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My Cross Country Ski Training
Week 48
Spring Training

Mary Kay ski racing

This series shares my cross country ski training and racing, and this is Week 48 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 ski training to wind down.

cross country ski racers

First, about this week's images. That's my fav. racing and training partner and husband Tom at the top, with me wearing the black camo and on Tom's heels as we head up the first hill of a big Spring race. 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 Training Winding Down

For weeks 46-50 of cross country ski training, my coach gave me the instructions to, "RECOVER and then SKI OUT THE SNOW. 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!"

Alternatively, some coaching advice is to keep training, by doing 2 intensity sessions per week at this time of year. The goal is not to build up fitness for racing, but instead the idea is to keep in touch with racing. For example, a Central Cross Country Ski Association coach likes athletes to do two intensity workouts, but these are shorter and less intense intervals, when compared with their fall/winter training. Therefore, I decided to do a threshold workout at the end of this week. See the log below for Saturday's L3 workout. It felt wacky to be running fast for the first time in many months, and on untracked snow to boot! But it also felt good and sure was fun!

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 48...

Week 48 AM/PM Mode Workouts description: Goal hrs. 8:15 hrs. Easy Base Hours
Mon AM
OFF - Walked down to the lake and back up the hill. Physical therapy exercises and balancing exercises every day this week. I might not log all hours for these WT RM workouts.

Tue AM WT RM Physical therapy exercises and balancing exercises. These take ~:20-30 min but I am not logging the time spent.

PM Run Run/Walk Toggle 10min walking alternating with 20min running on hard surface asphalt 1:18
Wed AM SSK Skating on firm Spring deck with 2" of fluff on it. Somehow my skis were waxed to really enjoy good glide skating on this! Varied terrain and pretty easy skiing with one L3 2min hill. 1:10

PM WT RM Physical therapy exercises and balancing exercises.
Thu AM SSK Skating on firm Spring snow deck with good purchase and nice glide. 25DegF Kept it easier than yesterday, single sticking most of the steeper hills that would usually be V1-hill technique. 0:58

PM Run Run/Walk Toggle 10min walking alternating with 20min running on hard surface asphalt. Today's snowstorm prevented the cross country ski trail groomers from tracking, so it's a good day to continue transitioning to running season. 1:10
Sat AM WT RM Physical therapy exercises and balancing exercises.

PM Run Intensity: L3 Threshold Intervals. Running on firm 4” snow on the bike path, therefore this running is on a soft deck that I think is good for my first running intensity of Spring.

Warm up 15 min. L1 then gradually increase intensity:

1 x 3:00 min L2,
1 x 3:00 min L3,
4 x 20 sec. accelerations.

2 x 5:00 min L3 with 5 min L1 between intervals.

Cooldown easy running and hiking back up the hill to home.
Sun AM SSK Overdistance: A good long ski with about an hour of climbing. Then, a long fast and fun downhill on the way home! 2:30

PM WT RM Physical therapy exercises.
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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