QUICK TIPS: How To Start Ski Season Ready To Shred

The key to the best ski season you’ve ever had is coming into it ready. I find that by maximizing my cardiovascular fitness, I end up in better shape for breaking trail, and when its time to rip skins my legs don’t feel like Jell-O. Not only does this make the downhill more enjoyable, it also helps avoid critical mis-steps in difficult terrain.

I like to ramp things up around the end of August, using interval training, specifically running. This strengthens your legs while expanding your cardiovascular efficiency. I don’t focus on distance or speed at all. I solely focus on time and heart rate. This makes it easy to consistently progress while changing up the terrain you’re running in or even changing activity. If you want to bike for one of the steady aerobic workouts, that's fine. As long as you keep your heart in the right zone for the prescribed amount of time, distance and speed are irrelevant. Here are a few tips to make your training more efficient.

Tune into your heart rate.
I find a work out like the Wahoo Fitness 8 Week Burst Advanced workout does the trick. “Burn” is effectively Zone 3, which should be right around that pace that you could sustain for a long time. “Burst” is Zone 5/6 which is your redline max. This is where your head starts to pound a little and you’ll be craving the recovery periods.

Don't give up if you don't feel like going hard.
The way that this workout progresses isn’t defeating. If you're having a “slow” day so what?! All that matters is that you keep your heart rate up for the right amount of time.

Let technology help you.
The first season I used this type of training I was blown away at how it changed my touring and skiing. A heart-rate monitor linked to your phone with an app that you can program all the workouts into is like having personal trainer coaching you as it calls out the beginning and end of intervals and coaches your pace.

It's not as complicated as it sounds.
For all its techiness, interval training is pretty simple once you get it set up. And when the snow flies you’ll be flying uphill with plenty of strength left to ski those long shots top to bottom!

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Photo by Dan Patitucci.