Fitness or Technique?

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Fitness or Technique?

Postby UserC » Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:54 pm

I am a self-taught skate skier ... never had a lesson (alpine & telemark instructor).

I just completed a half-marathon and was a little disappointed in my time. I want to be faster next year! Obviously improving my technique and fitness will both help, and I will try to improve both :oops: , but I'm wondering which would have more effect on my speed, which I should focus on?


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Re: Fitness or Technique?

Postby TooHeavy » Tue Mar 15, 2016 5:22 pm

The old saying the big engines win plays out all the time. Work on your fitness for the biggest gains.

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Re: Fitness or Technique?

Postby Magnus Johansson » Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:13 am

If you ski with the right technique you will get the fitness needed.

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Re: Fitness or Technique?

Postby JeffOYB » Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:51 am

With fitness I'd start with fat % first! I find my bodyweight is my main results limiter! 10 lbs too much hurts me worse than less training.

But really I can't imagine skiing with bad technique! I can't see how people endure it. So much waste!

Sure if you have basic solid technique you're good to go. But so many don't! The self-taught skiers I see are TERRIBLE. Some are pretty fast, though -- usually not for long.

If by 'self taught' you mean that you ski with long-time elite skiers and imitate them and they give you advice, then you're fine. There are many paths to the mountain top!

I'm pretty sure that "toilet seat" skating with Frankenstein arms really hurts new skaters. It's a whole different -- WORSE -- experience. Hard to estimate how much time / places they're losing. 25%?

In a field of 100 if you have a fit monster with typical self-taught bad technique I can see them finishing 30-50th. Once they learn how to ski I could see jumping up to 15-20th.
Last edited by JeffOYB on Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fitness or Technique?

Postby Montana » Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:33 am

In more than a few races I've been passed by people going all out with lousy technique. But their big engine gets them through.

But in actuality I'd work on both. Improve your technique with good instruction and definitely improve your fitness level.
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Re: Fitness or Technique?

Postby TooHeavy » Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:45 am

I must clarify my early statement. I would work on my ski specific fitness. There is a big difference between cycling fitness and ski fitness. Cycling is one of the biggest waist of time when it comes to ski training. Your priority should be Roller skiing ,cross country running with poles bounding up hills and also a good ski specific weight training program.
I have seen ski instructors with text book technique that have race results that are miserable. They look pretty but the engine is no good and they are on ski's every day all winter long.
Around hear there was a National team marathon runner that can barely ski but he jumped in a popular loppet and flailed away with very poor technique but still managed a great finishing position due to his great fitness, low weight. Just a good athlete. These kind of people usually get good results in skate technique only they do not have the upper body strength to do well in classic..

Read this for a laugh. ... g-to-lose/

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Re: Fitness or Technique?

Postby skiffrace » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:55 am

I'd like to as a side question: in your opinion, is the technique playing bigger role in skate or classic style?
Or, in other words, in which of these 2 styles superior fitness will mask bad technique better?
For simplicity sake, let's take the waxing out of the equation.

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Re: Fitness or Technique?

Postby TooHeavy » Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:17 pm

I will bite. There is more to classic technique done proper. A fit person can get away with poor technique in skating but in classic if the technique is poor and he has not done the upper body strength work it will still be a disaster.

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Re: Fitness or Technique?

Postby MN Hoser » Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:23 pm

I agree with TooHeavy. Of course both matter, but fitness will take you a long way. I haven't had coaching, so I'm self taught also, but some natural ability and balance go a long ways. A lot of guys kick my butt on rollerskis, but for some reason, I do better on snow. So being a "good glider," "good technique," "a beautiful technician" all really help, but so does a big engine. Being an "energizer bunny" can't be under estimated. Also, the technique will come.

On the classic side....well, that seems to be really technique and strength driven. You need to have a powerful upper body, good technique, and be a good runner.


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Re: Fitness or Technique?

Postby Mark M » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:45 am

For both disciplines it is worth getting the balance and gliding on one ski right. OP seems to have lot of times on fatter skis so there is probably big foundation which can be transferred to xc skiing.

Some drills and exercises:
- ski without poles, works on both classic and skiing.
- skating on fast skis, often beginners have pretty lousy skis and will not learn proper technique. This will require good snow and tracks too.
- plenty of long sessions at low to moderate HR, mixed with some some speed work and strength sessions. Backcountry skiing works well as base builder.

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