One of the most exciting things to come to the Canmore Nordic Centre this year has been a brand-new Rollerski Treadmill. This is not a typical treadmill you would see in a gym, but is an extra-large treadmill that is wide enough to accomodate athletes on rollerskis and is capable of simulating steep uphills up to 20% grade. A lot of media came out to the official launch of the treadmill in September, and you can check out these links for more information about it.
This fall we’ve been taking full advantage of having the treadmill in Canmore by doing several days of testing on it, plus a couple race simulations and several “Max Interval” workouts where we do 6 intervals going uphill at the fastest speed we can maintain for 2.5 minutes. The Max Interval workouts are some of the hardest and most painful workouts I’ve done. When we do intervals outside, there are usually some slight downhills or rolling terrain where we can rest for a second, but on the treadmill there is NO letting up, not even for one ski stride! Outside our coaches can cheer us on and yell at us to go faster, and we can try our best to, but inside we HAVE to go faster or we go flying off the treadmill. Suspended in a harness of course to avoid injury They are challenging workouts, but very satisfying afterwards.
Here are a couple clips of me on the treadmill this fall.
For those of you interested in what else we specifically do for testing on the treadmill, we usually do an Incremental and a Sustainability Test. An Incremental Test starts at a fairly low speed of about 7km/hr and 5% grade, with 1km/hr speed increases every 3 minutes. Throughout the test, our sports physiologist Jess Kryski records our blood lactate level and heart rate, and continues to increase the speed until we are above threshold, meaning we are no longer clearing all the lactic acid from our muscles that we are producing. Then comes the hard part where the speed increases every minute until we can no longer keep up with the treadmill and are forced to let go and dangle in the air from the harness, which is pretty fun in itself.
In the Sustainability Test, we ski at speed that is just above threshold for as long as we can up to a maximum of 30 minutes.