As a runner, I am always looking for ways to cross train.  One of the major reasons to cross train is injury prevention.  Cross training allows me to do something other than running and alleviate some of the injuries due to overuse.  Cross training also allows me to build other parts of my body, like my inner core, abs and upper body strength.  All of which are important in helping me to avoid hitting the wall during 26.2 mile runs!

Traditionally I have either used bike riding or skating for cross training with some weight lifting and/or Pilates for the upper body/inner core.  However here in the cold winter tundra of Minnesota – both are not great for winter training!   The snow and ice cause some issues!

This summer I started running with some women from my church.  It was great fun and mutually encouraging as we exchanged the challenges of life, prayed for situations and ran some races together.  One of these women always pushed me and was always up for a run.  I did most of my long runs with her and we got to know each other well.  One day I asked her what she liked most about running.  Her answer surprised me and opened up a new possibility.

Her answer to my question – “I run to stay in shape for skiing!  I don’t really like running all that much.”

When I found out she meant cross-country skiing not down hill, I took an interest in  what she does, how often, where, etc.  I had always been told that I should try it, but there were many reasons why I never did.  Now it seemed like God was providing a unique opportunity to learn a new skill and stay in shape all at the same time!

My first time out on the skis went really well.  I enjoyed it, only took one spill and that was really Geoffrey’s fault. He had fallen and I was trying to make sure that he was ok, couldn’t get stopped in time and skied right into his skis and down I went.  Julie was a good teacher and patient with  showing this very uncoördinated person different skills and ways to improve technique, etc.

She was also looking for some new skis for her and found some for me.  Tonight we went out to try new skis, books and poles.  Tonight was not as good as the first time out.  I felt much more uncoördinated and actually tumbled a couple times.  We are still trying to figure out why it felt so much different tonight, but I still love cross-country skiing and probably just need to get comfortable with the technique.  The skis that I used tonight can actually be used for both cross-country skiing and ski skating.  Julie wanted me to try ski skating tonight and I wasn’t quite up to it – at least not yet.  I think I need to work on one skill at a time.

I felt bad at times because of my inexperience and slowness in some of the things.  I didn’t want to slow her down, but she seemed ok with my beginning speed.  Endurance and lungs I have – coördination, well hopefully that will come!

Winter training has just gotten more fun and I really do get a good workout!  Marathon training began this week and I think I will do a lot of my training on skis – at least for now!