May/June Sample Training Program for Elite Senior SkiersBy Steinar Mundal, Norwegian national team coach and former Canadian coach
The following article is summarized and translated from an article originally appearing on Langrenn.com. Translation by Inge Scheve.
Training suggestions for May and early June
May 1 typically marks the start of another training year.
Its a pity April racing has declined, as many places have incredible late-season skiing with the long days and comfortable temperatures. April used to be a month packed with Polar Cup races, citizen races and more for Scandinavian elite skiers, but lately has become a recovery month, even though most elite senior skiers maintain much of their fitness.
Skiers competing on the national level should aim for variety and intensity according to feel and desires, as well as some systematic strength sessions. Those wanting to become better skiers have to put in the time. Its that simple.
Aim for 60 hours in May and June, which averages out to about two hours per day and should be manageable for most full-time athletes. Periodization from week to week is less important than periodization within the week (day to day). However, do think systematically about strength training. Training five days per week and weekends off like most normal people (what?? are we not the norm??) for a total of 15 hours should prove doable.
Sample workouts for one week in May or June:
Monday 2 sessions: morning distance, afternoon strength. Day: 3hrs30 to 4hrs.
Tuesday 1 session: Mix of intensity 1 and 2, depending on feel and desires. Day: 1hr30.
Wednesday 2 sessions: Long slow distance, possibly on bike. Day: 4hrs30
Thursday 1 session: Warm-up and strength. Day: 1hr30.
Friday 2 sessions: Morning controlled distance, natural intervals or similar intensity (L1-3). No systematic intervals. Session 1: 1hr15 to 1hr30. afternoon recovery. Session 2: 45 min to 1hr.
Sunday OFF or light/ recovery session.
* Vary workouts between upper and lower body. If one session targets legs, make the second session a double-pole only roll etc.
* Most skiers tend to race once or twice in May and June.
* Emphasize heavy weights during strength sessions (twice weekly). For example design a circuit of 6 to 8 exercises that target big muscle-groups, two series of 6 to 8 reps. Add resistance not reps to gain strength.
* Dont overdo the running, particularly if trails are not an option. Too much running is a great way to induce a long-term knee or leg injury. Buying a new pair of running shoes at the beginning of the season is cheap injury protection.
* Its not a shame to roller ski in May.
Training suggestions for mid to late June
Hi again -- we're in June, meaning you should be well into the new training year. Those who slacked in May should feel at least somewhat guilty!
Build on your May training program, continue to do weights and add speed workouts once per week. Still, the bulk of the training should be base-building work -- in other words, rebuilding the foundation without too much intensity.
One intensity session per week, in form of natural intervals or distance with speed pick-ups, should be suitable. Long intervals of six to 10 minutes at level 3 are another option. Add to that one level-2 intensity session once per week.
It's OK to do a real hard intensity session or even two each month, but make sure this is replacing a level 3 workout not in addition to other intensity. The entire month should be dedicated to volume and base, but more hours than May. True elite levels would see a total of 75 to 95 hours.
Pay more attention to periodization when training large volumes
Breaking down the body on a regular basis is the premise of improving results. BUT REMEMBER TO BUILD YOURSELF BACK UP THROUGH RESTITUTION.
Those who fall prey to eager and train large volumes/ high intensity every week without letting up can ride the wave for a while. But over time, they will lose their drive and their energy.
After a hard week, such as a training camp, stay low for the first day or two, then follow with a long slow overdistance workout. On the fourth day, you should be able to proceed with the normal schedule.
Don't get too caught up in making the week begin Monday and conclude Sunday. A training week can just as well start Wednesday and conclude Tuesday.
One suggestion for volume on a three-week plan: 25 hours - 15 hours - 20 hours.
Pay attention to stretching, but stretch when you will reap the best effects. Stretching after a hard workout such as weights and intervals is less effective.
Include some ski-specific training, such as roller skiing or summer snow skiing, should be included in June.
Training can be this simple -- just spice up this basic outline with own ideas and drills based on preferences and terrain, and it will be close to perfect.
Happy training and good luck!
-- Steinar Mundal