For this week’s workout, we turned to Mary Rose of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) Gold Team. On Sunday, Rose, 24, won the ninth-annual Climb to the Castle by 32 seconds over US Biathlon’s Annelies Cook. After two weeks of dryland training on the East Coast, first with the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) T2 Team in Vermont, then with the National Elite Group (NEG) and U.S. Ski Team in Lake Placid, N.Y., Rose sent us this workout — Level 4 uphill rollerski intervals — from her travels.
Every individual has his or her strengths and weaknesses when it comes to cross-country skiing. It is important to train your weakness because there is usually a lot of room for improvement.
The Sun Valley SEF Gold Team spent two weeks out East in Stratton, VT and Lake Placid, NY for a low-elevation training block. This camp was extremely productive for all of us because we were able to train some of our weaknesses: speed and pacing at low elevation, and rollerskiing in steep terrain.
One of the most beneficial workouts during this training block was a Level 4 uphill rollerski interval session. This is a great session if you don’t have a strong V1, are not strong climbing in skate, or if you need to build capacity in your legs. For me, this was an important workout because living in Sun Valley, ID, we lack the super steep, sustained uphill terrain (for rollerskiing) that can be found on the east coast. This is ironic, I know but the roads in Sun Valley are in the bottoms of the valleys and there are not very many of them.
The Workout: Uphill Rollerski 4-6 x 4 minutes at L4
Where: Find a location that offers a long uphill climb (8%-10% grade)
- Rollerski easy (Level 1) for 20-25 minutes. Start the warmup on rolling terrain and then gradually move onto steeper terrain to get the body used to climbing.
- Do 5-10 minutes of mobility/stretching exercises, targeting every major part of your body. This part of warmup is important to help get the blood flowing to all parts of your body and to get all the muscles ready to work hard. Think of this as injury prevention!
- Rollerski easy for an additional 5-10 minutes.
- During warmup focus on where you can make technique gains and apply that to the workout.
Now the fun part: 4-6 x 4 minutes at Level 4.
The first interval should start at threshold (Level 3) or right above it and gradually work into Level 4. Take full recovery (4 minutes) between each interval. Make sure to ski very easy during the recovery. Intervals 2-6 should be at a solid Level 4 the entire time.
Try to complete at least four intervals, but listen to your body and take a moment to assess where you are at. If you feel completely drained and your technique has taken a turn for the worse or your pace has dropped off, call it a day and cool down.
Cool down: Should consist of 15-20 minutes of easy skiing. Once your cool down is complete, you should hydrate, eat and sleep!
During this workout, I did a total of five intervals and left one in the tank, meaning that I could have done one more quality interval, but I held back due of the amount of intensity sessions I had already done that week and the amount of intensity sessions yet to come.
You want to feel good for all of the intervals, so remember that before pushing yourself too much. There is no need to do all six intervals if you are feeling tired. In this case, less is more. Important thing to remember is that ALL the intervals should feel great!