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Skiers are born in the summer

June 30, 2022

There’s an old saying in the ski community that skiers are born in the summer: longer days, warmer temperatures and more time off certainly make it easier to put in a higher training volume in the summer.

Elite skiers generally put in from 80 to more than 100 hours of training per month from June through September, in order to build a solid endurance base for the ski season and every mile matters.

However, logging big hours for weeks on end makes it even more crucial to pay keen attention to the balance between easy distance and intensity, as well as variety to keep things fresh and prevent injury and overtraining.

So exactly what does this look like?Madshus cross-country skier KarolineSimpson-Larsen, whowas just named to the Norwegian national team for the 2022/23 season, explains how she designs her summer training plan and the distribution between distance workouts, strength sessions and other activities.

“I love summer and dryland. This is when winter starts, and when I really get to put in the big hours,”Simpson-Larsensays.

For her, that usually amounts to around 90 hours per month in July, August and September. Accordingly, the bulk of these hours are easy distance, long workouts that provide the endurance base for the race season. “I do A LOT of easy distance in the summer, and I try to mix up the workouts by doing different kinds of activities, so I vary between roller skiing both skate and classic, running and even occasionally totally different activities to keep things fresh” she says.

And while volume and easy distance is the theme for the summer, Simpson-Larsen also includes intensity sessions on a regular base. But just like the workouts themselves, the intervals are longer in the summer.

“This time of the year, I tend to do longer intervals but not as hard. I generally stay at or below threshold in the summer, and make sure I don’t bury myself completely with the hard workouts. I know that other skiers like to go harder than I do even in the summer, but I like to save the shorter, harder intervals for closer to the season,” Simpson-Larsen explains.

Finally, we asked the promising 25-year old to share her favorite dryland workout.

Among all these fun options, what is your favorite dry land workout?“I love running in the mountains. So, a 3-hour easy distance run up above tree line on a sunny summer day is probably my absolute favorite workout.”

Why do you like it?“These long runs energize me. I love being outside in nature and just enjoy the scenery, and at the same time get a great workout. And I love the convenience of running. You just put on your running shoes and go.”

What are the specific training effects?“Long, easy over-distance sessions are great for building that general endurance base that you need for the race season. The key is to go easy. So, if I get to sections that are really steep or particularly gnarly, I switch to hiking in order to keep the heart rate and effort down. These kinds of workouts teach your body to be able to go for a long time, but over time, I also feel like they even contribute to increase your overall capacity and your ability to go harder on intervals and in races.”

How often do you do it?“In the summer, I usually do 3-hour workouts at least twice a week.”

Are there waysto vary the workout?“Yes, tons of options. Obviously, you can run a different route, choose different kinds of surfaces, like soft trails, mountain trails, gravel or dirt roads. Or you can choose flatter or steeper terrains, rolling terrain or summit bids. Or you can switch up the running with roller skiing.”

Now, go get those hills and be ready to cruise even farther, faster and with more ease when the snow flies!

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Photo by: Nordic Focus