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
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
Never say never, and good luck!!
> 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
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