Off Season with Jessie Diggins
Hi Nuuniverse! I’m Jessie: a Nuun athlete, a clean sport advocate, and a professional cross country skier. In other words, I sweat, wear spandex and ski uphill for a living! My year looks something like this: starting May 1st, I begin training.
Originally from Minnesota, I now train with my club team out of Stratton, Vermont, and that’s where I live when I’m not at us ski team camps in Oregon, Alaska, New Zealand and Utah. I usually train twice a day, 6 days a week, and although I love it…it’s brutally hard. We train with a mix of roller skiing, running, weight lifting and other cross training modes like biking or swimming. Each week I will have intensity workouts, speed/sprint workouts, long slow distance and gym sessions. In the winter, I race the world cup circuit from November through March, racing both sprints and distance every weekend, always in a new country before traveling to the next stop!
Photo: Jason Cork
I just returned from our most recent training camp in New Zealand, one of the most beautiful places in the world. It was a lot of high volume training, meaning that each day I skied between 4-5 hours. It’s like running 25 miles a day for 2.5 weeks! Which means that I really had to stay on top of my nutrition and hydration so that my training could stay high quality throughout the camp.
I tend to rotate through Nuun flavors. Hey, I love to give everything a try! (although lately, my go-to has been tri-berry). When getting ready for training, I pop a Nuun Sport in my water bottle. If I’m doing a long easy distance workout, I’ll go Nuun Sport and bring along a granola bar because it will be easy for me to digest food on the go. If I’m doing intensity or speed work, however, I’ll add Nuun Endurance to my bottle to get the quickly absorbing carbohydrates that my body needs! I’ll even drink Nuun between workouts to stay hydrated, as the snow farm lodge we were training at is a 5,500 ft of elevation. That meant that everything (including people) dried out faster. Good news for wet boots, not so good news for dry skin!
In order to prepare the best we can for the upcoming season, we often do time trials during the summer and fall. We were lucky to be able to jump into FIS races with the Aussies and South Koreans that were also training at the snow farm! On the classic sprint day, I was happy to be able to practice drinking and eating in between the 4 sprint rounds. We do a 1.2 kilometer sprint qualifier, then wait an hour and a half before doing the course 3 more times in head-to-head competition! With intense racing lasting between 3-4 minutes, my stomach can tend to get upset. That’s why I like to figure out ahead of time how much liquid I can drink and what strength to make my Nuun at.
Photo: Matt Whitcomb
While we worked hard, we didn’t miss any opportunities for fun at the camp, either! My favorite ski trail is called the “hanging valley loop”. It swoops out over the edge of the mountain overlooking the rocky, barren valley below and the crown range mountains circling the area. Part of the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed the the neighboring valley so you can imagine how beautiful the mountains were!
My favorite memories from camp were the friendly people in the town of Wanaka that we spent our rest days exploring…a long adventure run up the Matukituki valley where we forged our own trail…and a sunrise ski watching the sun burn through the fog over the mountains. It was a great training camp and I’m so happy that I got to experience the magic of New Zealand!