Cross Country Ski Fitness Training

The fact that we are looking to target our training rather than just going out skiing around means that we already have an idea in mind of what we want to achieve and are looking to do this in the most efficient manner possible. Do we simply wish to make cross country skiing more enjoyable? To ski further and faster? To ski a certain trail?. Or are we oriented towards taking part in a major race like the Transjurrassian, Birkie or Vasaloppet? Are we aiming to finish in a certain time, or in the top half of the field? Or aiming to finish on the podium?

Cross country skiing is essentially an endurance activity. Typical race distances range from 5 to 42km or more although there are short sprint formats.. Races are over varying terrain and changeable snow and weather conditions which will require adaptations in the ski technique. The majority of time spent in a longer race will be aerobic however the race may see a fast initial sprint for position needing good anaerobic fitness, there may be climbs, both short and long and it may be necessary to sprint to overtake skiers or at the finish.

Cross country skiing is similar to cycling and running but the upper body adds up to around 25% of the power for amateur skiers and up to 40% for elite racers. Performance is closely correlated to oxygen intake, top skiers have superior anaerobic power, muscular endurance and muscle power, and high aerobic and endurance capability. Compared to cyclists cross country skiers have heavier upper bodies but there is a lot of crossover between the two sports. Thibaut Pinault and Romain Bardet have both done well in cross country ski races. Katerina Nash was a top cross country Olympian before pivoting over to mountain biking and cyclocross. Sepp Kuss’ journey to becoming a cycling pro started on skis before transferring to mountain biking then road cycling.

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  1. Energy Systems
  2. Training Zones
  3. Calculating Lactate Thresholds
  4. Cardiac Drift
  5. Heart Rate Zones
  6. Training Protocols
  7. Measuring Training Intensity Distribution
  8. Training Intensity Distribution
  9. Discussion
  10. Interval Regimens
  11. Specificity
  12. Periodicity
  13. A typical training week
  14. Glossary