A Day in the Life of…Grete Gaim
Just a few days before the recent Estonian Summer Championships, Grete Gaim shared a few thoughts from her training journal about the team’s first out-of-town training camp and her first days of training back home. The routine for the 2012 IBU Youth Pursuit World Champion is pretty similar to almost every other biathlete on the BMW IBU World Cup circuit: solo training at home and with the team in camps; days and weeks blurring together in the continuum of train, eat, sleep, repeat.
Like many other teams, the coronavirus epidemic dramatically affected the Estonian team’s training plans. There were no foreign training camps, just a long spring and summer of camps at home in Otepää. However, by mid-August, they finally hit the road, getting a change of scenery in Vuokatti, Finland. Gaim commented, “We traveled by car, just across the Baltic by ferry and then a six-hour drive. It is not that far, but a bit different from our home tracks. Our plan was to ski in the ski tunnel and use the good rollerskiing tracks that included the famous Vuokatti hill. I could not wait to get back on skis!”
10 Days: Tired Body and Mind
A lot of moderate temperatures, some sun and rain showers were the backdrop for 10 days at the Finnish training center. “Only one thing better than rollerskiing; being on snow… My favorite workouts of the week were the first uphill training: five times up the Vuokatti hill, and the test race at the end of the camp…The camp went well: lot of training hours, intervals, skiing on snow, tired body and mind by the end…It was tough but worth it!” One final training session and it was back into the cars for the trip home. “I had my rest day the day after we finished camp, so basically the travel day was my rest day. Not the best option but I felt good. I got home late...”
Back Home Training Solo
With the camp over and the “rest day” spent on the road, the reality of training solo at home came back into focus for the 27-year-old. The first day was a bit subdued. “I slept a bit longer than usual, had my breakfast, unpacked a little and went out for a long training session. It started with rollerskiing (skate) sprints with shooting followed by 2 hours of double-poling. Later in the evening, a gym session; fell into bed, no trouble sleeping."
Kickstarting the Day
Now it was time for a normal day of training that Gaim kickstarts with a well-honed routine. “I usually wake up between 6:30-7:15, depends where I am, what I have done the day before and how tired I feel. Usually (not always) I go out before breakfast (run a little loop, do some balance on my homemade slackline and some other exercises, pullups or whatever). Then it is time for breakfast and a little me time.”
Running Intervals and Double-poling
“Today, I had running intervals at the shooting range. I don’t have my own car or a sponsor car, cycled to range. Like most of the time I train alone at home.” I started with some shooting drills (just like almost every other biathlete) and followed with a warm-up and the running intervals and a recovery run. The intervals were very short: 2 X 6 min with shooting but at high intensity (level 5). Right after that I went to the gym to use the double-poling machine. Between these two short interval sessions I had to fuel up with SIS Surge Gel; that keeps my energy high on these hard days. In the gym I had short intervals 4 x 45 second maximum. Before these intervals there was some warmup up on the machine and of course then some recovery.”
Lunch, Rest and Massage
The long morning session led right up to noon. “When I arrived home, I showered and had my lunch which I prepared before training to get food faster (because as you know, I am always hungry). Today, I really enjoyed my lunch. I always try to have a nap between two training sessions. Rest is as important at the hard training if you want to be successful. Sometimes I have it on the sofa, like today. It felt so good! After waking up I had my afternoon coffee. I also did some stretching and I used my massage pistol by my sponsor Medpoint. Stretching and the massage are great combo!”
Twice a Day
Twice a day training is the norm for almost every world-class athlete in virtually every sport. It’s importance in biathlon cannot be underestimated. The biathlon season is long with more than 30 competitions each winter; it is important to have a deep aerobic and physical base to compete well over four months.
In the Gym with Teammates
After another light meal, “I always eat before the second training, not just a bar or gel, I was ready for another session at the gym. I ran the 2 km to get there. This time I wasn’t alone at the gym like usual. We had team training which actually almost never happens outside of the camp, but luckily happened now. It was good to be in the gym together and get more tips from coach. After the gym I retraced my steps on the run back home. I immediately took care of my muscles by rolling them. Now it was time for dinner…”
Another day of training is in the books. I finished up my day with beautiful view at Pühajärve.
Photos: Grete Gaim