Good technique (i.e. good work economy) and endurance are the two most important factors in ski training and ski racing for optimal performance. It’s important that each rollerski workout is used to make technical improvements. This will greatly improve your race efficiency. Here are some ideas for how to do that:
What to work on
Focus on relatively short rollerski sessions in the beginning of the summer. Increase the length of your rollerski workouts when you feel that you can ski such workouts with good technique.
Work on improving balance and weight shift, good upper body usage, good clean poling motions — avoid wild swinging, appropriate pole plants — pole and push in the right directions, let each body part move in the right direction and at the right time – timing, kick at the right time and in the right direction and check if you are using appropriate leg spacing for the technique you are using.
Some methods for how to do it
Do some rollerskiing without poles — in both classic and skating. 5-15 minutes per session is enough in the beginning. Start with skating like a speed skater using diagonal arm motions in flat terrain when skating. (It’s as simple as and identical to walking. Your left hand moves forward simultaneously with the right leg moving forward).
A few things to work on in this drill:
You can move on to also using the V1, V2 and V2 alternate without poles when you are good at this drill. However don’t forget it — use it occasionally and also to build specific leg strength by using it in uphills.
Watch good skiers on video (I prefer race videos) and look at one body part at a time. Understand how each body part is working (for example, how far is the upper body bent in V1 double poling or how wide are the feet positioned at the start of the kick in this particular grade at that speed?) before looking at the next body part. After looking at body parts or movements, take a close look at frequency, weight shift or rhythm. Then try imitating the skiers while watching them on TV — now move in front of the mirror. Make sure that your curtains are down — your neighbor might be watching and calling the police. And most important -don’t open up your door if someone from the State Mental Institution rings your door bell.
Ask a good skier if you can ski behind him/her for 20-30 minutes. Try to follow the same rhythm and movement pattern — synchronized skiing. Don’t forget to smile!
Get someone to video tape you and compare your motions to what you have seen used by top skiers.
Have a coach or good skier ski behind or next to you and give you pointers.