This spring and early summer has been a bit of an eye opener to feeling “old.” As a freshman in college, I remember hearing some 5th year skiers complain about their bodies not “bouncing back” like they used to, and thinking to myself, “that won’t happen to me, especially not so soon!” Well, here I am at 24 years old constantly nursing injuries. My gym time has just about doubled over the last year to accommodate shoulder PT from an overuse injury, knee stability drills from a tumble ending with stitches, and extra stretching and foam rolling for chronic back issues. With that in mind, I’d like to share some of my favorite workouts for the summer that help keep my body and mind happy. A common phrase in the ski community is that “skiers are made in the summer.” While this is 100% true, I’ve found that the things I do off of rollerskis are as, if not more, important than the work I do on rollerskis this time of year.
1. First things first: PT
A general theme of mine is putting my body first. This applies to everything from workouts to sleep to nutrition. In this case, even though I hate being inside on a sunny summer day, I try to prioritize Physical Therapy exercises. In addition, preventative maintenance, like hip mobility and shoulder stability, are especially important. As a skier, and inconsistent runner, I always try to incorporate some drills for running at least once a week as well: a glute circuit, skips and jumps, etc.
2. Speaking of running: track workouts!
While I run inconsistently now, I did race cross country in college, and both track and cross country in high school. Track workouts are one of my favorite things because they are just about guaranteed to be a really hard workout, and can be incredibly efficient time wise if done correctly. They can also be great for developing speed and working on turnover. Lastly, they help get the legs ready for shoulder season when there’s not enough snow to ski, and too much to rollerski, so I find myself on foot more often.
3. If you’re doing 1&2, you’re probably ready for 3: Long Runs (and Rides!)
Summer is when I do my biggest volume weeks - sometimes upwards of 25 hours of training in a week. Depending on where I am, I like to do a big chunk of hours at once in an OD either trail running or biking. In the mountains I love doing long mountain runs such as the Bridger Ridge. Back home in the Midwest, I have a lovely go-to road bike loop that starts at my family cabin and loops by my favorite dairy (for an ice cream and cheese curds stop, obviously!).
4. Mixing it up: Water Sports
As a skier, we tend to work a lot of muscles on the front of our bodies, and our workouts tend to be fairly leg heavy. I’ve noticed it especially since diving fully into biathlon, as I don’t do as many double pole/classic workouts. Summer is a great time to toss in a kayaking or swimming workout. Both of these get you off your legs, and I’ve found they help balance out the muscles we tend to overuse when poling. My other guilty pleasure in the summer is taking some laps waterskiing. Believe it or not, water skis were the first skis I ever stood on, and is one of my all time favorite activities. Regardless of the mode, any water sports are also wonderful when it’s hot, humid, or super sunny!
5. Last but not least, something for the mind: Backcountry Skiing
Since moving to Bozeman I’ve made so many friends that shred backcountry skiing, and know places that hold on to snow late into the season. I especially like backcountry skiing because it’s one of the activities that always gets me “off the f the grid,” and disconnected from everything else going on in the world. Being outside, doing something I love, with awesome people always puts a smile on my face and is immensely helpful when I’m feeling a touch burnt out. I’ve found this to be true if I put on skis in the parking lot or if we have a 5 mile hike to ski 10 turns.