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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.

Tom and I both won!

This week I decided it was time for a race, so I entered a super fun 3-part event consisting of a 5K run, 10 mi. mountain bike, then another 5K run. It was a challenge! Celebrate with me that my training is going well, because I held my own in the first run, which felt pretty darn hard. But, then as soon as I headed off on my bike, the fun of racing really kicked in! I managed to pass 6 other racers on my cyclocross bike on the mountain biking course. After that, I made haste during the final 5K run and was lucky enough the bounce onto the podium as 2nd Woman Overall.

My favorite training partner and husband Tom also landed on the podium! Congratulations to Tom and thanks to Chris Aho and Hope Starts Here for the fun image from the awards ceremony after the race. As for the top-of-page image, that's me racing in a snowstorm at the Yellowstone Rendezvous Cross Country Ski Marathon.

It's appropriate that our first race of the season would be named Hope Starts Here. There's a lot of hope involved in training for cross country ski racing! Here's to hoping for continued good health and enjoyment! Nos drovia!

Now, I am getting into Summer Dryland Training for cross country ski racing, with some increasing hours-per-week and ski specificity coming soon. That means, I will be doing activities that mimic the movements used in cross country ski racing, such as roller skiing and ski walking/bounding using ski poles while on the trails. Looking forward to the next few weeks, my plan calls for training volumes as follows:

  • Week #5 - 8:30 hours;
  • Week #6 -10 hours;
  • Week #7 - 10:30 hours;
  • Week #8 - 11 hours.
This pattern of is intended to stress my body with increasing training loads each week, then to back off on the volume and stress, in order to allow for recovery and avoid injuries. I have trained like this for several years, and really like it!

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 Week 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 for cross country ski racers during training Week #6. Warmup with 5 min. cycling. Then the following exercises are to be done 30 sec. to 1 min. per exercise, with 30 sec. rests between exercises.
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 - feet shoulder width apart, feet forward, neutral spine when bending legs and squatting;
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.)

I love vented sunglasses...

After many pairs of sports sunglasses, most of which fogged up during intense endurance efforts, I was ecstatic when vented sports sunglasses came into vogue! Now, I can kayak, bike, run, roller ski or cross country ski, and always enjoy a clear view!

vented sunglasses for sports

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 Overall in the following races: Kneissel Rendezvous Marathon, President's Cup Marathon, Ridge to River Iron Woman, Pepsi Challenge 10K, two consecutive years: 10th Mountain Division Biathlon, and Muskoka Loppet
  • First Woman Overall and First Mixed Team wins for three consecutive years: Ski to Sea and Ridge to River multi-sport races
  • Second Woman Overall in the following races: Ski Jeep Challenge Series, Gatineau Loppet 27K Worldloppet Race, Superior Ski Classic Marathon, Grand Marnier Cup Marathon, Yellowstone Rendezvous Half-Marathon
  • Third Woman Overall: Payette Lakes Ski Marathon

  • U.S. Ski Association Cross Country Ski Championships results:
    • 26th Place Women All Age Classes in 20K Freestyle
    • 32nd Place Women All Age Classes (3rd in Class F30-39) 25K Freestyle at Royal Gorge
    • 51st Woman All Age Classes 15K Classic at Lake Placid
    • 2nd Woman Overall in the Masters Category Age 30 and up (First in Class F30-34) 20K Classic at Royal Gorge
  • U.S Ski Association Masters Nationals results:
    • First Woman Overall 25K Freestyle race
    • 6th Woman Overall 10K Freestyle race
    • 6th Woman Overall 20K Freestyle race
  • American Birkebeiner 53K Worldloppet Race Elite Wave starter for two consecutive years finishing 22nd and 29th Woman Overall (5th in class F35-39 both years).

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, and was runner-up in her third year. She won Top Gun at the Washington State Biathlon Championships, out scoring all men and women. Currently, Mary Kay is a member of Ishpeming Ski Club and frequent competitor in cross country skiing, bicycling and kayaking events.


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