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My Cross Country Ski Training
Summer Training
Week 13 (End of July)

My new Altras in the clover

This series shares my cross country ski training activities, and this is my blog for Week 13 of this training year, which started last May. You can view any particular week of this year's training by clicking on one of the navigation links below.

This is the first week of a new 4-week block of summer training for cross country ski racing. Since most "first weeks" start off with the lowest volume of the 4-week block, I am happy to be entering this low volume week, since I am recovering from last week's race.

kilt wearing runners on race poster

Before getting into this week's training schedule, here's a bit about the images on this page. I guess it pays to be a bit outlandish, as in kilt wearing at the Irish Fest running race! It was fun to find that the race poster featured us in our outlander garb! And, the circle image is my happy feet in my Altra trail running shoes. As for the image on the top of the page, that's me racing in a raging snowstorm at the Yellowstone Rendezvous Ski Marathon.

What's new? Intensity and Plyometrics. I'll be entering the heart rate zone of Level 4 in my twice-weekly intervals from now on, as opposed to limiting my efforts to Level 3, which is more like a marathon "couple of hours or three" type of race pacing. It's super fun to get going as fast as I can go! But, there will still be plenty of Level 3, since that's the pace that builds race endurance, and about 80 percent of my hours are still Level 1 long easy distance training. Additionally, my strength workouts will now include plyometrics and quickly moving the weights, in order to build the snappiness needed for racing. (Look for a completely new strength workout next week.) And, of course the volume of hours per week continue to increase, with every week having a couple more hours than the last. In fact, this is the highest volume block of the year, with a total of 51 hours for the 4 weeks. That's a lot of training, and I always look forward to all the fun in the sun! (About the photo: I love my new Altra trail running shoes! Really!)

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 13...

Week 13 AM/PM Mode 1st of a 4-Week Block: Goal hrs. 8:45 of 51 hr. 4-Week Block (Highest Volume 4-Week Block of the Year) Hours
Mon AM
OFF - recover from last week's race - no intensity until feel great again

Tue AM Run Trail Run and Kayak morning. Ez still not recovered. 1:00

PM KYK L1 kayaking 0:45
Wed AM RdB Intensity Tempo Day: working toward a 30min road cycling race. Warmup 20min. 4x20sec accels fast legs, 3minL2, 3minL3, then 3x10min L3/2.5 min L1, SLOW DOWN FOR ROAD CROSSINGS THEN SPRINT OUT OF THEM Don't stay in L4 but low L4 OK, cooldown L1 but rode up our hill so can't avoid higher H.R. There. (2 weeks ago I did 3x15min but I am still recovering from the race last Sunday) 1:30

PM WT RM Strength: warmup w. the hoppy plyos, do core & arms (less legs) w. lots of triceps & weight 15 lb. 1minON/30secOFF for
1.Short step hop running R-L-R-L;
2.Hop scotch out out in in hopping L-R in, L-R out;
3.Hop scotch both feet in, both feet straddle;
4.Sideways hopping scissor legs going R then L;
5.Tricep dips on bench (rock);
6.Full then partial pullups top, bottom and middle;
7.High pulldowns on weight machine R then L then together;
8.Middle to low pulldowns R then L;
9.Dips on hanging dip bars;
10.Front plank;
11.R and L plank;
12.V sit with Russian twist and 15 lb weight;
13.Tricep pushups with a few regular pushups;
14.Repeat planks etc. until reaching 30min.
Thu AM Run L1 trail run preceeded by fastwalk 10min then run 45min 0:45


Fri AM KYK L1 kayaking 0:45


Sat AM Run Intensity: Speeds/L3-L4 intervals: 15min.L1, 3min.L2, 3min.L4, 4x20sec.accels w.40sec.OFFs. The workout @ L3-L4 (building into L4 during the 2nd set) 1-2 x through (1,2,3,2,1) with 1 min recovery between intervals. Flat for speedy legs. Start pushing into L4 at the end of the first set OR 1/4 through the 2nd set. L1 cool down. If the first set goes well and you are feeling good, then make your decision about completing the 2nd set or not. My coach said, "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 easily do a few more intervals!" 1:00

PM WT RM Strength: warmup w. the hoppy plyos,do core&arms similar to Thusday (less legs but also did leg extensions) 0:30
Sun AM Run trail run/fasthike toggle varied terrain rocks, roots, road, loam, hills, and flats 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.)

Shop trail running shoes...

It's been a long time since I loved a pair of trail running shoes like I do my new Altras! They're pictured in the round image at the top of this page. I found them on Amazon, and agree with all the glowing reviews. The Zero Drop, nice treads and more cushioning are just three features that make my feet happy to run and jump and enjoy all kinds of terrain. So, that's my glowing review of my Altra trail running shoes.

However, perhaps you are not into Zero Drop running shoes. Or, have you been looking for running shoes with a nice wide toe box and choices in drop, cushioning and running terrain?

topo running shoes

As for me, I have been wishing I could get running shoes with the same great wide toe box plus some drop, just to try non-Zeros, since I have been running in Zeros for several years. That is why I am excited to say I recently discovered that Topo running shoes offer many options for runners! I had my heart set on two pairs with 5MM drop: one for road and another for trail running, just to see if my high-instep high-arch wide-forefoot narrow-heel feet will like them better. After purchasing these shoes and running in them for a season, I gotta tell you that I just absolutely love 'em! Even if you are just browsing, it's worth a stop over to the Topo shoe store on Amazon

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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