October 08, 2020 2 min read

Hey Sports Fans!

My name is Ian Torchia and I am a professional cross-country skier for the Stratton Mountain School T2 Elite team based in Vermont. I am a former NCAA individual champion with the Northern Michigan University ski team and received my Masters in Exercise Science from the institution in 2019. Aside from my official job of training and racing around the world, I love writing training plans for athletes of all levels and recently coached my fiance to a 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying standard! Cross-country skiing at the highest level on the World Cup circuit requires a strong fitness base and skiers often log many miles running to achieve this strong foundation. I will be incorporating skiing training principles into your half-marathon running training as the sports share many similarities. 

At its core, half-marathon training is very similar to marathon training. Racing over an hour requires a strongaerobic (“with oxygen”) base, meaning a large chunk of training will be easy to moderate runs to improve your body’s efficiency to transport oxygen. One of the things we do not want to do when running over an hour is run too hard and goanaerobic (“without oxygen”), which means your body is required to make energy without available oxygen, producing lactic acid byproducts. What islactic acid? Most runners know it as the burning sensation in their muscles when they launch into a finishing sprint. At its core, lactic acid is a fuel the muscles use for energy that breaks down into lactate and hydrogen ions. Lactate is used as fuel while it is those darn hydrogen ions that cause the burning in your muscles, and both are produced in greater quantities the higher the intensity of the exercise. 

There is a silver lining however, as you can train your body to buffer more hydrogen ions and become better at using lactate as a fuel, therefore running faster without that dreaded burning sensation. This is known as pushing your lactate threshold, or the intensity at which lactic acid accumulates in the blood. This will be a main goal during our training to increase your lactate threshold level faster and faster over the weeks. In the coming weeks, your weekly training will follow a flow of 1-2 lactate threshold workouts, 1 speed workout for easier perception of running at marathon pace, 1 long run for aerobic adaptations, and easy distance sessions sprinkled in between these key workouts. Some core sessions will also be recommended after workouts for injury prevention and economy of running form. 

By the end you will look like this!

Stay tuned for more detailed weeks of training and looking forward to working with you! 

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