Sometimes it’s good to add variety to your training, and the winter is the perfect time to do that. Forcing yourself to run outside in -15C, or doing your long runs on a treadmill isn’t for everyone. So, to changes things up, add cross-country skiing to your training regimen.

Related: Outdoor winter training: Snowshoe running 

A bit of cross-country skiing gets you out of the pain cave once in a while and outside experiencing the winter forests. Not to mention that it’s an incredible workout.

Related: The pain cave essentials 

Reasons to cross-country ski this winter:

Incredible Workout: Pick your poison, “classic” skiing more closely resembles the motion of running, and “skating” incorporates some of the big muscle groups that will benefit cycling power. Whatever you choose, your heart rate will be elevated for the duration of your ski as you use your entire body to propel you along the trails.

Low Impact: In a triathlon season, you pound your legs a lot. Despite having to balance your training across three sports, many age group triathletes will run 25 to 100K per week during the season. Over the winter, consider moving a portion of those kilometres over to cross-training. Yes, it’s important to maintain some running, but it is good to rest and recuperate for the upcoming season.

Outdoors: Running in the winter can be a drain. The wind and snow can make runs near impossible, but gliding overgh the snow on thin six-foot skis adds an enjoyable element to the experience.

Learning Curve: If you haven’t been cross-country skiing before, there is a steep learning curve. But, like anything that’s hard at first, it gets easier.

Full Body Involvement: Nordic skiing has a huge oxygen demand – it relies on both your upper and lower limbs to propel yourself through the snow. It’s no wonder why some of the highest VO2 max (maximal oxygen uptake) scores ever recorded are from cross country skiers (Bjørn Dæhlie 96 ml/kg/min). So, let this be a warning, cross-country skiing is not easy and should be treated as a hard aerobic workout.

By skiing consistently this winter, you may be able to stress your body in such a way that you’ll benefit from the cardiovascular adaptations of skiing and avoid overuse injuries triathlons.

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