This is the minimal plan that we recommend for those who are at the early stages of Skimo racing and have a goal of competing in short-duration (sub 4 hour) SkiMo races. This 16 week pre season plan progresses gradually but will require considerable effort to complete. It is primarily a dry land based program so that you can hit the snow in good shape and for those who do not live close to snow. The endurance workouts can be done on snow if you have access.. It is not for a novice as it starts off with over 6 hours of required training per week and peaks at 10 hours per week. The program starts with a volume based plan of building basic endurance and general strength. After 8 weeks there is an increase in the aerobic intensity. Finally there will be a taper period leading into the first race.
To make the best use of this plan: Familiarize yourself with the training concepts and principles described in the book "Training for the New Alpinism". Pay particular attention to the notions of Continuity, Gradualness and Modulation. Tips: Rest when you are tired. If you miss a workout do not try to make it up. Just move on. If you miss more than 2 in a week then repeat that week. Do not increase the intensity and hope to gain more benefits or to squeeze a 1 hour workout into 30 minutes. There is no short cut when it comes to aerobic adaptation.
The plan starts with an Aerobic Threshold assessment test. From this you will establish the training intensity limit for most of the aerobic base training that will dominate in the overall plan but especially in the first 8 weeks. The first 8 weeks also includes a basic strength program to prepare you for the harder work to follow.
This plan has proven successful for beginner to intermediate SkiMo racers who used it properly to compete at regional levels. It is not designed for those already well trained in Skimo or mountain running. If you are winning local races or competitive in National or International level events this plan will be too basic for you.
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The first 4 weeks of this plan are meant to help you transition into a regular structured training program, They are primarily meant to prepare you for the harder work ahead and may not feel particularly challenging in the initial weeks.
If you do not have a good idea of your aerobic threshold heart rate you need to establish that first thing before beginning training as this will set the upper limit for your aerobic base training. Since this is most important training you will be doing it is a good idea to get it dialed. One way to do this (the best) is with an expensive lag test.
It can be tricky to find a good lab as detailed here.
If you are careful and diligent you can do your own test using Training Peaks Premium edition.
Thats what we are going to explain now. Read this article to understand this test better.
This test can be done on either on a treadmill, stair machine or a flat to very gentle loop course outdoors. It can not be done on an uphill/downhill out and back course.
1) TREADMILL: Set treadmill to 10% and begin running slowly. Gradually build speed till HR stabilizes at what you FEEL is an easy aerobic effort. Allow 10 min to find the speed allow you HR to stabilize there.
Once that is dialed in do not adjust speed or grade. Run continuously for 60 min at this speed. Record HR and upload to TP
2) OUTDOORS: Run, preferably on a flat (or very gently rolling) course, at what feels like an easy aerobic pace. Once your HR stabilizes start the recording feature on your GPS enabled HR monitor watch. Record for one hour while you do your best to keep the HR as close to that initial HR number. Upload the data to TP.
If the Pa:Hr is greater than 5% your initial HR/pace was above your Aerobic Threshold and you should do the test again at a lower HR. This may take several attempts to find a Pa:Hr decoupling of less that 5%.
Once you determine your AeT HR set that as the top of your Zone 2 in your Training Peaks Zones. Subtract 10% from this and set that as the top of your Zone 1.
1x core routine and 1x general strength from Training for the New Alpinism book.
Run/hike on rolling terrain
This should be a very easy run/hike on flats. HR should be well below AeT. (AeT minus 10-15bpm)
1x core routine and 1x general strength from Training for the New Alpinism book. For details on these routines see the attachments in week 1.
Aerobic Threshold Run/hike. Run/jog/walk at a pace you can maintain while breathing through your nose (assuming your nose is clear)
Run/Hike on hilly terrain, vertical gain minimum of 1,000ft. This can be an approach/descent from a moderate alpine objective. Keep the intensity low on both the approach and climb in this early period.