Many people think they need to be a professional athlete in order to train for cross country skiing. That is not true! You can enjoy the benefits of cross-country training regardless of your skill level, endurance, or experience. In this blog post, we will discuss how even beginners can get started with their own cross country ski training plan that includes tips on fitness scheduling and how to stay motivated when you train in a place with no snow.
1. What are the benefits of cross-country skiing
There are many benefits to cross-country skiing and many reasons to get started with your own training plan for the sport.
One of the most important benefits is strength building. Unlike downhill skiers, cross country enthusiasts do not spend a lot of time going down hills on their skis so strength training becomes essential for enjoying long term success in this sport. You will need strength to long distance runs, often more upwards than straight forward.
Another benefit of cross country skiing is core strength building. Every movement in cross country skiing is centered around the core strength of an individual so building strength in this area will benefit you both on and off the skis.
A third important benefit of this sport is endurance. Cross country enthusiasts will take frequent breaks to drink water or snack but the total time spent on skis every day can add up quickly. You need strength and core strength for these long hours of training so you do not get fatigued too quickly while also enjoying the sport more in general.
Lower risk of injuries
Finally, cross-country skiing has lower risk of injury than other sports like downhill skiing because it does not involve any rapid acceleration, sharp turns or unnatural movements. Furthermore, in cross country skiing, you move your body in a soft range of motion rather than a tight, strength-intensive range of motion, which lowers the risk to joints and muscles.
Every strength and core strength workout will help you enjoy these benefits even more when training for cross country skiing!
Being in the outdoors
The last benefit we want to mention is that this sport happens in the great outdoors. This allows you feel closer to nature and can make wintertime feel more like a gift instead of something to dread. Being outdoor in the winter time can also act resetting to your mind and body.
2. How to get started with cross-country skiing
Getting started with a new sport - let alone a mountain sport that requires snow and winter - can seem unmanageable. However, getting started with cross-country skiing is not that difficult, after all! It starts with making a training plan with easy fitness exercises and sticking to those.
In the beginning, workouts of just 30 minutes are great! The Nordic Trainer is a great way to get started! And if you want to experiment more, then skate skiing is an obvious choice.
It is also important to make sure you are training in the correct way. Cross country skiing training can be divided into three phases:
Endurance, strength and power training.
The first phase has endurance as its main focus which means using lower intensity for longer periods of time (endurance).
Phase two focuses on strength with shorter but more intense training sessions (strength).
Phase three focuses on power training with training that is even shorter and more explosive than in the second phase. Some of this training can be done outdoors, while some should be indoors - depending on where you live!
When it comes to strength building for cross country skiing, small intervals are key. This means training in three minutes and 30 seconds followed by a 90 second break, for example. This is key to making sure you can train longer!
For this, the Nordic Trainer is ideal, because you can do short, intense intervals, while actually ensuring that you are practicing a proper cross-country ski technique.
3. Training plan for beginners
So how do you make a training plan for beginners?
First, we need to know what your fitness goals are. Do you want to get in better shape or train for a competition? Then the summer is the time when most cross country enthusiasts take it easy on their skis and focus more on strength building by doing exercises like running with poles or a hike uphill with poles. Of course, summer is also a time when skiers can take it easy and rest their muscles for the upcoming season while still having fun in beautiful summer weather!
Once winter starts up again, beginner cross-country skiers should focus on endurance training to build overall fitness. This means that workouts of 30 minutes are key. This will not only help you get in better shape but also ensure that your muscles are used to intense training sessions.
Once you have decided on your training goal, then next is creating a weekly training schedule. In your schedule, you need to plot in your trainings, but also when you rest.
As a beginner, rest days are just as key to your training schedule. In the beginning, you will have a hard time recovering if you train too much or train intensely for more than 30 minutes at a time.
In order to get started with cross-country ski training and increase your fitness levels in a safe way, we recommend following this sample weekly plan:
Monday: 30-minute endurance workout
Tuesday: Strength training in the gym and ski technique
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: Strength training and ski technique practice.
Friday: Interval training
Weekend: Yoga or walk in the woods (rest)
We suggest following this plan for a month, before revising it according to how you feel. If you have more energy, increase the training hours and ski technique practice sessions. But if your body is not recovering from the workouts in time, then reduce the number of ski days or interval trainings.
How do you stay motivated to train as a beginner?
Now that we have our training schedule, let us look at how you stay motivated to train for a winter sport in the summertime!
First, it is important to remember that cross country skiing training should be fun and healthy! When you feel good about your body, then you will also want to train. So first of all: eat healthy (low carb if possible) and do not overdo the workouts. Second, try other forms of summer fitness like hiking with poles, running with poles, or biking!
When you train for cross country skiing as a beginner in a place that has no snow, then we recommend to find fitness equipment that activates the same muscles as cross country skiing does, in order to reap the same benefits. This means that the Nordic Trainer is perfect, because you will use your muscle mass in the exact same way as when go cross country skiing.
Cross-country skiing is one of the best sports you can possibly ask your body to do. The benefits to your body and mind are countless, but it is important to start training the right way.
Just like with any sport, proper cross-country ski training can be divided into three phases: endurance training, strength building and power workouts.
This blog post should have given you some ideas on how to go about creating your own plan and how to stay motivated as a beginner!