Period Nine of Training for Cross-Country Skiing

 

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

These 4 weeks we will transition into the racing season. Our early races are meant to be a preparation for our important races later in the year. Doing some shorter races to help us feel better skiing faster would be good. Also, note that we have two holiday weeks. We have shifted our big week for the month forward one week and out of the normal 3rd-week position.

Think about your recovery modalities: very active things like stretching immediately after your training and competitions as well as making sure you’re taking in fuel immediately after skiing, but most importantly immediately after your intensity work, – both the races as well as intensity intervals.

Taking fluid as well as some protein and carbohydrate, bananas, electrolytes, sports drinks, peanut butter sandwich. Whatever it may be, get some food in you immediately after, and then within 2 to 2.5 hours after your training, make sure you’re getting in a full meal.

You also really have to look at personalizing your training. You have to ask yourself, “What are the most important competitions of the season?” These most important competitions of the season might be right now or they might be in the next two periods. That makes a big difference as far as how you address and how you target your training.

Enjoy the holidays and get fired up for winter!

 

STRENGTH

We are, at last, in the heart of ski-season and hoping mother nature will support us with consistently good snow. The strength-training sessions for this phase are, again, meant to be short; the goal is to continue building strength and maintaining a comfortable, healthy range of motion. These two elements are key to maximizing your performance potential while minimizing your injury risk.

***

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.

Period Eight of Training for Cross-Country Skiing

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

(November – December ’21)

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 up 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 over doing it and starting the winter flat.

Again, we are likely still in shoulder season. Thus, ski specificity needs to have some flexibility at this time of year. Adjust as needed 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 the intensity days.

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. If 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 thanksgiving week, 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 afterwards. 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 a full 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 yet, as you switch to snow, we are still getting our snow legs. 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 on snow and building good skiing habits.

STRENGTH

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, 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 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.

Period Seven of Training for Cross-Country Skiing

This period we are cutting back some from our past 2 periods of working hard for the winter. While we cut back some, we are still training quite hard. Keep up the good work you have been putting in.

We are also approaching the “shoulder season”. The “shoulder season” is that time of year where we may be switching back and forth between dryland and on snow, and also may have to adjust to times where neither method of training is good (think not enough snow to ski on, but icy roads and trails so running and roller skiing are also poor). When it appears is different the world over. In the shoulder season, it is important to be flexible with your training. Adjust to the weather and make your training safe. Roller skiing in icy conditions is not safe. This may be a good time to go for a pole hike or run/hike with poles. As we switch to snow, for the first few weeks while we are still getting our snow legs, we should also consider continuing to do our intensity on foot, as we often can have more productive workouts than if we try to do intensity one of our first days on snow, especially if snow is thin and we have to be cautious avoiding dirt or rocks. Your first days on snow should be more focused on remembering your good technique on snow and building good skiing habits.

Let’s hope for a winter of many bluebird days of great skiing!!!

***

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.

Is Cross Country Skiing Hard?

Key excerpts from Justin Eberhardt’s article for mnxc.org

Competitive skiers often spend hours working hard and sweating in temperatures that most people associate with frostbite and hypothermia. Races are up to 54km (33 miles) long, climb up incredibly steep hills, and take hours to complete. At the end of a long race, even the best skiers in the world fall over when they cross the finish line due to exhaustion. It’s one of the toughest full-body workouts there is, and some of the most cardiovascularly fit athletes ever measured have been cross-country skiers. Despite all of this, most of the skiers I know wouldn’t give it up for anything, and many take pride in overcoming all the obstacles associated with the sport.

Despite how challenging cross country skiing can be if you’re aiming to be competitive, it is actually an incredibly easy sport for a beginner to try out. If you want to spend a nice winter Saturday with your family, you can’t beat clipping into a pair of rental skis and hitting a beginner trail at one of Minnesota’s many fantastic ski areas like Spidahl’s or Giant’s Ridge. Just bring your own winter clothing, a good attitude, and an adventurous spirit — the ski place will take care of the rest. While you won’t set any speed records and you may develop a small aversion to hills, you’ll soon get the hang of the slide-and-glide classic style and be able to enjoy one of winter’s finest pastimes. Sure, you’ll probably find yourself asking, “How the heck do I get back up?” at some point after you inevitably fall and your skis are criss-crossed uphill from your body. But this is a great opportunity to laugh at yourself and to make new friends as your fellow skiers help you get untangled and upright.

If you haven’t been out on xc skis before or even if it’s just been a long time since your last attempt, keep reading this post to learn more about this sport so you look like you know what you’re doing when you get to the ski trail.

 

FINDING CROSS-COUNTRY SKI GEAR

Skiing is different than running, and you’ll need more than just a pair of shoes before your first cross country ski adventure. The world’s best skiers have 40 pairs of skis valued at over $500 each, and a wax technician prepares them in a multi-million dollar wax truck. However, most of us avid skiers only have a couple of sets of skis, and if you are just getting into the sport, you can get by without your own gear. Many of the ski areas in Minnesota offer daily rentals for a reasonable fee. There are also ski swaps held around the state where you might be able to find a great pair of lightly used skis that will serve you well for years to come. If you want to buy new, your local ski shop probably offers a package that include a nice set of entry-level skis, boots, and poles fit to your exact height and weight for under $500 (maybe less at the end of the season). Before investing in your own set of skis, I recommend renting skis for a while so you can try out the classic and skate styles before committing to the first pair of your own skis.

 

WHERE TO GO?

If you live in the Upper Midwest, check out the extensive list of trail locations and conditions at skinnyski.com. Some trails are groomed for classic skiing (traditional slide and glide, two tracks in the snow) and others are groomed for skate skiing (looks like hockey skating, but with skis). Before you go skiing, find a trail that is groomed in the style that matches your equipment, make sure the condition reports sound good, and check the forecast so you aren’t surprised by a wind chill. In general, most people will enjoy skiing if it is over 20 degrees farhenheit, but it’s often quite comfortable even in much colder temps if you layer appropriately and protect your skin against wind exposure.

 

WHAT TO WEAR CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING?

Dress for the weather, dress in layers, and wear clothing that’s not too heavy. When cross-country skiing, it’s important to find the right balance between too hot and too cold. Leave the heavy, insulated clothing you wear ice fishing or downhill skiing at home. Cross-country ski pants have wind-stopping material in front, are relatively light weight, and allow you to move freely. On top, try a moisture-wicking undershirt and a light jacket. Layers not only add warmth when you are just starting and still chilly, but more importantly, they allow for shedding as you get your heart rate up. Don’t be surprised to find a random jacket or scarf hanging from a branch — skier’s often temporarily leave their outer layers along the trail when they get too hot, to be retrieved on the last loop of the day. A good pair of gloves is also a must, and just like the rest of your outfit you want something that isn’t too warm but is still effective at stopping the wind.

 

LEARNING SKI TECHNIQUE

There are two styles of cross country skiing (skate and classic), each of which has several sub-techniques that take time to learn. Pick whichever style looks like fun to you, and try it out. Both skate and classic can be enjoyed by physically fit people of all ages*. If you know someone who is already a skier, ask them to take you to their favorite ski area. Most of us would be happy to provide a lesson for someone new to our sport. There are also a lot of good skiing technique videos on YouTube that you may find helpful to watch before hitting the trails. And finally, don’t be afraid to fail a few times as you’re learning. Every person who has ever skied has fallen (and still falls) many times, and occasionally the editor STILL takes off her skis at one particularly steep down-hill section to hike safely to the bottom. The good thing is, you’ll improve quickly, and within a short time on the trail, you’ll be enjoying the feeling of gliding across the snow instead of concentrating the whole time on staying out of the snow banks.

*Editor’s note from the primary care physician: If you are someone who is at high risk for injury related to falling, skiing is probably not a good choice for you.

 

WHY?

What are the rewards for enduring harsh weather, dealing with finicky wax, and working yourself to exhaustion? For me, it’s about racing through the woods of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Norway with thousands of other skiers. It’s about skiing with the wildlife at our State Parks. And it’s about spending quality time with my friends and family on the trails. There’s nothing better than a day when everything comes together; when the trails are in good shape, your wax is working just right, the weather is mild, and you’re flying silently across the snow. I hope you decide to get out there on the trails and give skiing a try yourself!

Period Six of Training for Cross-Country Skiing

 

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

(September – October ’21)

This is our biggest period of the year. We are going to get after it with both intensity and volume increases. Take advantage of the start of fall and enjoy the changing colors while you are training hard. You will notice this coming week we are going to do a lactate tolerance work out, this work out will be a bit shorter in duration, but very tough. We are also going to transition out of paddling and into other cross training options.

Over the years we have received a fair amount of feedback regarding target races/weeks, and most who responded indicated that the Birkie/Korte was their primary focus event.

Others were looking to “tune up” and race well at either the Noque, Boulder Mountain Tour, or the City of Lakes. With this information, we will plan to work back 6 weeks from the Birkie to be our best. Ideally, 5 weeks out will be a big volume training week for the winter, weeks 6 and 4 should be stout medium weeks for the winter and can include some tune up events. Weeks 3, 2 and race week we will gradually cut back the training volumes and let you get yourself sharp, rested and fresh. If week 3 back is BMT or COL, no worries, just adjust your approach to the event and be careful not to redline to the point of trashing yourself. (In this case, holding back a bit may be a valuable tool to learn better pacing.)

We also had a few responses that target races events like World Masters or the Iceland Marathon. If this is your program, train more weeks of our lead up to the last 6 weeks in either 3 or 4 week blocks (3 week going Medium volume, Big Volume, Recovery, or 4 weeks going Small, Medium, Big, Recovery) and then take our last 6 weeks and put it in so our Birkie/Korte Week (Feb 22-28) lines up with your events.

In order to make the most of this, this next 4 weeks will be our last push of high volume dry-land training (or if we are lucky early on snow season). Let’s build on our good work last month.

 

STRENGTH TRAINING:

Strength training for Period 6 will be a continuation of period 5 in the sense that we are going to add more plyometric based strength while maintaining lower but more intense repetitions. Plyometric strength has benefits in creating more explosive power that will be important on skis during the race season. With all plyometric exercises, it is important to make the landings soft, and the jump powerful.

Be connected, balanced and precise in all your dry-land movements!

Finally—if you are not already doing so—it is a great idea to keep a daily training log (see attached sample in your training plan) to keep track of what you did and to make essential connections between your training and the way your body responds. If you see that the elevated work intensity and / or volume of your training feels better, now, than similar levels of training felt earlier in the training year, you can be confident you are moving in a positive direction.

Phase 6 is a critical step towards the racing season (only weeks, away, now), so enjoy the nice fall weather and feel good about your efforts each day.

***

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.

Period Five of Training for Cross-Country Skiing

(August – September ’21)

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.

STRENGTH TRAINING:

Last period the training plan introduced a strength routine that focused on lower load (weights lifted) and higher velocity (more dynamic, speedy movements). This period is a continuation of that concept, however, the plan emphasizes different muscle groups via several new exercises.

Remember, it is important to complete each repetition with quality movements and very explosive initial power. This is an integral part of plyometric-based strength because it teaches the muscle proprioceptors to fire quickly – a trait you will want to have during ski races, particularly at the start and in the final stretch to the finish line!

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.

Period Four of Training for Cross-Country Skiing

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

This training period is somewhere in between the middle of July to middle of August.

At this time of the year we’re doing more intensity work that’s becoming more and more ski-specific. Still keeping it into the threshold, primarily threshold with a little bit of Level 4 introduction.

For most, it is a time to put in the hard work for the winter. However, if you have a family vacation or other conflicts that may make it difficult to follow the plan as written, some week or work out swapping is OK as long as the big picture is kept in mind. Long story short, if you have some non-training conflicts, do your best to work around your schedule and if need be, shift a work out from one week to next week to keep life in balance.

We should continue with our ramp up of both the intensity and the volume, but don’t overdo it. If time is tight, but you are fresh prioritize the intensity days, strength and over distance. If you are feeling run down from vacation or other conflicts, prioritize simple maintenance training. If the period is without conflict, super!

As it relates to the distance type of training, continue on the same path that you’re on with a little bit more introduction of ski-specific modality of training. That means more roller skiing, both classic and skate, as well as a good amount of footwork running, hiking, that sort of thing.

Simple hikes, you do not have to just purely run. But you can also walk or do long hikes with poles in very hilly terrain. Start to use terrain to your advantage to also introduce a little bit more strength training in an endurance side of things.

Intensity remains the same. Still doing primarily threshold-based with a continued introduction of Level 4-type of intervals.

New this month is ski walking. Ski walking is an awesome workout that is a staple of our training from now until we are skiing on snow. However, we have to use it sparingly. Too much and we are not able to absorb it and recover. If you have not ski walked before, check out this link:

We should still 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 properly stressing the body with true hard training.

As always, as you are evaluating your training and planning your workouts, give some thought to how you are using your training plan. It should be written to be a blueprint and a guide for your training, and looking yearly it is not written knowing in advance what conflicts you may have with training on any given day.

IN GENERAL STRENGTH:

As we move ahead, we’re adding weight but not adding a lot of volume of strength.

We’re shifting to more dynamic strength (lower loads, higher velocity of movement). By increasing velocity, movements will become more plyometric (faster and more dynamic). As we do this, we increase the speed of movement and decrease the weight.

Example: in maximal strength, where we were doing slow and controlled squats with a relatively high load last period, we now replace that with an explosive vertical jump with little to no added weight, but very explosive and functional movements.

Another way to increase overall strength this period is via distance workouts by adding more terrain (hills) to roller skiing and running.

IN FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH:

The fourth phase of off-season training raises the intensity level (resistance used and speed-of-movement) significantly. The warm-up is a combination of mini-band movements, weighted rotations and rope-skipping. The movement puzzle agility features one new movement and one we have already done. The strength and power circuit is where you will really see difference from the previous three phases.

The inclusion of the “MINI-LEG-CIRCUITS” (low-rep versions of the leg-circuits you have been doing for the past three months) is the primary change. You will add resistance—in the form of a med-ball, a weight plate, a sand-tube, a single dumbbell or pair of dumbbells—and be quick, sharp and precise in each movement without compromising quality.

The guidelines for choosing the correct amount of weight (in the MINI LEG-CIRCUITS and all other movement elements) are simple and logical. Start conservatively and add resistance as your strength increases and you can manage the added weight without losing form. For the leg-circuits, start with approximately 10 – 15 % of your total body-weight and progress from there, working towards 15 – 30%.

Adding resistance while keeping the pace of the movements relatively high adds significant eccentric loading. This will create many positive muscular adaptations and is therefore a great idea, but it also entails more DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) so be prepared to feel stiff and sore the day (or days) following your strength session. Using the functional movement warm-up ideas (from the past two months) prior to running, biking or roller-skiing on your other training days will attenuate the negative effects of DOMS.

Phase four is a key transition month from building the basic strength foundation for speed to the high-speed and higher volume training to follow.

***

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.

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. This is the time we start doing the hard work that will lead to better performances in the winter.

New work outs 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. Here is a video of various dryland ski imitation: https://www.ski-tv.no/langrennsteknikk-ep-9-barmark 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 quite upper body and some bouncing going on in the legs leading to both feet off the ground, but not 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 using running motions.

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.

***

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.

But the question you always have to ask yourself, “Is the training making you better?” If not, then you need to think about how I’m going to personalize my training to do so.

So don’t just follow the training blindly. Every four to eight weeks, do some sort of a check to see if you’re actually improving in your ski training. So this is a great time of the year to first start with a baseline test to see if you’re improving in your strength, improving in your technique as well as your aerobic fitness whether an uphill run or a roller ski time trial uphill.

Intensity, we start to focus a little bit more on adding in some 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. It’s little bit more conservative than just going all out what you would pace for a 15 or 12 or 15-minute time trial.

As it comes to distance training, over distance type training becomes more and more important. What does that mean? It depends on what your level of training is. That could be anywhere from two hours all the way 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 a good opportunity to really build into moving, into a trend of more ski-specific activities.

Volume increases. As volume increases, be really conservative on the amount of intensity that you’re doing. Recovery is extremely important. 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. If it’s under an hour to an hour and a half, water is sufficient. But make sure you’re getting a sport drink if you’re doing anything longer. Make sure you’re getting in electrolytes, salts, so that you can replace and replenish.

***

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.

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 are not looking to be getting after it with heavy doses of intensity and ski specificity. 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 properly stressing the body with true hard training.

When you’re doing your distance training, you should be introducing roller skiing at this time of the year. You don’t have to do a lot of it but make sure that you’re getting out on your roller skis about once or twice a week.

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We know a lot of people don’t like to run but if you can introduce that and incorporate a strong amount of running and maybe even walking with poles to engage not only the lower body but the upper body, this is a great opportunity to really focus on a ski-specific modality that is also general as well.

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 the – what we call threshold. Threshold means something that you’re actually training and can sustain for about 45 minutes of time. 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 a little bit less recovery in between. Keeping the intensity again relatively low. Also in intensity, you should be thinking about doing some speeds or accelerations. What are accelerations? Those are times of about 5 to 30 seconds of on-time with full recovery in between.

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

IN GENERAL STRENGTH:

As it relates to strength, this time of the year we’re still working on general strength. 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 intensity. Hypertrophy happens typically when we do strength to total fail. 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.

IN FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH:

The second phase of our dry-land training program includes several new movement elements, many of them in the frontal and transverse plane (both 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.  Additionally, the training includes three “movement puzzles” to improve agility and body-awareness.

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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.

Period One of Training for Cross-Country Skiing

Welcome to the 2021-2022 training year. In the cross-country ski world, we like to start the year with the week that contains May 1.

As we start the new ski year, our focus is on preparing the body for hard work down the road and putting down a foundation for the future. We are not looking to be getting after it with heavy doses of intensity and ski specificity. Those are things for later in the summer and fall. Remember, skiers are made in the summer, and then remember it is still spring. So, 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 properly stressing the body with true hard training.

Feel free to use your roller skis once in a while, but mainly leave them be for another month and enjoy some less ski specific activities like biking and paddling at easy paces as we prepare for the future.

With starting the new year, evaluating your strengths and weaknesses along with last year’s successes and struggles and adjusting based upon your evaluation would be wise.

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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.

Cheers, see you next month