The grind season is officially underway. This grind that is the training season that amounts to a lot of physically demanding training and thousands of rounds out the barrel. That, and a lot of other stuff crammed in and around the training and shooting. After a certain point (a point I hit more than a decade ago, but whatever) training "hard" or "a lot" isn't enough to make the difference. This is when you have to start training "better" than the competition. The trick isn't mustering up enough motivation to get out the door, but rather knowing what you should do once you're out. Play your cards right and you'll eventually wind up on top. Thrash around like an idiot and no amount of natural talent will grant you success on the world cup level. The tricky part is figuring out what plan works best for you. Since the training season is up and running, here is how I plan on tackling this final round.
The science part of training will be mostly similar to last year. Last year (4/2016 too 4/2017) I trained about 680 hours. That's almost 100 hours down from the 15/16 year prior. This year the year plan has me at 670. That's not too much for an experienced athlete in my position. I was hitting higher year training loads when I was in my early too mid twenties. Once the base was established it made more sense to push the harder efforts more than the longer efforts. Time spent in the speed just below race pace and time spent above race pace will take an increase this season. The strength training side of things will be more elaborate this time around. Last year's plan had good intentions for strength, but took a left turn when I injured my lower back in July. It helps to have confidence in your plan. I always take past results, other athlete's results into consideration, and mull it all over before handing my thoughts over to a coach. Once my coach does the same thing we lay out the details of the coming year.
Not unlike past seasons the outcome of the races could have been exponentially better if the shooting had been only slightly better. Yes, most any competitive biathlete can say the same, but after being pushed to every end of the result list and team status most of those biathletes would have long since given up. Though it's been close, that's still not my style. So what am I trying this time to better the performance on the range? April wasn't over before skype meetings were happening. Components to the stock are already in the testing phase. If I can mold a rifle stock that works with me more than it does against me the odds will be more in my favor. Shooting always comes down to odds. You can never guarantee a hit, regardless of how confident you are, but you sure can give yourself the high probability of a hit. That's what I'm pinning for with my prone and standing set up.
Finding the best set up for shooting is only part of the whole. Once we know what a stock that works for me and not me for the stock we'll start the the process of making it fire proof. Taking weight off one of the heaviest rifles on the WC field is on the to do list. Making it shiny and avoiding excessive duct tape usage won't make me shoot better, but it sure would look nicer. So much of hitting or missing comes down to the few key focus points ingrained into your head. At some point before the first round of trials in August I will have to have some idea of want thought process works the best. And if you've been keeping up with this blog you'll know how important range time is in our sport. It's another weak point for me. One that I've been trying to fix since I was 16. Every week of year has a focus and goal in the plan to bring up the shooting level.
Training camps are an actual influential part of the summer and fall this year. There is no on snow Bend, OR camp for the B-team or a summer Euro camp, but there is a solid amount of time back in Lake Placid. Since the first camp is only five days and an eight hour drive I opted out. This will keep me in northern Maine until mid June for the fist LP camp. Spending more time training with the A-team and working with the coaching staff is what I'm looking for.
That about sums up what the outlook for the summer will look like. The fall is loosely in place, but open to change. The winter is the part that matters. It's an Olympic year, so naturally everything for any winter sport will revolve around February. My RallyMe campaign has made approximately zero progress thus far. It's not over yet, and I'm plenty optimistic. Still, if it was over, it would be okay. Supported enough or not you can't stop me from trying. As I said last year at about this time "Stubbornness and stupidity can move mountains." I'm also an advocate for the "less talking, more doing" policy. With that in mind it's about time to start tinkering around with my rifle.