Period Eight of Training for Cross-Country Skiing

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

(November – December)

This is our last 4 weeks of the “fall” base building period.

First off, to follow up on last period’s note about this coming season and “shoulder season,”- try to keep good consistency with your training, but be sure to be flexible and make smart adjustments based upon what skiing and life, in general, may be throwing at you. In this period, we are likely better to get in a little less training than we were hoping for rather than overdoing it and starting the winter flat.

This is our last 4 weeks of the “fall” base-building period.

Again, we are likely still in shoulder season. Thus, ski specificity needs flexibility at this time of year. Adjust as necessary to stay safe and have productive workouts. Roller skiing on an icy road shoulder or bike path is not good for your body or overall health. Footwork with and without poles can be exchanged for roller skiing and even snow skiing on days with intensity training.

This month we also have Thanksgiving week. The period revolves around the idea of a Thanksgiving training camp and having a great week enjoying the lifestyle of a full-time athlete at a training camp. If the Saturday to Saturday of a training camp does not work for you, adjust the workouts as you see fit. Suppose you are not feeling ready to travel to Snow Mountain Ranch, West Yellowstone, or Silver Star for places to visit for thanksgiving and getting after it in a great skiing destination for Thanksgiving week. In that case, you can probably train a bit more in the last week of the period, the end of week 2, and on the travel days, as you will not need to be as rested going in and recover as much afterward. It would not be at all bad to stay closer to home, spend the holiday with family and focus on a long weekend instead of an entire week.

Have a great holiday wherever you may be.

OK, onto this period, we are maintaining and building on our last period. While we maintain, we are still training quite hard. Keep up the good work you have been putting in. We will repeat, with shoulder season, adjust to the weather and make your training safe. If you have not yet had a chance to break out the rock skis, we are still getting our snow legs as you switch to snow. Consider continuing to do your intensity on foot to make it most productive. Your first days on snow should be more focused on remembering your good technique and building good skiing habits.


Strength training maintains stable, focusing on more complex type strength where we introduce more single-leg activities and movements specific to the sport.


This month we shorten the dry-land training sessions in the hope of spending good outdoor time on real snow. Though the sessions will take less time to complete, you will continue to make significant gains in connected strength as long as you keep the intensity level high for each of the eleven movements in the strength circuit. “Intensity” can be defined in many ways when you are considering this kind of training. It can be the amount of resistance you work against, the pace of each movement, or simply the level of focus and awareness you bring to each repetition of each set. Once you are comfortable with a movement, the intensity will become a mix of all three of these definitions, and you will be making—and feeling—physical progress.


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

As you plan your weeks and evaluate your training, give some thought to how you use 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.

When it comes time to plan your training week, sometimes it’s helpful to know which workouts take precedence over others. This is particularly useful if a skier has other obligations outside of skiing (work, personal life, etc.) that may interfere with the amount of training one can devote during the week. Thus, adjustments must be made.

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.

To make adjustments to the plan that won’t dilute the integrity of the training program, we have a few pointers for planning a training week.

Read the advisory on scheduling workouts:

– Cheers, see you next month!

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