Wednesday Workout: Kris Freeman on Prepping for Tuckerman Inferno Run-Bike Transition

Jason AlbertApril 11, 2018
Kris Freeman halfway up North Slide on Mt. Tripyramid in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. (Photo: Tad Elliott)

Four-time Olympian Kris Freeman may be settling into post-elite-level nordic ski racing by broadening his training opportunities. The 37-year-old New Hampshire native is slated to enter a grueling multi-sport race this Saturday that will certainly test his end-of-season nordic fitness. Here’s a detailed glimpse of Freeman’s workout — as he explained it in an email — to soften the blow to the legs when transitioning from the run portion to the bike.

“I plan to race the Tuckerman Inferno on April 14th.  The race is a Pentathlon that consists of an 8-mile road run, a 6-mile downriver kayak, a 17-mile hill climb road bike, a 3-mile hike carrying alpine gear and finally a downhill ski in Tuckerman Ravine.  The race is ill-timed for ideal preparation since it is only two and half weeks after my final xc ski race of the season.  My body is also fairly tired and beat up from the ski racing season so long hard workouts would be counterproductive.  Basically, I need to remind my body what all these sports feel like individually and occasionally combine the most punishing activities.  I have done many multi-sport events and transitioning from running to biking and vice versa always feels terrible.  This is exacerbated when I have not been running at tempo for months.  Most elite xc skiers run in the winter to warm-up for strength sessions or as an easy second workout.  It is rare for a group of xc skiers to run at better than 9 minute miles during the winter.  To put myself in a good position going into the kayak I will need to run the first leg at about 6:15 miles.  In mid-summer this would be a cake walk but right now that feels fast.  In order to take some of the shock out of the race I have devised a low-cost workout to prepare my legs for the shock of a running a race, and then getting on a bike.

I warm-up running for three miles at 8:00-minute pace and then start an interval workout on whatever rolling terrain is in front of me.

I do four times 1 mile at 6:00 pace followed by 3/4 miles at 8:00 minute pace.  This is an equal effort to recovery workout and is not designed to be taxing but to prepare my musculature for the jarring effects of road running.  The cooldown is also 3 miles at 8:00 minute pace.  This should not be hard to maintain and if it is then the intensity was too fast.  Immediately after completing my run I jump on my bike trainer and spin for 45 minutes to 1:00 hour.  I throw a few accelerations in but mostly spin in level 1.  Once again the purpose of this workout is muscle preparation, not overall load.

The race will take somewhere between 3:00 and 3:30 to complete and reacquainting myself with the other sports without getting tired is the key.  Yesterday I paddled upriver for an hour and then turned around to my starting point for a total of eight miles in 1:30.  Then I drove: 20 minutes to the Waterville Valley Mountain and tele skied six runs using lift service.  I bombed the descents to load my legs and took no breaks but the lift time.  I will tele ski the race as well because I absolutely hate skiing with my heels locked down.  Tele gear is a few pounds heavier than AT gear at this point, but I accept the penalty to be able to ski the way I like to.  If I win I will be the first ‘Ironman’ to do so with a free heal.”

Jason Albert

Jason lives in Bend, Ore., and can often be seen chasing his two boys around town. He’s a self-proclaimed audio geek. That all started back in the early 1990s when he convinced a naive public radio editor he should report a story from Alaska’s, Ruth Gorge. Now, Jason’s common companion is his field-recording gear.

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