Period Two of Training for Cross-Country Skiing

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

Here we are in mid-May to mid-June: we will work some ski specificity and intensity in, but just to work up to next month, which will start a period of getting after it. As always, make sure the easy days are easy. Avoid junk training of medium-hard, not easy enough to be tolerated well, promoting recovery, and not hard enough to have the benefits of adequately stressing the body with true hard training.

When you’re doing your distance training, you can introduce roller skiing at this time of the year. You don’t have to do a lot of it.


We know a lot of people don’t like to run. Still, suppose you can incorporate a strong amount of running and maybe even walking with poles to engage the lower and upper bodies. In that case, this is an excellent opportunity to focus on a ski-specific modality that is also general.

Think about the upper body. A lot of times, we do running and cycling as cross-training activities. A lot of times, we’re not focused on the upper body. So think about double poling and paddling as well.

When it comes to intensity, this time of the year, we should be focusing on the intensity more, on – what we call threshold. Threshold means a training activity that you can sustain for about 45 minutes. You don’t need to do a sustained 45-minute interval. Break that into pieces. Maybe you’re thinking somewhere between five and eight-minute intervals with less recovery in between, keeping the intensity again relatively low. Also, it would be best if you were thinking about doing some speeds or accelerations as part of your intensity workout. What are accelerations? Those are times of about 5 to 30 seconds of on-time with complete recovery in between.

Again, it’s more about movement, focusing on the movement speed instead of increasing the heart rate. Focus on the threshold-type training for the heart and accelerations.


Regarding strength, we’re still working on general strength this time of the year. You can add resistance now. Again, functional activity is very, very basic movements. But now add a little bit of weight. Focus on activities that are a little bit lower in intensity. Hypertrophy typically happens when we do strength to a total failure. So if you’re doing something that goes all the way to your full potential, that’s when you start to build muscle. So, stay below that.


The second phase of our dry-land training program includes several new movement elements, many of which are in the frontal and transverse planes (critical to skiing faster). We take advantage of warmer weather to add a dynamic movement warm-up involving a progression of locomotor tasks building from slow to fast, simple to complex. The training includes three “movement puzzles” to improve agility and body awareness.


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

As you plan your weeks and evaluate your training, consider 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. Therefore, 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 will have heavy time demands and stress, and the schedule says it is the third week of the period, which is our big week. So 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 hard followed by an easy 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, swapping out ski-specific activities for alternative exercise modes, etc., here:

– Cheers, see you next month

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