Poked, pushed, measured and evaluated. That's been the name of the game for the USST's World Cup and Continental Cup members for the last week in Utah. The USST coaching staff has put a greater importance on sport science to better understand the capacities and liabilities of America's top skiers. The tests measured endurance, power, strength, speed and coordination. Seeing how these factors change during the preparation period (with testing three more times through summer and fall) look to give athletes and coaches tangible data to see where and why USST team members improve their cross country ski skill sets.
Fatigue Profile: A fasted Blood Draw that measured white blood cell counts, hemoglobin, hematocrit, ferritin, glucose and Testosterone and Cortisol levels (T: CT ratio). By monitoring these values, one can see notice and act on a trend like declining ferritin before anemia sets in.
Velocity Testing. Using timing lights, sport science can see how fast an athlete accelerates, when they hit peak velocity, and how well they maintain their velocity. Timing lights recorded times to the hundredth. Skiers raced around the outside of the Kearns Olympic Ice Oval on a mondo track surface where wind, surface condition and temperature are all stable variables.
There was a rumor newly retired Carl Swenson was in town but didn’t know or care where his rollerskis are any more. (Koos photo. SnowFarm NZ, 2005)
Morning: Max Strength and Power Development Testing.
Newell Photo. 2005. Ski Team Gym
Cross-Country skiing relies on solid strength and power development. On the left Andrew Newell tests his power development with an added 25kg load while Torin Koos measures his lower body max strength with a fixed resistance. An electronic force place measured the amount of force, and in Newell's case also his quickness, to accomplish the task.
Afternoon: Sport Physicals. Core Strength and Coordination Testing. Body Composition Testing.
Night: Skate Intervals near East Canyon. 5 x ~5minutes with 4minutes recovery. First two intervals below threshold. Third at threshold. Fourth and Fifth above threshold. Charting time to finish uphill course, lactate and heart rate. With everyone except Andrew Johnson and Matt Gelso coming from low altitude, finding the right intensity for altitude training is a priority this time of year.
Friday & Saturday Training Days with distance emphasis.
Sunday: Classic Team Sprint at Soldier Hollow in wet, windy and cold conditions.
The Results... Team Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 4 Leg 5 Andrew Johnson 3:10 3:07 3:12 Liz Stephen 3:52 3:54 Andy Newell 3:09 3:13 3:07 Morgan Arritola 3:59 3:58 Chris Cook 3:10 3:14 3:12 Lindsey Weier 3:58 3:56 Casey Simons 3:17 3:28 3:34 Kikkan Randall 3:38 3:39 Matt Gelso 3:21 3:35 3:22 Morgan Smyth 3:52 3:53 Leif Zimmermann 3:24 4:20* 3:24 Tazlina Mannix 3:49 3:57 *Broken pole tip
USST Coach Chris Grover was optimistic about the camp's findings. “Pretty much across the board, our skiers still need to a bit more consolidation in their base building. As coaches this was our thought going in, and the data backed this up. It's imperative our athletes keep the lactate around 1 mmol and heart rates low while distance training and stay away from Level 4 training for several more weeks, until they're more efficient again with the ski specific movments and structural strength is there to train at quicker paces.”
BioSports NorthWest Physical Therapy ( www.biosports.net )