Friday, September 14, 2001 - Perspective
NSDT Update: Roller Ski Tips

- By: Charles Nadeau

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Already september, on the peaks around Canmore, some white spots remind us of the cold winter days. Only two months before the next racing season. For the majority of the athletes, the high volume weeks are already way behind. By the way, the next training cycle will be oriented towards specifics intervals and later, on snow adaptation. Nevertheless, we can't forget that there is still a month of dryland training to come. Obviously, the most specific training we can do in preparation for the winter is roller skiing. The idea behind this article is to give you some good tips to enjoy your roller ski training and make it efficient for the snow season.

Lets begin with the skating, the easiest technique to transfer from dryland to snow. Indeed, an efficient skating technique on roller skis will make adaptation periods a lot shorter. In order to optimize your training, try to choose a quiet road with a large shoulder and avoid always skiing with a group, to better focus on movement and technique. Obviously, roller ski roads do not have the same kind of steep hills that the winter trails have, so try to use mostly gliding techniques such as one and two skate. Even if the movement is sometimes shorter and harder, its good to stay on these "big gears" to improve your power. It is also useful to train with skis of different speeds. So, if the goal of your training is to improve your technique you can use faster skis and the opposite if you want to work on your power and your aerobic capacity. I also recommend spending a few minutes of your training on no-poles work to improve your stability and balance. Thus, a typical 1.5 hour training session can be manage this way: 15 minutes easy warm-up, 45 minutes work on technique or intensity, 15 minutes no-poles and 15 minutes cool-down.

The classic technique is unfortunately a little bit ticklish. It is basically impossible on dryland to find the same snow glide vs grip feeling. The alternative is similar as it was for skating, used double pole and one step double pole and avoid diagonal stride as much as possible, since it is quite different on snow. It is also important to pay particular attention on your pole tips. This part of the equipement is often underestimated and become really important when the weather is getting colder. Unsharpened tips will limit the power and the range of your movement and will increase the risk of injuries. To keep your tips sharp, you can buy a diamond file and take few seconds before each training session to work on your pole tips. Finally, do not roll on overused wheels to avoid wrong leg position and bad pressure on your knees and ankles.

I hope this article will help you to enjoy the next few weeks of dryland training and to improve your performance for the racing season. By the way, I want to wish you a snowy and cold winter and don't forget to support our olympic athletes for the games of Salt Lake City...

(Charles Nadeau made the move from the Quebec City training centre to Canmore this year. He's had strong summer training season and looks forward to testing his great form in the coming races.)

Charles wants to thanks his sponsors:
Rossignol
Rudy Project


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