Wednesday Workout: Mid-Season Speed with Annika Taylor

Kaitlyn PattersonFebruary 10, 2016


Former UNH skier Annika Taylor (r) during an interview with FasterSkier at the SuperTour in Craftsbury, Vt., last year.
Former UNH skier Annika Taylor (r) during an interview with FasterSkier at the 2015 SuperTour in Craftsbury, Vt., last year.

With the demanding race schedules of World Cup athletes, mid-season workouts have to be effective without adding too much training stress.

Roy Young, the British Nordic Head Coach, developed a sprint workout that utilizes short intervals on varying terrain to focus on specific techniques during each effort.

Young has guided the British team to some of the country’s best World Cup results yet, including his son Andrew Young’s historic bronze in the freestyle sprint in Toblach, Italy, earlier this season.

Annika Taylor, a member of the British National team and Sugar Bowl Academy Elite Team, is skiing her first season under Roy Young and especially enjoys this speed workout. After graduating from the University of New Hampshire as an All-American last spring, this season is Taylor’s first on the World Cup.

Annika Taylor (Great Britain) competed in the first three stages of the Tour de Ski In Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Annika Taylor (Great Britain) competing at the Tour de Ski In Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

“The workout focuses both on the neuromuscular (limb speed) required in sprinting and improving anaerobic capacity,” describes Taylor.

“I enjoy it because it is an efficient workout and that sprint improvement results after just a few focused sessions,” she added. “The most challenging part is keeping correct, efficient form and maintaining the same speed in the second set as was done in the first set.”

Taylor outlined an example of a freestyle workout that utilizes varying terrain to focus on transitions, V1, and V2 alternate.

The shortest intervals (20 seconds) are to be skied on a flat section of trail utilizing V1 to accelerate before transitioning to V2.

Next, the 30-second intervals are done on slightly downhill terrain into a slight uphill, with a focus on long V2 alternate strokes.

Finally, the focus of the 45-second intervals is changing V1 tempo in the transition from a gradual into steep uphill.

Taylor has also been working with exercise physiologist Kurt Rumley, from SportScotland Institute of Sport to develop a complete warmup for interval workouts and races which is described below.


20 minutes easy Level 1 warmup, focusing on smooth, strong movements

Work into 4 minutes of Level 2, then easy ski for a four minutes.

Work into 3 minutes of Level 3 (10-15 kilometer race pace), then easy ski for 3 minutes.

Finally, work into full-on sprint race speed with 3 x 30-second efforts, with a few minutes rest in between each effort.

Speed Workout:

3 x 20-second, 2 x 30-second, 1 x 45-second efforts (with techniques as detailed above) followed by 10 minutes of easy skiing before repeating the progression for the second set.

Between each speed effort, take enough rest to get back to your starting point and for your heart rate to return to Level 1.

Cool down:

Finish with 20-30 minutes of easy skiing and foam rolling/stretching.

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Kaitlyn Patterson

New to the FasterSkier team, Kaitlyn is a silent sports all-arounder, competing in cross-country skiing, cycling and triathlon since graduating from the University of Michigan, where she ran cross country and track. Kaitlyn is intrigued by the complexities of cross-country ski racing and is excited to start in the elite women’s field at the 2016 Birkie.

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