Last weekend we hosted a four-day ‘Skiing for Runners’ Camp. Our days were filled with ski clinics, snowy runs, core-warming saunas, and snowshoe walks under the stars. Although the majority of the athletes had spent little – or no – time on cross country skis, they were ready and eager to try it all. During our ski clinics, the coaches introduced technique fundamentals and focused on helping the athletes find a stable and efficient body position on skis. The athletes then practiced one-ski drills, no-pole drills, and downhills as they got the feel for gliding by ski rather than running by foot.
By the final day of camp, many of the athletes opted to venture out onto Craftsbury’s trail system to test their legs on hillier and more technical terrain. It was remarkable to see their progress after three shorts days – a testament to both the attentiveness of the coaches and the good-humored bravery of the athletes! Perhaps most impressive was the group’s collective resolve to take risks, be vulnerable, and try something new.
As runners, we often feel the need to pound the pavement mile after mile, day after day. It’s easy to fall into this monotonous trap, as a disciplined running routine can feel rewarding and reliable. It’s beneficial, however, to mix up our training. The mind and body need variety in order to be challenged and to stay healthy. In many ways, Craftsbury Outdoor Center itself epitomizes the multi-sport training approach; supporting a plethora of endurance programs and encouraging varied training for Craftsbury junior and elite athletes alike.
Skiing for Runners Camp was a great reminder that there is nothing quite as refreshing as a day spent moving outdoors. Though at times the thought of facing the cold may have been daunting, the group displayed an unfaltering determination to adventure in the wintery Northeast Kingdom each day. At camp or at home, the biggest obstacle to winter training is often layering up and stepping out the door. So, take a note from our Skiing for Runners athletes. As the polar vortex continues to sweep the nation, bundle up and get outside! Walk, run, snowshoe, ski, fatbike, or ice skate; it’s not the miles that count, but rather getting out and moving in the world.