How to Shuffle Workouts to Fit Your Lifestyle

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.

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.

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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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Considering a Variety of Factors When Choosing Exercises to Replace Runs

Q: I’m still in therapy rehabbing my knee and unable to sustain impact for any significant time when running. Can the training program be successfully accomplished in the absence of this mode of training?

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A: The great thing with our program is that it is adaptable to meet the needs of the individuals themselves. A lot of people that use CXC Academy take each workout and adjust it slightly to fit what their ability and bodies can do. So if that is doing a little less running and and more biking, paddling, or other cross training activities, that is perfectly fine. One thing that you may have to consider is the economic cost of each mode of activity. In biking, you have moments where you are just coasting, and the overall work that you are doing over the course of 30 minutes is going to be different than if you were to run those 30 minutes. For activities like biking where the work may be less than what the prescribed workout is, you may want to add on some time to either the interval length or workout duration. That way we can develop the same training effect we are looking for.

It sounds like you are doing things the appropriate way with gradually working your way back into things. A lot of people tend to relapse in their injuries by jumping back into training too fast. Have a progression plan figured out of how you are going to work back into the exercise modes that use your knee and have given you trouble in the past. It may be staying at one duration for a number days or weeks and then progressing or slowly increasing your time each workout you go out. Having a plan in place is a good start to any recovery plan. However, if things don’t progress like you hope, there is no sense in sticking with the plan that you have set, – alter and restart.

The biggest thing that I say about dedicated training and getting back into shape is you have to be consistent. It doesn’t really matter what mode of exercise you are working out in, but the fact that you get out and do something active for a certain amount of time each day. You’ll see your biggest gains when you find that consistency.

Substituting Cycling for Skiing During Training and Competition

I used to compete in a few mountain biking, triathlon and trail running race events in the summer months when I was a ski competitor. Each competitor will find balance between competition and training. Competition is an opportunity to test how well training is progressing as well as provide opportunities to test our tactical strategies in a real race setting. I found through experience that there is a balance that one must find between competition and training. Maintaining peak race fitness unfortunately can not be done all year long, so preparation, pre-competition and competition phases are necessary to develop, identify and plan out in your training.

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Bryan Fish, U.S. Cross Country Ski Team Development Coach

My primary sport was always skiing and hence the summer events (namely mountain races and trail running races) were means of breaking up the standard mode of ski training to keep things fresh both mentally and physically.

First, it’s critical to set priorities. Is cyclo-cross going to become your primary sport in that period or is cyclo-cross a means of training for cross country skiing? The difference here will be the number of work outs that will be substituted from ski training to cycling. There are not right or wrong priorities here, but it is important to set what your priorities are for the upcoming year.

Secondly, timeline is also important. What are the dates cyclo-cross competitions will take place? Cyclo-cross is September through mid-December here in the US and Cyclo-Cross World Cup is Sept-early February.

It is important to understand what systems of the body are trained similar and different when evaluating cycling and skiing. There are a few key ideas to keep in mind as you substitute cycling for skiing during some of your training and competition.

The cardio-respiratory system is the mechanism that transports blood, oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles. This system is a pump and is increased and decreased with effort. This system is not sport specific and hence going hard on the bike and hard on skis is not recognized by the cardio-respiratory system. Hard is hard regardless of the sport. This is important as it relates to substitution of training modality.

The peripheral skeletal system does recognize differences in modality of training. The movements and muscles (motor units) recruited for cycling versus skiing are different. It is also important to understand how motor units are recruited. The body recruits slow twitch (aerobic) at low intensity and an additional contribution of fast twitch (anaerobic) motor units are added as intensity increases. The percentage of fast twitch to slow twitch motor unit recruitment continuously increases as intensity increases. Therefore we need to train both low intensity and high intensity for both sports. The priority will go to the sport you are presently participating in.

Following the lines of point number 2, cycling is generally non-weight bearing while skiing is a weight-bearing activity. This means that a majority of the time is spent in the bike saddle. The core and particularly lower abdominals and hips are worked differently in the saddle versus activities that are weight-bearing (standing up) like running and skiing. Cyclo-cross has more weight-bearing activities due to the dismounting, running and pedaling out of the saddle. In short, the movements and muscles (motor units) recruited are somewhat different.

Competition duration. Race time is a critical aspect to look at as well. 5km running races are like max VO2 efforts while most cycling races are over an hour (and often 1.5 to 3 hours) long. Bike racing requires a strong emphasis on threshold while a 5 km running race places the emphasis on max VO2. Substituting threshold training with cycling efforts is important.

Two efforts that are critical to substitute skiing for cycling is the threshold training and over distance training. Cycling events require a high demand on the aerobic system and threshold. It is important to get in continuous hours both at low and high intensity on the bike.


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Author:

Bryan Fish, U.S. Cross Country Ski Team Development Coach

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