The winter off season is an excellent time to rest your mind, build core strength, increase flexibility and hone skills (knots, rope management techniques, orienteering, spinning, etc…).
Here are some recommended training and activities that can prepare you for heightened performance next year.
- Weight training. The winter off season months are an excellent time to build core strength and balance. Typically, schedule pressures lead to weight training as the first activity to drop off your training regime as you add more miles trail running, mountain biking, kayaking and other disciplines. Weight training and free body exercise suggestions: push-up with feet elevated on a yoga (or stability) ball, crunches, pull-ups using a finger board, dumbbell flys, presses, and military presses using the yoga ball as a platform.
- Core fitness. Adventure racing, mountain biking, climbing and trail running all benefit from developing core fitness. For variety and all-around strength building trying some of the unique, but challenging exercises offered by CrossFit.
- Concept II rowing machine. If you cannot cross country ski, the concept II rowing machine is your next best bet for complete fitness in a single exercise. Originally developed by rowers (crew) for rowers, the Concept II rower rapidly became the gold standards for rowing machines in health clubs up and down the country. The Concept II rowing machine mimics the motion of crew; exercising your major muscle groups as well as providing a tremendous aerobic workout. Try 1000 or 2000 meters for time. There are in-door rowing races sponsored by gyms and schools.
- Nordic walking. Nordic walking involves using trekking poles to increase the aerobic intensity of your workouts. Trekking poles enable users to actively engage the upper body in highly technical trail running and mountaineering, thus recruiting the upper body muscle mass. As a result, exercise intensity increases, muscle strength, endurance and cardio-respiratory efficiency improves, while reducing stress on the knees, ankles and hips. I first became interested in trekking poles after reading an article in a fitness journal about the increase efficiency [roughly 27% more efficient] as a result of using trekking poles vice simply hiking or running. Add a ruck sack (back pack) with weight appropriate for your conditioning and you can achieve a high intensity aerobic workout without the pounding associated with running.