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My Cross Country Ski Training
Week 44
What, Me Rehab?

cross country skier

This series shares my cross country ski training and racing, and this is Week 44 of my training/racing year, which started last May. That means the final race is coming up in a couple of weeks.

cross country skier in the sun

First, about this week's images. That's me enjoying spring skiing in the sun. Thank you to my favorite training partner and husband partner-in-life Tom Aufrance for these happy images. As for the top-of-page header image, that's me racing in a raging snowstorm during the Yellowstone Rendezvous cross country ski marathon.

What, Me Rehab?

Even though Week 44 is very near the end of the cross country skiing training and racing year, I finally decided to ask my doctor about some persistent soreness in the tendon at the top of my left hamstring. As a result, she sent me straight to physical therapy. Now, after my first-ever visit to a physical therapist, I am glad I brought this up with my doctor. That's because the physical therapist gave me a set of hamstring exercises that I could not even do at first! What a surprise to find out that I have needed rehab for a long time! So, here's hoping that the twice-a-day excercises will bring increased flexibility and strength, as well as alleviating that minor-but-annoying pain in my butt. In the meanwhile, the exercises are pretty much kicking my butt!

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 44...

Week 44 AM/PM Mode Workouts description: Goal hrs. 7 Not a Race Week: Only 1 intensity this week to get the body going. This is an easier lower volume week to start getting prepped for your race next weekend. Coach's instructions, “Make sure you are feeling good this week! Hours
Mon AM
OFF - Keep up the every-morning balancing and strength routine (10 min.).

OFF - Walk down to the lake and back.
Tue AM
OFF - Walk down to the lake and back.


L1 skating with 8x20 sec. accelerations. Working on dynamic balancing: locating my whole body balance so can drop down into the push skate leg w. power.

First appointment with Physical Therapist and first time doing hamstring stretching exercise program. Here are my hamstring stretching and strengthening exercises...

my hamstring exercises


PM Run L1 running on hard surface directly after skiing. 0:15
Thu AM Other Snowshoeing deep new snow

2nd set of PT exercises. The exercises are uncomfortable, even though my instructions say not to do anything that is painful. After all, it's not a race, it's PT. Some improvement must be going to result, I hope.


Fri AM SCL L1 easy classic skiing. L1 with varied tempos. 1:00

PM WT RM Daily hamstring stretching strengthening rehab routine: Doing these exercises 2X/day 7X/week 0:15
Sat AM SSK Intensity: On next week's race course final hilly Ks. Super light intensity, just to wake the body up for race week next week.

Warm up 20 min. L1 then all with 1:00 min recovery...

1 x 3:00 min L2,
1 x 3:00 min L3,
2 x :30 sec L4
2-4 x 15 sec. accelerations.

2-4 (I did 4) x 2:00 min on 2:00 min recovery @ L3 gradually increasing into L4, then 2 min recovery after last one AND

6-10 (I did 10) x 1:00 min ON; 1 minute OFF @ L4.

Coach's instructions: “Should feel pretty hard at the end and the speed should be fast but make sure you are not creating too much lactic acid. You want this workout to end and you feel like you could do a couple more. This is to get your body moving through all of it's zones and to feel good before the end-of-season race!”

PM WT RM Daily hamstring stretching strengthening rehab routine. 0:15
Sun AM SCL L1 keep a lid on it. Easy ski on next week's race course, avoiding the steep hills. 2:00

PM WT RM Daily hamstring stretching strengthening rehab routine. 0:15
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: therapy bands and exercise balls

A therapy band is part of my physical therapy program. Also, I had to go out and buy an exercise ball. Never having had one of these, I now know that I have been missing out on the benefits of a few of the exercises that my coach suggested to me. So, here I am finally getting with the program in order to alleviate pain through physical therapy. My exercise ball is 55 centimeters in size, but an athlete with longer legs would require a larger diameter. The instructions I received are that a person should be able to sit on their ball with their legs at a 90-degree angle or slightly more, but not less. The thighs should be parallel to the ground or angled slightly down.

shop exercise balls and bands

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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