Newbie: fitness levels needed for xc skiing v running plus other questions

Newbie: fitness levels needed for xc skiing v running plus other questions

Post by David Man » Wed, 08 Jan 2003 06:58:59


I am a complete beginner at XC skiing, but have entered myself in a 90km
race in Sweden later this year.  While waiting for the winter to arrive I
have been working on my fitness by running and swimming.  What I want to
know is how tiring is XC skiing compared to, say, running.  The race in
Sweden has a maximum time limit of 12 hours.  I can't imagine running for 12
hours, so I'm guessing XC skiing is easier than running, but I keep reading
that XC is the best type of aerobic exercise around.  In particular I would
like to know how a 90km XC ski compares as an endurance race to a marathon,
for instance.

As a beginner I guess I'm better off with waxless skis because I propobably
won't notice the performance difference and grip wax seems too complicated
for someone with no experience.  Is that correct?

I am planning a week's holiday to learn XC skiing, hoping that a week should
give me enough technique for a race in the classic style.  I know its a very
short time, but I hear that you can pick the basics up quite quickly.

Any additional help and advice would be very gratefully received as I
entered the race as a favour to a friend and now I am beginning to regret
it!

David

 
 
 

Newbie: fitness levels needed for xc skiing v running plus other questions

Post by Jim Farrel » Wed, 08 Jan 2003 07:39:02

Quote:

> I am a complete beginner at XC skiing, but have entered myself in a 90km
> race in Sweden later this year.  While waiting for the winter to arrive I
> have been working on my fitness by running and swimming.  What I want to
> know is how tiring is XC skiing compared to, say, running.  The race in
> Sweden has a maximum time limit of 12 hours.  I can't imagine running for 12
> hours, so I'm guessing XC skiing is easier than running, but I keep reading
> that XC is the best type of aerobic exercise around.  In particular I would
> like to know how a 90km XC ski compares as an endurance race to a marathon,
> for instance.

Best aerobic exercize because in addition to supplying your leg muscles,
your heart and lungs also have to supply your core trunk muscles as well
as your upper body and arms which are actively propelling you.
(However, what you do with your legs is so different from running.  Last
year, during a thaw, I took a short (hard) run kind of governed by my
breathing.  My thighs were so trashed I felt it for over a week.)

Skiing lacks the impact of running, so you don't necessarily trash your
body as much.  Some humans can ski in 24 hour races and then do a
marathon then very next week.  What skiers also hone is the quick
recovery: think of running up the hill and being able to glide down.
Runners have to train for a constant effort.

I think if you are in good shape, you will likely need closer to half
the allotted 12 hours to do that race.

Quote:

> As a beginner I guess I'm better off with waxless skis because I propobably
> won't notice the performance difference and grip wax seems too complicated
> for someone with no experience.  Is that correct?

> I am planning a week's holiday to learn XC skiing, hoping that a week should
> give me enough technique for a race in the classic style.  I know its a very
> short time, but I hear that you can pick the basics up quite quickly.

You will get some basics, but you may want to hit the gym and get some
upper body work done, especially anything that can simulate the poling
motion.  I have been trying to 'get' classic skiing for the last three
years, but i got along well enough in my isolated ignorance with all my
self taught bad habits before I encountered anyone who had anything to
share about technique.
Quote:

> Any additional help and advice would be very gratefully received as I
> entered the race as a favour to a friend and now I am beginning to regret
> it!

> David


 
 
 

Newbie: fitness levels needed for xc skiing v running plus other questions

Post by Ken Robert » Wed, 08 Jan 2003 08:34:46

David Mann wrote

Quote:
> I am a complete beginner at XC skiing, but have
> entered myself in a 90km race in Sweden later this year.

I think the boldness of this mission calls for an on-line diary --
especially with the creative spark I feel in your phrasing.

How about writing an update and posting it for us here, say once a week?

But start by catching us up on the story -- Was there some defining moment
in which this mission thrust itself upon you?

Ken

 
 
 

Newbie: fitness levels needed for xc skiing v running plus other questions

Post by Chris Cli » Wed, 08 Jan 2003 08:33:20

Whew!
I'm not going to say that what you've set out for
yourself is an impossible task, but you have
definitely bitten off a big mouthful.

Totally guessing, and assuming you're average to
better than average in terms of fitness, and somewhat
below the average recreational XC racer doing classic
technique, you are probably looking at about 10-12 hrs
for a 90K (8-10 km/hr).  I'm a 40 yr old woman
recreational XC racer with "pretty good" classic
technique, and 10 km per hour for 9 hours would be a
conservative estimate of the time it would take me to
do a 90 km classic ski.

The most important thing is going to be getting used
to the motion of skiing for LONG periods of time.  Get
on skis as soon as possible, and work your way up to
skiing up to 10-12 hours.  Speed won't matter as much
as just moving your body parts in the same way for
hour after hour with little weights*** off your
appendages.  Skis and poles don't weigh much when you
pick them up, but after you've picked them up and put
them down for a few hours...

The other thing you will learn by skiing LONG time
periods is how to keep yourself hydrated and nourished
during that time.  The whole topic of endurance
nutrition is a whole 'nother thing-- you might want to
check out http://SportToday.org/ for starters (they
make nutritional supplements and nutrition "systems"
for ultra-endurance athletes, and their website has a
ton of information).

As far as waxable vs. waxless:  yes you don't have
much time to learn about waxing, but get yourself a
good pair of waxless racing skis (Fischer RCS waxless,
which has been discussed recently, or equivalent skis
by Atomic, Madshus, Rossignol, etc).  They are lighter
and have vastly better glide than recreational "kick
n' shuffle" skis.  You will need all the glide you can
get.  At the same time you're getting all those hours
of skiing in, consider getting waxable skis and
learning to use them-- you will have a lot of time to
consider it.

If at all possible, see if you can hook up with other
people who are training for this race, and spend as
much time with them as possible.  Go skiing with
them-- even if you get ditched, you will still get in
the skiing hours you will need, and they can pick you
up on the way back in (assuming an out and back
route), and you can pick their brains about the
course, eating, waxing, weather, etc., etc., on the
ride to/from the trailhead.

As far as comparisons:  A ski marathon is typically
40-50 Km, and seems to be about equivalent in effort
to a running marathon except maybe you can recover
from it a little quicker (less pounding on the
joints).  And that's skating, which is faster than
classic.  Classic is going to take longer and feel
harder.  So (a subjective estimate on my part) you are
setting yourself up for an effort that is roughly
equivalent to a running double marathon, or possibly a
little less.

Never say never, and good luck!!
Chris


Quote:
> I am a complete beginner at XC skiing, but have
> entered myself in a 90km
> race in Sweden later this year.  While waiting for
> the winter to arrive I
> have been working on my fitness by running and
> swimming.  What I want to
> know is how tiring is XC skiing compared to, say,
> running.  The race in
> Sweden has a maximum time limit of 12 hours.  I
> can't imagine running for 12
> hours, so I'm guessing XC skiing is easier than
> running, but I keep reading
> that XC is the best type of aerobic exercise around.
>  In particular I would
> like to know how a 90km XC ski compares as an
> endurance race to a marathon,
> for instance.

> As a beginner I guess I'm better off with waxless
> skis because I propobably
> won't notice the performance difference and grip wax
> seems too complicated
> for someone with no experience.  Is that correct?

> I am planning a week's holiday to learn XC skiing,
> hoping that a week should
> give me enough technique for a race in the classic
> style.  I know its a very
> short time, but I hear that you can pick the basics
> up quite quickly.

> Any additional help and advice would be very
> gratefully received as I
> entered the race as a favour to a friend and now I
> am beginning to regret
> it!

> David

__________________________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now.
http://SportToday.org/
 
 
 

Newbie: fitness levels needed for xc skiing v running plus other questions

Post by Jeff Potte » Wed, 08 Jan 2003 11:01:55

Quote:

> > I am a complete beginner at XC skiing, but have entered myself in a 90km
> > race in Sweden later this year.

So, David, how has the training and ski practice gone anyway? Still going to do
this event?

I think we discussed this plan earlier in the season but looking at it again it
seems WAY CRAZY. Offhand.

Do you finish marathon runs easily? Have you done all day hard events? XC is
'easy' on you but it just keeps asking for power and stoking and it doesn't quit
until you're done. XC doesn't damage you like running does but otherwise it's a
big order beyond just working hard all day or biking or hiking hard. 90 km will
be a VERY BIG DEAL. To train for it you should at least go out for 3 full stop
50k outings with poles and lunch pack.

As for my own limit speculation, I'm modestly fit and have done 6-hr enduro
events and ski well and I think that if I set my mind to it I could JUST BARELY
get ready for the Canada Ski Marathon in one year/season. That's two days 120
miles ballpark, right? And that would be a fairly risky limit, I think. If you're
not solid, you really risk a blow-up. But I've dreamed of doing that event. It
would be within reach. But given my current lifestyle of short occasional
training it's just not possible. I suppose if I did a weekly 5-hr outing that
might do it.

When I trained 500 hrs/yr and raced all year, none of this would've been a
problem. It still would've required serious training adaptation. I would've
surely done 3 big 50k nonstops with pack as MINIMAL prep for a 90k race.

To really prep for a 90k race what would one do? I suppose do 6-hr nonstop skis
twice a week for 2 months: eat-ski-eat-ski for 6 hours. If that was added to
normal strength/interval training one could maybe be competitive for a 90k.

To be a rock solid cruiser for a CSM, I think I'd want to do a bunch of 8-10 hour
nonstop for 2 days outings (ideally rollerski but bike, hike, paddle would do it)
for a year to build a multi-day nonstop base of reliability. It doesn't have to
be that hard. You just have to be used to it.

But if I was a beginner? Ho! Seems ill-advised. Unless it's someone who's already
doing 50-mile runs. They would still suffer greatly but could get thru a 90k ski
race in their first season.

Or am I overestimating 90k? I've never done it! I suppose I've done 60k skiing
days. Probably totally wasted me, too.

Jim Farrell:

Quote:
> [  ] What skiers also hone is the quick
> recovery: think of running up the hill and being able to glide down.

To me it seems like doing a 90k will be WAY BEYOND the effects of having 'honed'
anything. It's more like solid adaptation to skiing forever. Skiing-eating-skiing
without having to actually rest. It's basically 3 hard days of skiing rolled into
one. Whew!

Quote:
> > I am planning a week's holiday to learn XC skiing, hoping that a week should
> > give me enough technique for a race in the classic style.  I know its a very
> > short time, but I hear that you can pick the basics up quite quickly.

I just wouldn't advise this 90k idea unless you have those big outings in PLUS,
what, like 400k of QUALITY classic skiing. So whatever you learn in your week, do
that for 400k in the 2 months before the race.

As for waxless: that's a VERY BAD idea (unless it's new snow just-freezing
conditions). Good racing skis fitted to your ability and weight with race boots
and bindings will save you well over two hours I bet. This is significant! Easily
make-or-break. The waxing is easy: Just have someone who knows what they're doing
do it for you. Happily pay them. Ideally meaning someone else in the race. Have
them do to your skis what they do to theirs. No skimping! (You'll want a binder
and 15 thin layers of kick, right? And some rugged glide wax set up for max
wear.) Definitely ally yourself with a PRO SHOP and have them taking care of you
and your waxing needs. I'd say you also definitely want to ski all your training
miles on this same ski setup. So find others who are doing this race and train
with them and use what they're using for wax and imitate them. For training you
can probably wax OK yourself if in the company of experts.

--


http://OutYourBackdoor.com -- a friendly ezine of modern folkways and
culture revival...offering a line of alternative books and a world of
bikes, boats, skis...plus shops for great sleeper books, videos and music
...plus nationwide "Off the Beaten Path" travel forums for local fun,
bumperstickers and a new social magnet stickers! ...Holy Smokes!!!

 
 
 

Newbie: fitness levels needed for xc skiing v running plus other questions

Post by Gary Jacobso » Wed, 08 Jan 2003 11:05:43

My recollection is that the aerobic background necessary to ski the
Vasaloppet comfortably was estimated to be 1500 km in the prior year.
(According to many of the skiers I spoke to over there.)
The course is flat. Know that you'll be jazzed with adrenaline. Figure your
time to be equal to a flat 50 km and then double it.The greatest problem are
the throngs of people that create jam ups that can take a total of one hour
to get through. Eat and drink. Bring and extra hat and gloves. Just think,
after you get finished with one marathon, you'll know you're half way
through! A comforting thought.
It is easier to ski 12 hours physically than run the same time, that is if
you are an efficient skier.
Use wax unless the conditions are clearly difficult to wax for. Pay a club
to wax the day before the race, and then during the race just hand your skis
to a smiling wax company representative for a touch up. Every tiny bit of
efficiency increase can help a lot.

I applaud your plan, and I think you can do it.

Gary Jacobson
Rosendale, NY


Quote:
> I am a complete beginner at XC skiing, but have entered myself in a 90km
> race in Sweden later this year.  While waiting for the winter to arrive I
> have been working on my fitness by running and swimming.  What I want to
> know is how tiring is XC skiing compared to, say, running.  The race in
> Sweden has a maximum time limit of 12 hours.  I can't imagine running for
12
> hours, so I'm guessing XC skiing is easier than running, but I keep
reading
> that XC is the best type of aerobic exercise around.  In particular I
would
> like to know how a 90km XC ski compares as an endurance race to a
marathon,
> for instance.

> As a beginner I guess I'm better off with waxless skis because I
propobably
> won't notice the performance difference and grip wax seems too complicated
> for someone with no experience.  Is that correct?

> I am planning a week's holiday to learn XC skiing, hoping that a week
should
> give me enough technique for a race in the classic style.  I know its a
very
> short time, but I hear that you can pick the basics up quite quickly.

> Any additional help and advice would be very gratefully received as I
> entered the race as a favour to a friend and now I am beginning to regret
> it!

> David

 
 
 

Newbie: fitness levels needed for xc skiing v running plus other questions

Post by Janne » Wed, 08 Jan 2003 17:15:00

Quote:

> I am a complete beginner at XC skiing, but have entered myself in a 90km
> race in Sweden later this year.  While waiting for the winter to arrive I
> have been working on my fitness by running and swimming.  What I want to
> know is how tiring is XC skiing compared to, say, running.  The race in
> Sweden has a maximum time limit of 12 hours.  I can't imagine running for 12
> hours, so I'm guessing XC skiing is easier than running, but I keep reading
> that XC is the best type of aerobic exercise around.  In particular I would
> like to know how a 90km XC ski compares as an endurance race to a marathon,
> for instance.

Aaah, Vasaloppet, the test of manhod.....
I'm doing it also this year and hopefully without the backproblem that
was setting me back last year. You need stamina to do this type of long
session, don't go to fast in the beginning (how could you, considering
the starting hill crowd ;-) if you feel fine when passing Evertsberg then you
can start picking up some speed because then you will finish (even if you
"only" have 43k left to do). Remember that skiing is not as *** muscles
as running but it put a extremly high stress on your O2 carying system for a
real long period.

Quote:
> As a beginner I guess I'm better off with waxless skis because I propobably
> won't notice the performance difference and grip wax seems too complicated
> for someone with no experience.  Is that correct?

You can buy the waxjob on place the day before the start, it cost you about
10 and then you got done according to weather and snow. Do get a suitable
skiis for the job, because you can't compensate a bad skii with superb
waxjob.

Quote:
> I am planning a week's holiday to learn XC skiing, hoping that a week should
> give me enough technique for a race in the classic style.  I know its a very
> short time, but I hear that you can pick the basics up quite quickly.

> Any additional help and advice would be very gratefully received as I
> entered the race as a favour to a friend and now I am beginning to regret
> it!

Don't chickend out in the downhills, use them as recovery instead, enjoy the
speed downhill. I'm never afraid of the downhills, i'm more afraid of the
skiers around me with theire poles flying around.

--

Forward in all directions

Janne G

 
 
 

Newbie: fitness levels needed for xc skiing v running plus other questions

Post by phoff.. » Thu, 09 Jan 2003 00:17:27

In addition to the good advice so far, I'd emphasize getting lots of
practice in double-poling and kick-double-poling for that long flat course.
You can sure save a lot of time by not spending too much time in
straightforward diagonal stride. But it can be *** the lower back,
so lots of core strength and stretching exercises are also a good
idea, I think. Good luck!


 
 
 

Newbie: fitness levels needed for xc skiing v running plus other questions

Post by revyak » Thu, 09 Jan 2003 02:50:35

sounds just plain crazy to me. Why necessarily 90K?
I skied recreationally (once or twice a week on weekends) for several
years before I tried my 1st marathon and I was REALLY sick for a week
after and could not look at my skis w/o cringing for a whole month.
Skiing for 1.5 hours is 10 times easier than skiing for 3 hours while
skiing for 3 hours is still 10 times easier than skiing for 6 hours.
It's not just fitness, but also experience.
Not meaining to discourage you, but you will likely start to hate
skiing at the 25K mark.
 
 
 

Newbie: fitness levels needed for xc skiing v running plus other questions

Post by Dell To » Thu, 09 Jan 2003 04:01:55

Quote:

> I am a complete beginner at XC skiing, but have entered myself in a 90km
> race in Sweden later this year.  While waiting for the winter to arrive I
> have been working on my fitness by running and swimming.  What I want to
> know is how tiring is XC skiing compared to, say, running.  The race in
> Sweden has a maximum time limit of 12 hours.  I can't imagine running for 12
> hours, so I'm guessing XC skiing is easier than running, but I keep reading
> that XC is the best type of aerobic exercise around.  In particular I would
> like to know how a 90km XC ski compares as an endurance race to a marathon,
> for instance.

SWEET !

Man, David. Remember the word Courage this winter. This is a
courageous plan. I would congratulate you on having found something
that I have found makes running seem easier. But skiing is more fun
than road running. See about doing several ski races before the
Vasaloppet. This will help you with everything: wax knowledge,
introducing your muscles to the new game, especially the upper body
and in general what to expect. It roughly compares to running. But the
poling thing with the arms, this is also like running, only with your
arms. It is not as much the same as one would think.

Quote:
> As a beginner I guess I'm better off with waxless skis because I propobably
> won't notice the performance difference and grip wax seems too complicated
> for someone with no experience.  Is that correct?

Find a ski shop you can physically visit & get fitted for some waxable
citizen racing skis, and get your wax pocket marked. You needn't
overspend on boards. $150 to $230 or so is all you need to spend on
the skis. Make sure to have comfortable ski boots, as you note, you'll
be in them for some time, & if they hurt you... Salomons generally fit
like bedroom slippers. Waxing is not that tough. Skiers on the whole
like to share wax knowledge, so you can find out what everyone else is
doing, throw out the oddballs, & hit the averages.

Quote:
> I am planning a week's holiday to learn XC skiing, hoping that a week should
> give me enough technique for a race in the classic style.  I know its a very
> short time, but I hear that you can pick the basics up quite quickly.

I would think that a lesson or two during that week's time on the snow
would give you quite a kick start. Where do you live & ski?

Quote:
> Any additional help and advice would be very gratefully received as I
> entered the race as a favour to a friend and now I am beginning to regret
> it!

Okay, one last tip: for insights into training, read Pete Vordenberg's
new book Momentum, and Bill McKibben's book called Long Distance. You
will enjoy them & find them helpful & useful too.
Dell
Quote:
> David

 
 
 

Newbie: fitness levels needed for xc skiing v running plus other questions

Post by Ken Robert » Thu, 09 Jan 2003 07:00:51

Dell Todd wrote

Quote:
> for insights into training, read . . . Bill McKibben's
> book called Long Distance.

My "defining moment" for starting to race seriously was reading an
autographed copy of Bill McKibben's book.

After reading his training approach, I decided I could find a better way to
train, and then I could beat him at his own game.

And I did.

Ken

 
 
 

Newbie: fitness levels needed for xc skiing v running plus other questions

Post by Ken Robert » Thu, 09 Jan 2003 07:41:13

Janne G wrote

Quote:
> Remember that skiing is not as *** muscles
> as running but it put a extremly high stress on your
> O2 carrying system for a real long period.

I'd appreciate hearing more about this stress.
This year I've gotten interested in training for much longer distance
efforts that take a "real long period".

I would not have guessed that the level of effort that most of us could
sustain for like 6 hours could "push the envelope" of our central
cardio-vascular capacity.  And I just came back in from doing my "JanneG
V02max workout": running up my local hill -- 10x{40seconds, rest 20} then
5x{80seconds, rest 40}.

Or are you taking "peripheral" O2 utilization -- out in the leg and arm
muscles?

Does that mean it's still worth doing Lactate Threshold training even for a
6 hour or 9 or 12 hour effort?

Seems to me that sometimes what prevents people from finishing a "real long
period" event isn't just muscular.  It's developing an _injury_ to a joint
or ligament or tendon from repetitive motion stress hour after hour.  Like a
groin strain from classic striding.

Ken

 
 
 

Newbie: fitness levels needed for xc skiing v running plus other questions

Post by Jeff Potte » Thu, 09 Jan 2003 09:44:34

Quote:

> [  ]
> than road running. See about doing several ski races before the
> Vasaloppet. This will help you with everything

I would say to DEFINITELY do SEVERAL 50k marathons before trying this 90k puppy! And do those
marathons so that you are COMFY at the end. ...At least by the last of them.

My rule for helping fit rookies survive marathons: NEVER USE THE PEDAL.

Go half-speed.

Stop, eat and drink at every pit-stop. Twice as much for twice as long as you think you need to.

Even a very fit rookie will be totally tapped out at the end of 50k using this method. But you won't
bonk.

To properly finish 90k as a decent human? Whew! Do those marathons AND do those several all-day
nonstop skis like I said before.

And like Peter said: do lots of doublepoling, like for HOURS. Doesn't matter the pace. It seems like
that would help your po bod (barely minimally) adapt to the extreme overuse of the lowerback that
you're walking into.

And like Gary said: 1500 k's of SKIING does sound like a very good idea...especially to avoid injury
and total system exhaustion.

But I'd forgot about the "do 50k's til they're easy" notion  : )   until Dell brought up racing. So
do the 50k events but don't worry about the speed. Actually you do need a touch of speed. At some
point, speed helps you get home before you collapse. A 4 hr rookie 50k might well equal a 10 hr 90k.
5 hr 50 = 12 hr 90. 5+ hr 50 = ferget it! ...Not that I've done a 90k.  : )

It's a big bite and very impressive. You could maybe do it.

My friends started canoe marathoning two years ago. They were fit marathon racers in cycling and
skiing and trained hard all year, doing every canoe race, then did the AuSable...and lasted maybe
7-10 hrs before exploding. But 50% of rookies don't finish, so no harm. The next year they upped the
training only a little bit but had that much more experience and they finished their marathon in 18
hours. What a thrill! So it's doable. --But skiing is much more technical than paddling. Altho
paddling is so *gentle* on the body. It's *just* an energy sport. : )

Has anyone even heard of a beginner skiing finishing the Vasaloppet? That might be very smart to find
out. Our explorer might be a real pioneer here!

--


http://OutYourBackdoor.com -- a friendly ezine of modern folkways and
culture revival...offering a line of alternative books and a world of
bikes, boats, skis...plus shops for great sleeper books, videos and music
...plus nationwide "Off the Beaten Path" travel forums for local fun,
bumperstickers and a new social magnet stickers! ...Holy Smokes!!!