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Juggling job search, family, training & racing?

2007 Training Diary

Tue, Jun  13, 2006 - By Mike Muha

It's been an interesting Spring.

2/9/2006 ProQuest Company to Restate Historical Earnings because of material irregularities in its accounting.
3/8/2006 ProQuest 10-K Filing for Fiscal 2005 will be delayed pending financial audit.
4/28/2006 ProQuest expects to restate earnings reducing previously reported pre-tax earnings by a $80-100 million the first three quarters of 2005 and the full year 2004.
4/28/2006 ProQuest has taken to reduce costs and return its Information and Learning segment to profitability. These include reductions in positions, operating expenses, and capital expenditures.

Alas, the "reduction in positions" includes the position held by your's truly.

Hmmm. No job. Sounds like an opportunity to get in extra training!

Well, no. In fact, job loss has had a somewhat negative effect on my training. Even though I had a strong inkling that my job would be eliminated and knew I had a good severance package waiting for me, it was still incredibly stressful for the first few weeks - surprisingly so. Some of my motivation to train went away as I worried about organizing a job search in a poor labor market. (You may also have noticed a reduction in new content on the web site...)

Second, it took me weeks to develop a new routine. When I was working, I was so busy that I had to plan every activity. Without a busy schedule, I found that it was easy to let other activities intrude into my training plans.

Finally, I just haven't had the energy to pull together a real training plan. This would probably be a great reason to sign back up with Torbjorn Karlsen and have much of the planning defined for me. (I still may sign back up!)

So training has been more hit and miss this spring. I made a conscious choice to let my training be more unstructured, knowing it might hurt me in this coming winter. I've been biking more than usual and rollerskiing much less than usual. As the Sten Fjeldheim Racing Clinic (June 24-25) gets closer, I've been increasing the amount of rollerskiing to prepare.

I have had a couple big weeks, mostly by meeting Ryan Robinson for an early, 6:30am, long ride (75-100 miles).


Most of my training has been distance sessions. I have done far fewer interval workouts compared to previous years. I made the mistake of doing a heavy duty doublepole interval session a little too early in the spring and got tendonitis in the left elbow. That put a big crimp on rollerskiing - another reason for more biking.

Then I did a long trail run (12 miles) without enough base and hurt my knee. Had to cut back on running. Up the biking again.

Add Insult to Injury

Of course, biking more has it's share of challenges. I picked up a nasty case of poison ivy while mountain biking with members of Team Went to the doctor, got a shot, a course of prednisone, and some topical cream to apply. Slowed the spread down slightly, but I had to go back for a second, double-strength course of prednisone.

I'm done with the prednisone, but still a bit itchy in spots. Poison ivy loves me...

Quality Sessions

I substituted a couple ski-walking-with-poles interval sessions for rollerski sessions. Ski walking was quite a bit less stressful on the elbow, but I still get the total body aerobic effect.

On the bike, I've haven't done any formal interval training, but but have done quite a bit of fartlek - mostly trying to beat up my colleagues or them trying to drop me!

Now that my elbow has healed, I've been adding the occasional rollerski interval session. One thing I've done differently this year is I've tried to back off the level of effort a bit. I've been finding that during an interval session, I've gotten slower by the last interval. I'm trying to reduce the effort so I can at least cover the same ground with each interval. It's hard; I have a tendency to want to go hard - but my body's not quite prepared for it yet. I need to train right so I can train harder later. Train to train....

Rollerskiing has felt so hard this spring. Simultaneously using both upper and lower body muscles is much harder than only using legs, ala biking and running. It took a few sessions of rollerskiing recently just to start feeling like a fit skier again.

Strength Training

I've also been hitting the weight room with some regularity. I find my performance goes up if I get in some good strength training. I'm focusing on squats and pull-down exercises, but doing other general strength as well. The strength training is working - I felt quite strong the other day when a group of us did some arms-only single-sticking up a gradual hill!


Going forward, it's time to get more organized. I need to focus on quality sessions (intervals and time trials) as the number one priority, then fill in with distance and strength sessions. I also need to do more upper body sessions (think doublepole), which will pay dividends in both classic and skate races. I think Sten's camp will me psyched and ready to add focus to my training.


2006-2007 Training Diaries