Now the serious training starts. August is in a way the first month of fall, even though it is really still considered summer. It is however only about 3 months until the first competition starts. If you feel you haven’t trained optimally so far, then plan on skiing fast after New Years, not in November. If you’ve trained well all summer, you can ski fast the whole winter season.
Some advise for your August training:
It is now more important than earlier months to care about periodisation and recovery, and the number of quality sessions should increase. On the outset, you should do two high-intensity sessions each week. This can also be done during your “easy” week, as long as you feel your body has recovered from the previous hard week. It is however important to consider if you should be doing two hard/intensive session during an eventual week of training-camp. Often we see that the speed is too high on distance session when many good skiers train together. Several of these long distance sessions contain “hidden” interval training, and it would be smart to carry a heart rate monitor. Another way of adjusting for these harder distance sessions is to just do one intensity or interval session this week. This session should then be a time-trial or race to make sure it becomes hard enough.
We have experienced that if you have a high-volume training week, it is very efficient to include some speed work. The body reacts well to this; it breaks up the monotony of the distance training and also makes your muscles quicker and lighter.
It is still the case that a training-week does not have to start on Monday and end on Sunday, it can also start and end on Wednesday and Tuesday. It is the type of training and volume that decide when to rest and train, not the name of the weekday.
If you do two quality-sessions per week, one should be hard and short in intensity 4. The other should be longer and more controlled, in intensity 3.
You should include minimum of three days per week with easy long distance (volume). One or two days with high volume (5 – 6 hours), the third day with volume of 4 – 5 hours.
Even with some rest days, it should still be possible to train 90 – 100 hours per month. I still believe Cross-Country skiers train too little hours and volume. However, if you do train high volume, you must be VERY focused and motivated to go easy on the long distance sessions.
The rule of thumb is: High volume – less intensity. Low volume – more intensity.
An example of a week in training camp:
Tuesday: Volume + strength, soccer (important)
Thursday: Test race
Friday: Volume, short
Saturday: Volume + speed/strength
Sunday: Easy training, travel home
Monday: Easy jogg 30 min – stretching
Wednesday: Easy, short (single) session, for example cycling
Thursday: Ready for normal training again
I will be back with more about interval training later. Good luck with your August training.