Holiday cross training plan: eating, drinking and skiing

Downhill and skiing and runningHappy holidays everyone! I am currently writing this while road tripping  to Vermont to go skiing. Don’t worry, I’m not blogging and driving – though that would be a talent. I’m sitting in the back seat trying hard not to vomit due to motion sickness and to focus on my laptop screen over bumpy terrain all while connected via hotspot to my iPhone – true blogging dedication.

As is typical with the holidays, I’ve spent the last week eating excessively and sitting around so I’m looking forward to doing something active and athletic. Despite the fact that I’m mostly recovered from my IT band issues, it has been tough to run in Toronto these days. Due to a massive ice storm a week ago, the sidewalks are covered in ice, there are fallen trees blocking roads and sidewalks and chunks of ice falling from buildings all over the city.

Not that downhill skiing is any safer but at least it is acceptable to wear a helmet! I haven’t skied in about two years so it’s almost like learning again. And the older I get, the less fearless I become. I used to be pretty resilient and bouncy, but one bad fall could be a game changer for me, so I’ll be cautious. I’d be pretty Grinch-y if I broke my leg and couldn’t run this season but that won’t keep me from hitting the slopes – though the hot tub is a rather inviting alternative.

Before we left, I asked my physiotherapist if she thought skiing would be challenging with my knee pain or if I would be losing any cardio fitness by neglecting running, but she assured me it should be fine. Turns out, skiing and running actually use a lot of the same muscles. Runners are typically pretty one-dimensional in their fitness, so any time you can work on other areas like strength, flexibility and balance, it’s a good thing. That’s one of the reasons why yoga is often recommended for runners.

Skiing requires good coordination and core stability and it uses leg muscles in different ways which is beneficial for runners. Also because a lot of my IT band issues are a result of bad form, skiing can help as it forces your legs to stay straight and aligned as your go. You use your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and both your abductor and adductor muscles while downhill skiing – all good stuff for runners training for Spring races!

This is all great, but the key, according to this article, is to ski often. Apparently even 10-15 times a year isn’t enough to have a real impact. I highly doubt my 2-3 days of skiing will yield any real benefits. But I am on vacation after all and frankly, I’m looking just as forward to the après part of this ski trip as the skiing itself.

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