After years of ski training it seems like I’ve done any variety of intensity workouts. From VO2 max to speed, to tempo to you name it, it’s almost a rare event when we do the same intensity breakdown! Anyway, we did a great workout recently in practice: max aerobic speed at 15-second intervals, it’s something that we’ve done a few times and I really hope we do more in the future.
The workout: Time-based interval workout, with four intervals of 3 minutes and even rest (3 minutes) in between. We did them at Zone 4, or just as hard as you can maintain for the 3-minute interval.
Warmup: We warmed up as a group with a 30-minute easy classic ski. To warm up properly, we stuck to the flatter trails between the stadiums at Whistler Olympic Park for the first 10 minutes then went into some hillier terrain for the last 20 minutes and regrouped in the cross-country stadium at Whistler Olympic Park.
Interval start: While lots of intervals can be done as a large group (there are 9 on my team), we chose to do this set of intervals in a 15-second interval start format. I really liked this format because it made the workout feel like a sprint qualification … four times!
When you are doing intervals as a group it’s often easier to push yourself because you have your teammates there at your side, and you don’t want them to get away. I really like the 15-second interval start format of these intervals because it really helped me practice pushing to the max when I don’t have somebody there at my side.
“When you are doing intervals as a group it’s often easier to push yourself because you have your teammates there at your side, and you don’t want them to get away.” — Colin Foley
We definitely have some stronger and weaker “sprinters” on our team, so our coach mixed up the order of our interval start from interval to interval.
Rest/recovery: In between the intervals we tried to recover as much as possible. For me, this meant skating easily around the stadium. We were doing the harder sets on the hills of the sprint course, just outside of the cross country stadium so it was easier to come back (and also hear our coach call the end of the set).
Result: We do these intervals to increase the amount of time that we can push ourselves at our maximum aerobic output. I have really found that this has helped my sprint qualifiers this year.
Post-workout: After the final interval we did a long cool down, but not before we first had some good nutrition. For us, that’s a bottle of a protein drink and some hydration drink (we also have energy drops if we were feeling a bit hungry).
We skied for about an hour, this time sticking to rolling terrain (the Madeley Creek Loop at Whistler Olympic Park is great for a longer cool down like this).
Then it was back to the van, back to our homes in the Whistler Athletes Village (now known as Cheakamus) and a proper lunch and rest.
We enjoyed being home in Whistler for a few weeks and getting in some good training before heading off to more NorAm competitions and, eventually, Canadian Nationals.