Muscle Fatigue

QUESTION:
I’ve never been a fast climber and am much stronger on flat terrain in both skiing and other sports (like biking). This year I competed in both the Birkie and the West Yellowstone Rendezvous 50km skate races (starting in wave 1 of both races). I paced myself well in both races, but in the last 10 k of both races, my muscles burned on the climbs and generally left me exhausted. I had no problems with muscle fatigue on the flat sections or any short hills requiring burst of power in the later portions of these races. I’m wondering how I can adjust my training to generally improve my climbing ability, and in particular to stave off muscle fatigue on hills later in a marathon.

 

ANSWER:

I’d approach it on three fronts, technique, strategy/pacing, training.

Technique, when you come to the uphill, stand up taller to help get your hips forward over your feet.  This will make it easier to take smaller skate steps, moving more quickly from foot to foot. This keeps the skis moving. You won’t get bogged down as easily, and will be able to keep the skis gliding with less effort. Also standing up with your upper-body helps you breathe more easily.

Strategy / Pacing, this has to do when and where in the hill you put your energy. Focus putting energy where you get the most speed in return. Use your energy to maintain your momentum as far up the hill as possible, but then back off in the meat of the hill. Stand up taller, breathe and settle in to a relaxed rhythm. Then a few strides from the top, over the top and a few strides down the other side put in a bit more energy to build momentum through the transition and into the next piece of terrain.

Training, lastly and probably most importantly, put these tactics into practice.  Training with focus helps improve those things, but also helps you be in the zone while you are training – more focus on what you are doing, more improvement and a deeper enjoyment. Also, working on the hills with a specific focus will help you both physically and mentally to take them on.

Pete Vordenberg
for SkiPost

 

Should I skip a local race in light of upcoming Birkie?

Q: I have a local race this Sunday which is all up. It’s level 4 the entire way. I would like to get the race in, but since the Birkie 29k is only 5 days later might I be not recovered for the Birkie, which is more important than our local series.

A: Is the Aspen Race the very best prep for the Kortie? Probably not, the Kortie will be a bit more user friendly this year, starting at Double O and finishing in Downtown Hayward. You won’t have quite the treacherous unrelenting terrain of the trails north of OO, but you will still have many punchy climbs and have to deal with the brute of a climb after Highway 77. So, practicing some climbing 5 days out is not such a bad thing.

I think the bigger questions are:

1. Will you be able to reasonably recover from the Aspen Race with travel to the Midwest in the 5 day period.

2. If you are only 95% recovered and as a result go a few % slower for the Kortie, will you still have a great experience at the celebration of the circus that is the Birkie?

If your answer to both questions is no and you might be kicking yourself about it, then you better skip the Aspen Race. If on the other hand your Kortie result is secondary to the whole experience of being at the Birkie and you think the Aspen Race is going to be a cool challenge, – go for it!!!

16-Week Birkie Training Plan with TrainingPeaks

Available through TrainingPeaks, the American Birkebeiner training plan builds from early November, and concludes on the Birkie, February 24th, 2018.

Log your workouts, plan and analyze your training.
Accessible on iPhone, Android, or the web.

 


We’ve come up with a training plan to meet the needs of anyone who puts a premium on Birkie Fever.

The plan is designed for multi-sport master and citizen skiers interested in participating in the American Birkebeiner and other marathon events.


COACHES’ NOTES

Complementing each workout are coaches’ notes that provide tips, encouragement, advice and other additional suggestions to consider implementing during your training.


Current CXC Academy members, take 50% off your purchase. Message support@cxcacademy.com for a promo code.

PURCHASE TRAINING PLAN

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2018 Masters World Cup

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!

The Loppet Foundation is thrilled to host the 2018 Masters World Cup, taking place January 19 – 26, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The World Cup event is open to men and women skiers of all abilities who are 30 years of age and older (as of December 31, 2017).

More than 1,000 racers from over two dozen countries will come to compete in up to three individual events, choosing between skate or classic. There is also a relay competition midweek.

Since 1980, the Masters World Cup has been the annual championship of the best Masters skiers from around the word. In 2017 the event was held in Klosters (CHE) and in 2019, Beitostolen (NOR) is the official host. We look forward to seeing you this January in Minnesota!

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Busting Myths About Cramping

The VeloNews Fast Talk podcast is your source for the best advice and most interesting insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist.

For decades (almost a century, in fact), we’ve been told that cramping is caused by electrolyte imbalance or bad hydration. But new science suggests that this probably isn’t why you cramp during exercise.

So why do you cramp? It all comes down to something called altered neuromuscular control.

Take a listen: https://soundcloud.com/user-562497687/fast-talk-ep-26-busting-myths-about-cramping

Swedish Study on the Effects of Drafting and Air Resistance in Nordic Ski Racing

MITTUNIVERSITY in Ostersund has been investigating a study on the effects of drafting and air resistance in Nordic ski racing. Researchers are trying to figure out how much energy and power cross-country skiers can save when they tuck in behind other skiers. Researchers and athletes have reason to believe this can make a huge difference in mass start races.

An ongoing research study is looking to see how much energy and power can be saved by skiing behind others. “Drafting” is not a new concept, and proper drafting techniques are commonly practiced in cycling, however, to date cross country ski sports scientists have yet to prove its relevancy for Nordic racing.

“I absolutely believe that you can benefit from the study, since you can not only focus on how much you can save on skiing behind but also for the one in the very front – how can I optimize my race to give as little benefit as possible to those behind, says Mats Ainegren.

“We want to look at different speeds, because the air resistance increases at higher speeds, and then we want to see what speed has a significant impact,” says the associate professor of sports technology, Mats Ainegren.

The study called for 10 men and 10 women of elite and semi-professional racers, and will release the results in the fall of 2017, just in time for the 2017-2018 race season.

“It’s no news that it’s easier to ski behind, but I think, on the other hand, that you can develop the technology to be first and not loose anything. Sometimes it difficult to be second and third, – so the trick is to find the right method.” – says Jerry Ahrlin.


Source: SVT Sport

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Thoughts on Nutrition When Preparing for a Marathon or Long-Distance Race Event or “Carbo Loading Strategy”

Q: My question is really about what/how to eat the week before, night before, and morning of a marathon to ensure my body is as energized as possible. I know carbs are important and also know that a certain ratio of carbs, protein, and fat are required to help your body optimize the benefits of each component. So, I’d be interested in hearing what you have to say about how to eat for race prep, and maybe some examples.


A: When preparing for a marathon or long-distance race event, nutrition can certainly be a limiting factor. Muscle glycogen is the primary fuel athletes use in training and racing. Carbohydrate loading (the infamous, “carbo-load”) strategy has been shown to enhance marathon and long-distance performance by preventing premature fatigue.

For a well-trained endurance athlete, tapering exercise in the final days (36-48 hours’ pre-marathon) while maintaining adequate carbohydrate intake (10-12 g/kg/day) is a simplistic method for using nutrition to your advantage.

Sports nutritionists recommend that endurance athletes consume adequate carbohydrates to promote restoration of muscle glycogen between training sessions, for ideal recovery. Basically-make sure you are eating carbohydrates between workouts for recovery as well as to fuel your next workout. In general, endurance athletes should be sure that 60-65% of their daily calories come from high-quality carbohydrate sources, 12-15% from protein, and 25-30% from fat.

For a marathon (or longer) event, the last meal should be completed at least 3 hours before the start of the race to ensure that timing of energy release is ideal, and to avoid any gastro-intestinal problems. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates (bread, oatmeal, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes) However, some easily digestible fat and protein sources are also needed to help the carbohydrates supply a steady release of energy to the blood. A good example would be a bagel with nutbutter or oatmeal with nuts or butter, or nutbutter, giving you the carbohydrates and fat source.

Keep in mind, however, it is important to be able to supply adequate amounts of high quality foods without causing disturbances to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. A pre-competition meal should not stray from foods that you normally eat in your everyday habitual diet.

Carbohydrate drinks have been loved and hated throughout the years. One camp claims that sports drinks before a race cause insulin to spike, and then drop during the race causing a “crash”. Studies more recently show these shifts in blood glucose are to minimal to cause a problem.

Hydration is of special concern for athletes who are exercising for extended periods of time. It’s not uncommon to forget to hydrate when training and racing, however, it is very important to have a hydration strategy in place prior to a race event and to practice regular and consistent hydration while training.

Be careful not to exceed ~700-800 ml per hour during a marathon, as high volumes have been shown to present intolerance problems.  It is key to have a hydration strategy to consume ~150-200 ml periodically throughout the race. If you know the course beforehand, look at the sections of the race profile where you can take a drink effortlessly.


Karmen M. Whitham
CXC Development Coach
karmen.whitham@cxcskiing.org

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