Base Training = Summer Training

by Andy at SkiPost

If you wanted to think about one thing that would likely give an improvement in your racing – it would be the addition of intervals. Many/most people go medium hard every day. They push their effort and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of their workout. But by going medium hard every day they never have the energy to go very hard. They get very good at going medium hard but can not increase their pace in a race. If they would learn to go easy on easy days and very hard on very hard days they would improve their race day performance much easier than by going medium hard every day.

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Below is more details on what to think about in your Summer base training. Base training is so called because it is the base upon which later phases of training are built.


Aerobic endurance is the number one component of cross-country ski racing, and it is the component of ski racing which takes the most time to develop. It is the primary aim of the base training period.

Example: 2hour rollerski or run split between Level 1 and 2 or a 3 hour bike on hilly terrain split between Level 1 and 2. Please note: about 80% of all training is endurance training. The rest is strength, intervals and races, etc.


General: Power and strength-endurance are built on max strength. General strength develops overall tendon and muscle strength necessary to support latter forms of training. General strength is the focus through the spring and summer.

Specific: Specific strength becomes more a focus later in the summer and into the fall once a solid base of general strength has been established.

Example: Endurance session using only double pole over gradual terrain.    


Most intensity should be below the lactate threshold early in the summer. Anaerobic training such as speed is good, but hard aerobic and anaerobic intervals should be kept to a minimum early on.


Speed training during the base period should not be done at a hard intensity (short bouts of speed with full recovery are recommended) and should be oriented toward using correct movements at race speeds – not at moving at an unrealistic pace.

Example: Incorporate 10 20 second bursts of speed into your endurance training.

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