Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nordic Walking

Christiane took me for a 5.2km Nordic Walking workout with a good climb and descent involved. I've used Nordic Walking poles a lot in the past for running in the winter to help in dealing with the snow. When running they give you a lot of security and stability and being carbon they are very lightweight. 
Today I listened to Christiane about keeping the arms straight when pushing during the climb but was very sceptical about this. Amazingly, I got it! The sensation is totally different and the power is very clear, but the moment you bend your arms you lose the power. This new sensation was really unexpected. We had used the poles for hiking in the summer but neither of us had felt this. It just shows how easy it is to completely miss the point of something.
I stormed up the hill with no difficulty, but the descent was hard work! Descending uses the muscles  in a completely different way from cycling - eccentric contraction - so despite being very fit for cycling I was hopelessly unfit for this! It struck me that this would be a great way to train for downhill skiing - less traumatic than running but really working the muscles in the right way. The idea when descending on the slippery, damp, muddy track was to keep the legs half flexed - which is what kills them. This way however you don't end up on your backside. Had a good attack of the d.o.m.s. in the following days.

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