Q & A: Rollerski Training Tips

BrainspiralJuly 23, 2013
Nancy Fiddler leads rollerski skate drills during the recent  Far West Nordic June Lake Camp in California. (Photo: Mark Nadell/macbethgraphics.com)
Nancy Fiddler leads rollerski skate drills during the recent Far West Nordic June Lake Camp in California. (Photo: Mark Nadell/macbethgraphics.com)

You asked, we answered! Welcome back to another installment of our Question and Answer (Q & A) series. This time around, FS contributor and former national-team member Nancy Fiddler gives some rollerski training tips. Got a question of your own? Email questions@fasterskier.com.

1. I only own skate rollerskis. For double-pole sessions, should I use classic length poles or skate? — Dan, south central Pennsylvania 

This depends on what your skiing goals are. If you are training for classic skiing and racing, you will want to do double pole sessions on your classic-length poles. If you only skate, then these sessions would be most beneficial using skate poles.

You have a few options for these double-pole sessions. The first is to double pole for distance or over-distance. Using fast-rolling skate skis, it is possible to double pole some hills as well as flat terrain. Find rolling terrain, if possible, to get the most out of these sessions.

It is also possible to use your skate roller skis and classic poles to do a specific strength session. Find a sustained uphill and create a set of double pole repeats. The terrain will dictate the length of each effort. I like to mix sessions of shorter strength intervals on steeper terrain with sessions of longer intervals on more gradual terrain.

Examples of specific-strength, double-pole workouts:

8-10×30 seconds on a steep uphill with 1-minute recovery

6-8×60-90 seconds on a moderate uphill with 1-minute recovery

3-5×3 minutes on a gradual uphill with 2-minute recovery

You can also incorporate some single stick repeats into these strength sessions.


2. When I can’t get out on rollerskis, what would be the best option in the gym? I have access to a rowing machine, elliptical, stair climber, bike and treadmill.

I would choose the rowing machine and the treadmill. The rowing machine offers a full-body workout and you have some good options with the treadmill, including some uphill work.

Indoor distance sessions can be fairly tedious, even with good tunes. If you are trying to fit in over 30 minutes of distance, an option would be to mix some time doing some easy running or ski walking on the treadmill (keeping the grade fairly low) with some time on the rowing machine. You might switch modes every 15 minutes to make the workout more interesting and valuable.

Another option in the gym is to do some interval training. It is possible to get a great workout in under an hour, including a warm-up and cool-down. Again, mixing training modes can make a workout more fun.


15-minute warmup on the treadmill (run or ski walk).

Alternate 3-minute threshold intervals on the treadmill and rowing machine with 2 minutes easy in between. Go for 4-6 hard efforts.

15-minute cooldown

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