ResourcesWorkoutsWednesday Workout: Rollerski-Canoe Combo with the Kids

Brainspiral BrainspiralNovember 9, 2016
Chris Pappathopoulos and his daughter Tula, who turned 12 last week. "I have my fingers crossed she doesn't 'outgrow' these activities,"  Pappathopoulos wrote.
Chris Pappathopoulos and his daughter, Tula, who turned 12 last week. “I have my fingers crossed she doesn’t ‘outgrow’ these activities,” Pappathopoulos wrote in an email.

This week’s workout comes from last year’s inaugural CXC Marathon Cup winner Chris Pappathopoulos, of Madison, Wis. He explains how to combine family time and training with this rollerski-canoe combo. “I have done this with my daughter where she bikes while I rollerski, and then we canoe,” he wrote in an email.

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“Finding time to train for working, master athletes is probably one of their biggest challenges. While this workout certainly isn’t limited to athletes trying to balance family and sport, it does work very well for that.  This is one of my “kill two birds with one stone” workouts. The workout isn’t perfect, but I get to spend time with my daughter outdoors. The sacrifice in quality is well worth it.

Chris Pappathopoulos takes a photo of his daughter, Tula, while they paddle downstream on Oct. 15 on the Yahara River in southern, Wis.
Chris Pappathopoulos takes a photo of his daughter, Tula, while they paddle downstream on Oct. 15 on the Yahara River in southern, Wis.

The general premise of the workout is rollerskiing up river and paddling back down. We paddle second because that is what Tula prefers, the order could be reversed. We make it work by dropping off the canoe at the upstream launch point. I usually lock the canoe to a tree and either tuck paddles and PFDs up in the canoe or hide them in the woods. We then drive to the take out point and park the car. Tula bikes and I rollerski back up river.

There usually ends up being a number of impromptu sign-post races and uphill races. When Tula was younger and we would bike/rollerski, I would limit technique in these impromptu races to something like single stick with no kick to even it out. Now that she is faster they are more of a free for all. I also get to work on my race craft. It is entirely possible I may have taken advantage of Tula’s propensity to be distracted by horses to win a race or two.  While keeping this entertaining for Tula, these sprints are a good opportunity for speed work adding training benefit. For most skiers with kids old enough to do this workout, top-end speed isn’t exactly a strength anymore. So it is quite beneficial to work on this and strengthen the neuromuscular adaptations to move fast.

“There usually ends up being a number of impromptu sign-post races and uphill races. … It is entirely possible I may have taken advantage of Tula’s propensity to be distracted by horses to win a race or two.” — Chris Pappathopoulos, on rollerskiing alongside his 12-year-old daughter while she bikes

Once we get to the canoe we lock up the bike, put the rollerski gear in the canoe and launch. We paddle downriver to the car while I catch up on the Patrick Marsh Middle School gossip. Once there, we load the canoe and go pick up the bike.

When Tula was younger, I would run while she biked. I’m hoping in a couple of years we will both be rollerskiing with different wheel speeds for equalization.

When I paddle alone, I go up and downstream. Similar to the above workout, if it is a new river, I will throw rollerski gear in the kayak if I am going downstream first just in case I find out I can’t make it back upstream.

As far as my plans this winter, with the help of Boulder Nordic Sport, Rossignol skis and boots, Start poles, Bliz eyewear, and Facetape, my primary goal is to win the CXC Marathon Cup. I’m hoping to find a way to make it out to Nationals for the 30K. Closer to home I’ll continue to help coach the middle school and high school Madnorski East Ski Team.”

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