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Alana's 3 Fave Workouts for October
By:  Alana Thomas   (2009/10/13)

So it is fall again, already. To get you in the mood for ski racing and snow I thought I would write another cheesy article on the thrills of fall training for a nordic ski racer. Here are my top 3:

1) Rollerskiing with sprints and sprint starts. Granted most people do this year round I find it gets extra exciting as race season nears and the speed gears and quick starts feel more necessary to have close at hand. I enjoy doing my sprints in blocks of 5 10 second sprints on a minute pace time, with 5 minutes easy skiing between blocks. I'll typically do anywhere from 2-4 blocks in a workout, depending on whether it is supposed to be an easy recovery ski or a more intense sprint workout.

2) 4 minute ski striding intervals. I have enjoyed doing these for a few years now, despite my embarrassing slowness in any training where I have to move without any real equipment attached to my feet or a helmet on. This goes back to my theme of thinking running will make me faster at skiing because it just feels so difficult, it has to be good. After years of grinding out these workouts I think I have gotten a bit better but let's just say I'm glad ski striding is not a competitive sport in Canada. I also quite enjoy doing 4 minute intervals on rollerskis although have been doing these less frequently than I would prefer so far this fall.
I find anywhere from 3- 5 repeats is ideal and generally enjoy a 3-4 minute rest in between. Sometimes the rest time needs to be adjusted to the terrain, for example on hills where it takes longer than 4 minutes to get back to the bottom, so it is ok to take longer rest in that case.

3) Core strength. This is a key part of year round training but I think it becomes extra important to remember as fall progresses into winter. I find myself in the gym less in these months so it is a bit tougher to fit in. Core strength is what I believe gives one agility and balance on the race course, which makes ski racing all that much more fun. It also provides the ever necessary link between upper and lower body strength. Think about it this way, your core is sort of like the (hopefully) stable platform you need to have in order to give you any sort of leverage in poling or skating/ striding. Think of how much more difficult it is to run in loose sand vs. asphalt because the footing is unstable, it works the same way with your core, just higher off the ground! A weak core diffuses any power your arms and legs may have had before it goes anywhere useful! I most prefer to use a swiss ball for core work, paired with some standing balance drills and one foot rollerskiing.
Good core strength also helps maintain overall muscle balance which is good for bio mechanical health and the balance gained helps one be more nimble and avoid generally preventable tumbles which lead to lost time on the race course.

On that happy note, I must get back to my Econometrics and Math assignments which are due tomorrow and Thursday.

Happy October training!
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