A Step Up

By: Colin Foley

At the start of this year I made the decision to join a training centre, specifically, the Callaghan Valley Training Centre in Whistler, BC. I previously skied and trained at Nakkertok, one of the biggest and best clubs in Canada. Now that I am training with CVTC, I am frequently asked what are the differences between training at a club level and at a training centre. 

Nakkertok has the good fortune of having very knowledgeable coaches and support staff. The training at Nakkertok was similar to a training centre in many respects. The intervals, the gym workouts and the total number of hours have all changed slightly but are not dramatically different. There is no secret answer to making you fast that they only tell you at a training centre. In the end, there is no shortcut to success – it requires putting in time and effort.

So then what’s different about being at a training centre? Well, as any coach will tell you, it’s not solely about the number of hours that you put in but also the quality of those hours that counts. The quality of hours as well as the opportunities and support provided at a training centre are where I have noticed the biggest differences. When you’re at a training centre there is a level of focus and seriousness during workouts that is unmatched at the club level. Everyone is there for one reason and that is to improve his/her ability to cross country ski at a high level. Having a smaller team than my club means that my coach can really focus and monitor me during workouts and make sure that I am getting the maximum benefit from each workout.

The other major difference is the opportunities and support that are provided to us. The resources at a training centre means that they can provide us with virtually anything we might need as it relates to our training. Anything from massages, to sports psychologists, to wax and equipment support and so many other things that you always have available to you.

I find that living with your teammates also makes me more likely to do the little things that can make big differences. If I see one of my housemates (who is also a teammate and competitor) stretching, going to bed early or going over to the gym for a recovery bath, I am more inclined to do the same than I might be otherwise. This makes it very easy to complete all those small tasks that you might not necessarily see the advantage right away of doing.

So while there is no secret that they are going to tell you when you get to a training centre there are definitely advantages. And looking back now after six months, I would definitely say that it has been worth it to move to a training centre. When you get to a high level where everyone is doing similar training it is the advantages that a training centre can offer you that can really make the difference.

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