Step Back

I’ve been completely overwhelmed the last couple days with everything I had scheduled and had to do; I felt like I didn’t have time to breath. The U.S. Ski Team Park City Camp is always very stressful for me. It feels like I still have to do everything I’ve been doing all summer, but then I also have so many new camp obligations. All of the sudden I have to drive to train as opposed to training out the door. I have to work around the team schedule. We have team dinners and team meetings. We have physical testing and appointments with the nutritionist. We have to fill out visa applications and deal with multiple group emails a day. It all adds up extremely fast. I certainly bring a lot of it on myself because I’m still trying to fit in a social life outside of the team that makes me happy. I am feeling a sense of dwindling time and opportunities to spend with my friends as I get ready to depart for Europe for 4+ months.

On top of all that, my teammates train differently than I do. I really like having a structure to my training: three days on followed by a recovery day. That structure makes the training seem manageable. I can always get through three hard days, and I always have a lighter day to look forward to. The camp plan doesn’t fit into that structure at all. Instead of a cycle, every camp day is pretty much the same, moderately hard without much variance in training load.
Yesterday I reached a bit of a breaking point. I felt like the quality of my training, and more importantly of my recovery, was suffering from my time management issues and the lack of structure to the training. So, my primary coach John Callahan and I reworked the plan. We decided I needed to take a couple of days away from the camp to “reset” and catch up on recovery and other obligations. We also forced some structure into the remaining camp plan by upping the load on most days then significantly decreasing the load on some recovery days.

I explained this to my teammates last night, and I’m very grateful that they understood my need to step away from the camp for a couple of days.

This camp is a great opportunity for me to train with my teammates; I know that I need to train with other fast athletes more often. I also enjoy training with my teammates. In addition, I understand the necessity of all of the things we’re asked to do during this camp. I’m just trying to find balance to make sure my quality remains high. I’ve put in too much good work this summer to lose the edge now.


I was in a really bad mood when I arrived at the Center of Excellence (COE) this morning, and I made a passive aggressive comment towards my teammate Ida Sargent. I realized I was in a bad mood and had the good sense to keep my mouth shut after the one uncalled for comment, but I feel bad that I was mean to Ida, my teammate and one of my best friends.

An hour later, after strength, I was roller skiing by myself and feeling painfully sad. I felt like I had no hope for a great future or to ever be happy again.

Now I am feeling happy. I feel like everything that I was sad and worried about this morning isn’t a big deal. I’m feeling excited for the rest of the day and the rest of the camp and for the coming season. I’m feeling excited socially, even though I have nothing new going on, and I’m feeling content with, even proud of, myself.

I don’t believe these mood swings are extreme or cause for concern, but I am trying to dig deep into them, into all of my emotions, to look for causes and to learn about myself and to grow as a human being. The lows have been extremely painful; I’m working to be more even keeled.

This morning I did a body composition test. I do that once every month or two to monitor how my body is changing over time. After New Zealand (September), the last time I tested, my body mass (weight) and skin folds (fat) were way up relative to where they were in June and August. Today they were down from September but still a little bit above the summer tests. I am not actively cutting out calories but I am trying to eat a slightly healthier diet (by cutting out dessert) to bring them back down to summer levels before the season.

After body comp I did my strength routine at the COE. I was psyched because I was able to do the Dragon Fly exercise off the end of the bench for the first time. My strength coach, Tschana Schiller, took a video of me doing it. You can see it here.

Because I had body comp and strength, I missed the start of the group roller ski, but I went the opposite way around the loop and caught them for the second half. I was having trouble with my roller skis and had a frustrating session that was harder than it needed to be.


Today was the first day of the fourth and final U.S. Ski Team camp of the training season. My teammates all arrived here in Park City over the weekend or last week. Even though the camp officially started today, we didn’t have any group training because some athletes are doing strength testing for the first couple days; the camp training plan begins on Wednesday.

This morning I went for a distance run with my teammate Erik Bjornsen. Erik and I haven’t gotten to train together since Bend camp in May. He and I are the only two distance skiers on the World Cup team, and we’re good friends. It is great to have him in Park City and to train with him again.

Since there wasn’t any U.S. Team training this afternoon, I joined the Canadian National Team for a distance roller ski. The Canadians are here for another week.

Yesterday I listened to the most recent episode of Death, Sex and Money, a podcast from WNYC in New York. The episode featured two amazing women, Ellen Burstyn and Gloria Steinem, both in their 80s and both pioneer feminists, having a conversation about their lives and looking ahead at their futures. They are both strong independent women who have lived amazing lives. They inspired me to want to find a cause that I’m passionate about and to spend my life fighting to fix one of the world’s many problems. I am feeling excited about the amazing life I have ahead of me. I want to be the best person I can be.

Some of the subjects that are part of the current national conversation that I’ve been following closely include microaggressions, trigger warnings and their impact on free speech and implicit bias. I learned a lot from this morning’s NPR story about implicit bias.

Lastly, if you haven’t watched this trending video from Canada telling us that they think America is already great, it made me smile. Thank you Canada.

Soldier Hollow Time Trial

This morning I did a 15 kilometer skate roller ski time trial against Alex Harvey from Canada on the roller ski loop at Soldier Hollow. We used two pairs of matched skis from a huge Canadian fleet of matched skis. Alex started 30 seconds behind me because he has better FIS points than I do. The race was three laps of a loop that was actually only 4.7 km long.

Alex caught me on the at the bottom of the biggest hill on the final lap. I had seen him slowly gaining on me throughout the race. He stayed behind me up the hill, and I tried to back off a little bit so I could stay with him for the move that I knew was coming over the top. I successfully stayed with his first move, but then he put a small gap into me over the next short uphill. I was just out of his draft on the long flat across the old Olympic stadium, but I got as low as I possibly could in my truck and was able to glide back onto him by the Olympic bridge, 100 meters before the finish. In the final 100 meters Alex dusted me by 3 or 4 seconds, therefore beating me by 33 or 34 seconds.
In this same race last year, I was only 17 seconds behind him.

My intensity sessions this month, like the one today, are the highest priority in my training. I am trying to have good energy for each hard session. To have good energy today, I took Friday off of training and only did one light session yesterday.

I believe the training plan worked, my energy was good today, and this morning’s race was a representative effort. I was able to elevate my heart rate easily. I averaged 170 BPM and maxed at 179 BPM for the race, both very high numbers for me. My lactic acid was measured at 12.3 mmol after the race and was still at 10 mmol ten minutes later, again both very high numbers for me.

In the race I felt like I was able to use my capacity and get into my central system.

I am a little disappointed to be further behind Alex than I was last year at this time, but it’s also not surprising. I have not done too much intensity and the training load has been high. I am also not as good at roller skiing as Alex.

The race was short. Alex’s time was around 29:45.

In addition to some mild disappointment, I also have an opposing sense of relief. After so much training on my own, at least I’m not miles away from where I need to be.

Thanks to U.S. Ski Team coach Jason Cork for supporting me in the session. Hopefully I will be able to post some video that Jason shot of the race.

The next intensity session will be Wednesday, a joint session with the U.S. Ski Team and the Canadian National Team.


I don’t want to make this blog all about my emotions, but I do believe that the value of my writing lies in my willingness to be completely honest and the fact that I don’t hold back.

I know that many people are more interested in the details of my training than they are in what I’m feeling. The fact is that the makeup of the training isn’t that complicated and therefore I don’t find it that interesting. I spend no more than a couple hours a week working with my coaches to design my training plan. Even the yearly structure didn’t take me and my coaches more than one evening and the next morning to put together in the spring.

I would simply publish (continually) my yearly training plan/log (to appease the people interested mostly in the details of my training) except that I would receive unwanted questioning and criticism of it. Here’s a view of just my last seven days:

The training itself is boring because I always complete it. I create the plan (with my coaches) and then I follow the plan. It’s a no-brainer. Motivation is not an issue for me. It never has been. I don’t even think about skipping workouts. The day I don’t do the planned training because I “don’t feel like it”, I will retire.

The challenging (and therefore interesting) part of skiing for me comes in time management, recovering well, focusing on technique, relaxing about training, executing good races, developing strength and power, etc… I will try to write more about those subjects, but my emotions have been a dominant aspect of my life this summer, so I’m going to continue to talk about them as well.

Without question, I have struggled emotionally this summer because of my breakup with Emilia. It was not my decision to end the relationship. She has had a lot change in her life over the last year. She is interested in experiencing as much of the world as she possibly can. She does not want to miss an opportunity to do anything, and she no longer wants to be tied down to someboby who cannot join her on adventures. She is looking to experience new things.

Going through the breakup has been an emotional rollercoaster. On an hour to hour basis, sometimes even minute to minute, I will swing from feeling like my world has been blown apart, like I have a huge hole in me, completely hopeless and utterly sad, to realizing that I have absolutely everything I could possibly want, that every person in my life is amazing and that I can do literally anything I want with my life. I get giddily excited about the future.

When I get sad during a training session, in the midst of a five hour roller ski, there is nobody to talk to, no way to distract myself and no way to escape my own head. It is utter hell. That is why I am working with Marisa to become the person I want to be.

Throughout all of the emotional ups and downs this summer, I have consistently been excited about my training. The aggressive training load that my coaches and I outlined in the spring, and that I have been successfully executing, is exactly what I want to be doing. Training over 110 hours in four weeks makes me feel like a badass, it makes me feel like I will be the fittest athlete on the World Cup, and it makes me so motivated to take care of the details so I can kick ass this winter.


Some random notes today:

  • I am psyched to say that we are planning to launch Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country again for the 2016-17 season. My sponsors have come through with a prize pool that’s even bigger and better than last year. I hope you’ll participate and create your own league to play against your friends or team or club! Our goal launch date is November 1st.
  • I did a fun interview for, titled 17 questions for 2017. You can find it here. In it I listed all of the amazing concerts I’ve been to and am planning to go to this year. Last night I got to go to another one, Mandolin Orange, at The State Room in Salt Lake City. They were amazing. I love live music. I’ve taken a different “date” to each of the concerts I’ve gone to this summer. Last night I went with my friend Jess Breda.
  • This morning I did bounding intensity in Salt Lake (to be at lower altitude) with the Canadian National Team. The workout was 6x5min. The first four intervals were in level 3, and then we ramped up the pace at the end of the last two intervals. I followed Alex Harvey for the entire session. It was a really high quality workout.
  • I am working with La Sportiva athlete Andrew Fast to produce some videos of the strength program I’m doing this year. Look for them in the next couple weeks.


I started working with a Psychotherapist, Marisa, in July. Marisa does both sports and general counseling. We have touched on my skiing career but the vast majority of our sessions have had a much broader focus. My goal for my work with Marisa is to be accountable for my own happiness. I’m working to be less dependent on other people for my psychological well-being and my self-esteem.

Marisa lives in Durango, Colorado and I’ve never met her in person. All of our sessions have been done over the phone, which has worked really well for me.

Marisa and I have been talking a lot about ego states. Here’s a look at the structure we’re using:

The ideal ego state, the “functional adult”, we’ve been calling the “authentic adult”. The descriptions listed in the image above under the “functional adult” heading describe the state of being that I’m trying to achieve.

I am excited about this work with Marisa. I am working on becoming the person I want to be.


I have been questioning my priorities and the direction of my life this summer. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about a lot is the privilege that is my identity. I have made a simple list of the privileged groups which I identify with:

  • White
  • Male
  • Straight
  • Upper-middle class
  • Able-bodied
  • Cisgender
  • Neurotypical
  • American
  • Attractive
  • Fit
  • Educated
  • Intelligent
  • Jewish*

I highly recommend this blog post from Erin Sullivan, an adventurer and blogger from Connecticut now based in Colorado. I’ve never met Erin; a friend pointed me to her blog in the middle of the summer, and I resonated with her thoughts on privilege.

*Identifying as part of the Jewish community would not have been considered “privilege” over much of the last century, but I have never experienced antisemitism and I believe that my Jewishness has benefited me throughout my life by making me a part of a highly supportive and proud community.

Training Partners

After training almost exclusively alone all summer, I have had and will have more great opportunities to train with other World Cup athletes this fall.

My first opportunity was the U.S. Ski Team camp in New Zealand during the first two weeks of September. After three months and over 300 hours of training alone, it was a shock to have to match my distance pace to somebody else. I think it was very valuable to be pushed out of my comfort zone, whether that meant faster or slower. I also had some great intensity sessions with the other men at the camp: Simi Hamilton, Andy Newell and Ben Saxton.

Four days after I returned from New Zealand, my good friend and fellow World Cup athlete from Estonia, Karel Tammj√§rv, came to train with me for two weeks. Karel adapted his training to fit my plan. It was super valuable to me to have a training partner who was willing and able to do exactly what my coaches thought was the best training for me. I was quite tired when Karel showed up so I had to reduce my training load for the first three days of our training block. Karel showed up well rested, so it wasn’t ideal for him to start with easier training. I’m grateful that he was so willing to be flexible.

After Karel left I had a week of solo training, which I relished as it was my only solo time for a long stretch.

Beginning this week, the Canadian National Team is in town, and I will join them for a significant number of their sessions. They are great training partners, not only because they’re fun to be around but also because they’re fast. Devon Kershaw is a World Cup winner and World Champion in the team sprint and Alex Harvey, Devon’s team sprint partner, is one of the top five skiers in the world.

A week from today the entire U.S. Ski Team shows up for our last camp of the year. Our camp overlaps with the Canadian camp for a week, and our coaches have worked with the Canadian coaches to plan some joint sessions.

Erik Bjornsen, the only other distance skier on the U.S. World Cup team, will be here for this camp. Because I chose to skip the Alaska camp and Erik chose to skip the New Zealand camp, we haven’t trained together since Bend camp in May. I’m looking forward to training with Erik, and I’m looking forward to racing with him this winter.

After the U.S. Ski Team camp ends on October 31st, I have just under three more weeks of solo time to do my final preparation before departing for the World Cup on November 19th.

The schedule has lined up exactly how I would have written it, and I’m really excited for the race season to test all of the training I’ve done.

Lastly, my coaches and I debated trying to have me get on snow in early November, but we decided to stick with the theme of the year, simplification. Therefore, I will not be adding any extra travel to go skiing. This means I will land in Kuusamo, Finland on Sunday evening, November 20th, without having been on snow since New Zealand, and will race a World Cup the following Sunday, November 27th. It will be a tight turnaround and a completely new strategy for me, but it will be a long season and there isn’t much pressure on the first World Cup. The goal is to be skiing fastest in February.