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My Cross Country Ski Training
Summer Training
Week 6 (June)

on the podium

This series shares my cross country ski training activities, and here we are in Week 6 of this training year.

This week I decided it was time for a race, so I entered a super fun duathlon: 5K run, 10mi mountain bike, 5K run. It was a challenge! Celebrate with me that my training is going well, because I held my own in the first run, then Woah! I passed 6 other racers on the bike, and then felt good enough during the second run to bounce onto the podium as 2nd Woman Overall. I guess that's a testament to this training plan.

This is the second week of a 4-week series of Summer Dryland Training for cross country ski racing. Last week I dropped my hours, compared to the previous 4-Week period, and now my hours and intensity will increase a bit successively each week, until I accomplish 40 hours total for this period. My plan calls for something like: Week 5 - 8:30 hours; Week 6 -10 hours; Week 7 - 10:30 hours; and Week 8 - 11 hours. I really like this pattern of stair stepping the training volume (hours) up for several weeks, then dropping hours and building again. (The photo is from the awards ceremony, thanks to Curtis Aho!)

This blog is based on my cross country ski training, and the info. is provided just for those who are curious about the kind of training cross country ski racers enjoy doing to get ready for winter fun at Lake Tahoe and beyond. You can view more of my training log by clicking on one of the navigation links below.

Week 6 AM/PM Mode 2nd of a 4-Week Period: a variety of modes, bike, run, may kayak or roller ski if desire. 1-2 workouts/week @ L3. Can go into L4 gingerly. Add some weight, ski specificity & plyometrics. Goal Hrs. 10 (of 40 for the 4-week period) Hours
Mon AM
OFF - Walk in A.M. - recover from yesterday's looong ride
Tue AM RdB Race prep peaking intervals: 15min L1,3min L2,3min L4,4x20sec accels w.40sec OFFs. workout @ L3-L4 (building into L4!) 1-2 x through (1,2,3,2,1) with 1 min recovery between intervals. 6/7/22 I did 1,2,3,2,1,1,1,2,3,2,1w.2min between. My coach says, "Ideally on terrain that best represents the upcoming race trail. Start pushing into L4 at the end of the first set OR 1/4 through the 2nd set. L1 min cool down. If the first set goes well and you are feeling good, then make your decision about completing the 2nd set or not. If your body is feeling sluggish or tired by the end of the 1st set, then I would suggest not doing the 2nd set! You want to end this interval session knowing you could easy do a few more intervals!" 01:30

Wed AM Run L1 warmup then continuous run for 1 hr. then cooldown 01:25
  PM WT RM Strength w.5min cycle then
1.Short step hop running R-L-R-L for 10 ft;
2.Hop scotch short step hop L-R in in, L-R out out, etc for 10 ft;
3.Hop scotch both feet in, both feet straddle for 10 ft;
4.Sideways traveling hopping scissor legs for 10 ft. to R. then L.;
5.Russian Twists v-sit w. 10lb. weight;
6.Weighted situps cross arms weight on chest;
7.Dumbbell Romanian deadlift - handweight travels hips to knees;
8.Goblet squat - all the way down, knees wide, hold goblet at chest;
9.One leg on box behind, bend standing leg, weight in hand on
standing leg side;
10.Step ups - onto box, two weights in hands, lift back leg behind;
11.Standing curl - weight behind head - triceps up and down;
12.Tricep bench dips;
13.Tricep pushups;
15.Front plank;
16.R and L plank
Thu AM
OFF - Taper for upcoming race
Fri AM MtB L1 on the race course w. 4-6 20sec accels 00:45
  PM WT RM Light Strength w. 5min cycle warmup core & arms w. 10lb.weight same as Wednesday above 00:30
Sat AM MtB
Race Day: Warmup running 40min w. 15min L1; 3min L2; 3min L3; 4x20sec accelerations; Race: 5K Run then 10 mi. Mountain Bike then 5K Run; cooldown light running 02:40
Sun AM RdB Overdistance: cycling roads not too hard - recover from race - Try to keep it to L1 - focus on best pedaling technique 02:55
Total Hours


KEY: The references to L1, L2, L3 and L4 in the spreadsheet refer to heart rate zones, with L1 being lowest heart rate. A general way to think about these heart rate training zones is: L1 is Level 1 - very easy to talk, L2 is Level 2 - easy to talk, L3 is Level 3 - difficult to talk marathon race pace, L4 - cannot talk 5K race pace, L5 - WFO sprint pace maximum speed. Key to modes of training: Ski Walk/Bound SW/SS, Ski Skate SSK, Ski Classic SCL, Rollerski Skate RSSK, Rollerski Classic RSCL, Road Bike RdB, Mountain Bike MtB, Kayak or Row KYK, Double Poling DP, Weight Room/Strength WTRM. (For in-depth information about training plans, periodization of training and all the details that go into making up a training year, please look for CXC Academy or another training organization for that kind of detail.)

Books about cross country ski training...

DISCLAIMER: All sports including Cross Country Skiing have inherent risks. This training page is provided as information only. It is not a prescription for training. It is provided without the benefit of assessing the reader's health, fitness or skill. It is not a substitute for qualified personal coaching. Obtain a doctor's medical assessment before engaging in strenuous exercise. By reading this page, you agree to indemnify the author and any associated entity from any harm you may incur if you decide to follow the training program, and you agree you are at your own risk and that you hold harmless the author and any other associated entity.

  • First Woman: Kneissel Rendezvous Marathon, President's Cup Marathon, Ridge to River Iron Woman, and Muskoka Loppet
  • Three-Time First Woman and First Mixed Team wins at Ski to Sea and Ridge to River relay races
  • Second Woman at the Gatineau 25K Classic, Superior Ski Classic Marathon, Grand Marnier Cup Marathon, Yellowstone Rendezvous 25K and Pepsi Challenge 10K
  • Third Woman at Payette Lakes Ski Marathon
  • *U.S Nationals 26th of 41 Women All Age Classes in 20K Freestyle
  • *U.S. Nationals 32nd Overall of 86 Women All Age Classes (3rd in Class F30-39) 25K Freestyle at Royal Gorge
  • *U.S. Nationals 51st Woman All Age Classes 15K Classic at Lake Placid
  • *U.S. Nationals (Masters-only race: ages 30 and up) 2nd Woman Overall (First in Class F 30-34) in 20K Classic at Royal Gorge .
  • U.S. Masters Ski Association Nationals (30 and up) First Woman Overall 25K Freestyle race
  • U.S. Masters Ski Association Nationals (30 and up) 6th Woman Overall in both the 10K and 20K Freestyle races

After moving to Lake Tahoe, Mary Kay won several Top 3 Woman finishes in Far West Cross Country Ski events. She joined U.S. Biathlon Association and won two consecutive years Overall Woman at the 10th Mountain Division Biathlon. She won Top Gun at the Washington State Biathlon Championships, out scoring all men and women. After moving to Marquette, Michigan she found that her two Birkebeiner finishes were also something to be proud of. These were 22nd and 29th Woman Overall (5th F35-39 both years). Currently Mary Kay is a member of Ishpeming Ski Club and frequent competitor in cross country ski races.

View more of my training log...

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