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My Cross Country Ski Training
Fall Training
Week 24 (October)

XC Ski Training

This series shares my cross country ski training activities, and this is Week 24 of my training year, which started last May. It's the second week of October, and a low volume week, but an intense week with about 8:15 hours of training. For the next 3 weeks, my training hours per week will be 8:15, 12:45 and then 14 hours, to total up to 35 hours for the 3-Week Block. This is the number of hours per week recommended in my training plan, which is based on the wisdom of cross country ski coaches who know all about how to parcel out the hours per week for cross country ski racing success. These hours are based on a 500-hour training year. For more information about how the hours-per-week fluctuate as the year progresses, just use the navigation buttons at the bottom of this page to view my blog entries for prior weeks.

Fall Ski Club Race

About the images: Off we go at the start of my local nordic ski club annual trail race. Thanks to Ishpeming Ski Club. Look at all those awesome athletes go! (No, we did not run up the Suicide Ski Jump that you can see in the background. That's a different event for sure!) For me, this race was a time of self-evaluation. The course includes a long and challenging uphill grade that is affectionately known as The Grinder, and racing up it told me that I need to make sure to go vertical more often, if I want to be stronger when the snow flies. Therefore, I will adjust my training plans to include intervals on The Grinder for several weeks, going forward. As for the image at the top of the page, that's me racing in a raging snowstorm during the Yellowstone Rendezvous ski marathon.

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 24...

Week 24 AM/PM Mode Workouts description: Goal Hrs: 8:15 of 35 this 3-Week block This week: Low volume, 3 intensity workouts, 2 strength, 2 roller skiing/ski bounding Hours
Mon AM

Tue AM Run intensity: VO2Max L4 intervals Do these on The Grinder (long uphill grade on the cross country ski course). Usual warmup: Trail Running 15min L1, 3min L2, 3min L3, 4 accels, then 4x(4min L4 / 4min OFF or recovery back down to starting point). On hill. Start in the same spot each time and plan your intensity so that you gradually increase in pace and get past your marker each time. cool down 10-20 min easy. One coach said, "Once you've built a base of VO2max intervals, you can increase the number or duration of intervals to 5 x 4 min, then 5 x 5 minutes." 1:45

PM WT RM strength:
* 10 min cycling
* 5 min jump rope
* Front Plank on knees and hands, lift opposite arm and leg alternating with Stop Action 40 reps.
UPPER BODY 3 sets:
* Bench Dips 20 reps
* Pullups 8 reps
* Dips on Dip Bar (did 3 sets of 10 reps)
LOWER BODY (2 sest of 10 reps):
* Double Leg Box Jumps
* Single Leg Box Jumps
Wed AM RSCL L1 Roller Skiing all double poling and single sticking w. 10x20sec accels 0:58


Thu AM

Fri AM SW/SS specific strength L5 intervals/ Speeds: Moose Hoofing on steep soft terrain with focus on varying stride length and overall tempo. Try to go farther each trip up the hill, and discover effects of long strides, tempo, and how and when to vary these. Warmup 10min mosey, 15Min L1, 3min L2, 3min L3, 4x20sec accels then 4x(1min. ON/2min.OFF) per 3 techniques (totalling to 12 intervals): Set 1: No special instructions for stride length and tempo. Set 2: Long Strides and Big Swing Through of Leg and Arm. Set 3: Fast-as-can-go Tempo for first 3 intervals. Then, for the last interval adjust stride length and tempo to the grade and see if go farther in the midst of being tired at the end. Yes, I did! Active Cooldown L1 1:55

PM WT RM strength: focus on core and arms
* 10 min cycling
CORE 2 sets all as fast as can go 1min(or 40reps fast as can go)ON/30secOFF:
* Front Plank on knees and hands, lift opposite arm and leg alternating
* Russian Twists with 15lb weight
* Right Plank with 10lb weight
* Left Plank with 10lb weight
UPPER BODY 2-3 sets:
* Low Dips (bottom of push like classic skiing) 40 reps 3 sets
* Bench Dips 20 reps 2 sets
* Pullups 8 reps 2 sets
Sat AM Other Trail maintenance: cutting out thick brush and small trees. Keep moving. 1:30


Sun AM Run intensity: L3 Threshold Pace Running Double and Single Track: Warmup mosey along for 10 minutes, then go 15min L1, 3min L2, 3min L3, and 4x20sec accelerations; then 2x(20minON L3/5minOFF L1); then 2x(2minON L3 increasing into L4 at end/2min OFF L1); Active Cooldown L1 1:45


Week Summary


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 my ZaTech socks...

What a relief! The moment I pulled on my new ZaTech Plantar Fasciitis socks, I got happy feet again! This is great news, because I really want to keep running as part of my cross country ski training plan. Yet, even though I have not been plagued by sore feet prior to a few months ago, for some reason I ended up having to seek out remedies. So, after getting special insoles for all my shoes, exploring how to tape my feet, and buying all new running shoes, I decided to try ZaTech Plantar Fasciitis Socks. And WOW! These socks really do live up to the manufacturer's description that they feature: "Targeted compression zones due to unique, specially designed elastic layers that work perfectly together to relieve pain associated with Plantar Fasciitis by providing increased blood flow to the damaged tissue while lifting and stabilising the Plantar Fascia - LONG TERM solution, not an overnight fix." All I know is that my arches are not sore and I am ready to run without discomfort. I'll post again in my blog about how these arch support socks are working out, but right now my feet feel great! So, I am sharing my glowing review and thanks to ZaTech.

Here's an update after a year of wearing ZaTech socks for a year: These wonderful socks are still my favorite socks for wearing while running and while doing plyometrics! Super love these socks!

shop plantar fasciitis socks

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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