Monday, January 6, 2014

Cross training in snowy conditions - no problem

All runners, triathletes, cyclists,... have THAT problem. What to do when mother nature doesn't allow for the usual training. I say: instead of frowning, we should embrace it and be excited to explore new options of endurance activities. 

Living in Colorado (until next week) leaves me LOTS of options, and I am not scared to try them out AND still get quality training in.

Back country skiing:
The weather was super cold and I wanted to run twice that day. I ended up doing a 1 hr run in the morning and followed it up with 3.5 hrs of backcountry skiing in the afternoon (with J.R., Pam and Jason). We went into Poudre Canyon, to Montgomery Pass, not sure what to expect. After a 1.5 mile uphill climb (EXHAUSTING) through the forest we made it.

 Deep snow, cold weather, steep grade AND 10.000-11.000 feet elevation makes a GREAT workout.
 J.R. leading the way.
 Pam and Jason going strong.
 Taking off layers and layers, backcountry skiing is a ton of work and a great way to cross train.
 The top. Beautiful conditions and snow belly deep. No taking the skis off here or you disappear in the snow :-)

 The walk up around the "slope".
 I wonder what is under all that snow.

 The reward: DOWNHILL!!! 
 Sure enough, the UP takes about 1.5 hrs,  plus the time to go up and down the ski hill. The down takes 20 min :-) We were exhausted. Back country skiing is great: endurance and strength are definitely needed.

Next attempt: downhill skiing.
JR and I got our run in early in the morning again, not skipping a workout. Downhill skiing is a ton of fun :-) The cardiovascular effort is much less, compared to skate skiing, snowshoeing and backcountry skiing, but man, doing squats all day is no joke at all. Taking the lift up and skiing down is a fun change and off course we were exhausted from being out there in the cold having fun all day. J.R. and I were happy to report no bruises by the end of the day :-)

Classic cross country skiing:
well, backcountry/cross country :-) JR and I got to Dillon later then we expected. After finishing a track workout in the am (800 m repeats on the track), we ended up breaking trail and cross country skiing for 2 hrs. The wind was brutal and the snow ranged from ankle deep to belly deep. 

 We created a figure eight loop, which ended up being really fun!!!
 Jack had a ton of fun too, despite the snow balls on his fur :-)
 I also got to try out my snowshoes and got super exhausting 20 min of running on them. Snowshoe running brings working out to an entirely new level. Doing knee lifts (to beat the deep snow) for 20 min was EXHAUSTING. 
Snowshoeing is amazing, because strength, endurance AND coordination are challenged.
Classic XC skiing in the back country was less exhausting then back country because my equipment is much lighter and therefore it wasn't as challenging. Once we got the trail established, we got some great classic skiing in!!!
 Jack was also exhausted and napped and napped and napped.

Keystone Nordic Center:
Fresh powder and snowy conditions made it a tough and slow day for skate skiing. J.R. and I skated for 35 km on green, blue and black tracks. 

 The black tracks involved some really steep uphills and some very fast downhills. 

 I was excited to try my new skate skis. They were fast and fun. To me the effort of skating and the effort of running are very similar. You can skate for endurance (aka the long run), you can do hill repeats, sprints, very much like what runners do. We tried everything and also included lots of drills to improve our technique. 
 This was only our 2nd time skating, so we were really pleased to get 35 km in. Quads, glutes, core, everything was being used during skating. 

The next morning we went back to our "little loop" to run the puppies. Pam and I had snowshoes and Shaula broke new trail with her XC skis.
Pam and her puppies having fun!!!

 It was minus 4 degrees when we started. I decided to run run run to stay warm, make the puppy tired and get better with snowshoes.

At 9 am J.R. and I went to Frisco Nordic Center to skate ski. So far we have tried Eldora, Keystone and Frisco. Frisco is AMAZING. Their groomed trails are as wide as an interstate. The conditions were  tough again with lots of wind, very cold temps and new snow coming down. We skied 25 km and were exhausted.


We were supposed to attend a biathlon safety clinic, but the clinic got cancelled due to -20 degree temps in the mountains. J.R. and I simply included our own little practice by using our pole as a rifle :-) We are goofy...

Cross training was great. I am excited to go on my run today to check how my body is feeling after 60 km in 2 days.

3 more days in Ft Collins til I have to return back to Flag for school. But one thing is sure: the skate skis are coming with :-) Lets see what challenges the Flagstaff Nordic Center provides.


Sarah Jarvis said...

love it! my kind of cross training! makes me wanna move to colorado. without kiddos. haha! let's go skate skiing at the flagstaff nordic center together!!! i LOVE skate skiing!

Mandi said...

Ahhh, I LOVE IT!!! Looks like a blast!! Love your attitude for life, you're super inspiring <3