By Teemu Virtanen (research material by Runner’s World, Wikipedia and other endurance sport sites)
As the dryland season is upon us, everyone is keen on starting his or her summer training program. As our frequent reader, you have had a chance to check out our articles about threshold and VO2max training, periodization, strength exercises and many other endurance training related topics.
Since we are in the process of releasing more training related articles, it would make sense to take a brief look at some general forms of endurance sport training. Below you will find five descriptions of different forms of endurance sport training, and more precisely ski training. As we have already published an article about strength training, it is not included here.
Long, slow distance training (LSD)
This is a form of aerobic endurance training at a constant pace of low to moderate intensity over an extended distance or duration. Physiological adaptations to LSD training include improved cardiovascular function, improved thermoregulatory function, improved mitochondrial energy production, increased oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle and increased utilization of fat for fuel. This is the basic long distance training where you go for a long time with a slow pace.
This is also known as threshold training, where you do warm-up and cool-down and do sprints at an effort at—or slightly above—your anaerobic threshold (the marker in which your body shifts to using more glycogen for energy). This is the effort level just outside your comfort zone—you can hear your breathing, but you’re not gasping for air. It should be at an effort somewhere in the middle, a “comfortably hard” effort that allows you to talk in broken words and hold that effort for at least 20 minutes, but can last much longer.
Interval training (repetition training)
This is a type of training that involves a series of low- to high-intensity workouts interspersed with rest or relief periods. The high-intensity periods are typically at or close to anaerobic exercise, while the recovery periods involve activity of lower intensity. Varying the intensity of effort exercises the heart muscle, providing a cardiovascular workout, improving aerobic capacity and permitting the person to exercise for longer and/or at more intense levels. There are several types of interval exercises and they can vary from short intervals to much longer ones with appropriate recovery periods.
The name of this particular training method comes from Sweden, and it means continuous training with intervals (its literal meaning is speed play). This form of training is simply defined as periods of fast speed intermixed with periods of slower speed. Basically, you can do various sprints during your run, roller-ski, ski or cycling training. The variable intensity and continuous nature of the exercise places stress on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed varies, as the athlete wishes.
These are the usual forms of long distance training whether we talk about skiing, running, cycling or any other endurance sport. Naturally, strength training, stretching and various coordination and technique exercises are also included in any athlete’s training program.
In addition to the training forms above, I would like to add one more workout that many long distance skiers use, and it is what I call “long, fast distance” (LFD). This is a longer and more intensive form of pace/tempo training. It is basically a race pace training simulating any ski race we encounter in the winter season.
The best way of doing these types of exercises is to have a race-like roller-ski exercise in the summer with equally skilled teammates – you can have a roller-ski race with your friends and pretend that it is one of the Visma Ski Classics events. It is important to bear in mind that these workouts are very taxing for the body and mind, and a proper recovery time is required after these exercises.
More about long distance ski training methods in our future articles!