Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - Latest News

By: Paul & Gerhardt Klann

Pro Tip: January and February - "Beating the Cold Weather Blues"

If you're a Canadian nordic athlete, you will inevitably at some point be faced with extremely cold weather spells.  By cold weather, I mean temperatures below -20 degrees Celcius including windchill.  Albertans have been dealing with the "deep freeze" since Christmas with little or no reprieve.  So, here are a few things to keep in mind if you are faced with extreme cold.

1.  Reduce the effect of the cold air to your lungs by wearing a mask over your mouth.  This is critical and is reccommended by Physicians for athletes excerising outdoors in the cold.  The mask acts as a membrane and warms the air significantly before it hits your lungs.  Wearing a mask also limits the speed at which you can bring cold air into your lungs.  Our bodies warm up the cold air as we breathe, and by limiting how hard we are breathing, we also limit how cold the air is by the time it reaches the lungs.  Even wearing a neck tube can help in warming the air as you are keeping your neck warmer.
2.  Consider the importance of a race if conditions are borderline.  Frozen lungs or frostbite will stay with you for life.  Is the race in question essential to getting you closer to your goals?  If it's not critical, don't risk it and don't sweat it.  The next chance to race is just around the corner!
3.  Keep up your intensity workouts - but do it indoors.  Remember that you have options. At this point of the season, you've been skiing for at least 4-6 weeks.  Going and doing your intensity work indoors on the treadmill or stationary bike is a perfect way to keep up your intensity without risking the lung problems assiociated with taxing excercise in the cold.  As long as you keep up some maintenance skiing by doing your distance work outdoors, it will definitely not negatively affect your skiing to do some cross-training indoors.
4.  Classic or skate?  You have to consider the overall effect of each of your workouts.  Skating on -20 C snow is very muscular work and it's difficult to monitor the real effect on your body.  We would reccommend doing more classic than skate in the cold, because the track tends to get a bit faster and it is easier to keep things in check.

In summary, modification and flexibility are the key to getting through the cold spell.  Always consider your goals and the big picture when you find yourself in a cold spell.  It may make it a bit easier to make smart decisions that will keep you healthy and fast for when the mercury finally does rise again!

images/dbimages/771.jpgPro Tip: "October and November, the in between months for a Nordic Skier"

It's October, and the snow has blessed some of us lucky ones with early skiing.  But that's not the case for most skiers, nor do we have any guarantee that this early snow will last. 

With that in mind, we have a few thought that pertain to getting on snow. 
In the first week on snow, be careful not to overdo things.  No matter how much rollerskiing you have done, your body will be tired and sore from the first real skiing.
Try to maintain some other modes of training such as running and strength.  This is beneficial to you in a couple of ways.  Firstly, it allows you to ease your muscles into skiing.  Secondly, if the snow dissappears, you will still have your running legs under you if you can't rollerski due to ice and gravel!
If you're not on snow yet, don't fret about it.  The weather is what it is and sometimes you may have to go to the gym and workout on the treadmills and stairmaster to maintain your fitness and be ready when the snow eventually does come. 
- Choose the best mode of training for your conditions.  Keep the conditions of your ski trails, running trails and rollerski trails in mind.  The worst thing you can do is get injured right before the season, because you went out and did a workout when the trails were not in optimal condition.  Gerhardt found this out the hard way 3 years ago, when we went rollerskiing after an early storm had melted and there was fresh sand and gravel that had been spread on the roads for the snow.  He tore his rotator cuff, and missed the first half of the season and the National team tryouts.  It was the "last rollerski workout" of the year and he would've been skiing the next day if he would've heeded the trail conditions!  Make sure the roads are clear, running trails are not icy, and ski trails have sufficient snow cover.

Remember to have fun!  Regardless of your location, you will soon be kicking and gliding on the white stuff!

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