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My Cross Country Ski Training
Early Winter
Week 31 (Snow Dancing)


This series shares my cross country ski training activities, and this is Week 31 of my training year, which started last May. This week I am doing my best snow dance! Did you know that the snow dance ritual and snow dance song have their own pages on Wikipedia? The articles point out that snow dances really do summon snow and particular snow dance rituals vary by person and culture. So, what is my own personal snow dance? Of course, it's cross country ski dryland training. So, I guess that means I have been snow dancing since May. No wonder my feet have been getting sore!

snow dancing

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, as you can see, my snow dance is doing its magic! As for the snowflakes, you can find out all about snowflakes in Kenneth G. Libbrecht's snow crystals book on Amazon.

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 31...

Week 31 AM/PM Mode Goal hrs: 10 (2nd of a 3-Week-Block that will total to 29:15 hrs. with the hrs per week being 9:30, 10:00, then 9:45) Load: Med. Focus: Volume: Go easier since went2hard last week Hours
Mon AM
OFF - Note for all weeks from now on: I added ski specific balance exercises to my morning stretching exercises. Plie with glute activation, shift weight side to side onto forefoot, then on each side lift and lower other foot about 5 times, then lift and hold several seconds, then lift and hold with standing foot raising its heel, to balance on forefoot. Remember to keep upper body loose, lift arms and ribs for balance, and tighten the standing glute. Also do this in forward classic skiing position moving back knee back and forth to balance position.

Tue AM Run Trail running easy L1 1:10


Wed AM Run intensity Threshold L3 Intervals Dang, I have to do these running. Do on dirt trail or road. Usual warmup: walk L1, then run 15min L1, 3min L2, 3min L3, 4x20sec accels on the 2min mark; then 2x(10min L3/5min OFF) then 3x(4min HighL3 OK to go into L4 at end/2min OFF), then cool down 15-20min L1 1:39


Thu AM Other Hiking hilly twisty and some rocky rooty trails 1:31

PM WT RM Winter Strength Ski Specific Circuit for Pre-Race and Race Season December-January. Goal: maintenance and power, not hypertrophy. For all exercises move quickly.

WARMUP: ski specific gentle plyos jumping, body weight
* Cycling with varied RPM 10min.
* Jump rope 3-5 min (did 3 min today)
2 sets of 10 reps of the following:
* Hop Scotch both legs landing out, one leg landing in, repeat
* V2 Simulation hopping wide

CORE all w. 1 min. rests:
* Front Plank picking up legs alternately 30 sec.
* Side Planks holding in position, arm up vertical 30 sec.
* Russian Twist w. lightest weight or ball 20 reps.
* Leg flutter 30 sec.
* Tricep Pushups elbows close to body 20 reps.

LEGS all w. 1 min. rests:
* Goblet squat elbows to knee level w. a weight 20 reps.
* Side pull with band pulling inward 20 reps.
* Goblet Side Squats/Big Steps to knee on floor w. weight 10 reps.
* Goblet Big Steps Forward (Slow Lunges to Knees) w. weight 10 reps.

UPPER BODY 20 reps. ea. all w. 1 min. rests:
* Pullups
* Bench Dips or Dips on Dip Bar
* One-Arm Pulldowns R then L
Fri AM RSCL Roller ski! All Double Poling. Focus on technique: getting forward for best poling oomph 1:10


Sat AM SW/SS IntensityVO2Max L4 Intervals Moose Hoofing on Uphill Usual warmup: 15min L1, 3min L2, 3min L3, 4x20sec accels on the 2min mark; then 6-8x(3min L3-4/3min OFF) increasingly more L4 w. ea. Interval (Do 6 not 8 today) 1:23

PM WT RM Winter Strength same as Tuesday 0:45
Sun AM Run L1 Trail run/jog toggle 20minRun/10minJog on snow, rocks, roots, varied grades up and down the river side gorge 1:38


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 an Interval Timer ...

I love my interval timer, so I want to tell you about it. This handy little device appeared in my Christmas stocking one Winter. Thanks Tom! A sports interval timer is a programmable stopwatch with a really nice loud beep that I can hear a lot better than the wimpy beep in my sports watch. The loud beep is especially nice when skiing or cycling with my ears covered by either a ski hat or bicycle helmet liner. Sure, you could stick your sports watch in your hat in order to keep it next to your ear. But, mine used to fall out of my hat whenever I tried that. And, I could not look at the elapsed time either (not having eyes in the back of my head haha). I really like to take a peek at the interval timer display, to see how many minutes or seconds remain in the interval or the rest period I am in. Plus, interval timers like Honmax and GymBoss have some additional features, such as being able to program your workout. For example, I like to alternate 10 min. ON and 5 min. OFF for some intervals, and my timer will beep on those intervals, until up to 99 times. That's way more than plenty for what I want out of any interval workout! Here are some Amazon shopping links to sports interval timers by Honmax, GymBoss and more...

shop interval timers for sports

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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