Wednesday Workout: Throwback Over-Distance Double-Pole with Kikkan Randall

BrainspiralAugust 19, 2015
Kikkan Randall taking a break from a fall double pole in 2011 in Anchorage. (Courtesy photo)
Kikkan Randall taking a break from a fall double pole in 2011 in Anchorage. (Courtesy photo)

This week’s workout is a blast from the past, written four years ago about U.S. Ski Team sprinter Kikkan Randall. Now, with three Sprint World Cup titles to her name, we figured it might be a good time to revisit what made Randall so fast. Interestingly, one of her favorite fall workouts in 2011 was distance. Randall, 32, is currently in Norway preparing for the Toppidrettsveka rollerski races in Aure, Orkdal and Trondheim, held Thursday through Saturday. See the original pro workout here


[Circa Oct. 2011] … Kikkan Randall is known for her speed. But even though her forte is in races under three minutes long, one of her favorite workouts to do in the fall is a 50 k rollerski double-pole session. In addition to being a solid level one effort, the U.S. Ski Team (USST) veteran also uses the workout as an opportunity to work on her double-pole form.

“The goal is to get a lot of repetition in the double-pole movement, going long enough that you tire out the easy-to-use muscles and really find the most efficient positions, timing and impulse,” said Randall.

Randall has a favorite point-to-point route in Anchorage that usually takes her about three hours to cover. She recruits a family member to drive her outside of town, and then she skis home.

Alaska Pacific University's Kikkan Randall (r) leads fellow U.S. Ski Team member Liz Stephen and Norway's Celine Brun-Lie (l) during a dryland session last week in Anchorage, Alaska, part of the North American Women's Training Alliance. (Photo: Matt Whitcomb)
Kikkan Randall (r) leads fellow U.S. Ski Team member Liz Stephen and Norway’s Celine Brun-Lie (l) during a dryland session last summer in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo: Matt Whitcomb)

“It includes rolling terrain, but most importantly long, flat sections where I can get into a rhythm in my double-pole technique and really ingrain correct movement patterns,” she explained. Randall makes sure to keep her heart rate under control for the duration of the workout, at about 60 to 70 percent of her max.

Between September and when the snow flies in Anchorage at the end of October, Randall will head out for a long double-pole every other week. Sometimes she has company for the three-hour workout, but she also enjoys taking in the fall colors when it’s just her and her iPod.

During such a long, sustained effort, Randall is careful to keep herself hydrated, drinking about 30 ounces throughout the workout, and more after she returns home to continue replenishing lost fluid.

“You lose more water than you think on a long ski like this!” she said.

Randall also emphasizes getting recovery food into her system directly after the workout, and will usually go for a smoothie packed with carbohydrates and protein: 1 cup Greek non-fat plain yogurt, 1 cup frozen berries, 1 scoop protein powder, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup juice and 1 Tbsp honey.

As she usually starts the workout when the air is still crisp, she follows the effort up with a hearty breakfast and a nap.


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