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My Cross Country Ski Training
Week 34
(Giga Snowstorm!)

cross country skiing

This series shares my cross country ski training activities, and this is Week 34 of my training year, which started last May.

Good thing my training plan called for a break in the action, with low volume and less intensity this week. That's because we had a gigantic snowstorm that lasted for days and kept everybody at home due to blowing and snowing blizzard conditions. However, at the end of the week came our reward, when the snow stopped, the sun came out, and our ski club set some very nice tracks for classic skiing.

classic ski touring

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. As for the other images, this is what classic skiing after a gigantic snowstorm looks like: newly set tracks, cold fluffy snow and a happy me!

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. When all weekly posts are complete, this blog shows an entire training year, based on US Ski Association and professional coaching plans for middle distance cross country ski racers. It's the kind of detailed information I wish I had early on in my ski racing. So enjoy! You can view more of my training log by clicking on one of the navigation links below.

So let's check out Week 34...

Week 34 AM/PM Mode Week 34 Easy: My boilerplate plan goal hours were 8:30, but with advice to take it especially easy this week due to race season coming on and it's Christmas! So, so I did 6:45 also due to big snowstorm, and well yes I also felt the need for rest and recovery over the Holiday. Hours
Mon AM

Tue AM SCL L1 classic ski w. 8-10x20sec.accelerations. I did 9 accels. 1:07


Wed AM SSK intensity: Mixed Threshold L3 Intervals with L4's mixed in. At this time of year, just before race season, my coach likes to add L4s into the L3 workouts. Usual warmup 15minL1, 3minL2, 3minL3, 4x20sec.accels. Then 10x(2min.L3/1min.L4). Then cooldown L1. 1:31


Thu AM Run L1 trail and bike path nearly running on new snow with slippery base. 1:00


Fri AM
OFF - Gantic snowstorm today. Shoveling doesn't count for training hours but I did that today, too


Sat AM Other Hiking in the snowstorm. The giga snowstorm continues. Shoveling doesn't count for training hours but I did a lot of it again today, as well 1:45


Sun AM SCL L1 classic skiing with some accelerations toward the end. Gradual grade, newly rolled and tracked very soft cold snow 18-20degF. My old tin of XF20 grip wax releases the snow better than VR30 in this new cold snow. A beautiful sunny day! And, I am refreshed and rejuvinated at the end of this couple-of-weeks of easier training. 1:22


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 Treats...

During a cross country ski workout, I love to take along some treats. In my butt pack you will always find a Larabar and a Cliff bar. However Tahoe Trail Bars are also yummy and healthful treats for replenishing resources during workouts. But let me not forget to mention that we also love to go gourmet from time to time, and treat ourselves with Tahoe chocolate chip cookies! Here are some links to these treats...

shop energy bars

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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