A Day in the Life of…Scott Gow

A Day in the Life of…Scott Gow

Scott Gow and his Canadian teammates had one bit of luck in this year’s coronavirus epidemic. They are all in Canmore with the Canmore Nordic Centre, just a few kilometers away alongside the Rocky Mountain’s eastern slopes and its endless training opportunities.

“The pandemic has not changed our training very much. Initially we did not know if we could use the shooting range; we had like a 2-week delay there. Of course, there are rules like no sharing of spotting scopes or rifle racks. Most of our training is outdoors, I can run on the trails, cycle or go rollerskiing. The worst thing was the gyms; we did not get back into proper gym until a month ago.”

Surgery

Still, Gow had a slower than normal start to his summer training. “I had bone spurs removed off both of my big toes in early May. The spurs restricted my range of motion. It is better now than before when I had a very limited range of motion. I can now actually move my toes around and push off. It has been a noticeable change, even in quality of life. It was worth doing even though I missed 3-4 weeks of training.”

A Day in the Life of…Scott Gow

Off to Training

Now, he is back to a normal routine. “The alarm goes off at 7:15. I do my morning heart rate to send off to my coach. Then it is breakfast, hop in the car and go to the range. I get to the range a little extra early than we used to, because we have been working as a team on a mental training program with a sports psychologist. First there is a light 1-minute physical warm-up.”

Mental Practice

“Following that, we do this mental practice which at this time of the year is self-directed. You will see a line of athletes lying on their mats like they are napping; everyone is trying to get into the zone for the day. It is a combination of focus, relaxation, and mind-clearing. It depends on the individual. If you are feeling stressed out, it might be relaxation before the workout or if you feel good, then it might be to focus on your goals for the day. The program’s goal is that when we get to the winter, we will have better mental toughness…So that hopefully we will not succumb to nerves or anxiety. At least not as often as we may have. Then that last shot will go down for that 20-for-20!”

A Day in the Life of…Scott Gow

Shooting Approach

Accordingly, Gow has changed his approach to shooting this summer. “There has been a little less focus on the big volume shooting and drills and just shooting to shoot. Now the focus in on every time I ski into the range, the goal is to hit five every time and force myself to do it under pressure…like I have to do in the races.”

He attributes this focus on zero penalties to the evolution of shooting philosophy driven by Martin Fourcade. “The whole sport has elevated; you have to shoot well to be a contender. When I started in the World Cup, the winners many times missed several shots. You know, then Fourcade comes in and does not miss and then skis faster than everyone else, that forced everyone to realize that they have to hit every target to make the podium. It has made it harder and forced everyone to get to his level.”

Intensity

After getting into the right frame of mind, Gow moves on to the pure biathlon work. “Last week was all intensity work with intervals and time trials. We start at about 8:30 with zeroing, more warmup and executed the training over 90-minute to two hours. After packing up, I headed down to the reservoir, just across from the Nordic Center entrance. After an intensity workout, it is a great place for a chilly dip to begin recovery.”

Zoom Meeting; Simple Lunch

Heading back home, it is usually shower and lunch. “But every Tuesday, we have a team Zoom meeting with the sports psychologist. We all discuss what we worked on for the week and the lessons learned. I shared my thoughts on a time trial we had. Then I listened to Emma Lunder and Adam Runnels talk about it. It is very interesting to hear what everyone has to say, how alike and different we all are and relate to bits and pieces of their experience.” 

Lunch for the 30-year-old is pretty simple. “If I have leftovers, that is ideal. If I don’t have any and need something quick, I like to make quesadillas or a sandwich. I like to keep it simple.”

3D Printing and Netflix

Most athletes go for the afternoon nap, but Gow is not in that group. “If it was a really hard training day, I might close my eyes for a bit. But on a normal day like this, I am not a napper. It does not come naturally. I have to make time for it. At least once a week I go for a massage in the afternoon. Today, I am working with some 3D printing, at a very amateur level. I have been tinkering with different accessories that I can put on my rifle. That takes up some time because I am not good at it. I print something and it does not fit, then I had to adjust the model. That is a good hobby that keeps me busy for an hour or so. Then, I popped on Netflix and watched an episode of “The Boys. I watch a lot of different things like the cooking competition shows and series like “The Office. At the same time, I filled in my shooting, training log and did some stretching with this in the background. I really do not have too much free time.”

A Day in the Life of…Scott Gow

Afternoon in the Amazing Outdoors

Afternoon training is a simple pleasure in Canmore with spectacular summers and the amazing outdoors just steps away. “Summer has been really good, a little bit more mild than usual. We only had about two weeks of hot summer weather. Otherwise it has been cool and mild, really nice for training…Usually the afternoon session is something easy, like a zone 1 run, a rollerski or a mountain bike ride. 1-2 hours tops. Where I live there are a lot of trails, I just go out onto the running trail or mountain bike from home. Mountain biking is the most fun. Afternoons in that way are nice, I just put on my shoes and go!”

A Day in the Life of…Scott Gow

Home-cooking: Time for Pizza

Like his midday meal, Gow keeps it simple for dinner. “It is usually…well, yesterday I had spaghetti. If there is a go-to meal for me, that is it. The pasta with a ground beef marinara sauce with some veggies added in. That is the quick and easy meal that I enjoy. If I have time, I make a pizza or sometimes I will barbeque a steak with some rice and mushrooms. I also buy a premade Chicken cordon bleu, and add rice or potatoes and vegetables. Usually I cook at home unless I want Sushi which I am not skilled enough to make; then I go out, but that is not very often.”

A good night’s sleep comes pretty fast after dinner. “Usually between 10 and 11. In mid-summer, it is still light at 11pm, now it is earlier. But that late day sun shines right into my bedroom window and it is hard to get to sleep then.”

A Day in the Life of…Scott Gow

Highlights, Trying to beat Them

With darkness coming and another summer winding down, the Canadian veteran reflected on the two biggest successes of his career, 2009 IBU YWCH Relay Silver medal at home in Canmore and 2016 IBU WCH Relay Bronze. “I think it has not been that long ago and then realize how long I have been doing this. I was already dedicated to biathlon but that medal showed me this is what the potential could be…2016 still is my number one highlight and that will be hard to beat…but I am going to try to, of course!”

Photos: IBU/ Christian Manzoni, Scott Gow, Dave Holland

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