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My Cross Country Ski Training
Week 49
Having to Ski

cross country skier

This series shares my cross country ski training and racing, and this is Week 49 of my training and racing year, which started last May. Even though cross country ski racing is over for this year, my training does not stop. I think my training plan is a great excuse for having to ski!

cross country skiers

First, about this week's images. Tom and I are merrily skating along on the fast early morning snow. As for the top-of-page header image, that's me racing in a raging snowstorm during the Yellowstone Rendezvous cross country ski marathon.

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 49...

Week 49 AM/PM Mode Workouts description: Goal hrs. 7:15 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!”

Since some coaches recommend continuing with one or two intensity sessions per week, just to keep in touch with the feeling of racing, I plan a L3 threshold workout at the end of this week.
Mon AM
OFF - Physical Therapy (PT) exercises, including a short walk afterwards. Done every day this week.


Tue AM

PM SSK L1 skating easy on fast Spring snow. 0:45
Wed AM WT RM strength/core: focusing on PT exercises 1:00

PM WT RM PT appt. this afternoon . Received new strength workout sheet and did the exercises with my therapist's instructions. 0:30
Heavenly skating on unbeatable conditions. New corduroy. Firm track. Fast snow! Like Out West with very firm deck and just enough granular softness on top! Such perfect skating! We really had fun. 22DegF.

Running on terrible footing icy rutted road directly afterwards. I wanted to run in order to continue transitioning to running season. However, the footing was very difficult with deep ruts and slick ice. Therefore, I lasted 11 min. trying to run on the icy terrible road. Better luck next time - haha!

Fri AM Run Run/Walk Toggle increasing the duration of running: 10min walk, 20min run, 5 min walk, 30 min run, walk back up the hill to home. Done on hard surface asphalt. 1:15

PM WT RM strength/core: New routine combining my coaches' routine from past plans, plus exercises from my physical therapist. This time of year, strength and core workouts are optional. If done, the effort level is low and without weights. Adding weights is recommended later on as summer progresses.

1. Sit Stand and Thrust with band above knees 3 sets of 10 reps
2. Clamshells with band 3 sets of 10 reps
3. Squat Side Walking with band 3 paces R then 3 L, 5 reps
4. Side Planks R and L Hold 20 sec., 3 reps
5. Mountain Climbers combining knee cross over to knee straight ahead 3 sets of 20 reps (10 per leg)
6. Ab roller 2 sets of 5 reps
7. Front plank on elbows 45 sec. with leg lifts
8. Single Leg Bridges on Swiss Ball. Hips up. Legs straight and Lift R then Lift L. Hips to ground then repeat. 3 sets if 10
9. Bridge with Hamstring Curl on Swiss Ball. 3 sets of 10 reps.
Sat AM SSK Intensity: L3 Threshold Intervals on nice granular fast Spring tracks. This workout is short and Super Fun! The purpose of this workout is not to build up, but instead it is to keep in touch with doing race pace efforts.

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 2:30 min L1 between intervals.

Cooldown easy but exuberant skiing.


Sun AM SSK Happy Easter skiing on fast early morning snow. 1:30

PM Other
Walking ~45 min. for some weight bearing exercise, and just because it's 64degF and sunny out!
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.)

Cross Country Ski Wax...

I like Fast Wax ski wax. Even though I use a lot of different wax brands for glide waxing my cross country skis, Fast Wax is one I use a lot...

Fast Wax ski wax

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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