Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

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Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

Postby mr_klister » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:33 am

Anyone care to share their pre-season training program for masters skiing?

I'm currently transitioning from mountain biking and paddleboarding to nordic skiing, and preparing an 8-week nordic-specific strength and conditioning block for the months of October and November.

Do you lift weights? Crossfit? TRX? Nordic bounding with poles? Do tell. Any insight into what works for you -- frequency, duration, specific exercises, etc -- would be greatly appreciated.

Note: because of potential for injury (I'm an old guy), I do not roller ski.

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Re: Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

Postby Magnus Johansson » Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:48 am

I do not know any master skier who doesn't roller ski; roller skiing is that important if you want to stay fit as a cross-country skier and be prepared for the snow season. It also helps you improve your technique, coordination and balance in a great way. I recommend to try roller skiing. It can be started with in a very gentle way and there are even specially made roller skis for that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Geuih1RPjbA. Kim, Kai and Chris at XC Ski Nation have made the following introductory video that you might find encouraging: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9eIG2yoTxY

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Re: Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

Postby mr_klister » Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:01 am

Thanks for the reply. I will clarify that I don't race, but rather ski for fitness. And I have utilized roller skis previously, but a bad fall ended with two significant hamstring tears and a missed season of skiing. I'm saying for ME personally, the risk of injury is not worth the benefit.

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Re: Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

Postby skiffrace » Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:23 am

Consider catskis. They move at walking speed and therefore are (almost) as safe as walking.
Here is a thread on this forum that talks more about them:
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=4529

Also, as far as rollerskis. I share your opinion that they are dangerous, and fall can hurt you badly.
However, if you rollerski on flat terrain only, and at slow pace, they can be very safe.
Jenex makes speed reducers that will effectively slow down your rollerskiing to barely more than walking pace, while giving you an exceptional workout (because you're overcoming a very high resistance). I use them and can vouch for them.

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Re: Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

Postby davidb » Thu Sep 29, 2016 2:35 pm

I'll tell you about my training in October and November. It varies a little from the rest of the year but not much. I hit the SkiERG daily for 20 minutes hard, after a warm up. Sunday; long level one,2hr or so, roller ski; Monday off; Tuesday: (30)X 30 sec, level 5 skate roller ski V1;V2/ no pole skate,all uphill. Wednesday: hike with poles 30 min. up a tough hill, run down. Thursday: 5X5min skate intervals. Friday: long hike 1.5 hrs. Saturday: (20)X one minute double pole@level 5.
I do lunges with weights, pushups, and side squats/squats with weights, presses 3X a week.
I think for old folks (I'd be willing to bet I'm older than you), it's important to train everyday. Also, I think long and hard before adding duration/effort.

Everything is for specific strength, because I'm old, slow and weak!
All roller skiing is uphill,but sometimes I step-turn traverse, down.

That's what I do.

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Re: Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

Postby dcpattie » Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:36 pm

I've been averaging 45k of running and another 75K of rollerski/skierg per week. My best week was 40K of running and 100K of rollerski/skierg.

I'm hoping to do my first XC ski race this Feb.
Dave in Nordic Virginia

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Re: Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

Postby mr_klister » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:55 am

Thanks for the input. It sounds like a few of you are doing mostly ski-specific drills and conditioning work, both endurance and intervals.

But I'm curious if people are implementing general strength training (deadlifts, squats, etc) using low reps and heavy weights, TRX for shoulder health and stability, or circuit intensity training (ie. Crossfit style) into their workouts with greater success.

I've also found paddleboarding (I live near a large flatwater lake) on a 14' x 26" race board to be a highly effective Summer training tool with A LOT of crossover to nordic skiing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oN8GtBh0sU (wfs link)
Last edited by mr_klister on Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:12 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

Postby mr_klister » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:59 am

davidb wrote:I think for old folks (I'd be willing to bet I'm older than you), it's important to train everyday.


Thanks! This was really motivational for me. I aspire to this.

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Re: Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

Postby skiffrace » Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:33 am

But I'm curious if people are implementing general strength training (deadlifts, squats, etc) using low reps and heavy weights, TRX for shoulder health and stability, or circuit intensity training (ie. Crossfit style) into their workouts with greater success.


low reps and heavy weights = NO
circuit intensity training (ie. Crossfit style) = YES

Low reps and heavy weight is the methodology for strength/speed athletes: weightlifters, sprinters, jumpers etc.
It is very taxing on your muscle-skeletal system, and while helping (some) people to build strength, it does not translate well into endurance-type sports fitness.
Also, it's fine to lift heavy in your 20s, but if you are a few decades older it may be a surefire way to serious injuries.

Circuit intensity training, OTOH, is the way to go. It's in essence a subcategory of endurance training, but engaging broader range of muscles in a more dynamic way than the specific sports like x-country skiing or running. If there was only one cross-training you could do, strength circuit should be it.

Also, note that if you increase the weight of the exercises in your circuit so you can do no more than 12-15 reps, you get benefits of strength training while maintaining the benefits of the circuit.

shoulder health and stability

Rotator cuff exercises! Rotator cuffs are invisible, but play essential role in moving/stabilizing your shoulder.

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Re: Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

Postby mr_klister » Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:07 pm

Thanks for the reply.

skiffrace wrote:low reps and heavy weights = NO


From my experience, even endurance athletes can benefit from adding strength to their training. I typically do a 6-8 week strength block in the Spring and Fall. I do 3 sets of 5 reps at 70% of my single rep max, super-setting two lifts. My workout varies week to week but ideally looks something like this:

Mon: dead lift + overhead press
Wed: back squat + bench press
Fri: weighted pull ups + turkish get ups

I immediately follow those strength workouts with a ski-specific conditioning (circuit intensity) workout.

skiffrace wrote:Also, it's fine to lift heavy in your 20s, but if you are a few decades older it may be a surefire way to serious injuries.


At 54, I respectfully disagree with you. I think strength training, utilizing perfect technique, is essential ESPECIALLY for older athletes.

skiffrace wrote:Also, note that if you increase the weight of the exercises in your circuit so you can do no more than 12-15 reps, you get benefits of strength training while maintaining the benefits of the circuit.


I feel this is a recipe for disaster. Strength training requires perfect technique at all times. When implementing strength training into an intensity workout, the need for speed increases the potential for sloppy technique and the risk of injury. THIS is my biggest complaint against CrossFit. I prefer to keep my strength and conditioning workouts separate.

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Re: Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

Postby skiffrace » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:07 am

I respectfully disagree with you. I think strength training, utilizing perfect technique, is essential ESPECIALLY for older athletes.

No disagreement at all. Actually, 110% agreement that 1. Everybody should strength-train and 2. The older you are, the more important it is to strength train.
However, now on to the most *effective* way to train....

I feel this is a recipe for disaster. Strength training requires perfect technique at all times. When implementing strength training into an intensity workout, the need for speed increases the potential for sloppy technique and the risk of injury.

Done correctly, it works better than conventional strength workout. I agree again about the need for good technique.
There is no "need for speed" in circuit. You do every exercise correctly, the only difference is you do fewer of them (12 to 15) vs. 30 to 40 in conventional circuit. You alternate legs/arms/torso so each muscle group has a chance to rest up a little before next round, and not only your muscles are screeming with fatigue, your cardiovascular system is screaming too because it has little rest.

THIS is my biggest complaint against CrossFit.

If they they encourage sloppy technique to squeeze out more reps, they are incompetent.

I do 3 sets of 5 reps at 70% of my single rep max,

With weight at 70% of single rep max, a trained athlete should be able to do 10 to 15 reps, depending on ratio of white/red muscle fibers he has.
http://www.exrx.net/Calculators/OneRepMax.html
Your workouts are very, very easy.

At 54,

I am only 2 years younger, and my methods must be working because today I can lift max weights that similar to my personal best 30 years ago.
Also, my resting heart rate is still 50, only 5 bpm higher when I was a competitive rower in high school and college.

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Re: Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

Postby TooHeavy » Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:10 am

If you don't want to roller ski get a pair of inline skates( Roller Blades etc.) With the 70 or 72 mm wheels you can get a really good double pole work out and you can skate with them with poles. Trick is to make sure they are slow enough. I have two pair of roller ski's but still use blades on a hilly loop with a lot of walkers. Can step out of their way if I have to.
Cross country running with poles bounding up hills is good also. Stength training I have not been doing but the double pole ski specific training with blades or roller ski's will have to do.

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Re: Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

Postby JeffOYB » Mon Nov 14, 2016 10:42 am

It sounds like I do less than half of what everyone else does here!

I do cyclocross every other day (approx) in the fall in recent years. What fun! I like including several dismounts every 5-minute lap. Really boosts the heart-rate. I only do it for a half hour or less per session.

I do Catskiing once a week as well. Plus a rollerski session.

I do one 20-minute circuit session every week, year-round. Weights, calisthenics, bodyweight, plus theraband tubing, heaviest-grade, in doublepoling/singlepoling. Sometimes I do two sessions.

I like to keep trail running enough to be able to do a fast mile a few times a year. I'll slack off to zero running for a couple months then build back up. My joints hate slow jogging but also can't handle much fast running either.

I am getting weaker and scrawnier. I'm 55 yrs old. Based on everyone's info I'm now inspired to get with it a bit more!

During summer I do fast cycling a couple times a week and casual cycling a couple times.

Every fall I do a few flatwater canoe outings, and some canoe poling.

Also a couple cords of firewood splitting. Leaf raking.

I never feel weak or tired when the first snow comes. That's my goal: to not have a period of fatigue a few days after early snow.

I ski every day we have snow -- from 20 - 100 outings a season. I ski hard a few times a week and am interested in singletrack skiing, not straight ahead hammerstyle. Casual trails are all we have around here anyway. I do like to find grooming every week or so to blast around.

However, I still find that I can crush many young skiers on the uphills and many young bikers at the cyclocross.

I still want to break the overall record for the most popular local technical singletrack mtbike trail. Many pro's love to ride it and race it and everybody has their PR. A few of us ski it. The riders seem in awe of the skiing, which is flattering. It's 18 miles. Fast riding = 1 hr. Fast run = 2 hrs. Fastest ski = 3 hrs. I feel in good conditions I could get 2:45, why not. No "real" Nordic racers have ever attempted it. (Lame.)

I notice in cyclocross that a half-hour of pain-cave is about right. I've only tried the "full" hour once. Ugh! And the 45 mins of the Cat 3's seems a bit long. 30 mins of the amateurs is just right for me! The action is hot all the way to the finish. I can give 110%. I notice that in nearly all the faster Cats that not much happens in the second half anyway. Just a buncha spread-out pain. Who needs it. (So far this season I've gotten a 2nd, 3rd, and 1st among the Cat 5's, plus a DFL due to tire-rolling. I'm guilty of wanting to go hard yet being so casual that I bomb out w mechanicals.)

I also notice that my peaking lasts only a short time now. And also that I can't heap on the hard workouts day after day anymore.

I notice Friel's "Fast After Fifty" info suggesting a 9-Day Workout Week. I want to look into that.
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Re: Masters skiers: What does your pre-season training look like?

Postby JeffOYB » Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:35 pm

ps: The one thing I try to do, would like to do, would do if i was feeling intense, would be to lose 10 lbs. Weight seems the most impt thing to me. I'm close but that 10 lbs would do wonders. Whenever I manage it, it is a game-changer. But strength-training seem very sensible as well.

If I just dropped beer 'n' sweets for a month I'd be golden on the weight...

My big goal is just fun and health. Keeping strength seems overall impt as I get older. It's no longer natural but requires particular effort. I no longer go for a "hone for the rankings." I just want to do what I like to do. And that does include hammering and skiing daily w/o fatigue. I wouldn't want to get feeble for BC earn your turns, either.
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