Keep up your cross-country skiing fitness out of season with this training program

Grab a pair of roller skis or running shoes, and build a solid foundation off-season.


Melted snow is no reason to let your training habits slide! With a little planning, it is entirely possible to utilize the summer season for valuable training, while also laying a good, solid foundation for the following autumn and winter.

Easy to follow – even on vacation

This three-week training program was created together with skier Mårten Soleng Skinstad. It includes three sessions a week, with both long, easy sessions and slightly tougher intervals. Add a strength training session if you want to train more.


The program focuses on running and roller skiing. If the conditions for roller skiing are poor or you if you have no experience of roller skis, then swap your session for paddling, cycling, swimming or whatever else you like doing. The most important thing is that you maintain continuity in your training, even when there's no snow.


Remember, if you’re not an experienced runner, start off slowly and increase the amount gradually. This will help you avoid pain and strain injuries. It's a good idea to split the sessions slightly over the course of the week, and you should ideally add some easy days in between the tough ones.

Good luck

Week 1– Long, easy session and 45/15 intervals

  1. Session 45 min - 1 hour of easy roller skiing

Start off easy and find a place with relatively little traffic and few obstacles, such as on a clear foot/cycle path.

Also see: Tips for roller ski beginners

  1. Session 5 x 4 minutes 45/15 run

Session #2 this week is dedicated to interval training. Here it’s all about giving your all for 45 seconds before taking a brief 15-second break. If you run the session on a treadmill, simple hop your feet to the side for the breaks in between. Repeat for 4 minutes.

After four minutes, take a slightly longer break of 1–2 minutes. Perform this 4-minute interval 5 times or as many times as you can. If you use a heart rate monitor, try to reach 90% of your maximum heart rate in the intervals.

Also see: Speed intervals – 45/15 intervals

  1. Session Long, easy weekend session

If you started the exercise program on a Monday, you have a great opportunity to do the last session of the week at the weekend, when you can go for a longer session at a slow pace, preferably over a couple of hours.

Choose your desired mode of exercise. Are you on vacation? Go for a walk in the local area and add in some time for a snack along the way!

Week 2 – Roller ski intervals

  1. session. 45 min – 1 hour gentle run

A easy session means that your heart rate shouldn't be so high that you are unable to hold a conversation. A good way of knowing whether you’ve trained at the right intensity, is if you feel that you could have run even further when you get home.

  1. session 3–4 x 8 minutes roller skis

We continue the week with long intervals. This means that the intensity and speed need to be slightly reduced compared to the intervals from week 1. This allows you to do both intervals and focus on the right technique.

Find a foot/cycle path where you can practice double poling and take 2-minute breaks between each rep.

Also see: The training session that the best of the best are doing

  1. Session Long, easy weekend session

We’re also ending this week with a long session. Select an activity that you can do in a couple of hours. Good alternatives for keeping pace and intensity down are cycling or hiking in the forest.

This is a session where low speed and enjoyment are key. So measure the session in time, rather than kilometers. Remember to stay hydrated and combine the session with a snack stop.

Week 3 – Pyramid intervals and a progressive increase

  1. 45 – 60 min progressive roller skiing

On progressive sessions, start off fairly gently in the first 15–20 minutes before gradually increasing your effort, but not so hard that your muscles stiffen. You should ideally be breathing a little heavier in last 10 minutes, but not as heavy as after an interval rep.

Also see: How to start running:

  1. Session Pyramid intervals (3-4-5-4-3)

A pyramid interval consists of intervals of different lengths. This pyramid interval, which increases and then decreases, allows you to really train your muscles!

A good tip is to start off extra controlled so you can do the same speed for the first three reps, before speeding up in the last two.

Warm-up 10–15 minutes

Main part

  • Start with 3-minute run
  • 90-second pause
  • 4-minute run
  • 90-second pause
  • 5-minute run
  • 90-second pause
  • 4-minute run
  • 90-second pause
  • 3-minute run
  • 90-second pause

Finish with 10-minute cool-down jog

  1. Session Long, easy run

We end the training program with one last easy run. Remember that the long easy sessions are just as important as the hard ones because they increase calorie burning and reduce the risk of strain and injury. If you want to increase your runs from week to week, we recommended that you increase the length of your runs, not your speed.

Have fun training this summer

For the vast majority of recreational skiers, this program will provide a good foundation for the winter, with long sessions, technical training and many hours of activity.

Why not bring a training buddy with you for company? After all, let's not forget that all exercise should be fun and enjoyable!