HomeCategory Workouts

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I grew up playing soccer. Every practice was hard. “No pain, no gain,” and all of that. By tenth grade, I was burned out and quit.  I started rock climbing. Every day at the crag was about pushing your limits. This was before indoor gyms or any concept of training other than doing as many pull ups as possible. I plateaued, got frustrated, and quit.  Then I had a go at running. I read some...

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Cross-country skiers are notorious for training high volumes during the off season in order to be in peak racing form in the winter. There is a common mantra used by coaches to help motivate athletes to train hard even though the racing season is months away: “skiers are made in the summer”.  From my experience working with different coaches, the large bulk of the summer’s volume is intended to be on roller skis or foot...

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I hate rollerskiing. As much as I try to be a good Nordie, I just can’t get over my fear of hitting the pavement. Between a history of bike racing and the rollerski learning curve, I’ve already lost enough skin. I know it’s good for me and might make me faster on snow, but I’m too old to put up with my heart rate being affected more by fear-induced adrenaline than by quality training. My...

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All the athletes are all stripped down to their race suits and zooming around the course with laser focus.  They are breathing hard; in fact, some of them seem to be skiing at max effort. If it weren’t for the lack of announcements, race bibs, and cheering from the crowd (pre-COVID, of course) you might actually think it’s race day – but it’s not. It’s actually the day before the race, and many of the...

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Last year, in an effort to create a standardized workout that could be easily replicated and repeated, national team coaches presented the concept of the “U.S. Pace Project.” The concept is straightforward: a shift away from time-based intervals to distance-based, centered around repeated laps of a 5-kilometer course. This familiar distance is key. In a call in July, Matt Whitcomb, U.S. Ski Team Head Coach, and one of the creators of the project explained that:...

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We’ve reached mid-December. With any luck, your local trail system is beginning to fill in, you’ve scraped off your storage wax, and you’ve put in at least a handful of easy days getting reacquainted with your boards. Whether or not you rollerski during the summer, skiing on snow has its own jive and it’s normal to feel a little like Bambi your first few sessions.  In my experience as a coach and masters athlete, I...

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  If you’ve found your way here, you are likely familiar with the three tenets of cross country skiing: push off, weight transfer, and glide. Whether it’s diagonal stride in the track or V2 on the corduroy, your ability to experience a complete weight transfer, ride a flat ski, and carry momentum is heavily dependent on the stability of your standing leg.  Why is developing that balance and stability a challenge? For those who choose...

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It’s May. Yes, really.  For most skiers, the new page on the calendar also marks the beginning of a new training year. Dust off your rollerskis, locate your heart rate strap and drink belt, and make sure your running shoes have plenty of life in them. With the country still predominantly on public health orders to stay close to home, avoid groups, and keep at least six feet of distance from those outside your home,...

Like many mountain towns, Carbondale, Colorado is a magnet for athletes. The definition of that word is used broadly — though there are plenty, it is not just home to the uber endurance junkie. Within 30 miles, you can find world-class rivers for whitewater kayaking or fly fishing, five ski resorts, a variety of rock climbing and bouldering objectives, and miles of single track to be run, hiked, or ridden. With this unbelievable backyard, we...

A new reality is setting in. As a nation, we are isolating ourselves at home, minimizing our contact with others to flatten the curve. Depending on your geographical location, you may still have access to scarcely populated nearby ski trails, routes to run, or  bike paths to ride while still socially distancing. However, with schools closed, gyms shut down, and the challenges of working remotely, you may be finding that maintaining your usual exercise routine...

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At some point in the past seven months you signed up for the American Birkebeiner.  Maybe you’ve done it before, maybe you haven’t. Either way, you’re now committed to skiing the American Birkebeiner, excited to experience “Birkie Fever,” whether for the first time or the 20th time.  No matter your level of skiing or your goals for the Birkie, tackling a 50-kilometer ski race is no small feat.  Realistically, for many people who participate, training...

Before we begin, if you have not heard of the course record holder. In 2016 he bested the time of world renowned mountain athlete Killian Jornet. Norris chose to sit out this year’s event due to the smoke-induced poor air quality. Norris also won the Cirque Series Alyeska race in 2017 and 2019 and took third in between. In 2018, Yeaton won the Cirque Series race and both members of the duo won Mount Marathon —...

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To be depleted can take on many forms. In endurance sport, depletion often refers to an athlete’s fueling state. Are they stocked up on muscle glycogen, have they properly fueled with a balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, and “good” fats or are they trending towards empty? Carbohydrates are the body’s primary fuel source, particularly during exercise, however, fat molecules are a caloric gold mine when it comes to available energy. The caveat is that fat...

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We are trying to stay slightly ahead of the overuse injury and poor air quality curves. You may be midway through your summer training schedule and dealing with a bum ankle. Or you live in a place like much of the Western U.S. that has been or will be affected by poor air quality due to wildfires.  Whatever the causation, skiers can find themselves in make-do mode. If the air quality index (AQI) is high...

  In September, I got an email from my high school club coach, Gus Johnson, about an opportunity to go to Östersund, Sweden to start the summer. The camp entailed participating in some research being conducted at the Swedish Winter Sports Research Center of the Mid Sweden University and training with college age skiers in a part of the world that I had never been to. I decided to Öster-send it, and a little more...

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This Wednesday Workout comes to us from Matt Boobar who has been coaching the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) nordic team since 2007. In the fall, he also works with the cross country running and mountain bike programs, and leads cycling in the spring. Boobar has a B.S. in exercise science and has earned a USSA Level 200 certification. He has been the head coach of the New England Junior National Team eight times and was...

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  This Wednesday Workout comes to us from Harrison Harb; Portland, Oregon denizen.  HH grew up racing bicycles and xc skis in Hopkinton, NH. He graduated from Stratton Mountain School in 07, and UNH in 2011. H has lived in Portland, Ore. since 2014 where he coaches cyclists and skiers while racing for XC Oregon on skis and River City Bicycles/Bike Law on the bike.  *** Portland, Oregon: home of craft beer, mycological diversity, and...

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At eighteen-years-old, Gus Schumacher remains composed in what is a pressure cooker of endurance sport. There he was last week on his home tracks of Kincaid Park in Anchorage, AK., claiming four first place medals and providing locals a deep-well of pride. If in fact this young man is stressed before or during a race, it’d be hard to notice. And maybe part of that demeanor has to do with his preparedness. Schumacher is prepared. ...