Period Three of Training for Cross-Country Skiing

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

We are now switching over from our foundational base period to building on that foundation with a mix of both increased volume and intensity. We will now be training more hours and starting to do some Level 4 and ski-specific intensity.

New workouts this period are: we have a race or time trial to test our fitness in Week 1, and in Weeks 2 and 4 we will introduce moosehoofs into our training routine. Moosehoofs are often called bounding, but there is a distinct difference between the two. Here is a video of various dryland ski imitations: from ski-TV in Norway. Ski walking without poles, moosehoofs [elghufs in Norwegian], and bounding. You will see moosehoofs at 1:00 into the video. Moosehoofs are often described as lazy bounding. You will notice the skier is using a nice upright athletic body position with a relatively quiet upper body (still using their poles and finding a slight crunch) and some bouncing going on in the legs leading to both feet off the ground, but not a full explosion as we will see later in the video when the skier starts to do full-on bounding. Also, notice how the arms set the tempo, and with moosehoofs the hands do not push past the hip on the follow-through, which they may do with the more explosive bounding. Notice the loose hips that are rotating. Finally, notice the foot landing flat in front of the body and pushing off a straight leg and the toe in the back, just as we would in skiing rather than running.

Again, if you need to adjust the layout of either your days of the week or the weeks of your period, feel free to adjust, as we explained earlier this year.

Do a baseline check whether you do an uphill run or an uphill roller ski time trial, as well as maybe some double pole test or a general strength test.

Every four to eight weeks, do some sort of a check to see if you’re actually improving in your ski training.

Intensity, we start to focus a little bit more on adding in some of what we call level four or max VO2 intensity. It is something that you can sustain for about 12 minutes. So it’s pretty hard, and maybe think about as you introduce level four training, that it’s more of like a 10-kilometer distance pace.

When it comes to distance training, over-distance type training becomes increasingly important. What does that mean? It depends on what your level of training is. That could be anywhere from two hours up to six hours in duration for a single event. Think about doing these primarily on foot, meaning running or roller skiing. So maybe do one-third run, one-third classic, one-third skate. That’s an excellent opportunity to build into moving into a trend of more ski-specific activities.

Volume increases. As volume increases, be conservative on the amount of intensity that you’re doing. Recovery is essential. Sleep well. Eat well and think about eating well before you train because that’s the first step in your training. Eat to train, not the other way around.

Most important at this time of the year also is to remain hydrated. Build fluids into every single workout that you’re doing. Water is sufficient if it’s under an hour to an hour and a half. But make sure you’re getting a sports drink if you’re doing anything longer. Also, make sure you’re getting in electrolytes and salts to replace and replenish.


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

As you plan your weeks and evaluate 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, it 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. It may be best to hold off on the third week and swap it with Week 4 – our easy week to recover, and then maybe make a slight adjustment in Week 1 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.

– Cheers, see you next month

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