This is the plan that we recommend for those who have already had a season or two of structured endurance training looking to boost their performance in Skimo races. This 16 week plan starts at a higher level than the beginner/intermediate plan. It will be demanding in terms of time and energy. It will require considerable effort to complete. It is not for a novice as it starts off with over 7 hours of required training the first week and peaks at over 11 hours per week. It includes substantially more high intensity training than does the Beginner/Intermediate plan so requires a better aerobic foundation. It will take you through general strength, max strength and finally a muscular endurance period. The aerobic system will be used to support the hard work of this muscular endurance work and later the high intensity race specific training. Neither the high intensity workouts nor the aerobic work can be compromised or the training effect will be compromised. The two have to fit together and support one another.
At the end of the 16 week plan you will find 2 added example weeks that you can use for planning your mid season training. One is used when there is a multi week break between races and you can return to normal training and the second is used when you have races separated by only a week and normal training is not possible.
While all the workouts are listed as running or hiking to allow for preseason dry land preparation you can and should substitute skiing or roller skiing in where ever possible.
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. 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.
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 8weeks also includes a basic strength program to prepare you for the harder work to follow.
Do not increase the intensity of the early aerobic base building workouts 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.
This plan has proven successful for Skimo racers who used it properly to compete at the regional level.
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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.
Run/hike on rolling terrain
This should be a very easy run/hike on flats. HR should be well below AeT. (AeT-10-15bpm)
1x core routine and 1x general strength from Training for the New Alpinism book. For details on these routines see the attachments sent with the first workout.
Aerobic Threshold Run/hike. Run/jog/walk at your Aerobic Threshold pace. This can often be estimated by using a pace at which you can breathe through your nose (assuming your nose is clear).
Ski stride/run on hilly terrain, minimum gain of 2,000ft / 700 meters using poles.
Refer to this video for technique;