Sebastian: “Hooray, winter is here! Snowy landscapes, Christmas markets, mulled wine, wool socks and cosy hours with the family in the comfortably warm living room. Oh winter, what a wonderful season you are!”
Jan: “What a crap, this winter! Wet feet, clammy fingers, icy roads, darkness and a felt eternity – sweat outbreak included – until all clothes for the bike training are put on. Oh winter, what a tedious season you are!”
So, what now? For many summer endurance athletes in our latitudes, the latter is more likely.
Especially the (long) cycling trainings are moderately fun when it’s cold and wet outside. For most of us, however, doing without cycling training for four months is not an option either, after all, we don’t want to start from scratch again in spring. Well, then we just work on our shape on the indor rollers… With always the same four walls all around, no wind (or only artificial from the fan), aching butt, no real descents and climbs. Okay, a little change would be good. Even in the age of Zwift and Netflix, the clock seems to have reduced its running speed by at least half as soon as the butt is swung onto the installed bicycle.
What about swimming? Hm, not too great either. The indoor pools are hopelessly overcrowded. Especially during rush hours, tile counting is not (yet) much (more) fun (than usual). No matter on which lane, it is uncomfortable everywhere. All too often most of us don’t want to do that. And the training in the fresh air is still missing.
Still the running remains. Enjoy snowy landscapes while jogging, that’s it! As romantic as we imagine it to be at the beginning of winter, running sessions are rather exceptional. In the lowlands there is either no snow or it turns into brown mud before we have tied our running shoes. In no time at all the socks are soaked with ice-cold meltwater. Even under good meteorological conditions, it is not advisable to maintain high training intensity by suddenly replacing cycling and swimming training with running sessions. The structures (bones, ligaments, tendons) in the lower extremities are affected by running and need sufficient recovery time to adapt.
You see… The training for all three sports mentioned is rather no pleasure in the winter months, but a drudgery. However, there are great alternatives that are fun and bring us into a really good early shape. The solution is cross-country skiing.
In the next articles you’ll find out why cross-country skiing is ideal for building up a form for cycling, running or triathlon, and what demands training on the narrow skis on the musculoskeletal system.