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Vertical Attack

Stick to this killer training program this winter and you'll be in peak form by spring

By Meredith Edwards, HN sponsored athlete

Ski season is here! As soon as the season for ultrarunning winds down, I'm gearing up for the next race season. For me, that's ski mountaineering, a sport that's perfect for runners, cyclists, and other endurance athletes who want to maintain their fitness year- round. Even if you don't compete, the training program alone will keep you in top form. Here's how I prepare.

Base Building

September-October - For early training, I like to use my heart rate monitor; it's crucial to keep your heart rate low when building your base. I try to stay in Zone 2 - slow and easy.

Two days per week: I focus on vertical gain and time out. Living in Jackson, Wyoming, I have plenty of smaller peaks to climb up and run down. I try to cover 2,000- 4,000 vertical feet each week when training.

Four days per week: roller-skate skiing - a great way to train for the bigger peaks that will follow later in the season. I begin this in late September and go only for an hour each day.

Four days per week: I lift weights in the gym to regain strength and power after a long ultrarunning season.

Structured Workouts

Late October-December - Before snow is on the ground I do my workouts on a treadmill with ski gear on skinning. When I move into more structured workouts the week looks like this:

Monday: Speed workout doing 8 x 6-minute intervals in Zone 4; 3 minutes recovery in Zone 2. I do these intervals on a treadmill with my ski gear on skinning. It looks funny but it is functional!

Wednesday: 2 x 25-minute tempo workouts in Zone 3; intervals on treadmill with ski gear on skinning

Tuesday and Thursday: Recovery roller-skate ski for 45 minutes; weight training

Friday or Saturday: Climbing small peaks (2,000-4,000 vertical feet)

When the snow finally comes, I stick to these workouts but transition them outside and discontinue the lifting.

Meredith Edwards is year round endurance athlete who competes in both ultrarunning and ski mountaineering races. Meredith was a member of the USA ski mountaineering team the past two years, competing at both World Championships 2013 and World Cup circuit 2014. Meredith was ranked 29th in the world in 2014.

My go to nutritional products

Hammer Gel is my go-to energy fuel! Right before work out, I start with Raspberry Hammer Gel, and during workouts I refuel with another Hammer Gel every 30 minutes. After all my workouts I use Chocolate Recoverite!