TrainingGet Ready For Racing With A Time-Trial Or Pace Workout

FasterSkierNovember 10, 2004

The race season has already started for some elite level skiers, while most racers get their season debut in late November, December or early January. The first races of the season are often a struggle, especially if you haven’t done the optimal training for racing which is time-trials or pace workouts.

By struggle I’m talking about having a hard time skiing technically well, not being able to find a good start speed and finding yourself starting way too hard and filling up with lactate or being  conservative, but not being able to pick it up.  Starting way to hard is more common than starting too easy.  The problem is that you don’t know your own capacity. Here are some ideas on how to add this racing element of time-trials and pace workouts to your training. The benefit will be being able to ski faster from the first race and continue to race faster all season. Why? You are now training to race faster and not training only to improve your capacity.


Neither distance training, speed nor interval workouts totally prepare you for going at the highest possible speed you can keep up for a set distance. Distance and interval training develops your endurance in different ways while speed training improve you coordination, top speed and sprint skills. Time-trials and pace workouts helps you develop a feel for how hard you can start the race without building lactate values that slows down your average speed and making your start pace look ridicules. You’ll ski your best races when you can reach the highest lactate values you can handle for the entire race without having to slow down. That’s what you develop and learn from your time-trial and pace workouts

Time-trial and pace definitions:

These workouts involves training sessions duplicating competition length and are performed at a medium/hard to hard pace from June until the start of the competition period. 1 to 2 time-trials or pace workouts (one on rollerskis and one on foot) per 4 to 7 week period are recommended. Time-trial are all out efforts while pace workouts are done at a “slightly holding back pace” or roughly 5 heart-rate beats below the heart rate you could keep up in the time-trial. Time-trials are also a test to see if you are making progress. Time-trial requires more recovery/easier training in the following days compared to pace workouts. I suggest that you learn to do pace workouts well before graduating to time-trials. Suggested time-trial length for ages 12 to 15 is 3 to 5 kilometer, older , senior and elite skiers 5 to 15-kilometer.

It’s not recommended to do 30+ kilometer time-trials even if you are training for long races. Such efforts in the training period take to much energy and require too much recovery. Marathon skiers are typically doing 10-15 km time-trials. Some World cup skiers are doing little longer pursuit time-trials like 7.5 + 7.5 km for women and 10-15 + 10-15 kilometers for men.

Sprinter will typically do 800 to 1500 meter time-trials, sometimes doing up to 4 all-out efforts simulating the prolog and all three finals in a race situation. The recovery between each all out effort is usually long.


Personal coaching

Check out our internet coaching service if you are looking for a personal coach with years of World cup and Olympic experience. Get monthly training plans including distance, interval strength and speed suggestions, peak plans and discounts on training camps and equipment):

Recommended reading  

Check out this book on  ( ) if want to learn more about training methods and training ideas

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