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 July 8, 2010: Volume 11, Number 10
Training Periods
Part 2
Training Periods for Cross-Country Skiers part 2
Pre-Comp (Early Snow)
The transition onto snow demands a decrease in training intensity because of the increased load of snow skiing. Training volume usually peaks during this phase of training. Example: Endurance sessions strictly at level 1. Intensity can be done on foot rather than skis.

Christmas Stars and Thanksgiving Turkeys:Skiers who do not monitor their training intensity properly during this phase often unwittingly raise the overall training load too quickly. The result is often a short-lived spike in fitness followed by a long-term decrease in race performance. Racers who peak early are known as Christmas Stars or Thanksgiving Turkeys. Example for the early snow period of the pre-comp phase.

Race Season
Proper base and pre-competition training leads to a high level of fitness, which leads to consistent races all year long. A properly trained skier should be able to aim at a certain block or a few blocks of races throughout the season and still compete consistently at a high level throughout the season.

Blocks of Normal Races
Endurance: Training volume must rise after a block of key races where the volume will have been lowered. Example: 1.5hour session level mostly in level 1.

Interval: Races and interval sessions must be balanced, but intervals cannot be neglected especially early in the race season. Becareful with intervals between race weekends, especially at altitude, as it can be hard to recover. Example: (LT) 3x7 minutes at 5 bpm over LT with 3 minutes rest. At the end of each interval you should feel like you could have kept going. At the end of the workout, you should feel like you could have done more. (VO2) 3min, 4min, 5min times 2 with equal recovery. Each interval should take you the same distance.

Speed: If not done systematically, must be incorporated into distance or interval work.

Specific Strength: For strength to continue to progress, specific strength must be conducted on snow as it was done on rollerskis early in the competition period.

General Strength: Circuit strength that aims to maintain max strength and power as well as a general muscular balance is important. Rollerboard can be used here and with all circuit strength. Example: Circuit using a wide variety of body weight exercises as well as more dynamic exercises to maintain power.

Race: Results are secondary to continued technical and fitness improvements. Example of an early race season week

Blocks of Key Races
Training volume drops. Training frequency (number of training outings) can remain unchanged to avoid feeling stale. Example: (frequency) lower the duration of endurance training but keep the number of sessions the same. (duration) lower the number of sessions but keep the duration the same.

Intensity: Sharpening intervals. Fitness has been gained; intervals now are for feeling sharp and fresh, not improving fitness level. Example: (peaking intervals) 3x3 minutes just below LT w/ equal recovery, followed by 3x2 minute above LT w/ equal recovery, followed by 4x30seconds all out with full recovery.

Speed: Same idea as with intervals.

Strength: Minimal maintenance strength if any at all.

Race: Achieving your racing goals is the focus. Please note: It can be good to bump up to a high(er) volume of training between important races so long as the intensity is kept very low. Sometimes using alternative methods of training, running, cycling, etc is a good way to do this. This helps keep the skier fresh, keep the muscles "clean" and "clear." You have to know yourself to monitor this. 

Featured Article 
The National Cross Country Ski Education Foundation is a backbone
for the development of world-class skiers in the United States.

The not for profit organization NCCSEF is celebrating 12 years of supporting U.S. skiing and we have a lot to be proud of. We have
granted over $175,000 in NCCSEF Future Funds over that period.
In fact, we've funded every World Junior Championship team since 1997 and every J1 Scando Cup team since it was initiated in 1999. Now, as we gear up for Vancouver 2010 and beyond, there is even more work to be done!

NCCSEF provides the essential funding for the junior and under-23 competition and preparation projects making up several key steps in the development pipeline. The development pipeline is the pathway to success in the sport of cross-country skiing.
Find out how you can help at
About SkiPost

Cross-Country skiing's community lodge. Where knowledge and stories are shared. The goal of SkiPost is to make the sport of Cross-Country skiing easier and more enjoyable for all who choose to participate. If you have questions on Cross-Country Skiing see or email us at

Enjoy Winter,
Andrew Gerlach
Director/Editor- SkiPost

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