Period Six of Training for Cross-Country Skiing


Welcome to period six of training for cross-country skiing.

(September – October ’21)

This is our biggest period of the year. We are going to get after it with both intensity and volume increases. Take advantage of the start of fall and enjoy the changing colors while you are training hard. You will notice this coming week we are going to do a lactate tolerance work out, this work out will be a bit shorter in duration, but very tough. We are also going to transition out of paddling and into other cross training options.

Over the years we have received a fair amount of feedback regarding target races/weeks, and most who responded indicated that the Birkie/Korte was their primary focus event.

Others were looking to “tune up” and race well at either the Noque, Boulder Mountain Tour, or the City of Lakes. With this information, we will plan to work back 6 weeks from the Birkie to be our best. Ideally, 5 weeks out will be a big volume training week for the winter, weeks 6 and 4 should be stout medium weeks for the winter and can include some tune up events. Weeks 3, 2 and race week we will gradually cut back the training volumes and let you get yourself sharp, rested and fresh. If week 3 back is BMT or COL, no worries, just adjust your approach to the event and be careful not to redline to the point of trashing yourself. (In this case, holding back a bit may be a valuable tool to learn better pacing.)

We also had a few responses that target races events like World Masters or the Iceland Marathon. If this is your program, train more weeks of our lead up to the last 6 weeks in either 3 or 4 week blocks (3 week going Medium volume, Big Volume, Recovery, or 4 weeks going Small, Medium, Big, Recovery) and then take our last 6 weeks and put it in so our Birkie/Korte Week (Feb 22-28) lines up with your events.

In order to make the most of this, this next 4 weeks will be our last push of high volume dry-land training (or if we are lucky early on snow season). Let’s build on our good work last month.



Strength training for Period 6 will be a continuation of period 5 in the sense that we are going to add more plyometric based strength while maintaining lower but more intense repetitions. Plyometric strength has benefits in creating more explosive power that will be important on skis during the race season. With all plyometric exercises, it is important to make the landings soft, and the jump powerful.

Be connected, balanced and precise in all your dry-land movements!

Finally—if you are not already doing so—it is a great idea to keep a daily training log (see attached sample in your training plan) to keep track of what you did and to make essential connections between your training and the way your body responds. If you see that the elevated work intensity and / or volume of your training feels better, now, than similar levels of training felt earlier in the training year, you can be confident you are moving in a positive direction.

Phase 6 is a critical step towards the racing season (only weeks, away, now), so enjoy the nice fall weather and feel good about your efforts each day.


Each period, we will end with this advice since it is so important:

As you are planning your weeks and evaluating your training, also give some thought to how you are using the training plan. It is written to be a blueprint and a guide for your training, and is not written knowing in advance what conflicts you may have with training in any given week.

Many weeks can be done as scheduled. However, if you have to swap days or weeks out on account of your non training life, with good planning that can be done with great success provided you are giving thought to the swapping. For example, let’s say you have a week at work where you are going to have heavy time demands and stress and the schedule says it is the third week of the period, which is our big week, you may be best holding off on the third week and swapping it with week 4 our easy week to recover, and then also maybe make a small adjustment in week one of the following period. You can also swap out days on account of life outside of your training plan, just remember as you do that it is ideal to follow a pattern of hard followed by easy for the pattern of days.

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