We are now halfway through our first of three dryland testing weeks of the year. Treadmill submax and strength test down, Double pole and 3000 meter still to come.
Today was the strength test. We use Cross Country Canada’s version of the test for a few reasons. It has nice standards and is well controlled, requiring published, specific criteria that can be easily duplicated. It has a nice overall scoring system that equalizes for the varying repetitions that one will do in a given exercise (who will ever do as many pull-ups as sit-ups?). It also breaks down the overall score nicely for each exercise at each age level, so an athlete can see what their weakest links are (almost always the upper body). Last but not least, those 9 minutes are HARD, and (to paraphrase Chuckie V) being hard is a neccessity for being a good endurance athlete.
Like any strength test, it has its weaknesses (no pun intended). However, after viewing the overall results and watching the athletes in action it has proven a very good indicator of general strength and athleticism. Athletes within 10% of the margin tend to be solid, athletic individuals, those within 20% are good, but typically need work in specific areas, those beyond 20% have work to do.
The message this go-round was clear: use it or lose it. Those who didn’t keep up their strength over the spring have dropped a notch. Overall, we have work to do, but individually we’ve seen some steady progress from a number of individuals. Now we just need to accelerate it!
Next up is the Miller Hill uphill DP test on Thursday: average grade of 6.1% for 1.1 km. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a course record or two fall, and if it doesn’t happen this time, it should definitely happen at the end of the summer. After that is the 3000m running on the track Saturday morning, which will bring back some program alumni for what should be the fastest early summer 3k we’ve ever had!