With Winter comes the off-season and some much-needed down time. I always make sure to give myself a complete break from training (or at least swimming, biking and running). I take anywhere from 2-4 weeks off depending on how long or strenuous of a season I had. This is important not only for my physical well-being, but for my mind. It’s really the best way to avoid burnout and to make sure I’m going into a new year recovered, fresh, and ready to start again.
BUT, this doesn’t mean once training starts back up again that I still don’t allow myself some breaks. I have learned over the past few years that adding in other forms of cross-training, especially over the Winter months, is a great way to keep things new, fresh, and still enjoyable. I absolutely love Winter and the snow that often comes with it. And sitting inside on my trainer when all I want to do is be outside in the snow is not a good way for me to keep my love for triathlon alive. SO, on occasion I splurge and allow myself to play in the snow for a workout as opposed to getting in that scheduled swim, bike or run. Living in a place where we have some of the most beautiful trails out behind our house makes snowshoeing a great workout, a rewarding, refreshing experience, and a beautiful way to clear my mind. Ever noticed how silent it seems to be when the landscape is blanketed with snow??
It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that only swimming, biking and running is beneficial to my triathlon training. BUT cross-training in the forms of skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, hiking and just plain walking has proven to be very beneficial to my overall health, strength, fitness and mental well-being. Adding in different activities outside of your normal routine is a great way to tap into muscles that you have, but may not be using. Snowshoeing is one of my favorite Winter activities. Walking on a constantly-varying surface is great for those stabilizer muscles often ignored in running (and thus often the sites of injuries), and the added weight strapped to your feet is an incredible workout for your hip flexors. Strengthening your hip flexors will help with more knee lift in your running, translating to a more efficient run.
So there you have it... cross-training to translate to a fitter, healthier, better YOU, both physically and mentally.
Here are some photos from our latest adventures…..
Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour. --- John Boswell