Off-Season Solution - Page 3
Poles can add stability and lessen the strain on your knees on downhills and off-camber traverses, but on most terrain, you're better off leaving them behind. "Not using poles improves balance and coordination," says Ballengee. "The snow moves under you, so you constantly adapt by using different muscle groups."
When venturing off well-marked trails, be aware of your surroundings because it's easy to become disoriented when familiar trail markings are snow-buried. And always let others know where you are going and when you expect to return.
Danelle Ballengee's Winter Workouts
:: Beginner. Interval workout tunes your technique, builds endurance and familiarizes you with the equipment.
For a total of 30 minutes on a groomed trail, alternate 30 seconds of running (run the downhills and flats but power hike the uphills) with 1 minute of walking. As your fitness improves, extend the workout's overall time, and swap the intervals, running 1 minute and walking 30 seconds.
:: Intermediate. Warm up with walking 10 minutes, following by a 40-minute run on packed trails (including a few moderate hills). Keep a steady pace when going uphill and quicken your pace on the downhills. Finish with a 10-minute jog or walk. Once this workout feels comfortable, boost your strength by running through untracked powder for five minutes at a time, building to 20 minutes.
:: Advanced. Do this workout out-and-back in untracked powder: warm up at an easy pace for 10 minutes, then do 10 x 10- to 15-second sprints followed by 1 minute of recovery, either walking or running slowly.
Add some anaerobic-threshold (AT) training (also called lactate-threshold training), keeping your heart rate at AT (15 beats per minute below your maximum) for 20 minutes. At the halfway point, turn around and run back in your tracks, picking up the pace to keep your heart rate high. Top it off with four 30-second hill intervals in powder, then walk for 10 minutes to cool down.