Volume and speed development

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  • #11028

    If one is doing a high volume training under aerobic threshold, is
    it a bad idea to work on developing speed concurrently?

    Example, if you do a long Z1 session in the morning on Day 1,
    can you do pure speed work (alactic work, for development of
    neuromuscular coordination) in the afternoon of Day 1?

    Or is speed development better done in a completely
    separate block?

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #11033

    I always recommend doing alactic speed/strength/power concurrently during the aerobic base building phase. Workout of choice for XC is short, steep hill bounding. See pages 230-231 in Training for the New Alpinism for an explanation of this type of workout. Skiers should use poles for this. Short RS speeds another workout and useful for building economy at speed and power at speed. But be careful, falling on RS hurts.


    xcskier on #11144

    Thanks for detailed explanation.

    Do speed training methods from running transfer to skiing?

    Here’s an outline of a speed development for skiing taken directly from
    track training:

    There’s also an interesting book for speed development for running:
    but I am wondering if there’s any transfer to other sports.

    Anonymous on #11159

    This article by Dick Taylor is 100% spot on. Dick was my first XC coach. He quotes extensively from Yuri Verkhoshansky whom I consider one of the great names in training for endurance events.

    As Dick mentions; “speed” in endurance sports is largely a matter of economy at race pace. It is not pure speed or “quickness” like a 100m sprinter need. Quickness is largely genetically determined. Sprinters are born, distance runners are made is an old axiom among track coaches.

    As Canova (another of the greats in endurance coaching) says; Endurance is a metabolic quality where as speed is a neuromuscular quality.

    I gave a talk on this very topic at the USSA coaches congress 3 years ago. The trouble on the World Cup for many US skiers is not fitness. We can produce very fit skiers (I have coached US WC skiers with massive maxVO2 numbers). It is our ability to produce skiers that are fast and economical that is lacking. Most people equate speed with fitness which is a huge mistake. If the energy cost for Skier A to ski at World Cup pace is 10% higher than Skier B then Skier A will need 10% greater aerobic power to sustain that pace. Believe it or not 10-20% differences in economy are not out of the ordinary. The focus of all XC ski coaches to be to produce fast effortless skiers not slow effortful skiers.

    Training of speed is a complex multi faceted process that takes years to develop. A few sprints now and then is not the way it is done. It is more difficult than fitness training and not at all the same thing.


    xcskier on #11174

    Scott, I appreciate your insights.

    Is this presentation (notes, slides, video) available somewhere?

    Anonymous on #11178

    If you mean the presentation at the USSA coaches congress? The answer is no. It was not an instructional lecture it was more a call to arms. Trying to change the mentality to think about making fast skier rather only thinking fit=fast.

    They do not give the medals to the fittest. The give then to the fastest. I gave other such talks to the USSA over the years. The most infamous one was was called “The Developmental Disconnect in US skiing: or the NCAA, the where good skiers go to die”. Needless to say I was persona-non-grata with college coaches after than.

    Ahh those were the days.

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