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My Cross Country Ski Training
Fall Training
Week 26 (October Fini!)

roller skiing

This series shares my cross country ski training activities, and this is Week 26 of my training year, which started last May. Now that we are finishing up October, I am celebrating having improved my technique on roller skis, which is the dynamic of getting forward and maintaining the forward stance longer during the power phase of poling. What I call getting forward is also called having high hips, or as others say falling forward tall.

roller skiing getting forward

My sweetie pie husband and training partner took a few quick videos and photos of me while doing the Specific Strength workout, and I was happy to see that the images look they way it feels to me. Some of the cues going through my head while getting forward include:

  • that I should help myself to get on the balls of my feet via glute activation,
  • and at the same time extend my core by feeling the rise of my ribs as my arms rise up for the pole plant,
  • then when I crunch and pole, keep the high hips via continued glute activation, so I can really scoot!
Thank you to CXC Academy on Youtube for the cue of glute activation to get in position of high hips. That cue is key!

So, those are my cues I want to share with anybody who is still trying to get forward in their cross country skiing.

About the images: At the top of the page, that's me racing in a raging snowstorm during the Yellowstone Rendezvous cross country ski marathon. And above is the improvement in my double poling form that I have been working on. Getting high hips and keeping them high throughout the poling phase. That's my style of Leaning In!

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 26...

Week 26 AM/PM Mode Workouts description: Goal hrs. 13:35 to sum up to 35 for this 3-week block. This week: 3 intensity workouts, 3 roller ski workouts, 2 strength Hours
Mon AM
OFF - Took a walk

Tue AM Run overdistance: L1 easy recovery day: Hiking varied terrain rocks, roots & hills 2:19


Wed AM RSCL intensity L5 intervals/Speeds: Roller Skiing Specific Strength: Warmup 15Min L1, 3min L2, 3min L3, 4x20sec accels then 4x(1min. ON/2min.OFF) per 3 techniques: Single Stick, Short Stroke Double Poling, Full Double Poling; Cooldown R.S. & walking L1 These intervals are on steep uphill grade that presents difficulty for these techniques 1:30

PM WT RM strength: do all exercises quickly as can go
* 10 min trail running
* 5 min jump rope
CORE as fast as can go 1minON/30secOFF
* Front Plank
* Side Planks R then L with 10 lb weight
* Russian Twists with 15 lb weight
UPPER BODY as fast as can go 1minON/30secOFF
* Pulldowns One-Arm R then L
* Pulldowns 2-Arms low (waist to thighs)
* Dips on Dip Bar
* Pullups 3x8 reps with 30 secOFF
LOWER BODY 20 reps
* Double Leg Box Jumps
* Single Leg Box Jumps with leg swing like classic skiing
* Telemark Jumps
Thu AM RdB Road and Gravel riding flat at first, then some long grades 2:28


Fri AM Run intensity Threshold L3 intervals: Usual warmup then 4x10minL3 w/5minOFFs 1:38


Sat AM RSSK Roller Ski 45min with 6x20sec accels; then hike 30min 1:15

PM RdB Road and Gravel riding long rolling grades 1:24
Sun AM RSSK intensity: VO2Max L4 intervals 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. 1:29

PM WT RM strength: do all exercises quickly as can go
* 10 min trail running
* 5 min jump rope & run high knees in place
CORE 2 sets of 30 reps
* Front Plank on knees/hands with lifts of opposite arm/leg
* Side Planks R then L (10 with 10 lb weight)
* Russian Twists with 15 lb weight
* Bench Dips 20 reps
* Pullups 8 reps
* Single Leg Box Jumps with leg and arm swing like classic skiing 10 reps
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.)

Shopping for my favorite energy gels...

Nutrition is highly important for endurance athletics. It's also just a lot more fun to top off reserves during a long or intense workout. One of my favorite energy boosters is Clif Shot Energy Gels. Personally, I like the Double Expresso at about the 2-hour mark of my overdistance workout, or as a little bit of a boost right before doing intervals. There's a lot of research that explains why. For example, the American College of Sports Medicine states that caffeine can have a stimulant effect on the brain as well as affect blood pressure, pulse rate, stomach acid production and fat stores. A lot of other athletes share my love of a little bit of caffeine as a performance enhancer. Here are some Amazon shopping links...

shop energy gels

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.


Navigation Links:

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