By André Santos
This week we continue to discuss Pro Team Athletes’ favorite workouts, this time with Alexander Panzhinskiy from Team Robinson Trentino, who is a russian Olympic and World Championship medalist and the fastest sprinter at Toblach-Cortina this Saturday.
“My favorite kind of training is an interval session. I like it because it is very close to race pace, but you don't need to use 100% of your power. Also, I like that kind of training because I don't need to go slow and instead I can train my power. This way, during and after intervals, I can get a better feeling about my current shape. I use interval sessions like 3x20 minutes or 6x8 minutes. These longer intervals are great for developing aerobic power, especially for me because I am a sprinter.”
This kind of long intervals are possibly the best weapon that cross country skiers have in order to develop their combination of endurance and power. Especially long distance skiers should use longer intervals because it is so similar to race pace, just like Alexander Panzhinskiy states. When doing this kind of session, it is important to keep the rest periods limited to 2-3 minutes, just a short recovery to drink and relax before starting the next interval, so lactate production keeps on a high level.
It has been shown that 8 minute intervals work best for endurance athletes. Stephen Seiler, an American physiologist based in Norway has studied the training of endurance athletes, and he published a paper showing that 8 minute intervals may be better than longer ones like 16 minutes or shorther ones like 4 minutes. The reason is that 8 minute intervals have proved to develop more Vo2max than 16 minute ones, and produce less lactate than 4 minute, this way leading to a longer time before exhaustion when racing.