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My Cross Country Ski Training
Summer Training
Week 12 (Mid July)

my duathlon race

This series shares my cross country ski training activities, and this is my blog for Week 12 of this training year. This is the last week of a 4-week block of training, and I tapered for a race at the end of the week.

What's tapering? My neighbor used to tease me by saying, "Rest before you get tired," and that's tapering in a nutshell. It involves a lower volume of training, some light intervals toward the start of the week, no overdistance workout, and taking a day off 2 days prior to the event. Easy! You will see all of these elements in my training log below. Tapering works great! I enjoyed the race at the end of the week, having trained enough to feel happy to keep up a good race pace effort, and I took home a nice Second Woman Overall plaque! A look through my prior several weeks of training will show you that I kayaked and cycled enough, including intervals, to enjoy racing with friends. (About the pics: happily on my way to Second Woman Overall in the race. Also, ever since the year I broke the Women's course record, my cartwheel has become a tradition at the awards ceremony. Thank you Indian River Biathlon.)

The Cartwheel

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 12...

Week 12 AM/PM Mode 4th of a 4-Week Block: Goal hrs. 8 of 47 hr. 4-week Block (For info. About this block of 4 weeks, go to Week 9 and see the note at top of Week 9) TAPER & RACE WEEK Hours
Mon AM

Tue AM Run Race prep peaking intervals (my first purely L4 intervals this year): warmup 15-20min.L1,3min.L2,3min.L4,4x20sec.accels w.40sec.OFFs. Workout: 1 x through (1min, 2min, 3min, 2min, 1min pyramid) with 2 min recovery between intervals. My coach said, "You want to end this interval session knowing you could easy do a few more intervals!" Therefore, I decided beforehand that 1x12321 would be good today. 1:06


Wed AM Run L1 trail running. (Saving my bikie legs for the race on Sunday.) 1:25

PM WT RM Strength: warmup 15min. Cycling then mostly core exercises (see last week for the exercises) and a few triceps exercises. Saving my legs for Sunday's race. 0:45
Thu AM KYK L1 kayak w. some fartlek light sprint style efforts due to wind and waves 0:45


Fri AM
OFF - Taper for race

Sat AM Run Trail run on soft trails a bit this day prior to the race. (Traveling today and camping tonight before the race.) 1:00


Sun AM Run,
Race! Kayak and Gravel Ride multi-sport event. Warmup running and core (planking and some pushups) for 45min. Then race 4.5mi.kayak and 14 mi. gravel cycling. Cooldown riding a little. 2:00


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.)

Shopping for a sports watch with GPS...

A heart rate monitor is an essential tool for cross country ski training, at Lake Tahoe and anywhere! My personal choices have been Garmin and Polar, and each brand has offered me useful features. I really like knowing what level of effort I am expending, and being able to glance at my wrist to see what's up, literally!

Any athlete who has trained all year at sea level, and then traveled to where the air is thin above Lake Tahoe, can attest that it's difficult to "go by feel" when training at such a difference in altitude. Additionally, it's really helpful for staying on your training plan, when you can view your data after each workout, such as heart rates, distances, pace, duration of workout, map of route, and more. Those are features of a sports watch with GPS like I have.

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, 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 25K Classic, Superior Ski Classic Marathon, Grand Marnier Cup Marathon, Yellowstone Rendezvous 25K and Pepsi Challenge 10K
  • 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. Masters Ski Association Nationals results:
    • First Woman Overall 25K Freestyle race
    • 6th Woman Overall 10K Freestyle race
    • 6th Woman Overall 20K Freestyle race
  • American Birkebeiner Cross Country Ski Marathon 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 ski races.


Navigation Links:

View more of my training log...

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