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My Cross Country Ski Training
Summer Training
Week 8 (June)

enjoying summer training

This series shares my cross country ski training activities, and here we are in Week 8 of this training year (which started the first week of May). My workouts are still not yet ski specific, except for a few of the strength exercises that build tricep and pulldown arm strength for poling. However, I did get into the kayak for some core and arm work, and mainly because it's fun to be out on the water.

Think Zen kayaking

This is the last week of a 4-Week Block of early summer training. This block features basic aerobic training, with a few ski specific activities, so you will note that the strength workouts have some tricep and arm pulling that mimics ski poling. There are usually two intensity sessions per week, but they are mostly Level 3 aerobic and not into Level 4 much yet, although this week's race did get into Levels 4 and 5 for sure!

Even though last year I was roller skiing and kayaking a lot more during this training week, I am just now starting to kayak and will get on the roller skis a little later as well. I'm generally following the Central Cross Country Ski Association plan for cross country ski racers, and ski specificity is not required just yet, even though World Cup skiers like Jens Burman have been roller skiing all summer already. Instead, I think I could benefit more from working on my leg speed and power by running and cycling, then ramp up with dryland training few weeks later. So stay tuned for those workouts, because they are fun and productive. (About the photo: That's me with my awesome running friend Dorothy Johnson at the Pictured Rocks Road Race.)

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.

So let's check out Week 8...

Week 8 AM/PM Mode 4th of a 4-Week Block: 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 9:20 (of 40 for the 4-week period) Hours:
Mon AM

Tue AM Run Intensity pre race tuneup intervals: warmup 15min L1, 3min L2, 3min L3; then 1,2,3,2,1min.ON/2min.OFF L3+ My coach says, "This is not much of an intensity workout but just waking up the body. You don't really need a hard intensity this week, as you had a big one last week and the important thing is too feel good for the race on Sunday! Find flat terrain, either pavement or a dirt road. You want to focus on quicker turnover running and not trail 'slower' running. Still make sure this run is super easy though - the flat terrain will assist in quicker turnover." 1:40

PM WT RM Strength: 15min cycling warmup then 1minON/30secOFF
1.Short step hop running R-L-R-L for 20 hops;
2.Hop scotch short step hop L-R in, L-R out etc for 20 hops;
3.Hop scotch both feet in, both feet straddle up hill 20 hops;
4.Sideways hopping scissor legs for 20 hops;
5.Russian Twists v-sit w. 10lb. weight;
6.Quick step ups onto box, lift knee up in front;
7.Standing curl, weight behind head up&down, work triceps;
8.Tricep bench dips;
9.Tricep pushups;
10.Partial pullups;
11.Front plank;
12.R and L plank;
13.Pulldowns on weight machine R then L;
14.Leg extensions on weight machine;
15.Waist-to-hips pulldowns on weight machine.
Wed AM RdB L1 cycling w. 6x20sec. accelerations 1:38


Thu AM Run Overdistance: trail run 15min. FastWalk then 2x (50minL1/10min.Walk) 2:20


Fri AM
OFF - Taper Day 2 Days Before Race

Sat AM KYK Pre-race day, save my legs, kayak ez, first kayaking this year :-) 0:45

PM WT RM Strength: 15min tr. Running ez then 4x20sec accels then 1minON/30secOFF
1.Short step hop running R-L-R-L forward;
2.Hop scotch short step hop in-in-out-out;
3.Hop scotch both feet in, both feet straddle;
4.Sideways hopping scissor legs;
5.Russian Twists v-sit w. 10lb. weight;
6.Standing curl, weight behind head up&down, work triceps;
7. Partial pullups bottom-middle;
8.Tricep bench dips;
9.Tricep pushups;
10.Partial pullups;
11.Front plank;
12.R and L plank;
13.Pulldowns like classic ski on weight machine R then L;
14.Low pulldowns waist-to-thighs on weight machine;
15.Weighted situps 10lb on chest.
Sun AM Run Race Day: 10K road and trail. Warmup: 15min L1, 3min L2, 3min L3, 4x20sec accelerations, then Race! 1:31

Mowed lawn, easy walking
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.)

If you are shopping for a heart rate monitor...

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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