I don’t see Kris very frequently, especially now that I’ve moved out to British Columbia. I depend a great deal on what I hear on the phone to gauge his level of recovery and readiness for efforts. There are several factors I pay attention to - the content of what he says, the words he uses to express his thoughts, and his tone or presentation.
I listed content first because, clearly, I need to pay attention to what he’s saying. But in terms of gauging his readiness content is not the most helpful. Kris is always game for whatever we jointly decide is going to be the best path. He also wants to realize successful outcomes, so often the content is misleading because he’s more fatigued than his comments might lead me to believe. Other times, like after the last Sunapee test, he gets discouraged, and his comments can be quite negative while his presentation indicates that things aren’t as bad as they sound. All of that said, Kris is generally realistic in his assessment and I take his feedback seriously.
Kris’s use of specific words is the least important of these considerations. However, he does have his own lexicon and the use of certain words and phrases may have significance beyond standard accepted meaning.
Tone and presentation are really the critical factors. Sometimes Kris just sounds tired and other times he can be improbably bouncy and upbeat. I usually know before he gets around to telling me whether he’s feeling good or bad. And anytime his presentation is different from my expectation I start asking questions. It seems a little crazy that my guidance of Kris’s day to day planning is, in turn, guided by Kris’s tone and presentation, far beyond any more objective measures.
This morning Kris did a 5 hour classic OD. When he called me, after the session, he sounded ready to go out and race. Of course, he’s NOT ready to go out and race - he’s tired and depleted after a long hard training session. But the session went well - he felt really good, he got encouraging feedback from Pete on the way he was skiing, he got to ski with Justin Wadsworth for a couple of hours - he was clearly pleased with the session and all that came with it.
For the last couple of days Kris has reported feeling “lazy”. This is one of those words. Kris isn’t lazy, and he knows he’s not lazy. He doesn’t generally feel lazy when he’s taking back to back to back days off at the end of a brutal training block. Feeling “lazy” means that his body is ready to go. He can handle training. He physically wants to be training.
Two days ago Kris ran Mt Marcy (up and back) in three hours and one minute. He had a good run, and enjoyed the company of Noah Hoffman (one of the most promising US Juniors). Afterwards he reported that he was starting to feel lazy. Yesterday he double-poled for two and a quarter hours. Afterwards he was feeling really lazy. After today’s session I asked whether he felt a little less lazy. Yeah, a bit less lazy, but still pretty lazy.
This is good. The training load is quite low, and we’re looking for a very positive response. From what I hear, we’re starting to see a very positive response. Saturday is the USST skate time trial (scheduled to go up the Whiteface access road, but the weather forecast looks potentially dicey for that). This is an important test. We need to see that Kris can make use of all the training he’s been doing - turn the efforts into performances. It’ll be good to see where all this laziness leads.
Reprinted with permission from the Kris Freeman website at http://www.krisfreeman.net/. Copyright © Zach Caldwell and Kris Freeman