I feel the need, the need for speed

6 Feb

Swede Jerry Ahrlin won the 70km classic Marcialonga race on skate skis. He didn’t skate. He would be disqualified. He double-poled. He went 70km without a single diagonal stride. Sick. Boring. Thank you Sweden for ruining cross-country.

I am also looking for tricks to increase my speed.I have a 27,5 km training route that takes me through a variety of terrain that lends itself to different classic techniques, including (but not limited to) double-poling. The problem, if it is one, is that my speed has stayed remarkably consistent lately. I’m way over my target pace for the 90km Grenaderløpet, but that’s normal since this route is shorter with less elevation gain.

But, on the other hand, I’d love to pierce what’s become the 15km/h barrier on this route. Last summer on one of my key longish rollerski routes I experienced a great progression where I went from 16,5 to 18km on rather slow rolling wheels. That change happened almost imperceptibly over a period of months.

The keys were focus on technique and, perhaps even more, setting a “suffering-precedent”. When I got used to one level of suffering, I cranked it up one more notch.

Another big thing was having some competition on the road. Many used faster wheels, but that was perfect. It just made me work harder.

On snow, however, I’m not getting the stimulation I need. Maybe I’m skiing in the wrong places. When I look at  race result times I see clearly I’m not at the level to win. But the winners aren’t using my habitual trails either.

My medium long training route (27,5km) is nevertheless making me stronger because I feel fresher and fresher afterwards. But also I think maybe I’m slacking off. I’m going over the steepest climbs with a vastly lower pulse than last year. But that seems like the benefit of considerably more efficient technique. It actually doesn’t feel like I could go much faster. It feels like more effort would just lead to sloppy technique and finally no gain.

The times I get winded are when I’m climbing and my wax isn’t working. But since I’ve also got much better at waxing, that only tends to happen when I go through a slippery bad stretch on the trail.

So I’m at a bit of a loss about how to get my cruising speed up higher. But that’s what I need to do.

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2 Responses to “I feel the need, the need for speed”

  1. engelski February 6, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    Have you tried variation?

    What about Aukland’s long two hour gentle pace followed by 45 min full speed to finish the session?

    How about ramping up in the wrong gear, e.g. diagonal when herring-bone, double pole with kick instead of diagonal, etc?

    Are you doing intervals?

    Just food for thought.

    PS nothing against Ahrlin. Many have tried to win MArcialonga on skate skis and failed, so good on him. Most prof classic XC these days involves monster hills in any case

  2. fallwest February 7, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    Ughh intervals. Closest I get to that is a kind of fartlek. I have a 9km loop with 4 herringbone sections where I like to push myself into “OMG I’m going to yak” cardio territory. Tend to go two rounds.

    I can see how the Aukland strategy might fit in at the end of my medium-long training.

    Yeah Ahrlin did something beastly. But I couldn’t be motivated to try something like that and it wasn’t pretty to watch either

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