Get Off The Couch, Part 3: Running and Hiking

FasterSkierApril 21, 2003

A mini-series of articles intended to get you going this spring.
Spring Training: Biking

See the first article
in this mini-series
for intentions and goals for these articles.

Springtime is great for many reasons. The sun is warmer, hormones start flowing,
and for many of us, it is time to start exploring the old trails again. In the
late winter I can hardly wait to start running after several months of skiing
only. Perhaps this is one of the great things of living in a seasonal climate;
variations, new ideas, new priorities – energizing and rejuvenating your
body and mind alongside and with the help of nature.

Sometimes I don’t know if I’m a skier or a runner, I have done both
my whole life. However, most days I am a skier using running and hiking as part
of my preparation and conditioning for ski races. And, through the years I’ve
learned a few tricks and methods to optimize the advantages of using running and
hiking as a great training tool for skiing.

Today I also run and hike for other reasons, one is for the experience of being
on trails, in the forest, or reaching a great viewpoint somewhere. I think it
is in man’s genetic code to conquer mountains. The other reason is that
my dog needs exercise. My Australian Shepherd needs about 1 hour of hard exercise
every day. I can’t provide him that 7 days a week, but is sure gets me out
the door more often than I would without him.Running and hiking are a key training
method for sking
There are a couple of reasons I believe running and hiking is as important for
ski racers as roller skiing. One I already mentioned, running and hiking is an
enjoyable way of training, everyone likes to move along a changing landscape,
with variation in undulations, surface and views. Some of you may not be able
to run much due to injuries, but all of us that are skiers should be able to hike.
I truly believe that training is absorbed better if you have a good time doing

The second importance of running and hiking is that moving on an uneven surface
builds tiny muscles, nerves and capillaries in your feet, ankles and knees that
strengthen your joints, proprioception and balance. I guarantee that these physical
enhancements will improve skiing balance, agility and coordination. The third
reason, – I have for years used and believed that proper ski-walking and bounding
is the best technique training for classical skiing, even better than rollerskiing.
In addition, everyone knows the cardiovascular, metabolic and aerobic benefits
of running and hiking.

Today, April 18th, it is supposed to be spring, also here in Park City. At my
house we got more than 1 foot of snow over night, so running is out for today.
I try to avoid running on a slick surface to reduce the likelihood of injuries.
Instead I went to the gym with Torbjorn – I guess pain from soreness of
lifting weights is better then pain from injuries. Torbjorn is pretty strong for
his age, but I try to keep up. It is also one of my goals this year to improve
where I am weak.

As you start running and hiking in the spring, you will also experience some
soreness. The faster you start the more sore you will get. So, here are a few
more pieces of advice:
– first, re-check your running and hiking shoes – worn-down shoes are
one of the best indicators of potential injury – so get a new pair before
it is too late
– optimally, you need two pair of shoes to switch between, this will prevent
injuries even better
– find trails, soft dirt roads or grass (pavement should be saved for those
really muddy days)
– start out slow and short, especially if you have not been running much through
the winter
– train for time, not distance
– you will likely get sore in calves and/or legs no matter how careful you are,
but this is really a sign that you’re strengthening your muscles (they
will "super-compensate" when worn down), but give yourself an extra
day of rest if it hurts a lot walking down stairs
– don’t worry about being ski-specific in your running and hiking yet,
save the ski-imitation drills and walks for later in the summer when you start
prioritizing the important ski-specific training. However, when hiking gradual
uphills, start thinking about the all-important timing of the classic technique

if you are looking for a personal coach to help you with training planning and
John and myself have decades of racing, training and coaching experience. We
even studied sport and XC skiing in College (who else in the US can brag about
a College degree in XC Coaching)!

We’ll help you get fit, create and reach goals, ski faster and have more
fun. A great selection of rollerskis can be found on the same site.


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