When it comes to Tour de Ski prep, World Cup racers do a lot more than just chill over the holidays and rest up for the seven-stage tour. Jessie Diggins is one of two U.S. Ski Team members who plans on completing the tour (along with Liz Stephen), and to kick things off on the right foot, she does a “prologue practice day” about a week-and-a-half out from the first event: the freestyle prologue in Obertsdorf, Germany (which takes place this Saturday).
“We almost never race prologues, and it’s such a funny distance at 3 km, but in the start of the Tour de Ski we race one!” Diggins, 23, explained in an email. “I like to take an interval workout and turn it into a time trial to practice my pacing and tempo for a 3km. If I have good energy that day, I’ll do two of them, so that I can play around with my pacing and tactics and learn from the different times.
“I’ll also skate it since for whatever reason it seems like the World Cup prologues are usually skate,” she added.
The workout takes about 1:45 to 2 hours from start to finish.
- 30 minute warmup: just skiing easy
- 5-8 minute Level 3 “to get my body going and warm up my lungs”
- Ski back to the start area, start first prologue. “I will have mapped out a course beforehand —figured out where about 3km is on the trail and given myself a fairly realistic course. This week, I just raced part of the Davos course!”
- After first prologue, ski easy for 10 minutes to let legs recover and lower heart rate back to normal
- Start second prologue
- Cool down: slow ski for 20-30 minutes
“I also like to wear a full race suit and bib when I’m doing this so I can get into the racing mindset a little easier,” Diggins explained. “And of course, if the trails are crowded people tend to let you pass easier if you’re wearing a race bib! :)”