Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Several club members have been asking about basic training plans to get ready for ski season. Before jumping into more detail, there are a couple of important principles that training should follow if you want good results:
Most people jump into a training plan, but then "fall off the wagon" after a short while. You need to find a program that works for you so that you can keep it up regularly each week. And by regularly, I mean at least twice a week. For example, if you want to be a better skier, you should be skiing at least twice per week. Any less than this, skiing is just too much of a shock to your body and you end up hurting rather than helping yourself.
One way to keep up consistent training is to have a fun group of people to train with (for example, Downtown Nordic!). In fact, this idea was part of the genesis of DN -- a few of us wanted a group of people that could push each other to get out training regularly.
For people that don't have problems with consistent training, they often have problems with progressive training. Progressive training means gradually (and I repeat, gradually) increasing duration, intensity, terrain difficulty, of some mix of the three. If you do the same set of workouts for longer than about 6 weeks, you will start to plateau and make no new improvement. However, with a gradually progressive training plan, you can improve dramatically.
One example of progressive training was when I wanted to improve the length of time I could hold a plank. I was stuggling at 40 seconds and had heard people talking about doing planks for 2 minutes. I set a goal to continually add 10 seconds to my plank effort each week. Eventually, no word of a lie and I have video proof if you want it, I got up to doing a 19 minute plank. Thank you.
The other side of progression is doing too much too soon. I have seen many an
"athlete" go on a long ski during first snow of the season and then not being able to ski the rest of the year because of some injury. On my first ski on snow, I usually go for about 20 minutes max and then see how my body reacts.
With those two principles in mind, here's a basic training plan to get you ready for skiing:
Mon - run 20 minutes, Tues - strength (no weights), Thursday, DN ski-walking, Friday - strength (no weights), Saturday - run 20 minutes and ski-walk any hills
Mon - run 25 minutes, Tues - strength (no weights), Thursday, DN ski-walking, Friday - strength (no weights), Saturday - run 30 minutes and ski-walk any hills
Mon - run 30 minutes, Tues - strength (light weights), Thursday, DN ski-walking, Friday - strength (light weights), Saturday - run 40 minutes and ski-walk any hills
Mon - run 35 minutes, Tues - strength (light weights), Thursday, DN ski-walking, Friday - strength (light weights), Saturday run 50 minutes and ski-walk any hills
Mon - run 40 minutes, Tues - strength (medium-light weights), Thursday, DN ski-walking, Friday - strength (medium-light weights), Saturday run 60 minutes and ski-walk any hills
Here is a list of good strength and balance exercises. Do not do these if you have any injuries or back problems (get those resolved before doing any strength work).
One very important thing to note is that skiing sets itself apart form other endurance sports in the importance of very good balance. You need to be able to relaxfully (is that a word?) balance on one leg to be able to ski efficiently and powerfully.
For the first week, do only a handful of reps without any weight and then see how your body reacts to them the next day. Remember -- gradual progression!!
Strength & Balance exercises:
- one-legged squat
- lat pull downs (instead of bench pull)
- plank (instead of the rollout)
- Russian twist
- one-legged deadlift
- touch touchs on: mat, bosu ball, or balance pillow
Until next time, keep fit and have fun!