When compared to downhill skiing in alpine destinations, the Nordic style of skiing can be a new experience for many. In cross-country skiing, you will be moving on flat terrain. As such, this requires a lot more energy, stamina, and speed control.
Before you decide to hit the nordic skiing trails, here is what you should know about preparing yourself.
Find the Time
Perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind is that Nordic skiing demands endurance. In order to make the most of your skiing experience, you will need to get your body with sufficient training.
This means that many of you might have to find time amidst your job responsibilities. If you are a student, however, you might be able to get some help from WritePaper.com to complete your assignments and such. You can even use this platform to get experts to proofread and edit your term papers. So, now that you know how to get around your other demanding responsibilities, let us tell you how to get your body in shape for cross-country skiing.
Get the Gear
If you have already been skiing, then you know the basics of what you need for gear. Regardless, let us get the basics right before getting ahead. It is a given that you need warm clothing that will provide you with insulation as well as breathability. Aside from this, you will also need boots and poles to propel forward.
When it comes to skis, this can be different from alpine skis. For cross-country skiing, the skis will have bindings that will allow your heel to move freely while the ball of your foot will be fixed to the ski. This will help you achieve a lot more flexibility. Moreover, you will also need different skis for touring and skate skiing.
If you are someone who skis a lot, then it might be a good idea to invest in your own. Otherwise, the cheaper alternative would be to rent one from the ski area. Regardless, it is best to figure out what you need since the gear can significantly impact your comfort level.
Now it’s time to get into the training.
Start With Cardio Training
Cross country skiing puts just about every muscle in your body to work. And in this regard, this is also one of the most demanding cardio activities in the world. So, before winter strikes, start doing your cardio to build endurance.
You can start with running, biking, or even kayaking. Once you get comfortable, you will want to integrate HIIT. This can be easily achieved by tossing in a few intervals in between. For instance, you could go hard for 30 seconds and then take a minute break in between or do a low-intensity activity – such as brisk walking.
Work on Your Core Strength
For a nordic skier, training your arms is as important as cardio. In fact, cross-country skiers rely on upper body power for up to 50% of their power output. While cardio helps you build endurance, you need your core to be strong as well in order to ski. The power of your propulsion comes from your abs and lower back; therefore, you will need to focus on strength exercises targeting these parts.
Some examples include crunches, windshield wipers, Russian twists, supine leg lifts, and supermans. You should also focus on arm strengthening exercises while at it. You could also get specific training from professional fitness trainers in order to help you with the workouts that work best for your body.
Apply Experience From Other Physical Activities
If you are a first-time Nordic skier or are relatively new to skiing, you might have some apprehension about the whole experience. However, there is a good chance that you have some experience in other endurance sports. In fact, there will indeed be some crossover traits that you can put into advancing when skiing.
For instance, activities such as hiking, trail running, biking, and even surfing can be excellent when cross-training for skiing. These can help build strength and power in the legs, improve cardiovascular fitness, and increase endurance. You will also learn how to read terrain and navigate obstacles when skiing.
Roller skiing is another form of dryland training that cross-country skiers can perform off-season. This will also help you practice techniques and improve your overall endurance. As you can see, there are skills that you can transfer from these activities that can be immensely helpful when skiing.
Take Care of Nutrition
While focusing on training, you should also be giving attention to what you eat. You will need carbohydrates to fuel your functions. So choose a diet with low sugar and fat while including high fiber carbohydrate alternatives like whole-grain bread, cereals, and grains.
Some skiers also prefer to take vitamin D since the winter months might not offer sufficient sunlight. While skiing, you should also remember to stay hydrated, preferably with water, and avoid caffeine. You can also carry snacks, but it would be best to stick to low-fat protein bars that will help to keep your energy up.
Get Ready for the Altitude
Cross-country skiing can be a wonderful experience; however, if you are going to an elevation of around 8,000 feet and above sea level, you might face some challenges with the altitude.
While there might be no room for your body to altitude to this before arriving at the skiing destination, you can educate and prepare yourself.
- Adjusting to a high altitude can take time. Therefore, it would be best to take it easy in the beginning. You can also consider spending some time at an intermediate elevation to ease the process.
- As the elevation goes up, the atmospheric pressure goes down. Put simply, this means that you will notice your breathing rate and heart rate increasing. This will also require some time for you to switch from your regular routine.
- It is important to stay hydrated with water and not alcohol, especially for the first few days. This is because your liver would be working hard to get your body adjusted to the dehydration at a high altitude.
On a final note, it is unlikely for people to have serious altitude illnesses. If you have any prevailing conditions, it is always best to seek a professional’s medical advice before you commence the trip. While everyone might be short of breath when skiing, you should feel the same at a high altitude without doing anything exertional.
When it comes to breathing exercises, the best physical activity you can think of is yoga. This is also exceptional for your balance and conditioning, both of which are crucial when skiing. Don’t forget that yoga also helps you with obtaining a clear mind and getting ready mentally.
Yoga incorporates both breathing exercises, strength training, and focus while helping you achieve more flexibility. By practicing yoga on a regular basis, you will be able to improve your core strength and gain a huge edge on the trail.
As much fun as cross-country skiing is, you will also need your mind and body to function well when you are engaging in the activity. This is especially crucial considering that you will be at a higher altitude. Therefore, we suggest that you come up with a well-rounded plan taking into account your nutritional needs as well as physical and mental fitness.