Jump start your Birke Training!

Jump start your Birke Training! - Gear West

Feeling overwhelmed with life’s obligations? Jump start your Birke Training!

Fall signs return! A hint of red maple peaks around the white pines and the lake lost its warmth for a morning dip. Birke waves are filling.  The pressure is on, to ski faster or better, or just become more fit for Birke 2024.

“Yikes” you say! “I have no time and there is only 130-something days left to climb up Bitch Hill without stopping.”

Anxiety sets in. Days are too full. There is always ‘work’ work, maybe kid work (if you are younger), definitely yard work, body maintenance work (if you are older)  and other obligatory work. How to change up the ever-busy schedule and focus on some meaningful specific ski training?

To assist in reducing angst, I am offering a reasonably useful solution to my training issue at hand, which hopefully, is transferable, although not without some effort. My fall goal? To complete another ½ Ironman in late October with my military Spain-based son, with hope that tri fitness will transfer into ski speed. This spring saw me triathlon training right after the Birke to race with my son in Marbella, Spain and this fall I committed to an October race in Tangier.

My goal? To connect with my son, and gather non work experiences before my life ends. The problem? I have lost necessary focus and I know it.  Gear West keeps me super busy; we are gearing up for the best snow season ever, in Nordic and in Alpine. There is still mtn bike and triathlon action and a stack of paperwork higher than Mt Telemark. My free time gets gobbled up, I am sporadically training and I can feel the upcoming race pain if I don’t shape up and better organize my life.

What I did.

  1. Searched for a training plan. I needed more fire in my belly and a training plan does just that, someone else tells me what I need to do. A plan re-motivates and structures my day. Finding a plan does not have to be expensive. Especially if you know a little bit about training. Just hunt around, google it, adjust some parts to fit your specific needs or restrictions … and work the plan into your day. Remember, this is a basic motivation plan. If your goal is to be all that you can be, then, research a knowledgeable trainer with a specific background in your sport.

I googled “train for a ½ Ironman in six weeks”. Yes, there is one out there! I picked ‘advanced’, added some modifications based on my schedule and ‘age’ and … I became excited! Look for a plan that is 6-8 weeks in length, so you can bite off chunks, complete it, feel a sense of accomplishment and structure another plan if needed.

  1. Adopted a non-negotiable attitude about the plan. You can’t give up. You WILL do this plan. Once you adopt it, meaning you acknowledge internally that your CAN fit the time in, you determine the amount of flexibility needed to stick to the plan. Modifications examples: hill bounding may turn into a trail run or specific strength on rollerskis might become a gym workout on the double pole machine. Maintain the heart of the plan.  You then commit. No deviation. A plan removes mental indecision of,  “I’m too tired, or too busy to work out” or, “I should have done more”. Trust the plan to get your body in motion and, as importantly, to let go and move onto other parts of life. 


  1. Added simple but needed daily discipline in three more areas.

a) Nutrition discipline. No more cookie baking evenings. I am not asking myself for a full-fledged diet (no fun) but baked goods with coffee must go… if just for a while.  Eating habits can always be tweaked (or overhauled). Good food and what to eat is a topic too detailed to wrestle with in this little article, but we can identify a few bad habits and kick them out of sight. Eliminate simple sugars and fried foods for as long as your work-out plan is in effect. And then re-evaluate. I guarantee you will feel very awesome with a little extra food discipline.

b) Go to bed earlier. Adding more daily discipline will demand greater time and energy. Cut out the evening Netflix or phone scrolling. Plan for the day ahead and get to sleep early.

c) Wake up early if you do not already. An early jump on the day is as helpful as a hot morning brew. More time will be available to reflect, to plan, to stretch and get a little extra done… all before 7 am. 


Taking the steps to renew healthy habits and finding a plan to motivate you in training will jumpstart your fall training. Gather your goals and your day. Make them work together, top the day with commitment to a workout plan and you will experience success. The rewards gained will make all your Birke uphills seem like downhills.

Gear West Videos

How to Stop on rollerskis