Treadmill Training Simulates Snowless Skiing
Posted January 27, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
LAKE PLACID — It's race day in Lake Placid. One of the cross country skiiers on deck is Eric Tremble of Saint Lawrence University, who may have an edge on the rest of the field.
Eric is 19-years-old and is on the USA Junior Biathalon team. He's benefitted the last three years from some of the most advanced physical screening available.
It's the world's largest treadmill designed to simulate the cross-country skiing portion of the biathalon. Hoses, gadgets and gizmos measure how well Eric's body works as a machine.
There's a special focus on measuring lactates, the fuel for your muscles. Sports physiologist Dr. Ken Rundell explains that when functioning aerobically, the body uses lactate at fuel.
Blood samples are taken to measure Eric's lactate content, as well as his body's ability to carry energy to cells. Top athletes are better lactate machines. They also maintain their training zones.
Training zones or workout intensities best prepare an athlete for competition. An intense workout isn't best for Eric's body.
"It turns out I was training right at threshold or above," Eric says, "And it was too much intensity."
Your body burns lactate, and that leaves residue. When you work too hard, that residue backs up in your body faster than it can be removed. That makes you tired. Now Eric trains differently, gearing his body for peak performance at the right time.
For all this testing of the human machine, there's one thing that can't be measured, the human mind. It's still tough to measure guts.
"Some people have all the physical tools to be a world champion," Dr. Rundell explains, "and they never quite get there."
From the lab to the tundra, preparing the body with science is the way to overcome the competition. When your body is ready, your mind is also better prepared for raceday.