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Does it work? Treadmill Testing...

Mon, Oct  23, 2006 - By Pete Vordenberg -

Does it Work?

Treadmill Testing...


TT test cook da bulls.jpg

Chris Cook.


TT test set up.jpg



TT test kikko kills.jpg

Kikkan Randall.


TT test an gonna hurl.jpg

I think he's gonna hurl!  Newell puts the test to the test.


TT test blur.jpg

Morgan Arritola - 16mph.


TT test bird up.jpg

Kris Freeman.


TT test cleanup crew.jpg

Cleaning blood from the mill.

Here are some results from the testing. Look them over carefully to see in what ways improvements were made and in what ways we failed to improve, or maintain improvement.

Skier A: 

May 2005 May 2006 October 2005 October 2006
MPH Lactate MPH Lactate MPH Lactate MPH Lactate
8 2.40 8 1.92 8 0.64 12 0.96
13 4.28 16 3.88 17 4.96 18 4.52


Here notice the increase in speed at similar lactates. Also notice the improvement from year to year even from May to May, but also from October to October.

Skier B: 

October 2005 May 2006 October 2006
Work at 1mmol Work at 1mmol Work at 1mmol
11mph None 12.1 mph
Work at 4mmol Work at 4mmol Work at 4mmol
16.2 mph 15.9 mph 18.7mph

This is another way to see something similar. The work this skier does is the speed. At 1mmol the skier could ski at 11mph last October. This May this skier could not ski at 1mmol. This is a decrease in low end fitness. However in October this year this skier could ski at 12.1mph at 1mmol lactate.

At threshold last October this skier was skiing 16.2mph. This October this skier was skiing 18.7mph. This skier did the max portion of the test at 18mph since they didn’t reach threshold until over 18mph (skier eventually got up to 20mph). In Oct 2005 this skier did the max portion at 16mph.

Skier C:

October 2005 October 2006
MPH Lactate (mmol) MPH Lactate (mmol)
8 1.00 10 0.64
12 1.38 12 0.80
16 2.96 16 1.20
18 4.88 18 2.32
20 N/A 20 6.12

Here is an example of improvement from one year to the next at all intensities. Note the speeds and lactates. This skier (like skier B) also passed through threshold at high 18mph and made it through a stage at 20mph. 

This protocol has been used by other teams for many years without this difficulty, but we have truly maxed out this test. By reaching 20mph and even 16mph we are starting to tax a skier’s neuromuscular ability at such a level that they cannot reach their cardiovascular limits. We have learned a lot about the skiers up through threshold but over a short period of time (2 years) they have outgrown this protocol and where we were learning more at above threshold intensities last year this year we were not successful at learning much over threshold – and so we must change our testing methods. Boo-yah. 

Things we have learned. 

  • Buy the ticket, take the ride.   The results you get result from the training you do.  
  • Use it or Lose it.   If you don’t keep up the training you lose the gains you’ve made, and fast.  
  • If you want to ski fast you have to ski train.   Ski training must be specific both in mode and intensity.   Every week all year round must include ski training – perhaps less in the spring but never none.  
  • Train at the right intensities.   To make specific adaptations the stress must be specific to the desired adaptation.   See: “Rules of Fight Club” article.  
  • Adapt or die.   Adaptation is what training is aimed to accomplish, at the same time philosophy and strategy must adapt to in order to continue to elicit an adaptation.   Embrace the things that are working, get rid of the things that are not working.   Stick to your goals but do not stay a course that is not leading to the desired outcome.  
  • One thing we know is that only ski racing is a perfect test for how well training has gone.   Our aim is to improve from year-to-year as well as within the season.   So we are glad to see improvement over last October and believe we will not find our top form for the year until we are well into the ski season.

Train hard, rest well and enjoy the process.

Be the Pig.  The pig gives everything.

(images by the whole crew.)

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