I look forward to all day... Dessert! I have quite the sweet tooth and strongly believe that everyone works hard enough during the day that they deserve to treat themselves. Whether it's a post-ski cookie to quickly refuel your glycogen stores or an evening crisp made with seasonal fruit, a little bit of sweetness is not going to hurt our athleticism but it can help with happiness :)
I hope this finds you feeling inspired to make some delicious fall meals that can help you stay fueled during training. In the meantime, I'll be eating wedding cake :)