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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

Season End Suggestions

 

Welcome to March and the very last training period of the year. 

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.

Period Twelve of Training for Cross-Country Skiing

 

Welcome to period twelve of training for cross-country skiing, – the month of March.

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.

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.

The month of March is also a great time to just go out for some enjoyable spring skis, either hitting up morning crust for a cruise or going for a fun in the sun pleasurable afternoon slush ski using some skins. Have fun enjoying winter’s last gasps.

What ever you are up to, keep training for another 4-6 weeks before taking some downtime to recover from the year of training.

Thoughts on tapering and peaking

There are many approaches to peaking for the big race. Personally, I think it is better to keep it simple and not go searching for the “secret”. My approach to “peaking” or “tapering” is not to do some secret voodoo style major adjustments to an athlete’s training plan. It is more about continuing to train consistently and work on the little details to be at your best – eating right, sleeping well, promoting recovery, reducing outside stresses, etc. The adjustment for me is to make sure to focus a bit more on rest and recovery leading into the big race(s).

A volume drop to about 80-90% of a normal small/recovery week in the week or 10 days prior to the big day is also in order, unless past experience tells you that you need to continue to do regular small weeks of training to not feel stale.

I also like to do prescribe some intensity workouts that are a bit shorter in duration with a slightly higher skiing velocity than goal race pace and plenty of rest. This should have an athlete feeling technically good at speed, may be even finding a new gear for your tool box, in the week or 2 before the big race and help an athlete feel sharp and confident.

More than finding the best ever secret intensity session before your big race to perform some magic, I think it is important to feel confident you have prepared well for the last year (or months if you got a late start) and you can come in with a little swagger from the preparation you have done.

If you haven’t done the proper preparation work in the weeks, months and years leading up to the event, there is no rabbit to pull out of the hat from the training or nutrition standpoint in the last days before the event. The best you might be able to do is invest in upgrading to some top of the line well fitting skis, poles or boots a few weeks out and then hoping your race waxer knocks it out of the park with your wax job – both risks that are better off avoided by good consistent preparation.

For more on tapering, go to https://cxcacademy.wordpress.com/tag/tapering/

***

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 Eleven of Training for Cross-Country Skiing

 

Welcome to period eleven of training for cross-country skiing, – the month of February.

For the most part this period is not about last minute training to catch up for lost time. Don’t leave your good race at one of your preparatory training sessions. Less will be more. As the farmers say, “The hay is in the barn”. This period the focus has to be on being healthy, feeling confident, sharpening your fitness, feeling good technically at speed and recovering well so you have all the gunpowder (energy and glycogen stores) and swager you need come race day.

Strength

Strength remains important. The volume again is much less but it’s basically stabilized from the last period or two and we use that as a bit of a misnomer because stabilizing doesn’t necessarily mean we’re doing the same thing week in and week out. We’re still periodizing and progressing our training. But what we’re doing is we’re being deliberate in targeting the strength sessions when they’re hard. They’re usually early in the week, maybe a Tuesday, and then maybe we do another session towards the end of the week that’s more core-based. So we will do a full body strength and then more core-oriented as it gets closer to the competition.

Thoughts on tapering and peaking

There are many approaches to peaking for the big race. Personally, I think it is better to keep it simple and not go searching for the “secret”. My approach to “peaking” or “tapering” is not to do some secret voodoo style major adjustments to an athlete’s training plan. It is more about continuing to train consistently and work on the little details to be at your best – eating right, sleeping well, promoting recovery, reducing outside stresses, etc. The adjustment for me is to make sure to focus a bit more on rest and recovery leading into the big race(s).

A volume drop to about 80-90% of a normal small/recovery week in the week or 10 days prior to the big day is also in order, unless past experience tells you that you need to continue to do regular small weeks of training to not feel stale.

I also like to do prescribe some intensity workouts that are a bit shorter in duration with a slightly higher skiing velocity than goal race pace and plenty of rest. This should have an athlete feeling technically good at speed, may be even finding a new gear for your tool box, in the week or 2 before the big race and help an athlete feel sharp and confident.

More than finding the best ever secret intensity session before your big race to perform some magic, I think it is important to feel confident you have prepared well for the last year (or months if you got a late start) and you can come in with a little swagger from the preparation you have done.

If you haven’t done the proper preparation work in the weeks, months and years leading up to the event, there is no rabbit to pull out of the hat from the training or nutrition standpoint in the last days before the event. The best you might be able to do is invest in upgrading to some top of the line well fitting skis, poles or boots a few weeks out and then hoping your race waxer knocks it out of the park with your wax job – both risks that are better off avoided by good consistent preparation.

For more on tapering, go to https://cxcacademy.wordpress.com/tag/tapering/

Good luck navigating that last week or 2.

***

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 Ten of Training for Cross-Country Skiing

 

It’s January, and we are now starting the race season.

This “note from the coach” is going to touch on a number of topics, because it is our last time to talk about a period as a whole prior to our target event. We will look at race season as one period, with perhaps a number of mini periods in it.

Note #1:  We will now encourage you to shift from 4 week periods to thinking of the whole racing season as a period.  From here on through your target race, don’t be afraid to move weeks around based upon how you are feeling and what preparation races may prepare you well for your target event.  (If your target event is not during “Birkie” week in the US, you may need to adjust the calendar by as much as a month or more.)  In weeks where you are racing on the weekend, drop the volume some as the intensity will be high and your overall load will be just fine.  In times where you may not have a race over the weekend, don’t be afraid to take the early part of the week to recover from racing the prior weekend and then doing a mini 2.5-4 day volume training camp to maintain some of your base fitness.

Note #2: Most of all during the race season, don’t just blindly follow this training plan.  Use it as a guide and adjust it based upon how you are feeling and what your past experience may be telling you.

Note #3: We have come to the time of the year where training through significant fatigue is no longer going to be of much value come your target race.

Note #4: We are focusing more on our intensity and maintaining our fitness and strength than we are on building our overall base. In this time of the season – the race season, really focus on your technique and try to maintain good technique throughout your hard work bouts and races.

Note #5: During the competition season, one of the things we do a great deal of is really target events to see what our strengths are. During the preparation-season, we focused attention on our weaknesses and making sure we had a good, comprehensive training plan. But when it’s a competition season, we’re focusing in on where our strengths lie. In order to focus in our our strengths, we have to be selective and also attentive to our recovery.  This is the case, regardless of the athlete.

Note #6: We should be selective in choosing our competitions because competitions cause a great deal of overall stress and take a great deal out of the body.  We should make sure that the competitions we are entering have a well thought out purpose to them – ie, how are they going to prepare us for our target competitions.  If there is a preparation purpose that will be served with a competition, go for it.  If on the other hand you are preparing to race the 50K FS Birkie and you have the option to do a 5K Fun Run out of nowhere, you have to ask is this 5K running effort going to serve my purposes well?  If the answer is no, you are better off sitting it out.  If the answer is may be, is there something you can do to change the may be to a yes – if you have been running a lot for training because you are limited with access to snow, may be the 5K running race can be part of a multi-pace intensity day, Running the 5K at race pace (roughly level 4), taking a set brake and then may be doing another 2 x 6-8min of on at L3 with 3 minutes of active recovery in between.  This type of adjustment can take a limited preparation day and make it highly valuable to the end goal.

Note #7: Another thing to think about this time of the year is overall stress loads.  It is easy to get a little bit fatigued and then fail to recognize the fatigue and continue to over do it, digging yourself into a hole.  One example of an adjustment to make to prevent over doing it is on a distance or over distance training session, be selective about the type of terrain that we’re training on – find the easier loops so you can keep the skiing at easier efforts.  Most of our competitions are on very hilly and steep terrain, so we should adjust our distance training to flatter terrain. This provides our bodies (our legs, arms, and core) a little bit of reprieve during the week’s training so that we’re more prepared on the weekend for competition.

Note #8: Distance type training this time of the year means that we’re stabilizing our training and we’re not necessarily increasing our volume, but making sure that our overall capacity is still staying high through this competitive season. We do that in a combination of ways, through plain basic aerobic endurance training (such as easy distance and over distance), as well as during our intensity. If we’re doing a great deal of racing and preparing for half marathons and marathons, we tend to be doing a good deal of threshold type efforts that we may add in some speeds or some Level 4 to train all our energy systems.

Note #9: There are weeks when we’re really focused on preparation in our interval sets and there we will be doing more intensity sessions. In weeks where we’re more focused on our races, we will be doing fewer intensity workouts to prime us for performance and then focusing on the races, making sure that we’re really targeting those. In these weeks we will reduce the volume and do just 1 midweek intensity session so we can focus on getting after it on the weekend.

Note #10: Recovery is very important – making sure that we’re getting adequate nutrition, making sure that we’re getting in both passive and active recovery (think both active rest walks and massage or stretching).

There you are 10 notes.  A lot of information to digest.  All these things are important especially as the competition season goes on.

Good Luck and Race Fast!

***

STRENGTH

Actual skiing (training and racing) must be the focus of your work at this point in the year. If your dry land training has been good, you should be able to feel its positive effects when you are on the snow.

The necessary emphasis on-snow time is off-set by a de-emphasis on our off-snow time. Therefore, the strength sessions are shorter; the reps are lower, and—if your schedule requires you to make a compromise . . . choose skiing over strength-training. Doing this program twice each week would be good / nice; but once a week—done well—will be sufficient if it permits you more time on your skis.

***

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 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 ’20)

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

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

(October – November ’20)

First off to follow up on last period’s note about this coming season. Yes, let’s try to keep as much normalcy as we can with our training during the pandemic.

However, there are likely to be adjustments to the race calendar as a result of COVID-19. Each of the Race Organizers from the events you would like to do or would normally do are doing their best to cope with the challenges hosting a ski event this winter will bring. Some races may go off without a hitch. Others may have already looked at what they could offer this winter and have decided to cancel early so all can prepare to make other plans. Still others may have to adjust very close to race day based upon health and safety of all involved. At this point we cannot expect this season to be much like any other we have had in the past.

We will all be well advised to be flexible and focus on enjoying the process of working on our overall fitness this season rather than stressing about being on your best form for a top performance at any one event that may or may not happen or may not look like what you expected when you registered. Starting the season with a realistic approach will have us feeling better about the season as it progresses, rather than feeling frustrated week in and week out. This season more than any other, savor every good day and be prepared to “stop and smell the roses” so to speak when you have the chance.

Now that we have addressed the cold hard truth, let’s get back to talking training for the period.

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 work outs 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.