My first thought was YIKES! Then, in rapid succession the excuses began to formulate in my brain. I haven’t cross-country skied in years. I’m so out of shape. I’ll embarrass myself. I don’t have the equipment. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the money. I’ll tell Leah I … just … can’t … do … it …
But, before I could shoot off an email to Leah, I found one from her in my inbox, and it included a pre-season prep list. So, apparently there are no more excuses for me!
With the season rapidly approaching, now is the time to fine tune your body and your gear.
If you are one of the folks who took the time at the end of last season to wax your skis to prevent oxidization, then all you need to do is scrape, brush and head out to the trail. For many of us, we may have a bit of work to do.
Take some time and inspect the bare base of your skis and repair any damage they might have incurred last season. Follow that with about five cycles (or even more, if you choose) of waxing, brushing and scraping. For skate skis you should prepare the entire ski surface while for classic skis, treat only the glide area.
Instruction and theory regarding waxing your skis is available in many places, so find your favorite guide and refresh that dried and dirty base surface.
And always remember, the folks at the Nordic center are more than happy to share their expertise and can complete the waxing if you prefer.
If, after prepping your skis, you find you need a little sprucing up yourself, then here are some simple guidelines to help build up some body strength ahead of the season.
While overall arm and leg strength is important, a great way to improve your overall performance is to focus on your core. A strong core keeps your pelvis aligned, your back strong and movements in line which allow you to better control, and a more solid stride and stronger arm poling.
Here are a few of my favorites exercises that you can do at home.
A good place to start is with 10-15 minutes of the following exercises, 3-4 times a week.
Also remember to check back soon for information about the Nordic-specific core training sessions to be offered here at the Nordic Center.
Begin facedown on the floor, propped up on your forearms, with knees and feet together. With your elbows under your shoulders, lift your torso, legs, and hips in a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 10 seconds. Raise your right leg a few inches, keeping the rest of the body still. Lower and repeat with your left leg.
Start facedown on the floor, with your arms and legs extended out front. Raise your head, your left arm, and right leg about five inches off the floor. Hold for three counts, then lower. Repeat with your right arm and left leg. Do up to 10 reps on each side.
Lie faceup on the floor, with your knees bent 90 degrees, your feet on the floor. Lift your hips and back off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Lower to the floor and repeat 10 to 12 times.
Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent and raised over your hips, with your ankles parallel to the ground, your feet lifted, and your arms extended outward. Rotate your legs to the left side, bringing your knees as close to the floor as possible without touching.
Return to the center, then move your knees to the right side. Do 10 to 12 reps on each side.
Lie on your right side, supporting your upper body on your right forearm, with your left arm at your left side. Lift your hips and, keeping your body weight supported on the forearm and the side of the right foot, extend your left arm above your shoulder. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
Any form of yoga will also help to strengthen and align your body. In future posts, I will list several yoga poses that are core strengthening as well.
The rewards come quickly and are noticeable. Make the effort and you may find you’re stronger, more efficient, and less likely to become injured while training or from daily activities.