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My Cross Country Ski Training
Week 43
The Home Stretch

Mary Kay cross country ski racing

This series shares my cross country ski training and racing, and this is Week 43 of my training/racing year, which started last May. That means it's race season, and everything I have prepared for is happening now.

cross country ski training week 43

First, about this week's images. That's me on the starting line and on the peak of Week 43, skiing toward the final race of this year's cross country ski racing season. The peaks in the image represent my number of hours trained per week during this training year, to illustrate how cross country ski training hours fluctuate. These ups and downs seem similar to the terrain that we racers ski on. As for the top-of-page header image, that's me racing in a raging snowstorm during the Yellowstone Rendezvous cross country ski marathon.

Entering the Home Stretch

It's Week 43 of the training and racing year, and here I am like a galloping race horse rounding the last turn and heading for the final race of the season. Entering the home stretch means that this year's cross country ski racing project is nearing completion, with my final race of the season coming up in just a few weeks. My training log below describes how the next 3 weeks will lead me through that home stretch and into the finish line.

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 43...

Week 43 AM/PM Mode Workouts description: Goal hrs. 10-11 Higher volume because there will be 2 weeks of no racing, so this is a Volume Training Week. My schedule for the next 3 weeks prior to the race calls for:
  • a volume week with recovery and no intensities,
  • followed by a low volume week with intensity, and then...
  • a taper week with the last race at the end.
Mon AM

Tue AM SCL Classic skiing L1 with some accelerations on new snow newly tracked. Perfect tracks. Working on poling downward and keeping the hip moving fwd during the pole-assisted-glide. 1:28

PM Run L1 easy running in the wheel tracks on the new snow on the road. Funny footing. L1 easy. 0:23
Wed AM SCL L1 skiing with a few natural accelerations. 1:02


Thu AM Other Hiking in a blizzard. 1:05

PM WT RM Winter Strength Goal: maintenance. This workout is a bit more effort than priors, due to this being a non-race week, and I am feeling good.

WARMUP: 15 min.
* snowshoeing in deep snow to create a path to my pullup bar

CORE TWO SETS all 1 min. w. 30 sec. rests:
* Front Plank
* Side Planks w. weight arm vertical then circle below chest
* Russian Twist w. weight
* Leg flutter
* Tricep Pushups w. elbows close to body

LEGS ONE SET all w. 30 sec. rests:
* Goblet Squat elbows to knees w. weight 20 reps. then Squat Jump 10 reps.
* Goblet Side Squats/Pushing Off w. weight 20 reps. (10 per leg) then V2 side-to-side jumps 10 reps. per leg
* Walking Lunges (knee to floor) w. weight 20 reps. then Telemark Jump-ups 10 reps.

* Pullups 8
* One-Arm Pull Downs 20
* Dips on Dip Bar 20
Fri AM SCL L1 easy classic skiing on cold new snow: first groom after big snowstorm, therefore a bit soft in the tracks. A few accelerations. One longish hill accel. at toward the end of the ski. 2:00


Sat AM SCL L1 easy classic skiing on cold new snow. Flat with some twists turns, but a few herringbone hills. 1:15

PM Run Easy run directly after skiing. Hard surface asphalt. 0:20
Sun AM SSK overdistance: L1 easy ski. Coach's instructions: "Easy ski. What do you feel like that you really could work on? Go out there and get after it... but definitely keep L1" 2:35


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 links: heart rate monitors

I don't always wear my heart rate monitor for each and every workout and race, but I do like to wear one during intensity workouts and some races. For intensity workouts, it's the perfect real-time way to know if my heart rate is in the zone that is prescribed by the training plan, not too fast and not too slow. For example, by looking at my heart rate zone during my warmup, I can find out if I am taking longer than usual to get into each heart rate zones, as I progress through the warmup. On some days, it sees to take longer to achieve Level 2, so on those days I may warmup a little longer in one of the lower zones, until my body decides it's ready for more intensity. Then I can go a little faster or harder and get into Level 3 or 4 knowing I am more ready for the added intensity of the particular workout. On the other hand, when it comes to racing, I really like to review my heart rates afterwards, by plugging my heart rate monitor watch into my computer and viewing Garmin Training Center (Garmin Connect) graphs and maps from the hear rate monitor's recording of my workout.

shop heart rate monitors

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:

View more of my training log...

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