Keeping training fun, all year long:
With the fall season just beginning, that means winter ski season is right around the corner! But with a couple months still left to go, Nordic skiers are trying to keep momentum going from the summer. This summer in Vermont has been rather wet and rainy, but it will only become harder to get out the door with cooler weather and even more rain. So how do I keep things interesting and not lose focus? Cross training!
Nordic ski training is unique as there are so many methods that can go into being a good athlete. There is roller skiing, bounding, and running which make up the core of our off-season workouts on the Green Racing Project (GRP) Team. Biking is another well-known cross training method in the ski community. These different ways of exercise can keep training interesting, fun, and are beneficial to injury prevention. But there are more!
Here are 3 additional cross training activities I do to keep my mind and body engaged throughout the fall. Hopefully you can get some inspiration from this to keep your motivation strong as well!
“Erg” is short for Ergometer, which is an exercise machine that can measure power output. Though these indoor machines can often be pretty monotonous compared to being outdoors, the technology built into them can make it an interesting way to train indoors. The primary Ergs I use are the SkiErg and the RowErg. The SkiErg is unique enough compared to real skiing that “yanking rope” is somewhat of a novelty. Thanks to Concept 2 and the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, my main training location, these Ergs are at my full disposal. On those super frigid cold rainy days, sweating inside is a little bit more fun and enjoyable even if the scenery doesn’t change. Having the workout splits on a screen right in front of my face can gamify working out, and listening to a podcast or music keeps me going. I have also begun to dabble with RowErgs to add some variety. It’s great to have the GRP Rowing Team around to give me technique tips, and some split suggestions to aim for.
This form of cross training that I like to do at Craftsbury requires a couple friends, and a LOT of energy. Similar to soccer or ultimate frisbee, speedball is an ever-changing game great for some afternoon movement or a strength warmup. The rules are like soccer but a player can catch the ball out of the air, or can kick the ball up to themselves. Just no grabbing the ball with hands directly from the ground. I have a lot of fun with field games like this, though it takes a lot out of me. It can be played both indoor and outdoor. Find some friends and give it a try!
Often used for comeback from injuries, I’ve found swimming to be rather exciting as a ‘sometimes’ workout. It’s fun to get suited up, feel a little silly with goggles and cap, and put my 5th grade swim lessons to the test. Like skiing, swimming is another unique full body workout that requires coordination. I can swim for about an hour (with plenty of breaks) and feel I got in good training. Getting into a breathing rhythm is difficult but I know I don’t have to be perfect. And it can be done in a pool or lake!
These are just a few cross training ideas I have and use myself to keep training fun and interesting, but of course there are many others out there. I like the feeling of being athletic in multiple ways, keeping my mind engaged, and working on something new. It’s about finding something you like doing! Let me know if you have other cross training ideas, as I’m always up for a new challenge!