12 Week Beginner Backcountry/Ski Mo Pre-Season Plan

Average Weekly Training Hours 07:42
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 07:42
Training Load By Week

This 12-week plan is designed to take the beginner/intermediate endurance athlete toward a great season in the mountains, whether for backcountry ski touring or ski-mountaineering/randonee racing.

At a minimum you should be able to run 45-60min and train 4-5x per week to begin this plan. Access to hilly terrain is a great benefit but many people have followed these training prescriptions in flat country, utilizing treadmills, stair masters and tall buildings as their vertical.

Sample Day 1
1:00:00
Aerobic Threshold test

Your Aerobic Threshold is the effort at which you're burning an equal composition of fat and carbohydrate and the optimal level for building aerobic capacity for long-duration endurance events. At this intensity, you'll maximize fat burning and speed economy, creating a lean body mass and movement efficiency, supporting harder work later on.

There are three ways you can determine your Aerobic Threshold:

1. (Best Method): Conduct a nose breathing test with a heart rate monitor: warmup for 20min in a combination walk/easy run effort, keeping your mouth closed the entire time. The effort should be quite comfortable with no struggle for breath in and out of your nose.

After the first 20min, increase the effort very gradually while keeping the mouth closed and only breathing through your nose at a rate of 2-count in, 2-count out. Continue increasing the speed until this breathing rate and method is uncomfortable, and note the heart rate. Now, decrease the effort just slightly until manageable again, and note the heart rate. Hold this effort for 5min and if the heart rate remains constant, this is your Aerobic Threshold.

2. Maximal Aerobic Function (by heart rate): Use the formula 180-your age to determine your MAF heart rate, which roughly correlates to your Aerobic Threshold and can be used for the workouts in this plan as such.

3. Nosebreathing (no heart rate monitor): If you lack a heart rate monitor (you should get one!), you can simply conduct your aerobic workouts by the nose breathing method exclusively, described in step 1 above. Make sure the nose breathing rate is comfortable, and not ragged or a struggle.

Sample Day 2
1:00:00
Strength I: Core/Stability

This workout will target your deep abdominal (core) musculature, and help train your hip strength to bolster stability on each leg and prepare you for more robust strength training to come.

WARMUP:
- 10min on treadmill or elliptical, very easy effort

CORE STRENGTH:
- 3 circuits of below exercises, 10 reps for each exercise (unless otherwise dictated)
- Begin and end each set with a 45sec front plank on forearms
- Make sure to draw navel in toward spine (like you're sucking in a gut) to ensure you engage core musculature and not place strain on lower back
EXERCISES: 
- 3-2 point plank (aim for 5sec hold of most difficult position)
- Push ups
- Kayakers
- Hanging knee raise
- Up/downs 
- Table top to gymnast L

STABILITY: 3 circuits of:
- Single leg RDL: 10 reps, each leg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKVI6RkMARs&feature=youtu.be

- Box Step-up (no added weight): 10 reps, each leg (make sure to place foot far enough forward on box such that you weight the on-box foot at the heel when stepping up; lower slowly back down)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTPa-Of3iHY&feature=youtu.be

- Star Touches: Not a high-exertion exercise but will initiate good hip stabilizing. Make sure not to "hitch" your hip (the guy in the below video does a bit): this occurs which your hip drops down on one side or the other. 4 touches each leg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7rcoWkGcms

Sample Day 2
0:30:00
Recovery run/walk

easy 30min after the strength session, at an effort 5-10bpm easier than your Aerobic Threshold (AeT)

Sample Day 4
1:00:00
Strength I: Core/Stability

This workout will target your deep abdominal (core) musculature, and help train your hip strength to bolster stability on each leg and prepare you for more robust strength training to come.

WARMUP:
- 10min on treadmill or elliptical, very easy effort

CORE STRENGTH:
- 3 circuits of below exercises, 10 reps for each exercise (unless otherwise dictated)
- Begin and end each set with a 45sec front plank on forearms
- Make sure to draw navel in toward spine (like you're sucking in a gut) to ensure you engage core musculature and not place strain on lower back
EXERCISES: 
- 3-2 point plank (aim for 5sec hold of most difficult position)
- Push ups
- Kayakers
- Hanging knee raise
- Up/downs 
- Table top to gymnast L

STABILITY: 3 circuits of:
- Single leg RDL: 10 reps, each leg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKVI6RkMARs&feature=youtu.be

- Box Step-up (no added weight): 10 reps, each leg (make sure to place foot far enough forward on box such that you weight the on-box foot at the heel when stepping up; lower slowly back down)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTPa-Of3iHY&feature=youtu.be

- Star Touches: Not a high-exertion exercise but will initiate good hip stabilizing. Make sure not to "hitch" your hip (the guy in the below video does a bit): this occurs which your hip drops down on one side or the other. 4 touches each leg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7rcoWkGcms

Sample Day 4
0:30:00
Recovery run/walk

easy 30min after the strength session, at an effort 5-10bpm easier than your Aerobic Threshold (AeT)

Sample Day 5
0:45:00
Aerobic run

Run 45min at your AeT (aerobic threshold) on rolling terrain

Sample Day 7
1:30:00
Long uphill hike/run

Use hilly terrain on trail and hike/run for 1.5 hours at your aerobic threshold (AeT), providing at least 1500' of gain.

Cascade Endurance
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Cascade Endurance

Endurance coaching and strength training for the mountains. We coach trail runners, ultrarunners, skiers, climbers, and mountain enthusiasts of all abilities to reach their goals through personalized training.