Welcome to period five of training for cross-country skiing.
(August – September ’19)
This month is Period 5 and along with Period 6 will be our biggest volume times of the entire year. Some will notice the week of September 2 is quite an ambitious week. This is the hard work we are putting in to be successful come winter. Hang in there, the week of September 9 should have you bouncing back well.
We want to make sure that we’re training polarized or when it says easy training, that we’re truly going easy, and then when we’re going Level 4, that we’re truly going hard. Why that’s so important right now in period five is because, in period five, it’s one of our highest volume months.
With that being said, it’s very easy both in period five and period six to train too hard on our level one type training, our easy training, and actually leave our whole season far too fatigued for the rest of the competition season.
The other concept that we want to talk through is compartmentalized training or making sure that all of our training actually flows from one to the next. It’s really complementary and it’s not just isolated so that when we’re out doing distance training, we’re just doing the distance. We’re also working on technique. Everything must complement one another. This complimentary training is really important. So making sure that for example our strength complements our intensity training – that is going to be important as we move forward.
So as we discussed – the endurance, intensity and strength type of training in this period, first and foremost, it’s high in volume. Because of that, we want to make sure our easy work is very easy and it’s also becoming more and more specific to cross-country skiing.
Again more roller skiing, a little less biking type activities. Intensity, there’s a bit of a balance between the threshold and Level 4 training. We can get a little bit creative here. If you’ve trained over the years, you can actually blend the two. Maybe what you do is you do a Level 3 workout or a threshold and add – maybe it’s five minutes on of Level 3 and then maybe one minute of Level 4 at the end. That’s a creative balance or you can have very specific ones.
Another thing to do is to make sure we have accelerations in our distance training, but a full recovery in between.
Then the strength, we shift back to (slightly) higher volumes but we keep the intensity level fairly high on all added resistance movements.
The leg-circuits shift (again); this time from the low-rep / high-intensity “mini” version to unresisted half circuits. These must be done with precision and speed. On the body-weight squats, the pace should be one rep / second and you must pay strict attention to finishing each squat in a fully upright / tall position (up on the toes, head up, chest up, hips straight). There is no rest between movements, and the rest between circuits is minimal (20 seconds), and if you can, see if you can reduce or skip the rest between the half-circuits as the phase progresses.
Once again (as in phase-1), we will do mini-band work twice—at the beginning and end. We do the initial work standing and throw a good deal of balance into the mix to set you up for good work on the movement puzzle plyometric movements. The final mini-band elements are done on the ground—no balance needed—so you can really focus on full, strong repetitions against the resistance of the band. The hip-strength you create here will make you a faster—and safer—skier once the snow falls.
A note on the “movement puzzles”: Remember these must be done with great care and precision. Worry first about landing each bound, hop or jump safely and solidly. The success you have in doing this will translate into better glide on the snow. The prescribed repetitions increase in the final two weeks of this phase, but if you are still somewhat shaky on your landings, skip the increase and stay focused on achieving success at the lower number.
The continued focus on fast, full repetitions—especially in the leg-circuits—will leave you with some DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness), so—again—do a good job with your finishing set movements and a good warm-up prior to your road-work sessions and that soreness should dissipate and cease to bother you.
At this point of the training, you should feel improved strength in your movements and this should translate to stronger, faster sessions on the road.
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.