Endurance Athlete

Sc ientifically Designed Athletes

The start of a new training year.

We hope that you have taken the past 6 to 4 weeks to physically and mentally recover and rejuvenate following the end of the 18/19 winter season. At the end of each season, every athlete should take some time to stay physically active with easy exercise, outdoor adventures, and taking a mental break from focused training. Depending on what part of the country you live in and the weather you might have been able to continue on skiing, explored the backcountry while crust skiing or alpine touring, or taken a trip to ride mountain bikes or hike in the desert. No matter what you did you should be entering the new training year excited and motivated to get back to training.

As we look towards the first month of the 19/20 training year we need to remember to not get too excited and start to hard with our training. It is commonly stated that cross-country skiers are built in the summer months, but May is still spring and so we do not need to start the series building yet. If we want to build something big this summer we need to do some preparation this spring so we are ready for the hard work in the summer.

The next four weeks should be less focus on volume or intensity, but more on preparing your body to the demands of summer training. We suggest that you start with running, biking, and some pole hikes. Start with running 2-3 times per week with each session ranging from 20 -50 minutes. These running workouts should be completed at low intensity (level 2) with the goal of progressively loading your bones and joints so that when you can tolerate the high load of long trail runs in the middle of the summer when high volume training is key. Biking (road or mountain biking) is a great way to include overall aerobic volume to your training without placing a large demand on your bones and joints. Going on bike rides ranging from 1 – 2 hours is a perfect way to slowly build the volume of your long aerobic workouts. If you are not a cyclist, heading out on pole hikes can be also be used to build your aerobic volume.

Even though the focus for May is to transition back into focused training with a slow build to volume, it is also important to expose your body to some intensity and speed so you are ready for the high-intensity sessions of summer. Start with adding 4-6 x 15 to 20 second strides at the end of 1 run during the first 2 weeks of the month. In the last 2 weeks of the month do 2-3 intensity workouts (we usually do these as running workouts) that have about 6-8 minutes of work done at or just above threshold (level 4). Two example workouts would be:

Workout 1:

Warm-up: 10 minutes easy jog (level 1) and dynamic warm-up exercises.

3x 2 minutes level 4 with 3 minutes active recovery (level 1) between each

Cool-down: 5 minutes level 1 and stretching

Workout 2:

Warm-up: 5 minutes pole hike (level 1). 5 minutes dynamic warm-up exercises

7x 1 minute uphill jogs with poles (level 3). Recover 90 seconds walk back downhill (level 1).

Cool-down: 10 minutes level 1 pole hike and stretching

During the final week of the month, getting on your roller skis for the first time is appropriate. Replace one of your easy running workouts with a 45 minute level 1 roller ski. The focus of this roller skiing session should be on balance, lateral weight transfer, and getting comfortable on your roller skis.

Finally, getting into the gym and lifting weights should start right away. Start with 2 weight room sessions per week and increase to 3 weight room session on the final week of the month. The focus to every exercise while in the weight room is to have quality and controlled movements. Start with body weight only movements and build to adding light weights. Each lifting sessions should address upper body, lower body, and core exercises. The goal is to get to 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps per exercise. When adding weight, the weight should be light and allow you to complete all reps without losing the quality of the movement. If the weight is too heavy or your technique is deteriorating, stop and rest.

As cross-country skiers, we also have a lot of equipment. Taking care of this equipment is important throughout the entire year. If you have not already done so, make sure you winter skis are clean and have a layer of summer storage wax on them. It is also a good time to bring your skis into your local ski shop to have them evaluate if your skis need a stone grind. You can also have a ski shop apply a layer of summer storage waxing using the hotbox. Store your skis in a cool, dry location. Having skis in the garage when it hits 90 degrees (or hotter) is not good.

Additionally, if you roller skied in the fall right up to the first snowfall and then forgot to take care of your roller skis and poles this is a good time to make sure your roller skis are ready for summer training. Check wheels for wear and that the barriers roll smoothly. Also, look at your ferrules on your roller ski poles. It is a good idea to replace your roller ski ferrules at the beginning of the summer so you have sharp tips.

If you are lucky enough to still have access to snow (either groomed trails or backcountry crust skiing), take advantage of the opportunity to be on snow, but remember this is a treat and what the overall focus to training at this time of the season is, easy, low volume. Enjoy being on snow, work on technique, and keep the volume low.

It is exciting to get the 19/20 cross-country ski training year started but remember that it is a long journey and we want to stay healthy, injury free, and motivated to train all the way to the end. Allow yourself to transition back into training at your own pace and level of excitement to focus on skiing and enjoy the entire journey.

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Posted on: Friday, May 3rd, 2019 at 5:11 pm

Posted in: Training, Training Tips

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