Training Recommendation for Master Skiers

by Ian Harvey

This recommendation is specifically meant for master skiers.

One thing that I have noticed when out skiing is that most master skiers seem to go out and ski “at their pace”, which is generally medium-hard, for their workout and then go home. They then repeat this every time they ski. The question that I have for those who are doing this is if you are happy with your overall ski experience or would you like to be faster and have a more diverse skiing experience? Some might simply answer, “I’m happy doing it this way even though I understand that it won’t make me faster or fitter”. If that’s the case, then of course there’s not much more to say except for “enjoy!”

This practice of doing the same medium-hard type thing every day yields basically no improvement at all and overall is an extremely poor training plan if the goal is to become a faster fitter easier skier. Furthermore, based on what I have seen, most skiers generally ski this way to fatigue in an effort to get the most out of their workout. This also leads to overtraining symptoms and injury despite the fact that the potential reward for this training activity is very low. (In the risk reward ratio, this type of training is high risk and low reward).

When training is differentiated each day such that different systems are worked, the benefits become readily apparent.

Generally doing this brings more satisfaction, the skier feels better in general with more energy and less fatigue, and there is a clear marked improvement when compared to the “every day medium-hard model”.

Everyone trains different amounts, but as a general rule, if a person is trying to get faster, there should be a workout that involves intervals (intensity), another with specific strength (such as skating without poles, double poling, etc.) or sprints (multiple 15 second bursts that not only give an athlete speed and coordination, but also is a superb specific strength workout), and workouts that are long and slow which are designed to improve efficiency.

Let’s say one intensity workout and one sprint/strength workout a week are done. Sometimes another intensity workout would want to be added but otherwise, the rest of the workouts should be long and easy. I think we are all pretty good at designing intensity workouts and strength/speed workouts. It seems to me that we are really bad at planning and executing long easy workouts as strange as that might sound. I say this based on my observation of master skiers throughout the winter.

I recommend using a heart rate monitor. Try your best to determine your maximum heart rate.

Within the realm of master skiers, I have found that max heart rates can vary greatly. Also, if a skier only does long slow distance training, the max heart rate will be very low compared to after the same athlete does a couple months of hard intervals which will restore the body’s ability to go hard. This means that, depending on what the skier is doing for training, the max heart rate is not a static number, but needs to be reevaluated now and then.

Set your heart rate monitor to beep if you are going harder than you should.

For a long easy workout (any type) I would recommend making about 70% of your max heart rate the ceiling for your long easy workouts (when your monitor beeps telling you to slow down). Pretty much all heart rate monitors enable you to look at your average heart rate at the push of a button during the workout. I monitor this with the goal of keeping my average heart rate at 65% of my maximum heart rate or below. These numbers can be tweaked a bit, but this is the idea. I will go out for a ski or hike with the goal of finishing with my average heart rate below 110 bpm. When I do that, I find that I get everything out of the workout that I was looking for (a training effect that makes me more efficient) and a pleasant experience, but not what I wasn’t looking for (a build up of fatigue). This also makes it possible for people to visit and have nice conversations when doing long easy workouts. This is the way it is supposed to be for us master skiers. The hammerfests should be the exception.

During the dry land training season, for master skiers, I absolutely recommend that the activity for these long easy workouts is not skiing (classic or skate rollerskiing). I think they should be running, cycling, or hiking.

For master skiers to do these workouts on rollerskis means to either go too hard or to ski with poor technique. By poor technique I mean your technique will become very efficient at slow speeds (ie no weight shift, leaning over on a straight leg, etc) and when you try to ski fast again, your technique will impede you greatly. In the winter, you can do these workouts on skis, but find very easy terrain so you can ski with clean technique without going too hard. Save the harder terrain for your harder workouts.

If these very basic training principles are adhered to, it will greatly benefit the skiers’ overall experience if they are looking to feel better during and after workouts, have more fun and satisfaction from skiing, get faster, and feel healthier.

Good luck!

Period Nine of Training for Cross Country Skiing

 

Period Covered: NOVEMBER-DECEMBER

We’re in competition season and we start to get away from maintaining a good endurance base as well as a strength base. Try to maintain quality versus quantity in these two areas.

The volume or the overall load of these two capacities of strength and endurance are actually lower because we’re focusing more of our attention on our intensity and there’s nothing more stressful on the body than actual competition.

We need to lower the volume of both our distance training and our strength. But we need to really make sure that those remain high quality. Almost everything that we do, when it’s endurance-based, is going to be on skis and we’re thinking about efficiency of movement.

That being said, some running, a little bit of running, maybe morning runs, is still a great thing to do to maintain that foot strike. That light plyometric activity will actually make you a better cross-country skier.

Strength training, I don’t want to use the term “maintain our strength”. I would rather say stabilize. But really look at the week – if we’re doing more racing, we’re going to make sure we’re still doing strength on that week but it’s going to be less. Maybe it’s one, one and a half times, maybe two times a week versus on weeks that we’re not actually doing races. Maybe we’re trying to get two to three strength sessions in.

So, look at the week. Make sure they still oscillate and focus on putting your energy in the races but still stabilizing both your endurance and your strength. See you next time.

2018 Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener

Saturday, December 8, 2018: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Elm Creek Park Reserve, Maple Grove, MN

 

Three Rivers Park District is proud to host the Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener on Saturday, December 8, 2018, at Elm Creek Park Reserve which has a 2.5K manufactured snow loop.

Bring your friends and family as Minnesota comes together for the “first ski of the year”. With free skiing, free rentals and free mini-lessons, the Nordic Opener is for skiers and non-skiers of all ability levels. You can join Goldy the Gopher for a ski at 11:30am, watch a Team Sprints Exhibition Race at 2pm or enjoy a wonderful day out on the snow.

The Nordic Ski Opener is free to the public. It is a great event for the entire family with:

  • Free skiing
  • Free lessons
  • Free ski rentals
  • Ski trails for all levels
  • Morning test track for Collegiate, HS & advanced skiers
  • Kids Area
  • Ski demos (All Major Brands)
  • Reps from Ski Resorts and Events
  • Many fun activities
  • Free buffs for the first 2000 attendees!

We look forward to seeing you at Elm Creek Park Reserve on December 9, 2017, in Maple Grove, MN.

Check out the Nordic Ski Opener web site at: https://www.threeriversparks.org/page/minnesota-nordic-ski-opener

Period Eight of Training for Cross Country Skiing

Period Covered: OCTOBER-NOVEMBER

We’re discussing period eight of cross-country ski training. One thing I want to focus on is multi-sport activities. A lot of times, athletes are not just a one-sport individuals, but involved in a couple of different sports.

Our general feedback and philosophy on multi-sport is that having two complementary sports is a great opportunity. Maybe it’s running and skiing or biking and skiing. This is great.

We often find that if you’re competitive, more than two competition seasons are really difficult to actually execute well. The reason why, if you go to a three-competition period of – maybe you’re trying to compete in summer, in fall and in winter. The challenge there is finding adequate recovery and adequate amount of time to fully prepare for each or any of those sports.

So we definitely support a multi-sport activity where you may have two competition seasons. But more than two if you really want to be competitive becomes difficult to both prepare and compete well.

With that being said, as we’re here – right on the cusp of a competition season, basically mid of October all the way into November, is really focused on this competitive season and the reason why I wanted to bring up multi-sport is if you just came off of, for example a running season, one of the things you really want to do is focus on the things you haven’t been doing. OK?

If you’re a runner and you’ve been running, you’ve got plenty of level four training in. But what have you maintained in the upper body? So a lot of the exercises and activities, if you’re multi-sport and coming off of a competitive fall is thinking about, “What haven’t I done? Have I not done enough upper body double pulling?” Then you really need to focus your attention on those sorts of things. Then in that scenario, do more level three training. If you’re purely training for cross-country skiing, then your intensity will purely be based primarily off of level four intervals, bounding, roller skiing, those sorts of activities.

If you’re in either scenario, select the type of terrain appropriate for cross-country skiing, meaning hillier terrain. We really want to focus more of our intensity work on the ups and downs and focusing on how do we get better.

On our distance type training, our endurance training, we’re really starting to focus on efficiency of training. We’re getting on snow hopefully. Whether we’re finding man-made snow loops or we’re getting ourselves into a camp scenario, find those opportunities to get on snow and focus on efficiency of training.

Again, polarized training is really important here. Once we get on snow, that’s an added stress. Make sure your easy days are easy. But they’re easy and you’re skiing with really good, proficient movement. You’re trying to learn how to ski and move faster at a lower intensity.

Strength training maintains stable, really focusing on more complex type strength where we’re actually introducing not only max and not only velocity, but the combination of both in a very ski-specific movement, more single-leg activities and movements that we’re doing specific for the sport.

Recommended Training Regimen For Shorter Races

Q: I ‘m 67, and only race 10-12k races. I am unsure as to how this affects recommended training regimens.

Most information I read seems to be for racers that either do only long races, or both short and long. I suspect that over-distance/over-time training should still be done, but I am not sure how often.

I also am only able to assume that they only need to be about 25% longer than the length of time I typically race. I am also unsure how frequently intense aerobic workouts should be done by people who only race short distances. I assume that they should be done more frequently than is recommended for long distance racers.

So, I’m basically operating on a lot of assumptions and would greatly appreciate any guidance you could provide.

A: You’re correct in assuming that over-distance (OD) training should still be a part of your training. Even World Cup sprinters, who specialize in events that are between 2:30 and 4 minutes long, do large amounts of easy distance, and tend to train 800-900 hours per year.

I’m loathe to give hard-and-fast advice without knowing too much about someone’s training history. That said, regardless of what events you’re racing, I think a good rough guide is to try to get in [per week]:

* 1 very long workout. The length of this is dependent on the individual (age, training history, injury limitations) and/or conditions (shorter when it’s very hot or cold, or if the terrain is very hard).

* 2 strength sessions. Again, this depends on what you need to improve – for all I know, you’re a former powerlifter who’s just learned to ski – but working on core strength and improving the muscles you use while poling is rarely a bad idea.

* 1-2 intensity sessions. As you may have expected, again – this depends on a lot of different things. If it’s spring or summer, you’ll probably focus more on longer, easier intervals around your threshold, and if you’re trying to peak, you’ll focus more on very short and hard intervals. In general, though, I think it’s best to try to keep some touch with intensities close to your race pace.

Based on how much time you have to train and your level of fatigue, I’d fill in the rest of week with easy sessions.

Jason Cork
U.S. Ski & Snowboard

Do you really need to know how to wax skis?

by Openski.ru / Denis Kananen

The discussion about the high cost and health risks of fluoride ski wax, as well as its ban from youth competitions, made me think that this is an absolutely local problem that will never affect amateurs. And I was prompted to this dialogue with an Australian friend of mine, who is mastering his skiing skills in Sakhalin (Russia) being 50 years old, madly in love with skiing – preparing for a marathon in Sapporo.

The dialogue was very interesting. Shane is good at analyzing the information coming from the ski world — the Internet and communication with local skiers. First of all it concerns ski equipment — it’s no joke learning skate skiing at a certain age. But he is interested in all the attributes of a skier.

 

Photo Credit: Openski.ru

He was sure that the preparation of skis is a mandatory skill, like a single-point rental, without which a person with skis can not call himself a skier. He wanted to buy a machine, an iron, scrapers, brushes, paraffins, etc. Imagine his surprise when I told him of my formula for the perfect sliding of skis during races and training.

I have absolutely nothing, just 4 pairs of skis and one is for the first snow. Before each start, three pairs are always ready with powder — I give them to a specialist, 1500-2000 rubles for each. And you shouldn’t grudge money on this!

Before the start, I test-ski all three pairs and choose the best one, I get incredible pleasure from fast skis.

Until the next start I have:
– training skis Karhu Mini, which I give away for preparation very rarely – they’re like slow training rollerskis;
– relatively fast skis, which I used at the last start.

I alternate them during my training. As soon as the time comes to the next start, I give away only one pair for preparation. Before the start, I test-ski on all three pairs and use again the fastest pair.

Sometimes friends were desperate to find quick skis and I give them a pair, which was the second on the roll. And before the Sakhalin marathon, I gave the third pair as well. Thus, they pay for the preparation of these skis.

 

Photo Credit: Openski.ru

In the final analysis, if I had 10 starts in winter, I spend 20 000 rubles on preparation. I have a fast pair on training days and something to choose from on a race day.

Of course, Sakhalin has unique conditions in relation to Europe and the European part of Russia, when all winter just one powder worked well both at 0 and -15, and the snow was almost always fresh and clean. And my skis are directly from the factory, designed for my specifications. But that’s not the point.

Preparation of skis is an important part of both professional and amateur skiing. It’s a huge industry where ambition, money and a bit of magic intertwine. If you are too lazy to bother — you give the preparation of skis to professionals and they get poisoned and spend their time, while you calmly get ready for the race.

But someone likes to prepare the skis, to test, to buy powders, waxes, to spend evenings before the race themselves. No savings, if you count the time spent. But it is a certain fetish, just like among those bicycles that create a custom built bike for themselves from a wheel to spokes on wheels. This is the interest, which is also an important attribute of cross-country skiing, thanks to which people from year to year are engaged in their favorite sport.

So I presented two points of view to Shane. What will be his choice — we’ll see in the winter.

In any case, simplification and standardization are not the path that cross-country skiing should take. Let each producer invent something new, let there be new powders, grip tapes, brushes, etc. We will all have something to discuss, to experience on the track and to spend money on. As soon as there is nothing else to choose from — it will be the beginning of the big end.

Period Seven of Training for Cross Country Skiing

Video Transcript:

One of the things I want to talk about is strength and how we complement strength in the type of a routine where we’re doing a lot of ski-specific activities and high-intensity activities.

Regardless of the fact that we’re doing higher intensity training, we still want to do strength and that strength complements the type of training that we’re doing.

If the majority of your races are December, January, then we really want to focus on velocity-based type intensity or velocity-based strength. Another complement we can do is to blend the two and it’s called complex strength where we do a lift or we would do maybe like a squat with weight and then immediately after we do vertical jump and that becomes a super set or a complex strength where we do something that’s loading, loading of the weight as well as then taking the weight away and then doing something velocity-based.

Intensity during this time again needs to become more and more specific to the sport. If you’re doing more double leg activities, now we want to become more single leg activities and more specific movements to the sport. That includes in both intensity, distance, as well as strength training. It becomes very specific to the activity.

In recovery, this is a great opportunity to maintain or stabilize our full body strength and full body movement. So, think about being creative here, doing activities such as yoga or getting massaged. Those sorts of activities become really, really important as the intensity increases.

In endurance, because we’re doing higher intensity, more Level 4 intervals, more ski-specific, the volume may drop a little bit.

We’re focusing mostly on very specific activities of endurance but the actual overall volume starts to reduce as we focus more attention on the competition season. See you next period.