Slip Sliding Away
Ski your way to top trail shape
Your leg muscles and lungs burn as you hammer up a snowy trail. Hill training has always been part ...
Photo by PatitucciPhoto
Your leg muscles and lungs burn as you hammer up a snowy trail. Hill training has always been part of your speed work for trail races. The grade flattens as you crest the hill and you ... glide off the other side? Yes. Skiing offers runners a valuable cross-training tool. In fact, running through a snowy winter can make you stale, unmotivated by dismal conditions. Distance workouts, hill repeats and strength and balance work can all be done effectively on skis. And it keeps you mentally fresh.
Several of today's leading trail runners, including Kilian Jornet, Stephanie Howe, Scott Jurek and Luke Nelson, have countless hours of ski training in their athletic histories. A physical therapist and ultrarunning legend, Jurek of Boulder, Colorado, says, "The aerobic workout you get from cross-country skiing is unparalleled, and the break from running allows the `running body' to be rejuvenated for the spring."
Nelson, of Pocatello, Idaho, who, along with ultras, races in ski-mountaineering events, says the strength, speed and general-fitness gains make him a stronger trail runner.
The two types of skiing most beneficial to runners are cross country and alpine touring (also called randonee and ski mountaineering).