A couple weeks ago I went out for a 5 mile run and got really frustrated with the lack of traction. Every time my feet would push off, they would slip for a few inches before finally grabbing. It felt like I was running uphill the entire time. The experience made me think that it might be time to look for a winter activity to take the place of running until the trails clear up again. The answer that I came up with: Cross-Country Skiing.
There are a couple of amazing runners in my area who I use for inspiration. These guys are in their 50’s and run sub-3 hour marathons. These guys qualify for Boston with 45 minutes to spare. This summer I discovered that both of them are also into cross-country skiing. I did a little research on the internet and discovered that cross-country skiers have an really high VO2 Max on average. In fact, two of the three highest VO2 Max values ever recorded belonged to cross-country skiers.
After a little shopping around, I found a good deal on a set of a set Salomon skis, boots and poles and bought them. I took them home, changed into my winter running gear and headed out to the local golf course. It was awesome. Luckily, nobody was around while I was trying to get the boots into the bindings but I figured it out.
There were trails going off in every direction so I just hopped on one and went. It was surprisingly peaceful. No cars, no stoplights. It felt like I had gone a long way so I had to laugh when I got home and traced my route on Google Earth. I had gone a little over one mile and it took almost a half hour. Too funny.
All week long I have been thinking about the weekend and my next chance to go skiing. Today was finally Saturday and the conditions were spectacular so off I went. My wife, who used to ski a lot but hasn’t for many years, also decided to come along this time. We had an absolute blast! The sun was out, there was very little wind. We could easily have skied all day. Unfortunately, my daughter’s swim practice was over and she needed a ride home so we had to call it after about an hour.
Tomorrow is Sunday and I plan on going out again. According to the forecast, the temperature is going to plummet this evening. in fact, it’s supposed to be almost 50 degrees colder tomorrow so we’ll get a chance to see how it feels to ski in sub-zero temps. Might have to stay a little closer to the parking lot just in case.
It makes total sense now why the elite runners that I mentioned earlier turn to cross-country skiing during the winter months to stay in shape. It’s similar to running as far as a workout except that your arms do a lot more work when skiing.