This week is the beginning of training for Xterra Canmore 2018. Last year was my first off-road triathlon (also in Canmore), and I found the training and the race terrain significantly more interesting than the training I’d done previously for a road triathlon. I’ve always favoured trail runs and mountain bikes over paved trails and road bikes. So, for now, I’ve decided to put Ironman training aside and focus on off-road events.
Last year’s Xterra time of 3h57min was a bit disappointing. If I’m honest with myself though, I admit that my training was pretty lacklustre and I paid little to no attention to nutrition. This year, I’ve set a lofty goal of 3h12min and have outlined a vigorous training plan for the next 24 weeks. I created the plan with the help of Joe Friel’s Triathlon Training Bible and this week is the first of a four-week “Base” phase.
I’m at home in Yellowknife right now and although the spring equinox came and went last week, the mercury is still well below -30 degrees celsius. Indeed, yesterday, the weather network simply described the day as “frigid.” Although my training plan for the week includes four and a half hours of biking, I’ve elected to insert cross-country skiing into the allocated bike time. So, with the temperature reading -30 this morning, I bundled up for a cross-country ski on Great Slave Lake. 4x6min intervals with full recovery in between. In spite of the cold, I do still relish the feeling of wide open space that only skiing on a frozen lake in Canada’s north can bring. No people, no cars, no obstacles. Spruceman the Adventure Dog and I feel so free when we’re skiing out there. We can go in any direction we want, there is no traffic to mind or road rules to heed. No distractions. Just space and time to think. Skiing is not a perfect replacement for biking, of course, but it’s hard to beat the feeling of gliding along the lake ice with nothing in front of me but blue sky and bright sunshine.