Q: We hear so much about the need to do long level 1-2 workouts to build an aerobic base. But like a lot of masters, I have been training/racing for decades and wonder if this training approach is needed, since my aerobic base seems to be pretty well established. And recovery seems to be more difficult every year. Should folks like me focus on shorter, high intensity workouts to maintain speed instead?
A: It all depends on when you want to end your days of racing.
When I was in college my housemate, Erik, had done 10 years of proper training at the highest level starting as a youngster. He was a National team skier for Canada and originally from Norway. For his senior year, and last winter of ski racing, he needed to spend most of his time on his engineering classes and not on training. So he focused on only intervals, speed and pace workouts. While I would go out for 1-3 hours each day, he would go hammer for 45 minutes 3 days a week. By midwinter he gained weight, and looked fat and “out of shape.” But even 10 kg above his best weight with no LSD in 6-8 months he could go out and kill me (and most everyone else) in every race. He could not maintain this interval only training for years but it did serve him well for 1 winter.
If this is your last winter of racing, yes you can likely skip LSD’s and just do intensity. But if you want to race for many more years you need to keep your LSD’s but also focus on intervals and intensity. Most Master skiers or runners do not do enough intensity and do to much Level 3 (sort of hard) every day.
If I were training to race, which I am not, I would do my LSD Sunday, take Monday off, do hardest interval session’s Tuesday night when you should be your most rested. Do easy circuit/strength Wednesday, speed session of some sort Thursday, easy Friday, race/pace ever other Saturday. Yes you can (should?) get a very detailed plan with daily and weekly and monthly advances. But this basic guide can serve you well. Focus one LSD and 2 very hard efforts each week and just use the other days for recovery.
– Andy @ SkiPost
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