Here we are less than a calendar year to go until the Opening Ceremony in Sochi for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The anniversary was celebrated on the Today show and across media the world over and yet our one-year out party has just started in Val di Fiemme, Italy. The year out show is more about the feeling – the awareness and challenge that comes with the biggest events of the season.
Annually, we compete in over 20 World Cup competitions and the rigors of so many events spreads the urgency over month, and form comes and goes, but, like the Olympic Games, the World Championships focuses the athletes attention to a narrow point: the opportunity to make or break an entire career by being crowned a World Champion. The opportunity comes but once every two years and athletes hedge an entire season of training around peaking mentally and physically at the right time. For me, these 10 days of racing are the pinnacle of a pyramid and the end zone of a long-planned work strategy.
Four years ago, I won my first, and to date only, World Championship title in Liberec, Czech Republic. It set the tone and confidence from which to strike for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Again we are lining up for the biggest show outside of the quadrennial Olympic Winter Games and again the opportunity presents to prove one’s ability to make it count on a single day once in a great while.
The ability to "peak" is a sought after and much-trialed skill in sports and it took me over a decade to find the right way to make it happen. Trial and error through my first three Olympic Games and over a decade of World Championships finally paid off to where I feel comfortable that I can find a pinnacle of form for a short period of time. It takes a long-term eye on detail of training and recovery to arrive at the best and I can only sum it up as follows:
-You can't be good every day if you want to be great.
-A road map from as far out as possible is integral in a successful peak.
-Peaking mentally is as important as being in top physical form and that means being recovered to a point where desire is unhindered by stress.
There are of course many details of my own routine and plan but each individual finds the top a different way. My teammates and I are on the path to success here in Italy to help lay the foundation for next year in Russia!
You can also follow my journey on Twitter.