Ben Ogden’s Summer Training for Nordic Skiing

Summer Training for Cross Country Skiing

Checking In with Ben Ogden After The First Big Training Block of The Summer

Summer training for cross country skiing is somewhat unique – you’re training for an endurance sport that you really cannot do in the off season. For runners and cyclists, it’s always possible to run or bike in some capacity, with adjustments in attire and the ability to do it inside or outside. With nordic skiing there are few places on earth where you can train on skis year round. This makes cross training somewhat unique and ultimately really fun. As a result we do all kinds of varied activities to get the stimulus necessary to be fast in the winter. Naturally roller skiing is a big part of the regiment, but it’s actually not a perfect replica of snow skiing.  Too much roller skiing can actually ingrain bad habits that transfer over to cross country skiing.

As a result, most nordies will also mountain bike, road bike, run, hike, swim, play basketball, hit the gym… and who knows how many other training modes. When training in multiple ways in the off-season, the vast majority of training is spent in L1 (as we call it), or a conversational pace.

This makes daily training sessions a great time to catch up with friends, tell stories, go on adventures, and really just enjoy the world around us. Every spring I look forward to the change of pace and getting into the swing of summer training. 

Interval Training and Adventures with Friends

My first block of training is nearing completion and I’ve already hit some of my favorite sessions. Getting back on the roller skis and doing a good interval session is always a fantastic feeling. Rollerskiing is generally higher speed than regular skiing, which can really make you feel like a superhero doing intervals, particularly on flatter double-pole terrain like many of the roads in Vermont. We had one workout that was 3×20 minutes of high speed, gradual, uphill, double-pole that was both fantastic and challenging. Leading the group can be tough, but then you can balance it by getting in the pack and focusing on how to conserve your energy and ski efficiently. The fun of the fast moving pace and the satisfaction you feel upon completion is what makes this one of my favorite summertime workouts. 

Another great adventure I did recently was a run on the Long Trail with a bunch of friends. A local southern Vermont buddy of mine is working on doing the entire Long Trail this summer, broken-up into sections, and asked me to join for part of it. I decided to jump in and we ended up completing a 17 mile section from just south of the Brandon Gap up to the Middlebury Snow Bowl. It was a section of the Long Trail that I had never been on, so it was fun to explore while also checking off the longest run I’d done so far this summer. 

Consistency and Fueling with UnTapped

My two goals for the rest of the summer season are focusing on consistency and fueling! I know this may sound fabricated since you’re reading this on the blog of one of the world’s most elite sports fueling companies, but it’s the truth. At the springtime US Ski Team training camp, they gave a presentation with a big emphasis on the importance of proper fueling before, during, and after day-to-day training. I realized I have a lot to improve upon in this regard. Ideally, the goal is to consume a reasonable amount of calories and carbohydrates every hour during training and then immediately after finishing. While there is a much more technical regimen for ideal effectiveness, my goal for this summer is to begin by focusing on those two pieces of it. For training recently, I’ve been bringing one or two UnTapped gels, some Mapleaid drink mix in my water belt, and a sandwich or maple waffle queued up in the car for post-activity.