Spring Break: Rest, Recovery & Everything in Between

Posted by Annika Landis, EnjoyWinter Factory Team on Apr 19th 2024

Spring Break: Rest, Recovery & Everything in Between

Ski Post - Spring Break: Rest, Recovery & Everything in Between


Spring Break: Rest, Recovery & Everything in Between

Spring is here! Some Alaskans may disagree, but for most of us sunshine and warmer weather have arrived which for most skiers means a well deserved rest. Spring is first and foremost a recovery period, a time to relax, have fun, and recharge from a long and arduous season of racing and traveling. Even if you aren’t racing a full SuperTour schedule or much at all, the change of the seasons is still a good time to take a short break, assess your goals, and get yourself ready for the summer. After a month and half on the road, and a lot of travel this winter, I am very ready for a physical break. As much as I want to keep spring skiing and backcountry touring indefinitely, my body was starting to give me some pretty clear signs that I was pushing my luck. Now, back in Boston, without the temptation of corn and crust skiing, I am more than happy to oblige.

I sure didn’t need my Whoop to tell me I needed some time off!

I was talking to a friend recently about how cyclical the ski season is. Each phase of the year has a predictable rhythm, a dedicated purpose and we know about what to expect each spring, summer, fall and winter. But to me spring is different, because it has the most potential for spontaneity, it's a bit of a blank slate that you can fill with whatever activities you want, athletic or otherwise. I struggle to slow down, I love being active and giving my body a break leaves me feeling restless and a bit unsure of what to do with myself. But that is also the beauty of it, the time I have to explore new activities that I don’t otherwise have time to do.

Sarah Goble and I enjoyed a snowy day at the International Spring Series Team Spring in “Sun” Valley.

Not all skiers adhere to the 2-3 weeks off in April schedule, and especially for more recreational or part-time skiers, a break might not coincide with the end of the SuperTour season. But whenever your ‘break’ happens, make sure to take one! Most nordic skiers are multi-sport athletes, we love doing just about anything active and each season can bring another activity to dive headfirst into. It can be easy to keep going and going without letting ourselves reset every once in a while.

So what does taking a break really mean? It is entirely different for everyone, and can even be different for an individual from year to year. I tend to think there are two general categories of spring recovery.

Cold Turkey - Some people need or enjoy stopping any and all physical activity for 2-3 weeks. This is a good option for people who get burned out of competition and training by the end of the year. A hard reset can be just what somebody needs to feel refreshed and ready to get back after it when structured training starts up again. If this is you, I still encourage you to find some movement and fresh air in your day, although I bet most of us can’t go too long without it.

New Activities, In Moderation - This is probably a more common type of break and the category that most of us fit into. For me, when the competitive season is over, it is a great opportunity to get out my backcountry skis and head into the mountains. While many of these adventures can be physically demanding, mentally it is refreshing to be doing a different activity, with different people. For others who might not have spring skiing, we dust off the mountain or road bike, or running shoes and head out for a ride or run. If you are lucky enough to have a perfect spring, you can ski in the morning and mountain bike or run on dry sunny trails in the afternoon. There is something about giving our body a different physical and neurological stimulus that is more rejuvenating than we might expect. Don’t over do it though, eventually taking at least a full week off of structured activity is going to be really good for your body to recover.

A few photos from backcountry ski tours around Ketchum, Idaho.

Whatever your style, it is entirely yours to do what you will. You know best what makes you feel good, and what doesn’t. Here are a few other things that I do that help me take the break I need.

1. Delete Strava: This is huge. Spring is when all these incredibly fit skiers with nothing left to lose head to the trails and the mountains. My feed is suddenly inundated with long xc skis, epic backcountry tours, and other adventures, and no matter what I am doing, usually my own long adventures and skis, I feel a nagging urge to compare and judge myself based on others’ activities. I wish this didn’t affect me as much as it does, but I know that I am susceptible to fomo and that on any social media,comparison is the thief of joy. I am only human, at least I can try to be a self-aware one and give myself a bit of a break.

A lovely spring crust cruise and a backcountry tour in the Boulder Mountains near Ketchum, Idaho.

2. No Watch/HR Monitor: A few years ago, I bought a basic watch with one simple function; it tells the time. No guilt inducing “activity goal” or “unproductive/detraining” alert making me feel bad for not exercising when I know I need to be taking a break. It is incredible how much of a difference it makes and how quickly I get used to intuitive movement. By that I mean, doing what feels good that day and not being influenced by the relatively arbitrary recommendations of a wrist watch. It collects dust for 11 months of the year, but for April, it is the real MVP.

3. Explore new movement: I can’t sit still for long so I try to find a way to keep my body moving in a way that is restorative and still engaging. So far this spring, I have been enjoying walking to wherever I need to go, within reason. I spend a lot of time training to go as fast as possible, so it is nice to slow things down and let movement just be movement. Maybe it is yoga, or swimming, or if you are trendy, pickleball; whatever feels good for you, do it!

I got to watch the Boston Marathon this past Monday and it was incredible. It was not ideal for my rest mentality because it made me feel motivated to race…road marathon debut coming soon?

4. Maintain general routines: I really try to keep some routines like sleeping and eating consistent. Absolutely I let myself have fun and enjoy not being as strict about my lifestyle, but I also know that I just feel better when I have gotten good sleep and I am eating three regular meals a day (plus snacks and a sweet treat of course!). Eating can be hard for me in the spring, when I am not exercising as often, or at all. But I still need to listen to my body and give it the fuel it needs! I have been so hungry this week, probably because I really ran myself into the ground physically the last two months, and my body needs the nutrition to recover. Generally it takes a week or more for my appetite to match my activity level, and that is ok! I try to listen as best I can to the cues I am getting and not worry too much about it.

Nobody loves routine more than the dog!

However you approach your spring, first and foremost, enjoy yourself. What a time to explore new things, reconnect with friends, or just slow down a bit!