Sunday, June 7, 2009

Best Cool Down – 55/5’s by Matt Liebsch

Matt Liebsch is a member of the CXC Elite cross country ski team and a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BS in Electrical Engineering. He is an Olympic hopeful and had a very successful 2009 season… 3rd Place at US Nationals, Mora Vasaloppet winner and American Birkebeiner Champion. When Matt is not training and racing he is helping out at Gear West or spending time with his wife and one-year-old son.

This past year I have been following a cool-down procedure used by the USST sprinters. I only do this cool-down after lactate acid accumulating workouts. The goal of this specific cool-down is to flush as much lactate out of the muscles as possible so I can recover faster. After I finish my last set of intervals I let my heart rate get back to Level 1 by walking around a bit or if the last interval was really hard, I pass out on the ground. After reaching L1 heart rate I move back into L2 for 10 minutes. Next comes the 55/5’s which involve 55 seconds at sub L1/ recovery pace followed by 5 seconds of all out L5 speed. This super slow pace followed by super fast speed does a wonderful job of squeezing lactate acid out of the muscles and flushing it out of the system.

Some key points of doing this correctly are that the 5 seconds of on-time need to be very hard. It should feel like all the muscles in your body are contracting at maximum. Also, you don’t have to start the 5 second speed from a dead stop. You can workup to high pace and then back down slowly as well… should be around 15 seconds total with the middle 5 seconds being at maximal effort. This buffer in and out of the speed will lessen any chances of injury. Last year I injured my ankle doing 55/5’s via running by starting and stopping too soon. There is a lot of force produced from going 0-100% effort but if you go from 60%-100% you lessen some of that extreme acceleration stress.

Train hard, train smart