Cross Country Skills for Beginners

If you want a way to stay fit during the winter or you just want to bring a new sport into your repertoire, think about Nordic skiing. Not only is gliding and kicking on two skis an amazing aerobic test that works your running muscles, but it also develops your back, arm, back and core strength as well. Moreover, you’re in the incredible outdoors swishing on snow, which can be an refreshing change from pounding miles on a treadmill.

Skate and classic are two styles of Nordic skiing. Classic, the traditional form, consists of gliding and kicking in a forward-leaning motion. This style is performed in extremely groomed tracks that run parallel to each other.

Skate skiing compels the skier to push off each ski in a V pattern, as if he/she is ice-skating or roller blading. Skate skiing is done on wide groomed tracks, usually right next to classic tracks.

Both types of Nordic skiing can burn somewhere between 400 to 1,000 calories per hour. Add to that the endurance and muscle strength needed and you’ve got yourself one hell of a winter cross-training activity.

It’s a fact that Nordic skiing can be hard to master, at first. A lesson for beginners at a Nordic center can offer you basic tips and a good starting point. The price of most lessons includes gear.

Once you’re ready to get going, there is lots of technique included to keep you occupied and improving for a long time.

You’re a runner so you possess the leg strength. Nordic skiing not only necessitates strength in your whole body, but it’s a sport where proper form and efficiency is key.

In both forms of Nordic skiing, it’s vital to stand tall then put in a deep ankle flexion that has you in an upright slouch. You must bend from the ankles and not from the hip. From this stance, your arms can swing forward and backward freely from a loose shoulder posture. You should be trying to get into a rhythm instead of just performing the techniques.

What Does It Take to Win a Marathon? (Part III)

Speed Work

Speed work is a voluntary element to put into your training program. It can enhance your aerobic capacity and make your easy runs feel truly easy. Tempo runs and intervals are the most common forms of speed work.

Intervals are a set of repetitions of a short, specific distance run at a considerably faster pace than usual, with recovery jogs in between. For example, you might run 5 X 1-mile repeats at a hard pace, with five minutes of walking or slow jogging between the mile repeats.

Rest and Recovery

Rest days mean NO running AT ALL! This allows your muscles to recover from strenuous workouts and help stop mental burnout. The biggest enemy of any hopeful marathoners is injury and the number one protection against injury is rest.

If you are just dying to do something active on your rest days, try cross-training. Cross-training includes hiking, walking, swimming, lifting weights, cycling, yoga, or any other active pursuit that isn’t high-impact.

14 – 21 days before your marathon, scale back on the intensity of your runs to allow your body to rest for marathon day.


Almost all marathons have aid stations and water along the marathon route. If you’re going to bring your own water on race day, purchase a hydration belt or pack well in advance and get use to running with it on. Never, ever try it out on the day of the marathon.

During training, you’ll be doing lots of runs without the advantage of aid stations. Several techniques to consider:

  • Bring your own water using a hydration belt or pack, or even handheld bottles
  • Do a short loop course or long runs so you can put water in one spot along the way
  • Create your long run route to bypass water fountains
  • Put water bottles along your route the night or morning before the marathon