Types Of Ski Workouts To Substitute For Cycling

Q: Can you please elaborate on what types of typical ski training (workouts) can be substituted for cycling? Is there a ratio to use when swapping workouts for cycling?


FROM PHYSIOLOGY

We know that skiing uses the whole body for the workout, in comparison to that, biking= MTB uses 2/3 of the muscles and cycling = road biking uses only 1/3 of all the muscles in the body. Therefore we can use something called CYCLIC HOURS. The name is not related to cycling/biking. It explains the amount of work for your body in a certain time period. Simply said, if I ski L1 for an hour, it equals to 3 hours in L1 on a road bike or 2 hours on a mountain bike. This is very simple way how to adjust workout hours in low intensities L1 and L3.

Just a note, running still has the same ratio of muscle involvement as skiing, even though it is not entirely truth through muscle involvement, however, there is no rest in downhills, so it equalizes.

 

FROM TECHNICAL

The problem with Cyclic Hours comes up when intensity is introduced. We cannot simply multiply the time of the intervals by 2 or 3 due to anaerobic availability of our body and also not to loose speed and agility for skiing. In that case, it is the best to be creative and use different terrains.

For example, for 40 x 1min L4 w/30s break we can leave it that way, but perform it on flat, where we will have the bike in the lightest gear and for 1 minute bike like an insane person or a hamster on a wheel, then coast for 30s. This way, we are still working on fast motion of the feet and quick reactions rather than physiological advancing.

On the other hand, for example 8 x 5 min L4 w/ 2 min break is the best to perform in very very steep uphill and use appropriate gear and use the 2 min break to descend. This way we perform just the same physiological output and will gain same physiological advantage as on rollerskis or skis. The technical part of this lays in the fact that we are not loosing speed or agility or climbing mental skills.

– Eliska Hajek Algrigtsen

How to Shuffle Workouts to Fit Your Lifestyle

Tailoring Training to You and Your Life

To make the most of your time and energy it is important to focus your efforts. The best way to do this is by picking a few workouts per week to focus on. If you find that you excel at short events like a 5K, then you probably have good speed but need to improve your endurance (we’ll call you a type 1 racer).

On the other hand, if you perform well at longer events (marathons) then you may lack speed, and should focus on VO2 max and other speed intervals (you are a type 2 racer).

Focus on the workouts emphasized for the type racer (type 1 or 2) you most resemble.

Since time is almost always limited plan to complete the top priority workouts first and fit in the others as best you can.

Training must reflect your life and your life must reflect your training. A hard day a work can postpone a hard day of training.

 


Which Workouts Take Precedence Over Others

When it comes time to plan your training week, sometimes it’s helpful to know which workouts take precedence over others. This is particularly useful if a skier has other obligations outside of skiing (work, personal life etc.) that may interfere with the amount of training one can devote during the week, and thus, adjustments must be made. In an effort to make adjustments to the plan that won’t dilute the integrity of the training program, we have a few pointers for planning a training week.


WORKOUT IMPORTANCE

In general, anytime you see a Level 4 workout, consider that your most important workout for the week.

The next important will be Level 3, or, threshold intervals.

Next are long distance workouts.

Taking the least importance, are the shorter distance workouts.

This means if you need to drop workouts from the week, start by eliminating the shorter distance workouts before the others.

 

STRENGTH

For strength exercises, importance changes a bit.

If you are in an easy week of training, general strength is of least importance, and can be considered in the same category as shorter distance workouts.

However, if the week is a harder week of training, then general strength becomes more important, considerably as important as long distance workouts.

Specific strength exercises are always to be considered most important, just like the Level 4 intervals.

 


Scheduling Workouts Within Each Week

Try to shuffle the days within each week to fit your lifestyle and schedule, but avoid “loading” up missed workouts from other weeks to “make up for it.”

Be sure not to have two consecutive general strength or specific strength days during the week. For example, it is okay to follow a general strength day with specific strength the next day, but avoid having two general strength days in a row.

It is okay to have two consecutive interval days within the week on occasion, since that replicates some race weekends in the winter where you race both Saturday and Sunday. However, a majority of the summer training should allow for at least one day of recovery between hard Level 4 or 5 interval sessions.

If you have a workout that utilizes the upper-body heavily (such as double-poling or specific strength) try to focus the next workout on the lower-body (running, cycling) to ensure proper balance and recovery.

If you have the opportunity to train with other people, feel free to change your workout schedule around so that you can have partners to train with. Sometimes there is more value from what you can learn from other athletes than following a plan perfectly.

 


Scheduling Workouts and Training Twice-a-Day

When time conflicts arise, or during high-volume training weeks it can be most convenient to have two workouts in one day. It is important to follow proper protocol with multiple workouts in a single day.

It is better to schedule only one interval session per-day. Try to make the first workout of the day the interval session, and plan the second session to be a strength or distance workout.

Be sure to allow at least 3 hours between the end of the first session and the start of the second session.

Always allow at least 48-hours between each strength session

Always allow at least 48-hours between each interval session

It is a good idea to schedule the “off” day after very hard efforts, race days or race weekends with travel for recovery.

Safely Re-integrating Back Into The Moderate Training Program

For the Intermediate Level training program (400 training hrs/yr), we suggest reintroducing yourself into the training week with these modifications:

1) Any interval session (Level 3-Threshold and Level 4/5 Anaerobic/Speeds) only do half of the prescribed repetitions, but keep the overall training time the same. Replace the time that you would have spent on the remaining intervals with easy Level 1 work as an extension of the cool-down.

2) Scale over-distance and distance workouts back by 25%-30%, so you are only completing 75%-70% of the prescribed time.

3) Go light on strength reps/sets. Don’t push it, complete only what you are comfortable with until you can complete all sets/reps with quality movements.

Go with the model for the next three weeks. After three weeks try to complete workouts as prescribed by the plan.

* At that time, if you are feeling overworked or that the workouts are too daunting, please reach out and we can look into more training plan modifications for you.

 

Adjusting Training Plan Hours

Let’s say you need to adjust your yearly training volume… For example, to modify the 250hrs/year training plan and make it 300hrs/year plan, you might consider adding more time to the distance and over distance workouts. Add 30 min to the distance workout and 45 min to the over distance workout.

Another example of adjusting to the 450 hrs/year training plan. Below is one of CXC Academy coach’s comments, just to give you an idea…

The easy answer is just to say there are 52 weeks in the year and we generally take 2 weeks in the spring almost completely off. Thus you have 50 weeks and need to add 50 hours to a 400 plan…. add 1 hour per week. Is it just that simple? Yes and no. Generally we operate under an 80-20 intensity cycle. This means that 80% of the training generally ends up being distance/technique/over distance/warm up/cool down while, 20% of the training is intensity (racing/intervals/sometimes strength/etc.) By this breakdown, you’d be adding approximately 12 minutes per week of intensity training and 48 min of volume training.

Swapping Out Ski-Specific Activities for Alternative Exercise Modes

Q: It’s difficult to get a rollerski in after work. I would like to swap out ski specific activities for running. Is there a percentage that I should scale down the amount of activity time?

A: We do not believe that you will need to scale down the workout between skiing and running, unless however you have a problem with handling the load of running for that long. For example, during one of the running interval workouts, with warm-up and cool down, the workout should take between 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes, depending on how long it takes you to recover to 120 bpm. If you are able to handle a run of that length, keep it that way. If not, drop a few of the interval workouts (about 2-3) and that should bring the workout length down.

***

Q: I see you mention a bike workout as substitute on the weekends even though you label the weekend as specific Over Distance. Is this in case you can’t rollerski somewhere?

A: The alternative workouts are given as another option for people to do if they would rather bike or ski. Obviously, doing more ski specific training will be better for skiing, but keeping a variety of different modes of exercise in your training is a great way to keep working out exciting and not overworking the body in the same way. We would suggest maybe every other weekend, if you would like to, switching up the mode in which you do your long workouts.

Modification or Substitute for Specific Strength Drills

A: In the CXC Academy Video Library, – under Specific Strength Exercises – http://bit.ly/16NOc5F – you’ll find videos done with medicine ball and exercise band. Those are good substitutes.

Also, in the section on Dry-land Training, look for videos featuring Nordic Shock Cords – these will work great too, and you can increase resistance by stepping back when doing single and double pole pick-ups.

Use Your Poles in Summer

Q: I feel I am too old and fragile to rollerski. What should I do instead?

A: We suggest you hike and run with your ski poles and use them to push off with as you would when skiing. You can use the poles you ski on snow with, but it is better to use poles that are shorter than your on-snow poles. The exact height will be determined by the energy you can put into the effort. When classic skiing on-snow you would use a pole about 83% of your height. If you are just Nordic walking than you would use a pole around 70% of your height. So your exact dry-land pole length will be determined between 83% and 70% of your height by how dynamic your striding, bounding and poling is.

Source: Andy at SkiPost

Use Your Poles in Summer

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