• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
    • Women’s Committee Initiative for the Girls at Eastern Training Centres

      October 18, 2012

      What do we do at a Cross Country Canada women’s committee retreat? We don’t ONLY sing and dance around in our pajamas and we certainly don’t complain about men. At all. I mean it. We trained hard, had a lot of fun, and worked on building a world leading women’s cross country skiing program. More specifically, Pavlina Suldrich, coach of the Ontario Ski Team, Sharleen Hoar, performance psychologist of the National Team, the NDTC Thunder Bay girls and the CNEPH girls got together last week-end in a house in Mont Saint-Anne.
      On Friday morning, we had high quality classic roller ski training with technique focus during double-poling speeds. In the afternoon, Charles Castonguay, the CNEPH strength coach, hold a Pilates and stretching session for us. As every Friday for the CNEPH girls, it was a chance for us to concentrate on very specific groups of muscles as well as core and balance. After eating a delicious dinner made of homemade tourtières, salad and crêpes, we started the important work with Sharleen. The main focus of the night was to brainstorm on what we need to do and to change in order to create a world leading women’s cross country skiing program. We were oriented on the solutions and not the problems, so it was very constructive. Ideas and recommendations came out such as enhancing communication between non-skiers and skiers, strengthening the bounds between Western and Eastern Canada and having smaller coach to athlete ratios. Since everybody arrived to the retreat very determined to work together and to share their stories and thoughts, it was a very productive discussion and I am excited to see what positive outcomes will come out of it.

      On Saturday morning, it was time for us to an intervals session. We drove to a nice pavement spot with a significant hill for some pyramid intervals. It was great to do that training with different people than usual and everyone was in good shape and ready to give it her best. What would a women’s gathering be without an escapade to the spa? After a hard training, we hit the Zonespa for some relaxation. For dinner, we had Erin’s delicious pizzas on homemade dough. The topic of Saturday night’s discussion was professionalism and how to concretely achieve being a world leading program. We brainstormed again on the technical and tactical, physiological, psychological and other aspects of being professional about skiing. The ideas were for example the right attitude, the importance of putting yourself out there for the media, the communication with coaches and teammates, monitoring your data, etc. I really think this made us realize many things and that it will be helpful in our training and racing starting this week.
      To conclude, this retreat was a very good opportunity to make new friends and to reflect on critical aspects of cross country ski racing. It was also a good occasion to laugh at one another’s accents while we practice our second language!