Why Triathletes Should Nordic Ski...


By John "Fast Big Dog" Shafer (Slowtwitch.com - Dec. 2015)

If you've been around the sport of triathlon for a while, you've seen lots of fads come and go: gear, nutrition and training plans can all suffer from the "flavor of the month" syndrome. Cross-training was all the rage in the 80's for a while and guess what, what's new is what's old again. Cross-training, in particular strength training, is now widely considered to be beneficial to athletes of all ages and abilities, but what about off-season aerobic training? Are there viable alternatives to cranking out mind-numbing miles on the trainer and treadmill?

Yes. Cross-country skiing (or "Nordic skiing," if you are in the know) is one of the best full-body workouts, with elite Nordic skiers occupying much of the top of the list of VO2 max tests. And here's the really good news - Nordic skiing isn't just a great all-around fitness exercise, it is also an excellent sport-specific exercise for swimming, biking and running. In part 1 of this multi-part series, SlowTwitch is ...

going to provide a brief introduction into why Nordic skiing may make sense for you this winter. As the series progresses, we'll delve into the science, equipment, techniques and the workouts to help you build fitness, muscle balance and mental sharpness this winter so that you come off the line flying next Spring.

2010 Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Demong had an extraordinary career as a nordic skier, with not only an Olympic gold medal on his palmares, but also a World Championship and countless World Cup wins. When interviewed about his very long, successful career, Demong immediately points to cross-training as a key factor in his success, "Cycling, running and even swimming overlap perfectly with Nordic skiing," said Demong. "I was incredibly focused as an athlete in not getting caught up in fads or in activities that only loosely translated to my skiing, but I found that cycling was a perfect off-season activity and I'm positive that this works both ways - cycling is great for your skiing and skiing is great for your cycling. One summer I decided I would give road racing a try and I upgraded from Cat 5 to Cat 1 in one season. There's no doubt in my mind that I was able to make this jump so quickly due to the strength and fitness I developed from skiing."  READ MORE