This is Part 2 out of 8 in a series of lessons learned from our first medium distance sleddog race. To start from the beginning, click here.
In January we established a training camp in Central Finland, in the town of Koskenpää, near Jämsä. The winter is a lot more predictable there, and from first days of February until late in March that's where we trained.
I had limited experience of driving more than 4 dogs at a time when we moved there. In hindsight, that may have caused me to focus too much on a controlled training environment, which in this case meant that pretty much all of February I was training on a frozen lake. We racked up a substantial amount of mileage, quickly, but it was very monotonous.
Lesson learned: If training for a race with lots of steep climbing - like Gold Rush Run - you need to include a lot of hill training.
Anna did comment on this, but I had a theory that the somewhat heavy strength training period in the autumn, followed up with some late-season hill training would be sufficient. Anna was right, I was wrong.
First of all, it would be more motivating for the dogs to have a variable training program all through-out the training season, even if there is more emphasis on specific areas of development at different times.
Secondly, my "late-season uphill conditioning" failed to materialize due to random factors hampering our training late in March. If you focus some area of training, for example, speed, to only specific weeks, you risk missing that altogether if something comes up during those weeks.
Click here to read part 3 - the importance of having proper kennels during training camp