Nordic Ski Racer - cross country ski racing    
Home  |  Racing |  Training |  Rollerskiing |  Trails |  Weather |  Equipment |  Forums |  Photos & Video

Going It Alone

Transition to Snow

December 10, 2005 - By Mike Muha

He'd done all the usual careful things - washed his hands frequently, kept antibacterial wipes handy, used his knuckles instead of his fingertips to press buttons on elevators and teller machines. But a bug had gotten him, snuck past the gates.
(Chapter 10, "Hamilton's Secrets" in Lance Armstrong's War by Daniel Coyle)

Best forget about November and hope September's training carried through to December. November was mostly a frustrating fog.

It might have been doing too much - but it's hard to believe I was overtraining. My wife Jill reminded me, however, that I "always get sick around this time of year." I definitely felt like Tyler Hamilton in the quote above - he'd gotten the flu just before Paris-Nice. I didn't have the flu, but I was careful to stay away from germs all month. Lot of good that did me...

I actually think it was allergies, or the medicine (Allegra or the generic) I've been taking for allergies. I stopped taking it as often at the end of November, and December has started picking up training-wise.

I definitely

November started OK: a good hard core session, a great speed session on rollerskis, and hard ski walking session, then I felt whipped and ill the next couple days. The rest of the month? Everything felt harder than normal. I struggled to get my heart rate up during interval sessions. My legs and arms felt dead.

By the end of the month, instead of being frustrated and depressed, I decide to go with the flow - If I couldn't get in a quality V02 max interval session, I'd get in a lactate threshold interval session. If my session didn't feel great, I just reminded myself that at least I got out and did something.

The biggest gap in November, however, was a big reduction in specific upper body strength sessions. I did not do much doublepoling compared to previous months and I hope this doesn't come back to haunt me.

I've also noticed that my thighs are sore for several days after hard runs. This may be from trying to change my stride so I'm leading with my hips.

I'm just glad November is over...

November 2005 Plan Execution
Training Goal Number of sessions planned The Reality
Time trial at race pace 1 - Team NSR Duathlon DNF
Anaerobic Threshold (AT) intervals
(85-90% MHR)
(both doublepole-only)
4, no doublepole intervals
V02 Max intervals
(90-95% MHR)
9 2
Lactate tolerance & recovery intervals (1 - 5 minute intervals, short rests) 1-2 None
Speed intervals
10-30 second all out sprints - but no longer!
2-3 1
Distance sessions Whatever I have time for 8, three of them hard distance sessions
General strength 4 5 core and 3 general strength
Specific Strength 4 2


December has started out pretty well. I've done a number on interval sessions. Because I lost some confidence in November, I've started out with LT interval sessions, each session just a little harder than the last. The weather has made it difficult to get out side for intervals, so I've been on the treadmill. The last interval session was in the 90% of max heart rate plus range - a good V02max session.

We just got snow this past week - I've had 5 days on snow, the indoor running interval session above that went great, a core strength session - almost 11 hours in total. (Thanks for letting me have the latter half of Friday afternoon off, boss!). I'm sore now, and will take tomorrow off, then do an interval session.

Most of the skiing has been easy. Just getting used to the skis, doing some balance drills, skiing up hills slowly to work my technique. It's also been great to get about 5 hours of classic skiing in this past weekend.

The rest of December should see me doing 2-3 interval session per week (on snow if possible). I'll still try to run at least once a week - need to keep my running legs in shape in case the snow melts.

I just need to stay healthy...

December 2005 Plan
Training Goal Number of sessions planned
Time trial at race pace 1 thirty minute pace session
Anaerobic Threshold (AT) intervals
(85-90% MHR) or
V02 Max intervals
(90-95% MHR)
2-3 each week, except the week I first get on snow
Lactate tolerance & recovery intervals (1 - 5 minute intervals, short rests) 1, maybe up Mt. Brighton
Speed intervals
10-30 second all out sprints - but no longer!
Distance sessions Whatever I have time for
General & Core strength Once a week
Specific Strength Once a week, on snow it possible