Cross-country skiing makes for great cross-training. But you’ve obviously got to have snow. And snow we have! The mountains have amazing conditions these days. And even just skiing from our house has good enough snow.
We have headed out two days in the row (maybe we’ll make it three if tomorrow’s weather is just as good). The temperatures have only been about -10 C, so not too bad, and the sun was very sunny today (as Dr. Seuss would say). But it could have been warmer as our toes and fingers can attest to. But when you’re newbie at it, you need to live and learn when trying out different numbers of layers. Next time we’ll be one notch smarter on that one.
Yesterday we skied to our local park, and made new tracks in the fresh snow.
Today we headed to some groomed trails in the Rockies. The trailhead was packed with cars, but the extensiveness of the trails meant we were mostly skiing in solitude.
With so many people out today, we thought perhaps we could try to copy the form of the more experienced skiers. We thought of listening for people chatting in Norwegian, Swedish or Finnish, and then copying them because they are always the Olympic champions. We will have to learn a few words in these languages for next time to know that it is Norwegian and not Greek or Bulgarian.
Benefits for the runner:
Long distance cross-country skiing really can work your lungs, especially with the hills. This lung-busting is great for running. The legs also get stretched in the months when you typically don’t put on a lot of running miles. And you discover different leg muscles that have never been sore before.
You use your arms a lot more in skiing than in running. So those shoulder’s, triceps, and abs get the workout they’re missing on the runs.
And one more benefit – you can spend your afternoon outside (instead of just playing inside with all those new electronic Christmas gadgets).
For me, cross-training is absolutely necessary. I probably run way too much and under use my non-running muscles. I need to continually find opportunities to do things other than running, to keep the muscles more balanced.
I’d encourage everyone to try something new this winter, as you take a break (however slight) from running.