So Christmas, New Year’s and all the other distractions have now left us for the year. You’ve skied through the holidays, but not always got the ideal workout in when you’d hoped for it.
Now you’re looking to get the ball rolling again (yes, you may feel like a big ball after eating everything infront of you!). Where do you start?
One of my favourite workouts right now, involves simplicity, flexibility and forgiveness. Too good to be true? You be the judge. About the only piece of equipment that makes this workout easier to carry out is a wrist watch with a countdown repeat timer (like the kind you get on Timex sports watches). Ideally this workout is done on more gradual terrain, to allow you to control your training speed.
So what is this magic training trick? It’s simply an interval workout with one minute “on” and the following minute “off”. It’s easy to program this into your watch. The other variables are flexible based on your desired effect and ability. Generally, I’ll do either race pace (Z4) or slightly below that (Z3) for the “on” portion of the interval, and an active rest(skiing lightly) for the “off” portion of the interval.
I’ve used this workout near the beginning of the racing season, to test and figure out my race pace, and get used to having some lactic acid on board. You might not build up significant lactates in the beginning, but just wait, it’ll happen soon enough. I’ve sometimes done this for as long as 40 minutes continuously.
I’ve also used this workout to wake up a stale body that needs to be primed up the day before a race. The key issue here is to allow adequate recovery, - you don’t want to exhaust yourself. In this situation, near the end of the workout, I might wait two minutes in the rest period, or back off a bit on the intensity.
Some helpful tips:
If you’re using a Timex sports watch, run the chronograph at the same time to get an idea of how you’re doing overall, and in comparison to other times doing the same workout. Always show the chronograph on your watch, let the countdown timer chime in the background.
Pay attention to technique! Focus on increasing ski speed, good balance, etc, - let the intensity happen on it’s own. Forcing the intensity may lead to sloppy technique.
On your cool down, continue focusing on skiing relaxed yet with proper technique. I’ve often learned more about my technique while skiing tired.
As an example, I skied one bright evening from P10 warming up until Keogan area, than started the formal interval work on the parkway between Champlain lookout and the Black’s lake parking lot. When my time was up, I skied easy back to P10.
Before starting this workout, have a clear idea of what your desired effects are; exercising race pace, ‘waking up” before race day, exercising lactate tolerance, increasing race pace, etc, - then tune this interval “frame” to suit your needs.