cross country ski training page 1
You are here: Home Page > Activities > Skiing > XC Ski Training > Week 37

My Cross Country Ski Training
Week 37
(First Big Race)

cross country ski racing

This series shares my cross country ski training activities, and this is Week 37 of my training year, which started last May.

cross country ski race

First, about the images, before getting into the details of this week's training. Here I am both starting and finishing the first big race of the season: putting on the final push going into the stadium finish line in the 22K. My double poling was quick and powerful enough that I pulled ahead of #14 going into the line, and I ended my race in a photo finish with #210. It's encouraging to be able to finish powerfully, especially because I can use all the encouragement I can get. As for the top-of-page image, that's me racing in a raging snowstorm during the Yellowstone Rendezvous cross country ski marathon.

First Big Race

This week features a classic taper for my first big race of the season. It was a super low volume week, leading up to the race. Then, after the race, a slow starting recovery ski.

As for results, my finish time was not as stellar as I had hoped for, since I got a bit trounced by some competitors who I had previously trounced last year. That's racing!

However, I was happy with my technique, having great grip on the uphills that's for sure, probably due to putting too much kick wax on my skis, but I also have improved my uphill running form. I did race to my limit, and just after a race is the time to limit one's self-loathing.

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 37...

Week 37 AM/PM Mode Workouts description: Goal hrs. ~8 - A Race Week "Performance Taper" low volume, just 1 tuneup intervals, OFF Mon. & 2 days prior to race Hours
Mon AM
OFF - Continue daily 10 min. exercise routine for balance-on-one-foot, stretching strengthening of feet, and glute activation.

Tue AM Run Run L1 easy on snow covered/icy deck roads and trails 0:58


Wed AM SCL Pre-Race Tuneup/Light intervals: warmup: 15min L1, 3min L2, 3min L3, 4x20sec accelerations, then 1,2,3,3,2,1min.ON/2min.OFF L3-L4+, then cooldown. This is the workout for all race week Wednesdays. 1:05


Thu AM
OFF - 2 days prior to race


Fri AM SCL L1 ski on the course and do 6 20 sec. accelerations throughout the ski, with at least 2 min. between accel's 1:00


Sat AM SCL Race: 22K Classic. Plan for ~1:40 duration. Warmup ~1 hr. as usual: 15 min. L1, 3 min. L2, 3 min. L3, 4x20 sec. accelerations. In the race, focus on technique and do not go out way too hard. After 18K pickup the tempo in my stride and keep good technique. Finish speedy. 2:47


Sun AM SCL L1 recovery ski. Start slow and keep it easy. Ski only on very gentle grades. 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.)

Chums Eyewear Retainers...

Last week, I wrote that I was going to try out Tifosi Sports Glasses for cross country ski racing. After trying out these glasses with their vented lense, I can say they did not fog up in training and did not fog up in my race. So, I like them! To complete my Great Find, I went looking for some Chums eyewear retainers, and found that chums now available in many styles and sizes, to fit different types of sports glasses. That's great!

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: Kneissel Rendezvous Marathon, President's Cup Marathon, Ridge to River Iron Woman, and Muskoka Loppet
  • Three-Time First Woman and First Mixed Team wins at Ski to Sea and Ridge to River relay races
  • Second Woman at the Gatineau 25K Classic, Superior Ski Classic Marathon, Grand Marnier Cup Marathon, Yellowstone Rendezvous 25K and Pepsi Challenge 10K
  • Third Woman at Payette Lakes Ski Marathon
  • *U.S Nationals 26th of 41 Women All Age Classes in 20K Freestyle
  • *U.S. Nationals 32nd Overall of 86 Women All Age Classes (3rd in Class F30-39) 25K Freestyle at Royal Gorge
  • *U.S. Nationals 51st Woman All Age Classes 15K Classic at Lake Placid
  • *U.S. Nationals (Masters-only race: ages 30 and up) 2nd Woman Overall (First in Class F 30-34) in 20K Classic at Royal Gorge .
  • U.S. Masters Ski Association Nationals (30 and up) First Woman Overall 25K Freestyle race
  • U.S. Masters Ski Association Nationals (30 and up) 6th Woman Overall in both the 10K and 20K Freestyle races

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. She won Top Gun at the Washington State Biathlon Championships, out scoring all men and women. After moving to Marquette, Michigan she found that her two Birkebeiner finishes were also something to be proud of. These were 22nd and 29th Woman Overall (5th F35-39 both years). Currently Mary Kay is a member of Ishpeming Ski Club and frequent competitor in cross country ski races.


Navigation Links:

View more of my training log...

< previous
Go to Week
> next