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 April 29, 2010: Volume 10, Number 32
Max VO2 Intervals
Timing the length?
Dear SkiPost,
In doing maximum intensity intervals of say 3 minutes I start with a heart rate of around 100 or 120 and struggle mightily to bring my heart rate up to 175 or 180 in just 3 minutes, so that only a fraction of the 3 minutes is actually spent at goal. (my observed max is 186) Naturally after I'm at the third or fourth interval its a bit easier but still only a part of what I'm counting as the 3 minutes is spent near maximum heart rate. Is that correct or should one be spending the whole 3 minutes at goal and not even count the time leading up to it?
Thanks, EM

This is a very common question.
I think the first step is to look at the overall goal of VO2 max intervals.  I am going to call upon Dr Sue Dobson's (former head exercise physiologist for the US Ski Team) explanation and general assessment of why we do VO2 max intervals.  She states that the aim is to stimulate a steady state at a maximal load.  The idea is to maximize time at the appropriate load.  Max stroke volume is the key to max VO2.  Max stroke volume cannot be challenged at less than max load, so time must be spent at maximum to improve max stroke volume and max VO2.
It is important to look at the overall perspective of what is happening to the body when we do such intervals.  Technical and neuromuscular adaptations happen simultaneously as well.  Keep a strong sense of perceived effort to assist with improving pace and technical form.  Monitoring your heart rate can be an asset or a liability depending on how you use this information.  It is critical to focus attention on your pace and perceived exertion and utilize the heart rate monitor to provide valuable feedback.  The heart rate monitor should not dictate your training however.

It generally takes the heart rate about 1.5 to 3 minutes to stabilize.  It is possible to build up to a max heart rate quicker, but excessively high lactate accumulation will occur.  This is counter-productive.  Therefore the general length for max VO2 intervals is between 3 and 6 minutes in length.  This develops a balance between allowing the body to ramp up to achieve maximum stroke volume and not too long that you need to slow the pace to lower than a max stroke volume pace.  

This heart rate lag is also witnessed when training effort is decreased after the interval.  The ramp-up of the heart rate during intervals is individual.  The ramp-down of the heart rate after exercise is dependent on the individual and the individual's present fitness.  A high level of fitness will allow for a more rapid recovery rate.  Other variables can affect this - for example altitude and hydration.  Altitude, for example, will require more recovery time between intervals.

I encourage you to keep an eye on pace and effort of each interval.  The goal is to maintain the same distance each interval or possibly go further each interval. Focus on strategies that will improve your pace, yet maintain the same intensity (heart rate or lactate).  For example, modify technique or cadence.  Your heart in combination with the pace can provide valuable feedback as to whether the modifications improved your performance.  Also watch your heart rate recovery rate between intervals.  Are you fully recovering?  Remember there are numerous reasons why this is changing.  A decrease in recovery rate may mean an improvement in performance or the simple fact that less lactate was produced in the last interval.  Less lactate could mean better biomechanics or more consistent pacing.  An increase in heart rate may display inconsistent pacing or dehydration to name just a couple of possibilities.

Remember that heart rate monitoring is a means to monitor, but certainly not the "ends."  There are numerous debates questioning whether muscle fatigue dictates heart rate or heart rate dictates muscle fatigue.  The debates between the traditional studies by AV Hill on monitoring VO2 versus the more contemporary studies by Dr Tim Noakes on the Central Governor Theory (brain and nervous system) are on-going.  The reality is that both compliment one another and ONLY looking at heart rate for your training will likely stifle performance more than enhance it.  However, using heart rate as a tool and keeping heart rate in context to the numerous parameters that can affect performance can enhance performance.

In short, do intervals that are 3-6 minutes in duration with complete recovery.  The pace should be such that your first interval is as fast as your last.  
Bryan Fish, CXC Team Vertical Limit Head Coach
Get more CXC expertise at the Summer Camps and year long Academy. More info below and through these links.
CXC Camps Info                 CXC Academy Info

US Cross-Country Ski Team 
 Vision 2011
by Head Coach Chris Grover
Every since the 2010 season came to an end, we have been hard at work creating our annual strategic plan and detailed plans regarding competition calendars, training camps, Team nominations, etc, as well as having discussions with coaches and athletes around the country.   I thought it would be appropriate to share the vision the staff and I have for the coming season.   I hope it sheds some light on what we are up to and why we are excited about our overall progress and outlook for future progress.
Team Nominations
Recently we published our list of seven athletes that we have nominated to the U.S. Ski Team.  This is smaller than in previous years, but I will explain why this works at this point in our development as a ski nation.  2010 nominations
A Team: Kris Freeman, Andy Newell, Kikkan Randall, Morgan Arritola, Liz Stephen  B Team: Noah Hoffman, Simi Hamilton
We acknowledge that there are many very talented ski racers in this country that have not been nominated to the Team this spring.  Beyond that, there are many talented ski racers that are not being re-nominated to the U.S. Ski Team this spring.  Just because an athlete is not nominated or re-nominated to the U.S. Ski Team for a given season does not mean that any of the staff has any less respect for their abilities.  Making some teams some years and not making these teams on other years is part of the athlete development process.  It is a natural process that reflects the very nature of development.  There will be big improvements during some seasons and big disappointments during other seasons.  Given this process of development, the key is to provide a structure that allows athletes to move on and off teams depending on how they are performing and what their needs are at a given moment.  This is why we are maintaining the nature of our teams and, more importantly,
the structure of our athlete development pipeline.
The Small Team
Every athlete who is being nominated to the U.S. Ski Team this year has something in common.  They are on the path to winning a medal.  This medal could from the World Cup, World Championship or Olympic Winter Games, but they are on this path.  If we graph these athletes' ages versus their FIS points and plot those graphs against the progress of the best cross country skiers in the world, we can see that they are on the path.  Will all seven of these athletes still be on this path at the end of this coming season?  Hopefully, but the chances are not good.  Will there be other athletes that will  emerge and show they are on path?  Most likely.  For this reason alone, we must keep U.S. Ski Team funding more fluid.  We need to be able to get the fastest U.S. skiers at a given moment in the season to the right races.  We have done a pretty good job of this in the past, but we can do better.

Beyond this, our U.S. Ski Team athletes need to have something else in common.  They need to be "All In".  If we are going to support them with valuable resources, they need to demonstrate that they are fully committed to reaching their potential.  These athletes need to take advantage of every camp and appropriate competition that is offered to them.  They need to have strong ties to their club programs.  They need to be working on a daily basis with their club coach and/or a U.S. Ski Team coach.  This is the only way to keep them developing as quickly as their European counterparts.  This is the best way that we know to keep them on the path.

Our athletes need to be talented, they need to be racing fast, and they need to be committed to doing everything possible to be the best cross country ski racers they can be.  Of course we recognize that there are many other talented cross country ski racers in this country that do not fit into this model.  There are many great developing skiers that are still in high school.  We have many high-quality skiers currently attending college and participating in NCAA ski racing.  And we have many mature athletes that are excelling within the club structure in their home communities.  This is healthy.  Together, all of these athletes, as well as those named to the U.S. Ski Team, comprise the overall Athlete Development Pipeline.

The number of athletes on the U.S. World Cup Team and the U.S. Continental Cup Team in 2010-11 is small, but it will grow in the coming years as more and more athletes fit the above criteria.  But most importantly, the number of the athletes that make up our current Athlete Development Pipeline is significant.
The Role of the U.S. Ski Team
What is the role of the U.S. Ski Team and the USSA?  Our role is to provide a service to the community.  We need to run quality competitions that are refereed by trained professionals; properly insured, timed, and scored.  We need to provide excellent coaches' and officials' education at a national level.  We need to provide a national Athlete Development Pipeline.  We need to run well conceived and implemented national level training camps that give our best athletes, whether on the U.S. Ski Team or not a chance to push each other and to learn from each other.  We need to field teams at high-level international competitions and we need to provide world-class support to the athletes at these competitions.  In a nutshell, you could say that the role of the U.S. Ski Team is to do the things the clubs cannot do.

The Role of the Clubs

Building a Bridge -
    More Europa Cup Competitions = Improved Competition Pipeline
The Athlete Development Pipeline
The Coaches' Education Pipeline
We will have a small U.S. Ski Team this coming season, but as I pointed out, we are only one piece of this community-wide endeavor to create a world-class cross country ski racing nation.  If we focus only on the role that the U.S. Ski Team can play in this endeavor, we will miss the bigger picture that is being created by the athletes, coaches, officials, parents, and clubs.  We have a lot going for us.  We have a strong competition calendar that now will be more complete than ever.  We have a clear Athlete Development Pipeline which can take a J2 skier from a national camp to an Olympic podium, and we are continuing to build our Coaches' Education program.
In all of these tasks, we need your input and your help.  The only way we can be successful and realize our vision is if we work together.  We are more confident than ever that we can do this.
Rudy RX Direct

In recent years, more and more athletes needing prescription performance eyewear have discovered and embraced Rudy Rx Solutions making Rudy Project one of the fastest growing Rx Sport solutions companies in the world. Rudy Project has certainly shaken things up lately offering a wide array of Performance and Casual sunglasses that can easily be Rxed. And starting this year, Rudy offers a wide array of ophthalmic frames for stylish casual wear. Each solution has different benefits to meet the needs for a wide array of athletes and activities. Click hear to examine the Rudy RX solutions and get yoru great SkiPost Discount.

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Why is Spring the best time for Stonegrinding?


Spring is perhaps the best time to get your skis services and stoneground for two reasons.
1) You do not need your skis now, and the stonegrinders and not rushed, so both can be patient and get the grinding done right.
2) By getting your skis ground and then prepped for summer storage your skis can have soft wax penetrate their bases all summer. Keep soft wax on your fresh bases all summer and your skis will be saturated with wax next fall.

Below we feature some of the most respected names in Nordic Stone Grinding and Ski Service in both US and Canada. 


Andy at SkiPost

Wisdom, Value, Selection
Wisdom: We know our product, we know our skiers. We can suggest the best ski and the right grind for your ski and your needs...
WorldCup skiers and Weekend Warriors, National Champions and High School Captains, Birkie Champions and Barnebirkie Moms. 
Value: We have offered ski base services over the lifetime of our store, over 20 years. Before grinding, Brian Knutson hand peeled ski bases until his fingers were blistered. Our Montana Stone Grinds make skis fast, for us the owners and for our employees and for YOU, all at a fair price.
Selection: We offer the best selection of ski equipment and services. Just visit us!  You not only get what you need but as importantly,  you need what you get. 
Need More info?  Visit our Mlps, MN Store
email or call 877-472-4327
or our web site GearWest Ski Services 

FinnSisu offers presision stonegrinding on our Wintersteiger Micro 1
Stonegrinder. We do stonegrinding year-round. Some of our customers
include members of the U.S. Olympic Nordic and Biathlon teams, members from all of the major trade teams, many of the top collegiate XC ski programs around the country, as well as many high school teams in
Minnesota and Wisconsin. Bring or ship in your skis today and see what a difference FinnSisu stonegrinding can make. FinnSisu is located in St. Paul, MN but we service skis from throughout the country.
For more information: call 651-645-2443 email 
or visit our web page  Finn Sisu
Boulder Nordic Sport stone grinds bring World Cup Service to everyone. The biggest upgrade you can make to skis is the appropriate stone grind, and BNS grinds dominate the competition. BNS's proprietary structures, knowledge of racing conditions across North America, experience working with athletes, and cross-country specific Tazzari stone grinding machines produce skis that are fast right off of the grinder. Zach Caldwell and BNS have developed structure patterns specifically for North American snow which differs dramatically from European and Scandinavian snow where most grind patterns are developed. There is a reason that almost every elite skier in the US chooses BNS grinds; see for yourself what an amazing difference they can make. Details on the stone grinding process, simplified BNS grind menus, work order forms and instructions on preparing skis for grinding are available at: Boulder Nordic Sport 
BNS Boulder, CO 720-227-9400
BNS East Portland, ME 207-541-7438
Gatineau Nordique Sport
Gatineau Nordique Sport is located in Old Chelsea, Quebec, Canada near the Gatineau Park, the site of the Gatineau Loppet (formerly Keskinada). Seeing that the park experiences all types of snow conditions over the course of a year that are encountered in Canada (except manmade snow), it makes for an ideal location to test grinds that work well across Canada. My business includes stone grinding, heatbox treatment and ski testing. I use the Tazzari RP-23 machine for all the stone grinding. The retail of ski products is left to the very well established stores in the Ottawa, Gatineau area. I am open for business, on demand, year around.
Call me 819-483-1623
email me 
Check out the grind menu, etc. at Gatineau Nordique Sport
Trail Sports
Trail Sports is situated at the Canmore Nordic Centre and has a specialized in grinding cross country skis since 1996. We have ground skis for the Canadian Cross Country and Biathlon teams and our long experience with our Wintersteiger machine has allowed us to developed the expertise to offer the best possible grinds. By never grinding metal edge skis we have ensured there are no metal filings to tear the base of your racing skis. Please let us help you and your skis
email us call at 403.678.6764 
or visit our web site at Trail Sports 
Bjorn Arvness 

Bjørn Arvness has passed away. He has been fighting cancer for some time. A Norwegian who won the American Birkie in 1977 Birkie 55K in 1977 with a time of 3:00:03.44. He and a friend also were the first to ski the race on a single pair of skis. In recent years he has been conducting an early season seniors training program at Rustad Lodge in Sjøsjøen, Norway. The ski world and his many friends will miss him. His funeral will be later this week. Flowers have been sent on behalf of the The Birch Leggings Club, the American Birkebeiner, and American cross-country ski friends. Norwegian article on Bjorn can be found at the following links. article Norwegian Birkie Article

CXC Camps and Academy
CXC Camps 
Central Regional Elite Grop (REG) Camp (July 3rd - July 9th)
 Birkie Junior Technique Camp (July 26th - July 29th)
Birkie One-Day Junior Technique Camp - NEW! (July 26th)
Birkie Masters Open Camp (July 30th - August 1st)
CXC Woman's Camp (August 13th - August 15th)
CXC Academy
This season Matt Liebsch (the winner of the 2009 American Birkebeiner and Top 30 World Cup finisher) will provide a duplicate of his training log, comments, and notes that corresponds with one week of each training period.  This, along with running tips, bike workouts, and narratives by other top-level Elite athletes makes the third installment of CXC Academy better than ever!

As you might imagine, there are many different applications for this type of open-ended coaching tool.  Some people who used CXC Academy include: 32 coaches from all different levels, 31 High School skiers, 44 Citizen Racers, 5 members of the US Adaptive Ski Team, 5 Elite Skate Wave Birkie Skiers, 15 Wave 1 Skate Birkie Skiers, 43 Wave 2 Skiers, 24 Wave 3 Skiers, 25 Wave 4 Skiers, 15 Wave 5 Skiers, 12 Wave 6 Skiers, 3 Wave 7 Skiers, 1 Wave 8 Skier, and 3 Wave 9 Skiers.  As the numbers indicate, there is something for everyone in CXC Academy, and we will be posting new information throughout the entire 2010/2011 season to help you get the most out of year-round ski training. CXC Academy Info

Mountain Bike Biathlon
 West Yellowstone

The West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation (WYSEF) invites all mountain bikers and biathetes to register for the Mountain Bike Biathlon held at the Rendezvous Ski Trails on June 26, 2010. Everyone is welcome and no shooting experience is required.  A safety clinic, practice session, and loaner equipment is available for novices.  Prizes, fresh air, and lots of fun await. More information can be found at

About SkiPost

Cross-Country skiing's community lodge. Where knowledge and stories are shared. The goal of SkiPost is to make the sport of Cross-Country skiing easier and more enjoyable for all who choose to participate. If you have questions on Cross-Country Skiing see or email us at

Enjoy Winter,
Andrew Gerlach
Director - SkiPost

Justin Easter
Editor - SkiPost
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