By Mark V. Lonsdale
Once an archer has conditioned him or herself to shoot 150-200 arrows per day (800+ per week), it is hard to break the habit, especially for elite athletes and serious competitors. Having been involved in judo training, pistol shooting, and rifle competitions at the national and international levels since I was 15 years old, daily training is as much a part of my life as coffee in the morning. Now, with barebow archery, I am training and launching arrows three times a day, at one to two-hour intervals, and alternating between 20 yards and 50 meters.
For those that have easy access to a local indoor range, winter is the time to work on indoor competition skills (20 yards/18 meters). For others it is time to brave the elements or become creative.
From personal experience, 40 F is okay for training as long as the sun is shining. Between the heat of the sun and the reflection off the snow, winter temps of 40-50 F is not uncomfortable as long as you keep your fingers warm walking up and back to the target.
The other alternative is training inside at shorter ranges. While I can get 12 yards in my garage, the ceiling is too low to clear the tip of a 70″ bow. Shooting from my living room down the hallway I can get 10 yards which is perfectly adequate for winter indoor training. Talking to my coach, he has practiced at as little as 3 meters inside while focusing on technique and form. This is similar to the blank bale training that many athletes use for the same purpose – total focus on form while not being distracted by aiming or target panic.
The key point here is to make training an important part of your daily schedule. This will keep archery specific muscles conditioned while maintaining the discipline of a daily routine. Archery training can be supplemented with gym workouts, road work, archery specific exercises, watching your diet, and mapping out your training plan for the upcoming competition season.
Train Hard – Train Smart – Train Often