Editor's Note: Steinar Mundal is a former Norwegian National Team Coach, and is currently in his first year working with the Canadian National Team. According to Cross-Country Canada, Mundal was hired to assist in the fine-tuning of athlete performance leading to the 2010 Games. He will also provide much needed relief to Canadian Head Coach Dave Wood, who has spent the entire winter on the World Cup circuit over the last few seasons.
The following is an excerpt from Mundal's series focusing on semi-serious marathon/masters racers.
Early Fall Training
I'm back with more material for hungry marathon competitors. I'm enjoying my time in Canada and will be leaving next week for an altitude camp in California where I hope to enjoy the sun and hot weather â€” in addition to getting some work done.
It's always hectic at training camps, but it's good for athletes to simply concentrate on training and rest. We will be there for three weeks, so we will need to pay close attention to the athletes to ensure that they don't make any mistakes this close to the start of the season. For the sprinters, the camp will be 14 days in length because they will be leaving for the first World Cup in Dusseldorf at the end of October.
13 athletes, 3 coaches, 1 masseuse, and 1 physiologist. Normally we also bring a cook, but it is fine if athletes prepare their own food . This is a dry land camp, and we are living at 2300 m (~7550 ft.) and will be training at both higher and lower altitudes.
From there I'm headed home for a week, and then to Ramsau to meet up with the sprint team. We normally need at least eight days to recover from the trip and get used to the time change. It will be exciting for me to make a comeback on the World Cup level.
That was a little about my situation. Now to focus on you guys.
Most of you are approaching the conclusion of you summer sports, and at this point I will be setting up a new three week training program that includes a little periodization and more hard training.
As I have said before there isn't much new stuff to try at this point. Train even and well; stay healthy; and enjoy the sensations of the training. It is important to make daily training adjustments based on the daily sensations and amount of time available. However, remember that some types of training are more useful than others!
As a general guideline:
1 interval workout per week.
1 easy over distance workout running/hiking.
1 rollerski workout with focus on double poling.
Also, if there is time, add strength training with weights, but don't prioritize this training ahead of the three key workouts mentioned above.
Stretching can be incorporated for those that have particular interest. Keep in mind that this should be done outside of the workouts, for instance at night when watching TV or during a break in the workday. As long as you start off easy, there is no need for a warm-up.
Three Week Training Plan
Week 1 – Volume/Hard (5-6 workouts)
Monday – Strength Training
Warm-up jogging or spinning + strength. Then proceed with 15 minutes of core strength before the primary strength focus.
Do 3 sets with 4-6 reps. Start with 4, and when you can do 6 reps increase the weight and start at 4 repetitions again. Give a max effort, THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE HEAVY.
Tuesday – Easy distance, your choice. Run/roll 2 hours. If skiing, focus on double poling.
Wednesday – Off day
Thursday – Long intervals. 5 x 6 minutes, level 3. On the last interval gradually increase the speed to a hard effort.
Friday – Your choice, or off day
Saturday – Short hard rollerski, 1:15 intensity level 2. Each ten minutes thrown in a 2 minutes period of higher speed.
Sunday – Over distance. LONG. 3+ hours.
Week 2 – Easy/Easier Terrain/More Speed/Shorter Workouts (4-5 workouts)
Monday – Off
Tuesday – Strength. The same workout as the strength on Monday of the prior week.
Wednesday – Faster distance in easy terrain, run or roll. Intensity level 2 with some pick-ups, 1:15.
Thursday – Off
Friday – Intervals, 5 x 4 min. Alternate level 3 and level 4. Rolling terrain. Running, bounding, or rollerski.
Saturday – Off or double pole. Easy terrain, 1:30.
Sunday – Over distance, but shorter than last week.
Week 3 – Moderate Week/Training Variation (5-6 workouts)
Monday – Strength. Performed as in prior weeks.
Tuesday – Natural intervals, running/ski-walking. 30 minutes in varied terrain. Vary between intensity 3 and 4 depending on the terrain.
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Easy distance rollerski with focus on double poling. Moderate length, 1:30+
Friday – Intervals, running/ski-walk/bounding. 6×3 min between intensity 3 and 4.
Saturday – Off or easy distance. If you ran on Wednesday, roll today (or vice-versa).
Sunday – Easy Distance, 2:30+.
Remember: Level 3 intensity is controlled with very little lactic acid build up.
With level 4 intensity, always start a little easy. Try to maintain the same speed throughout. Build a little lactic acid near the end of each interval.
And by all means, incorporate core strength into more of the workouts.