Well, many parts of the country have had snow this year. Unfortunately, Ottawa has seen little of it. It is rumoured, however, that some Ottawa skiers have managed 7 days of some type of skiing in without leaving the Ottawa area. It is also rumoured that these subjects spent much time going either back and forth or around and around in very small circles. In this sport, you do what you have to!
In any case, sometime soon we will get the first reliable skiing conditions of the year. For all of you thinking about getting ready for the Keskinada, this is your signal that the big day is drawing near.
XC Ottawa has found that the following workout is a very effective way to re-introduce yourself to the world's greatest sport: Cross-country skiing!
Ski for half an hour at a SLOW speed. Resist the urge to charge up the hill from P10, only to topple over your poles at the Keogan junction, pretending you are just there to chat with the crowd that always gathers there. Take your time. Note the sensation of glide, and make sure that you are doing whatever technical things you have been working on during the off-season properly.
After half an hour, find a nice flat section of trail, no more than about two hundred metres long. Ski this without your poles, emphasizing complete weight shift and a narrow V if you are skating, or complete weightt shift and a dynamic forward position if you are on classic skis. The key is to be able to glide comfortably on a single ski and be relaxed while doing it.
Repeat the section 4 to 5 times, alternating between using your poles and not using them. I think you will find that skiing without poles allows you to use your legs more effectively, even when you have poles. Most top-level racers spend significant periods of time training without poles. Again, the point is not to go fast, or tire yourself out, (In the next e load Keskinada Training Tips we will talk about how to seriously tire yourself out!) but rather, to reacquaint yourself with the glide that makes skiing the euphoric sport that it is.
Finally, ski for another half hour at a relaxed pace. If you are feeling really eager, allow yourself to do a couple of short accelerations, of no more than about 20 seconds. Do not go so fast that your technique is compromised. It is important to develop good habits during the first few times skiing, and to remind yourself of them from then on.
Make sure that you are properly fuelled during your workout in order to gain maximum benefits. Eat a light meal no sooner than an hour before you go skiing, and make sure you take fluids along with you. XC Ottawa uses e load, the world's first fully customizable sports drink, for both training and racing, and believes it to be the best sports drink available for cross-country skiing and other endurance sports. To find out more about e load, please visit their web site at www.eload.net. E load is available at Greg Christie's Ski and Cycle Works and Bushtukah and Cycle Logik. Their contact information is also available at the e load web site!