Pocket Guide to Cross-Country Ski Training

1. Intensity
No matter how little time you are able to devote to training, you should always fit in one intensity workout every week to ten days starting in the summer. Maintaining that ability and feel of going hard throughout the year is important since it can be very difficult to regain once you have lost it. This is especially true the older you get.

2. Over-Distance
It is amazing how well an occasional OD can maintain your endurance. If you average 45 minutes per workout, try to fit in an easy 2 hour over-distance day. If you average 1 to 1.5 hours, try to fit in a nice 3-hour outing.

3. “Everyday” Workouts
For some of you, doing intervals may be unappealing and you really don’t have time for OD workouts either, so training only consists of “everyday” workouts. These are simple workouts where you just head out and run or bike or whatever at a comfortable pace for the time available to you. If you are only able to train for 30 minutes three times per week, make sure that you are getting something out of them.

Read Full Guide: www.skipost.com/training

Source: SkiPost.com

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 3.13.34 PM

Save

Save

Save

How to Peak for Racing for Beginners

by Karmen M. Whitham, CXC Skiing

My suggestion for any relatively new cross-country ski racer is to build the endurance foundation first, with A LOT of true level 1 volume. The time to do this is in the spring and summer and then come back to it for a short period after the fall intensity block. This allows you to put in major hours on snow and absorb the work you’ve just put in from your intensity training. Paying attention to the aerobic foundation is paramount at the beginning of your skiing career because it builds a foundation of fitness that acts as a spring board for anaerobic training. It’s the difference between building a house with a cement basement “foundation” vs. just sticking some plywood and drywall into the dirt. You’ve got to have something to keep you strong and stable.

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-2-04-39-pm

There is a caveat of losing speed however. Therefore, it is advised that you add simple speeds (fartlek) to your distance workouts. For junior athletes I like to surprise them with 15-30 second sprints during distance or over-distance workouts. I like this method because it also creates playful competition which reminds us why we love to mess around on skis in the first place. Alternatively, you can strategically plan sprints into distance workouts, for example, add 5×30 second speeds (take a minute between each to get the heart rate back to level 1) in the middle of a 2- hour ski or run.

If you keep distance workouts (with speeds) as the foundation of your training (4-6x a week) and add level 3 and level 4 workouts 2-3 times a week, you should not jeopardize your endurance capacity. In training blocks where level 3 and 4 are the primary focus, make sure you are still doing one over-distance workout per week. These workouts are designed to be at true level 1 in order to build mitochondria for oxygen transportation thus maintaining your aerobic fitness.

As for sprint workouts that are effective, I’m a big fan of “mock-sprint days” where you have a qualifier, and three more sprints after that with about 5-minutes of active recovery between them. Not only does this help build anaerobic fitness it also sets an environment for mental preparedness that will get the athlete ready for sprint competitions. Otherwise 1-km relays, time-based ladders, and distance based ladders are other ways to construct sprint, level 4 and level 3 intervals to promote anaerobic capabilities.

To train to be a cross-country skier means you are creating fitness in every aspect of human performance. You should think of training as an interplay between strengthening the aerobic and anaerobic systems as opposed to training either exclusively. That said, you may shift your attention to simply emphasize one system over the other, to coincide with the goal of your respective training period.

Low Enough Over Distance Heart Rate

Q: I am fairly new to skate skiing, and have started rollerskiing this summer to help me advance in the off-season. I simply can’t ski slow enough to get my heart rate within the suggested range (lower than ~150) for those over distance workouts. Would you suggest either doing shorter over distance workouts, or taking frequent breaks during the workout?

A: Snow skiing and rollerskiing both use more of your entire body thus, push up your Heart Rate. For some rollerskiing also increases heart rate due to anxiety of balance, control and pavement. So yes if you can not keep your heart rate down, then yes, I would suggest you use rollerskiing to work on technique and upper body strength and switch to running/walking with poles for your over distance low heart rate days.

12031564_1003761452999928_8257172582995186993_o

Also try a rollerski that rides lower to the ground with perhaps faster rolling wheels. This may allow you to enjoy your rollerskiing at a lower hear rate.

But I say ski walk with poles for OD and use rollerskiing for technique and specific strength.

 

– Andy at SkiPost

Save

Over Distance Workout

General Over Distance Workout – Using a non ski specific mode (biking, running, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, etc.) to exercise continuously for over 2 hrs in duration.

You can choose a general activity based on the level of your recovery. If you’re fully recovered you can pick an activity which is harder for you personally or vice versa. You can also choose an activity based on other sports you are trying to improve or compete at during the spring, summer or fall.

Specific Over Distance Workout – Using a ski specific mode (skis/rollerskis) to exercise continuously for over 2 hrs in duration.

How to Maximize Training for the Part-Time Skier

By: Scott Loomis

This past season marked my last year as a full-time cross-country ski racer. After eight very worthwhile years of racing and training all over the world I have decided to move on to a new phase in my life. Whether that next phase involves working as a roadie for the next Van Halen world tour, joining the World Horseshoe Throwing circuit or attending graduate school only time will tell.

In the meantime, I am working 40 hours per week in Park City, taking two classes at the University of Utah and working a second job one day per week at a local hospital. All of this leaves me very little time for any sort of structured ski training. In fact, I am lucky if I can squeeze in three to five workouts each week.

I do not plan on completely abandoning the sport that I have spent so many years immersed in. After you spend so much time working towards something you love, it becomes hard to simply quit cold-turkey. I do hope to at least remain competitive on the American Ski Marathon Series next season. But how do I get to a competitive level on such a limited training schedule? What I have decided is that I need to figure out how to maximize my training as a part-time ski racer.

I recently read a short article on the internet about how Thomas Alsgaard is currently training three times per week in his preparation for next year’s World Cup circuit. It would be nice if we all had the time (and insane physical capacity) to do this, but for those of us that are part-time racers and weekend warriors that work full-time and/or have families, we simply do not have enough hours in the day to do this. So the question is: What can we do to maximize the training we do have time for? What aspects of a training plan are most important? What can be left out or skipped?

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 11.37.03 AM

1. INTENSITY
No matter how little time you are able to devote to training, you should always fit in one intensity workout every week to ten days starting in the summer. Maintaining that ability and feel of going hard throughout the year is important since it can be very difficult to regain once you have lost it. This is especially true the older you get.

Remember that an intensity workout can come in almost any shape or form. It doesn’t have to be something done on rollerskis or involve skiwalking or bounding for a specific amount of time with a specific amount of rest. It can be as simple as going hard for twenty minutes in the middle of an hour long run or bike ride or even trying to mow your lawn in world-record time. I personally like doing track workouts because I feel that I am able to get a lot of out of them. I am able to fit a bunch of short intervals into a relatively small amount of time and by the end of the workout I feel pretty tired. It is also a matter of convenience since there is a track right down the street from my house.

The point here is to periodically get your heart and lungs into hammer-mode……how you go about doing this really doesn’t matter all that much, especially during the summer. It’s not like your cardiovascular system knows what type of training method you are doing, all it knows is that it is working hard.

2. OVER-DISTANCE
One good over-distance day is second on my list. It is amazing how well an occasional OD can maintain your endurance. If you average 45 minutes per workout, try to fit in an easy 2 hour over-distance day. If you average 1 to 1.5 hours, try to fit in a nice 3-hour outing. Again, don’t forget about the variety of training methods out there. A long kayak can be just as effective as a long mountain run. Also, try combination workouts, where you bike and run or rollerski and run, etc.

3. SKIP WEIGHTS
Unless you feel that your upperbody is your weakest link or you need to bulk up those beach muscles for that week on the houseboat in Lake Havasu, skip the trips to weight room during the summer. Some of you may disagree about this, but remember, I am talking about maximizing training on a limited schedule. Of course, if you have a lot of time to devote to ski training, consistent weight workouts can be a valuable supplement to your plan. If you like to rollerski during the off-season, throw in some double-pole only workouts and make those your strength workouts.

Weight training is really only beneficial if you are able to keep up with it on a weekly basis. So, I feel that it is best to start doing some in the fall and try to be consistent with it until you get on snow. I personally hate hanging out in the weight room. I would much rather go for a run than do sets on the bench press any day.

For those of you that really need to improve your upperbody strength I suggest that you make a small investment in turning your garage into a Rocky Balboa old-school training gym. A padded mat, a couple of 25 lbs barbells and wooden box for dips and step-ups is all you need for a basic strength workout that is right there at home. You could even add a punching bag since it just looks cool hanging there and it makes you feel tough.

4. ‘EVERYDAY’ WORKOUTS
For some of you, doing intervals may be unappealing and you really don’t have time for OD workouts either, so training only consists of “everyday” workouts. These are simple workouts where you just head out and run or bike or whatever at a comfortable pace for the time available to you. If you are only able to train for 30 minutes three times per week, make sure that you are getting something out of them. Going at a level 1 pace for 30 minutes really doesn’t do a whole lot for you, unless you are out of shape and just getting back into training or using it as a recovery workout. If you make some of these short workouts more like semi-pace workouts where you are training in your level 2 to 3 zone then you will get much more out of these days.

The main point I want to get across here is the importance of maintaining a good fitness level throughout the year and it that doesn’t necessarily matter how you get it done. If you are able to throw occasional intensity and over-distance workouts into your training throughout the summer and fall, then you are going to be much better off come ski season. Have a great year see you at the race.

Source: www.SkiPost.com

What do you think is a good “long distance” ski to prepare for the Birkie?

Generally, you would want conduct a ski that is at least 2/3 of the total distance of the Birkie or at least 35 kilometers. On the other hand, evidence is starting to show that doing a full distance effort may not be necessary. Ironman triathlon training has showed us that a goal event can successfully be achieved without ever doing the whole event. A portion – yes, but the whole – appears not. Longer events take a lot out of the body and doing significantly long training bouts can take away valuable energy that might otherwise be best used during the goal event. Practical evidence and sport science has shown that frequency of training as well as ensuring a significant contribution of distance training is done at a low enough intensity can be more important. Level1 training truly attacks the aerobic system instead of medium and medium-plus efforts that recruit both the aerobic and anaerobic systems but this type of training really doesn’t maximize or push either system effectively.

Screen Shot 2014-12-25 at 11.53.14 AM

Marathon training in running has also begun to shift in this manner as well. The world’s best marathoners are consistently becoming the athletes that are great 10 kilometer runners. Some appear to do long distance efforts and others not. The commonality is that they vary their training intensities and they all train frequently.

In general, I would suggest a long over distance ski of at least 35 kilometers in distance to ensure you can maintain endurance for that duration. I would suggest that it not be shortly before the actual Birkie event though. I would suggest 2-3 weeks prior to be safe. The last week should be on capping the energy systems through recovery and good diet. Fuel and hydration during training efforts is also critical to train the body to take in nutrients more efficiently when active. This can be trained and needs to be a consistent aspect of training to minimize the potential of the dreaded bonk.

– by Brian Fish, U.S. Ski Team Continental Cup Coach

Save

Save

Splitting the Over Distance Workout

Q: Could I do half running, half rollerskiing for the over distance workout?

A:  Doing anything for over 3 hours is a long time! It’s always easier to tackle these workouts with a group of skiers or even having one of your friends bike along side.

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 12.25.45 PM

Splitting the workout is an option. You are achieving the biggest goal of the workout, which is building your aerobic base. What are you sacrificing by switching to running part way through? The strength associated with skiing. This is secondary to the aerobic base building we just mentioned. With our elite athletes we like to do a 3 hour double pole session. During this workout we try not to stride at any cost. The athletes are working on ski specific strength that is hard to achieve any other way.

All that being said, training needs to be fun. Success is hard to come by when it feels like a chore to get out there every day. Splitting the over distance workout into running in skiing can be a great way to mix it up and make the workout feel shorter.

We hope this wasn’t too confusing. To sum it up, an occasional split workout is ok, but you will want to get in some longer skis as well!