Luc Germain, head coach of Rouge et Or cross-country ski team at Laval University in Québec City, agreed to share part of the training plan of his student-athletes during the holidays as they are getting ready for racing the EISA circuit in U.S. in the upcoming weeks.
“First of all, I wish Happy New Year to every skier!
For the university athletes that I coach, the holidays give them the chance to take time off school to do more distance and intensities training. During the semester, it’s almost impossible for my athletes to do long hours with their busy schedule, like most people working during the week.
The most important for us is to start with a couple of distance trainings before [revving] up the speed and do some intensities during the holidays in order to get the body in race shape.
Here’s typical training session I give to my athletes to do between family reunions.
I know that maybe on January 1st, some of my athletes will be tired after a good celebration of the New Year, so I suggest them to come back to the basics and concentrate on skiing well technically and do only the first part of this super session, but if they can handle more, then the whole workout will leave them tired and happy!
- Warm-up: Starting by doing a good 30 minutes warm-up at a slow pace before starting your intensities.
It’s also a good idea to include some drills to improve your technique and work on your weaknesses. Here are a couple of examples of what you can do; combine 1-2 of the drills below and adjust their length in function of the intensities that should remain your main focus.
Since it’s during holidays, you probably have friends or family at home, why not take your time warming up and ski with them and give them a few tips!
Find a challenging hill and try to stay in one-skate as long as you can while keeping your technique fairly good during the process.
Do offset [V1] with only one pole, the one that is giving the power climb a hill (the higher pole)
Do free skate during 10-15 minutes and make sure to use your legs efficiently and get your weight at the right place on the skis
- Short Intensities:
Do two sets of five repetitions each x 1 min in Zone 4, recovery time should be the same as the intensities lengths (1 min). Between sets, take 5 minutes to rest and get ready for the next and final set. Your effort should be at approximately 90 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate.
These short intervals will have an effect on both, maximal aerobic power and anaerobic capacity, two important qualities in skiing, but are only slightly developed through continuous training. Beware, not to go at your maximum at each repetition, but to choose a degree of intensity that you will achieve the expected number of times without having to slow down.
- Cool-down: Make sure to take 10-15 minutes to cool-down the body after the intensities.
I think it’s a really good typical session for skiers whom will be starting their racing season mid-January. Finally, one last coach tip, don’t forget to take one day off per week, it’s as important as a training session, especially for the full time student and workers and even more during the busy holiday weeks.
I hope you [make] good skiers’ resolutions for 2014 and take advantage of the most awesome winter sport. Have fun on skis!”
A former competitive cyclist and cross-country skier on Canada’s National Junior Team, Stéphanie Drolet is a Canadian contributor at FasterSkier. She was a forerunner at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and competed at the 2008 World Junior Championships. A journalism student at Laval University in Quebec, Stephanie still skis and rides for fun and to stay in shape. Don’t be surprised to find a few of her articles in French!