Friday, February 15, 2008


As I mentioned the other day, skiing on cold snow sucks. The wax on the ski is supposed to melt the snow and cause a hydroplaning effect that leads to a nice glide. That’s obviously harder to do with cold snow. Anyway, since it was -10 degrees this morning, I ended up getting in a nice hill workout rather than fight the snow. I ran 10 miles with 6 hill repeats. That basically brings to an end my hill phase leading up to Boston. While it wasn’t as robust as I would have liked – had I been focusing just on a marathon – I still got in some solid hills, including some at the end of my long runs. I’ll probably try and continue running hilly routes once or twice a week.

As Nathan pointed out in a comment, maybe I haven’t lost as much fitness as I think I have. But I sure feel slow. Maybe I’m just setting myself up so I won’t be disappointed if I run 3:01 at Boston.

There was also an interesting Anonymous comment yesterday that I think is worth exploring;

Running is such a specialized sport; biking, swimming and skiing can keep you fit, but there is really no replacement for running.

If you cut back (even if you cross-train) you will always show it in your results.

You can be a good runner or good skiier, but rarely can you be both.
Again, being new to this I haven’t figured much out yet. But I can remember looking through some x-c skiing race results and basically not recognizing any runner’s names. Everything I read talks about how x-c skiing is the best cross-training you can do as a runner. However, do any runners actually do it? Or maybe the question is why aren’t more runners doing it?

I suppose if you look at the results of any endurance event you’ll see that the best runners run, the best skiers ski, the best bikers bike, and the best triathletes…

Maybe that's why. To be competitive, you have to specialize.

As I was thinking about this topic this morning, it occurred to me that, if nothing else, skiing will open a wide opportunity to compete during a time of year when I rarely race. If the whole idea of training is to be able to race, then I basically doubled my opportunities just by taking up skiing. Even as a runner in Minnesota, there are still plenty of opportunities to race throughout the year. However, if we’re talking about those BIG events that I end up focusing the majority of my training around, then I’m usually only good for about 2 such running events. With skiing, I can easily double that with events like the City of Lakes Loppet, Mora Vasaloppet, American Birkebiener, etc.

Maybe I’ve already touched upon this recently, but one of the things I’ve enjoyed with skiing so far is that I can see vast improvements in a short amount of time. When I first started, I couldn’t ski up any size hill. Now, after reading some books, watching some videos, and practicing, I can manage pretty well on the inclines. Plus, as a washed up runner who was just waiting for his times to get slower, it’s nice to be getting faster – at something.

I’m curious where this is heading.

Quote of the day;

“Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never for whatever reason, turn his back on life.” – Eleanor Roosevelt


Kirk said...

The reason I don't ski is that this is the first year in the past five that we've had decent skiing conditions. I don't want to get into a sport, get passionate about it, just to be disappointed next year.

And as far as your aerobic fitness--skiing is an aerobic sport, so you likely haven't lost that. Your running specific muscles might be a little behind your aerobic situation, as it is with so many runners I know who ski over the winter.

Adam said...

If you're looking at the top 5% of skiers and runners, you won't find a lot of overlap. Like you said, the best runners run, the best skiers ski. That doesn't mean they couldn't be good at both though. I looked up a number of local elite skiers on athlinks and pretty much all of them have some running races under 3 hours, 37 minutes, and 17 minutes for the marathon, 10k, and 5k. Not elite runners, but pretty good.

In the end, you've got to weigh your overall happiness. I would like to run more, but the improvement in race times wouldn't be worth the enjoyment I get from skiing. I'd also like to ski more, but I'm not willing to stop or even cut way back on running over the winter. In the end, I'm pretty happy being able to find time to do both.

Chad said...


You're right. One of my concerns is getting sucked into this and then not having any snow next year.


I've run similar times, maybe I'm an elite skier just waiting to bust out. HA!