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My Cross Country Ski Training
Week 47
Ski Vacation

Mary Kay Aufrance

This series shares my cross country ski training and racing, and this is Week 47 of my training and racing year, which started last May. My cross country ski racing is over for this year, and it's time for a Spring Skiing Vacation, so it's off to ski we go!

cross country skiers

First, about this week's images. Ahhh! The joys of cross country skiing on perfect newly groomed tracks. As for the top-of-page header image, that's me racing in a raging snowstorm during the Yellowstone Rendezvous cross country ski marathon.

Spring Ski Vacation

With the goal of visiting a new cross country ski resort every day, we headed out on Monday for what turned out to be a super fun Spring Ski Vacation. Not only did we explore new trails, but also we enjoyed visiting tourist attractions and meeting interesting people along the way. The weather cooperated, bringing fresh new snow at the beginning of our trip, as well as mid-week. It was a fun time to get outdoors and enjoy cross country skiing.

Why Do I Log My Spring Ski Vacation?

Even though the final few weeks of my training log are not full of workouts, I am still following the US Ski Association plan, which actually calls for a few weeks of merely enjoying the sport I love. And, I still log hours and perceptions, because it's helpful information. For example, since I have been recently embarking on a physical therapy program to loosen up tight muscles, I have been able to look at prior years' logs. Therefore, I can see that I have been plagued by the same issues for a couple of seasons now! Without prior years' logs to refer to, I might not have realized that I should seek professional help if I want the soreness and tightness to go away. Plus, the notes I made in prior years' logs have been very helpful for communicating with my physical therapist and chiropractor, so that they can design rehab. plans to meet my needs.

Looking forward to what's in store after this week, many top coaches recommend doing one or two intensity sessions per week, in order to keep in touch with racing. The advice I like is that these workouts should be shorter and less intense than the fall and winter workouts. Therefore, I'll be following that advice over the next few weeks before this training year comes to a close. But, not this week. It's Vacation!

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 47...

Week 47 AM/PM Mode Workouts description: Goal hrs. 7 hrs. Easy Base - Week 46-50 goal is to RECOVER and then SKI OUT THE SNOW. Coach's advice,”Just get out there and continue to ski if it is available! All exercise is L1 unless noted! Enjoy the outdoors! Ski if it is available and transition into other sports/mode of exercise when you feel you would like to! This time is for enjoying training and just doing what is possible with the weather!” Hours
Mon AM SCL Skiing Vacation Day #1 Classic Skiing on a mostly flat groomed track that follows an old railroad grade. Lots of double poling. 1:07

Every day this week: Physical Therapy exercises. ~15min per day. To see more of my physical therapy exercises, use the navigation links below to go to Weeks #44 and #45. Here are two new exercises that were given to me for my PT program...

lumbar exercises for cross country ski training
Both of the above exercises require some instruction to get benefits. Those who are unfamiliar would do best to work with a sports trainer or physical therapist. However, my cues given to me are that both exercises require a the support of a tightened core, including all abdominals and under-butt, keeping my hips equally level, not one hiked up higher than the other, pelvis tilting posteriorly in order to support and locate my spine (not sway back) as I tuck my butt under. The exercise titled Spinal Flexibility requires conscious attention to a neutral spine supported by the core, while performing glute activation for the leg movements. Elevated Lunges requires the same core support, and stretches the hip flexors, into and out of the gentle lunge either every 30 seconds or pulsing every few seconds to feel the hip flexor stretch.

Tue AM Other Skiing Vacation Day #2 Hiking in deep snow for some on-foot weight bearing exercise just prior to skiing. 0:15

PM SCL Classic skiing on newly tracked trails. Varied grades. 1:55
Wed AM Other Skiing Vacation Day #3. Snowstorm with lots of deep wet snow. So, I went hiking today 0:50


Thu AM SCL Skiing Vacation Day #4 Classic skiing in deep untracked snow after the snowstorm, just to get out. A workout, but not our favorite. 1:13

PM Other Hiking on hard surface to keep up with some weight bearing and enjoy our vacation spot at the lake. 0:15
Fri AM SSK Skiing Vacation Day #5 OMG Best Skiing All Year! Wonderful skating on fast snow and incredible hilly terrain with lake views in the sun and woods! 2:30

PM Other Hiking on hard surface after skiing, to keep up with some weight bearing 0:30
Sat AM SSK Skiing Vacation Day #6 Fast Spring snow! Wow! Another wonderful day of skating. 1:10


Sun AM SSK Skiing Vacation Day #7 More fast Spring snow! Wow! I love Spring skating! 1:10


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.)

My Favorite Nordic Ski Apparel...

When it comes to clothing for cross country skiing, I have to admit that my preference is Craft apparel for cross country ski training. Even though there are many great cross country ski clothing makers, out of everything in my ski bag, I just seem to choose the Craft clothing first. Since Craft has a store on Amazon, here are some links to Craft ski tights and more...

shop craft sportswear

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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