Balance vs. Speed Issue while Rollerskiing

Q: I’ve noticed that on roller skis or snow skis there is a velocity where I definitely feel uncomfortable gliding and I can feel myself checking my speed. I can see where this might be useful on roller skis (hitting pavement sucks!), however, I have no fear of downhills (on snow) and relish going as fast as possible. It’s the commitment to standing on one leg at speed where there is a problem.

I always do my interval workouts up an incline or hill because if I do them on the flat I feel like my skis are getting ahead of me and I’m unstable.
 
I am wondering if my rollerskiing is getting in the way of going fast on skis and how I might work with what I have to get faster?

A: It’s difficult to know what the issue is without actually seeing you, so we’ll give you a couple of ideas based on some common difficulties.

First, is it possible that your rollerskis have wheels which are too fast, or are out of alignment? It’s definitely hard to be comfortable if you’re on blazing fast rollerskis. We saw that when Jennie Bender and Brian Gregg hopped on some really, really, really fast inline skate wheels and bearings right before the North Shore Rollerski Marathon. Both of them are pretty experienced at going fast, but there was bit of a learning curve of how to deal with gradual downhills feeling like 10% grades. It’s also hard to feeling copacetic when your left foot is conspiring with your right to throw you into traffic and ditches.

If it’s a balance issue, it may be worthwhile to work with no poles a fair amount, with an emphasis on balancing (read: gliding) for a long time on each ski. Another option is to challenge your balance for 5-15 minutes/session with “V4” — a V2/balance drill where you pole twice on each side of a V2 (once while balanced on one leg, then poling to the other side like a normal V2). It’s definitely worthwhile to spend a short period of time at the beginning of workouts on drills that help you ski technically better — 1:30 in your planned heart rate is fine, but 1:20 in the right zone and :10 figuring out how to ski more efficiently is better.

Another drill that we have used working on agility/comfort on rollerskis is a short agility session — skiing figure-eights, slaloms, small circles, etc. You often find yourself getting into somewhat sketchy body positions doing these while going relatively slowly — so if/when you find yourself getting into those positions going relatively quickly, at least you have an idea of what to do to save yourself.

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