This week’s workout comes from Chris Mallory, the new head coach of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) Gold Team. Having recently arrived in Sun Valley after a long road trip from Vermont, where he was previously the assistant nordic coach at the University of Vermont (UVM), Mallory has jumped right into a career in Idaho’s high country. It’s not Mallory first coaching stint with SVSEF. He coached in a variety of roles lasting eight years, ending most recently in 2013, when he took the UVM position.
One of the staple training methods we use at SVSEF to build fitness is Moosehoofing or Hill Bounding. We will vary the workouts at different times of year to target different fitness gains and keep the workouts fresh. Some of our go-to workouts are 2 x 30 min. L3 [Level 3] ski walking up Baldy [Mountain], 45 min. of continuous L3 work Moosehoofing on the Lake Creek race courses, 5 x 4 min. L4 hill bounding up Dollar Mtn, or another variation I like to implement this time of year involving hard 20 sec. bounding repeats every minute. Simi Hamilton passed a variation of this workout on to me as one of his favorites a few years ago, and the athletes really like it.
The goals of the workout are to increase classic striding leg speed and explosiveness, make neuromuscular gains, and increase aerobic capacity. The workout is fairly short and sweet, but very effective, and it helps to sharpen the athletes up as we near race season. The workout load certainly builds up throughout the sets, so start a little conservatively. Legs will get heavy, but it’s good to keep the recovery short here so you learn to go fast with lactate in the system.
- 20 minutes easy aerobic running
- 1 x 3 min. L3 Moosehoof warmup interval
- Couple sets of plyo exercises (single-leg hops, broad jumps, 10 sec. bounds)
Workout: 3 sets x 7 reps (20 seconds on/40 seconds off) with 5 min. jogging between sets
Cooldown: 20 min. recovery jog
This workout is best done with bounding poles. A good-height bounding pole comes up to your sternum. Drop a starting cone and finishing cone roughly 100 meters up the hill. Adjust the length if needed after their first effort. The hill should be a moderate grade, too steep and you won’t get the speed benefits. The athletes can run a watch and know they need to start on the minute every minute.
The workout can be made easier for junior athletes with 15 sec. of on-time or tougher with 25 sec. on-time. Another variation you can add is allowing more of a run with poles on the last set rather than bound. This will keep the speed high and might closer mimic how hills are being skied in classic sprints these days anyway.