Season End Suggestions

 

Welcome to March and the very last training period of the year. Hopefully this competitive season was a successful one for you!

This month no specific workouts will be posted here or/and to your TrainingPeaks Calendar, as we’ve hit the “Restoration” phase of the training year.

If you have access to snow, continue to do some ski workouts focusing on enjoying some springtime sun and crust cruising while still thinking some about your technique. However, do not get into a rut from being over structured, or you may miss out on needed regeneration.

This is a great time of the year to really focus in on not only recovering the body, but also recovering the mind. So, while adjusting to being off of snow, look at the activities that you enjoy to do and get out there and do those. Start to blend in multiple activities whether it be casual paddling (Canoe or Kayak), easy mountain biking, easy road biking, disc golf, regular golf while walking the course, hiking, rock climbing, Back Country or Alpine Skiing, backpacking, salsa dancing, swimming, snorkling, surfing, ice skating, fly fishing, etc.

IMPORTANT
Do not worry about any specific Speed, Level 4 VO2 Max pace or Level 3 threshold work, let any speed and intensity happen naturally while you are having fun enjoying different activities while you are regenerating from the past year’s training.

In the gym we are taking away the weight and just doing a lot of different activities. Staying strong while regenerating is a great thing. If we get too specific in our training, then we start to build asymmetry. We start to build tightness and we need to get back to resetting our clock and resetting our bodies, so that we’re ready for the next year to come.

We will be starting over with a new training year at the end of April.

In the meantime, have some fun chasing other adventures!

Featherweight Downhiller

Q: I am tired of being passed on the downhills during races after crushing many people on the uphills! As a lightweight person, I cannot maintain my speed and all the skiers I passed on the uphills end up passing me on the downhills. Since I do not have body weight to my advantage, how can I get faster on the downhills to be competitive? I try skating, use the classic track, and double pole with all of my force but everyone passes me! Do you have any advice? Thanks!

 

A: I have not seen you ski so I do not know exactly what you are doing. Remember all objects in a vacuum fall at the same rate. So we need to get you downhilling like you are in a vacuum.

First of all, use your small size as an advantage, so get small and aero.

Secondly, I see many people on gradual downhills skate like crazy, but very ineffectively. Try pushing harder and longer on your skate motions but less frequently. Do not just skate for the sake of skating.

Thirdly, Make sure you are riding flat skis and you have your weight on youR heels and not your toes when you are tucking.

Practice makes perfect. Practice downhills behind a faster downhill skier. Tuck in behind them and see if staying in their draft will allow you to keep up.

Make sure you are on skis fit to your weight. A ski matched to your weight will allow you to skim across the snow when larger people are plowing through.

There are snow conditions where a downhill glide resistance will be effected by skier’s mass. If the tracks are nicely groomed corduroy, skier’s size should not affect glide much if at all.

In some rougher track conditions with hard under-layer a larger skier can plow through the snow and maintain speed better than a lighter skier. In other deep snow conditions the lighter skier could float through the snow better than the larger skiers.

 Stay relaxed and think about glide.

– Andy at SkiPost.com

 

***

 

I read with interest your reply to the skier who felt that her light weight was holding her back with respect to down hill glide. You made a lot of good points — flat skis glide faster; get into a tuck, don’t skate ineffectively. But there is one key that I think you overlooked: one’s speed downhill is directly related to how fast you are going when you start gliding. I have passed many skiers on the downhills of the Birkie. Frequently, I watch them as they pull away from me on the uphill portion. Then when they reach the top, they stop skiing, let their shoulders slump, and glide downhill standing up straight.  I try to conserve my energy while climbing, then when I reach the top, V2 aggressively in an attempt to sprint to top speed before getting into a tuck for a fast descent. I’ve found that a tuck is usually faster than the relaxed skating that a lot of skiers seem to favor. 

– Skier

 

About SkiPost

Cross-Country skiing’s community lodge. Where knowledge and stories are shared. The goal of SkiPost is to make the sport of Cross-Country skiing easier and more enjoyable for all who choose to participate. If you have questions on Cross-Country Skiing email us weanswer@SkiPost.com and visit SkiPost.com

Enjoy Winter,
Andrew Gerlach
Director/Editor- SkiPost

Bouncing Between Training Plans

Q: I would like to commit more hours in a structured manner this year but because of my busy family and work obligations I need to be flexible. Can I bounce between plans depending on how much time I have that day/week? Do the schedules line up that way? My top priority would be to train smarter this coming year to improve my results for Jan and early Feb races.

Also doing p90x type workouts with some ski movement modifications worked for me this year. I would like your feed back on implanting these or not within your plans.

 

A: With respect to bouncing between plans, I would caution that it is not ideal, but in the real world you have to do what you can do. When each of the plans are written, they are written with the idea that on many days athletes on different plans can still work out together and work on the same fundamentals. So, jumping between plans can be done with some success as long as there is good planning going into it on a regular basis. The weeks can also be juggled around a bit in the 4-week cycle. For instance, if you have a week with a lot of outside of training commitments or stresses and that is the scheduled big week, do not hesitate to switch it with the smaller weeks in the 4-week plan. At the end of the day the important thing is training as well as possible, absorbing that training and also being able to recover from it. 

With respect to P90X, if the work out is one of your favorites, I would recommend doing it in place of one of the weekly strength workouts. Our strength workouts progress throughout the season and are intended to be the proper strength stimulus to your training. But, if P90X is your go to, there are many ways to tackle strength, and that is one possibility. 

Other notes on the below, if I were you I would adjust your volume up in the summer. For instance, if you are on the 400 hour yearly plan, may be do 2-3 weeks of the 550 plan and 1-2 weeks of 400 plan. I would also try to avoid doing all your training medium hard, which I call the junk zone. Keep the easy days easy so the hard days can be hard and more productive. 

Good luck with your adjustments to the program. It really is a blueprint meant to have some flexibility, and adjusting the plan to your life is going to be better than trying to adjust your life to the plan.

– Joe Haggenmiller, CXC

Period Twelve of Training for Cross Country Skiing

Period Covered: FEBRUARY – MARCH

Video Transcript:

Welcome to period 12 of Cross Country Ski Training. This time of the year, end of the season, we’re out of time. Most of the competition season is behind us. But we’re still having some targeted events. By all means, keep racing during this time. Find those selective opportunities to actually find races, find events.

Some major championships are still happening this time of year. When it comes to distance training, take advantage of the opportunity. This is a time of year when we have a lot of challenging type of snow conditions. Target those challenging snow conditions. This is a great opportunity to get better on our skis.

What that means is if it’s above zero Celsius or 32 Fahrenheit, don’t hesitate to put Klister on your skis. Embrace that opportunity and go out there and learn how to ski in tricky conditions. This will make you a better skier for next year, for this year, and for the rest of your career. So take advantage of that.

Also find those opportunities. It’s a time when the ground can freeze up and get a little bit faster. Don’t hesitate to work on your downhill competition and downhill skills as well. Get out on alpine skis. Get out on cross-country skis. But do a lot of different sliding sport activities, so that you’re improving your efficiency for the upcoming year. But not only the upcoming year, these last key competitions.

Strength training, we’re going to start shifting back to an actual full body strength. We’re going to get ready for maintaining what we have developed throughout the season. But now we’re going to really start to look forward towards really making sure that we’re moving into a general strength phase which we’re going to do in this last period of period 13 coming up, as well as the first period moving into the next year.

So we’re kind of moving into a transition from doing this complex strength, from max as well as high velocity strength, and getting ready to go back to full body movement. Intensity, like I said, just focus on the races that you’re doing. Keep racing. Enjoy yourself on snow and I will see you next period.

Kick Wax on Zero Skis

5 years ago I bought a pair of zero skis on closeout. They are a good flex for me. Unfortunately, with the advent of skin skis and less obsession with racing I have not ever found a day when the zero skis or klister were my better options. Rather than have these zero skis sit unused, is it possible to convert my zero skis to waxable by putting a layer of basewax down on the zero section and permanently using them for training? If so, would you tend to only use them for klister?

A: You can easily use your Zero skis as hardwax skis. Just wax them as you would a hardwax ski. Iron in a thin binder wax and cork in the wax of the day.

The zero ski camber is a low riding hardwax camber as the hairies Zero surface you are trying to get kick on are very short haires so must be close to the snow to get kick. They are not a high riding klister ski.

– Andy @ SkiPost

What to Wear Skiing in the Extreme Cold

by Brian Gregg

Brian is a 2014 Olympian, races for Team Gregg/Madshus and resides in Minneapolis, MN. 

There is a saying that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad equipment. Subzero temperatures can be enough to keep you indoors on a brisk Winter day, but perhaps you have been planning all week for a weekend ski trip, or you have been training for weeks for a particular race. I have found that with the right equipment you can have a great day of skiing even on the coldest of days. I adhere to the FIS minimum temperature cut off of -4F for racing, but will ski in any temperature. Here are some tips to be able to enjoy even the chilliest of days.

WARM FEET

Our feet can swell in the cold and you don’t want any constriction of circulation. If you live in a super cold climate you may want to consider getting boots that fit a bit large. One trick for the random frigid day is to simply remove the insoles from your boots. I choose a medium thick pair of merino wool socks. If you choose too thick of a sock you risk not having enough volume in your boot and reducing circulation. Make sure your socks are clean as that will mean the fibers can insulate and wick moisture best. I have found that my feet tend to sweat more in fully synthetic socks and when the sweat freezes it is bad news. If space allows in your boots I am also a big fan of chemical toe warmers. Be sure to activate the warmers with plenty of time before you head outdoors. Another product to consider is over boots which zip over your regular ski boots. I recommend sizing these slightly larger than your boots so that they aren’t too difficult to take on or off. With warm feet you will have better balance and a better experience skiing. 

WARM HANDS

The simple answer to warm hands is to wear thick gloves. Mittens and split finger ‘lobster mitts’ can be good options. The challenge with this is that it can often become tricky to grip your pole or even fit your hand into your pole strap. Personally I prefer to wear my regular gloves and to add an Overmitt. The Overmitt is added after you put your poles on and goes over your pole strap so that you still have the normal feel of your grip. Many cold days I start skiing using this setup until my hands are toasty warm. Then, the overmitts can be quickly removed and tossed to the side or stuffed in a jacket even without taking your poles off. Chemical hand warmers can also work well and I usually store them activated in my gloves on my way to the ski trail so that they heat the gloves up. I position the hand warmers on the backs of my hand so that they don’t affect the grip and feel of the pole handle.

WARM UPPER BODY

A long sleeved base layer is a must on cold days. On windy days I sometimes opt for one that has built in wind stopper on the front. For additional heat I may add a vest either under or over my regular training jacket. On extremely cold days I will often start my ski with a down jacket over everything. With so many layers it can be a good idea to bring a small backpack to be able to stash clothes if you get too warm. It is important to not get to the point where you are sweating because that will make you really cold when the sweat freezes. 

WARM LOWER BODY

A must for men in cold weather is a pair of wind briefs. These are special underwear with a layer of wind stopper on the front. It may not be a bad idea to double down with a full length base layer that also has wind stopper in the front although usually a full length base layer or pair of tights followed by a pair of ski pants will do the trick.

WARM HEAD?

Balaclavas are great in cold weather, and so are buffs. I like to use both or two buffs so that I can have one that covers the part of my ears that my hat may miss and one that sits around my neck. You may also breathe through the buff to warm the air a bit before it hits your lungs. Another helpful product is the AirTrim face mask which has various sized filters for different skiing intensities and is designed to fit comfortably. The idea here is that the air heats up as it passes through the filter.

I prefer to have as little exposed skin to the elements as possible. I will put tape on my skin to protect it from the elements. You may cut KT tape to fit, or for a simpler option use AntiFreeze face tape which is pre-cut. Another option for exposed skin is to apply a balm such as Dermatone or WarmSkin. For eye protection I find that most sunglasses fog and freeze, I have had the best luck with shields on cold days. 

SKATE OR CLASSIC

Cold temperatures make for some very sharp snow crystals which aren’t the easiest to glide on. This is a great time to classic ski as it can be very easy to get a lot of kick. Ski in the track behind someone else as the person in front will help warm up the snow for the skier in back. Make sure your skis are prepared ahead of time so that you aren’t out in the cold applying wax or indoors at the lodge sweating with all of your cold weather clothes on. If you are waiting on a friend consider skiing out and come back to meet them so that your body doesn’t cool down.

DRINK AND EAT

When you can see your breath in cold weather you are actually seeing the moisture from your breath freezing. Remember to stay well hydrated, insulated drink belts may be your best bet, but sometimes even they freeze. Consider a good insulated container such as a Hydroflask filled with hot tea, chocolate, coffee of sports drink. Your body will be using energy to stay warm so make sure it has plenty of it. Keep your snacks warm in a pocket as they are likely to freeze themselves which can make them difficult to consume.

The key to enjoying skiing in the extreme cold is to have the proper equipment for you. You may need more or less than a friend.  Take note of the air temperature, humidity and wind chill during cold days and what you are wearing. I make a little chart for myself so that I know the layers that I am most likely going to want to wear so that I can enjoy a cold day on the ski trail.

***

Brian Gregg’s Personal Equipment Guide for Various Temperatures

 

How do you go around a corner?

I watched my Olympic biathlon brethren go around turns. Some cranked the inside ski around before accelerating into the straightaway. Others put weight on the outside ski and pushed off into the turn, almost like alpine skiing. What is the best form?

 

Sorry to say but this all depends on every turn, the snow surface and your capabilities. As with all skiing you want to maintain momentum and minimize effort. You want to avoid hockey stop turns that scrub speed. Generally, the fewer steps you make the better. On real sharp turns you can pull your inside ski back and then push it into the turn and then follow that by skating off the outside ski.

Best way to learn is to follow a great skier and copy what they do, or follow a not so good skier and try different techniques and see if you are gaining or losing distance on them. sorry that I could not be more exact via email.

– Andy @ SkiPost