10 TIPS ON HOW TO ENJOY CROSS-COUNTRY SKI MARATHONS
29. 01. 2019
The Jizerská 50 race is one of many long-distance cross-country ski races in the Czech Republic, but despite this, it is special and unique. Firstly, it is the biggest race of its kind in the Czech Republic and the only Czech marathon which is a part of the VISMA SKI Classics. But more importantly, this is a race that pays tribute to the two mountaineers of the Huascaran expedition in 1970, who lost both their lives there. The Jizerská 50 has become an iconic and popular race among not only the Czech, but also international cross-country skiers. At the Bedřichov’s stadium, where it all begins, around 6 000 skiers usually gather to participate in this cross-country ski marathon.
Besides the main, 50km, classics track, skiers can take part in the 25km classics race or the 30km skating race.
It does not matter whether you are a professional skier or an enthusiastic amateur, there is a set of general advice that should be followed in order to not only survive but also enjoy any cross-country ski marathon. Martina Chrástková, a former member of the Czech national cross-country skiing team and a lecturer of physical education at Charles University in Prague, transformed these pieces of advice into the following 10 tips.
Be ready in advance: Be sure that at such an event, there will always be lots of people – at registration, on the toilets, in the ski service, simply put – everywhere! So do not leave anything to the last minute, so you can save energy for the race. Also, be in advance at the starting line, so you can find the best place possible.
Do not experiment: Do not change your habits just because somebody told you that it is better to do it their way. Do not try to change your proven and well-working diet which you are used to for a super diet if you did not give it a shot before. Similarly, do not buy all those special food supplements if you have never taken nor tasted them. An unusual taste or food may not suit you and your stomach.
A secret tip: Put your energy gel into your drink – a) you get rid of the problem of opening it and b) you will be receiving the energy gradually.
Your own refreshments: If you decide to carry around your own refreshments and not only rely on the aid stations, then during training for the race, try taking out and putting back your drinking bottle, find the best place for storing your energy bars, drops, snacks, gels and other stuff, so you are not limited in any way during the race and everything is easily reachable. Also, try actually opening these in your gloves.
Have your skis prepared: If you are not a professional in waxing skis, have your ski waxed at a ski service right where the event takes place. In the end, you will save money because it is cheaper than buying a whole bunch of waxes and you will be sure your skis are well prepared for the race.
Clothes: Do not over layer yourself. You will certainly soon warm up! Leave all your scarfs, warm jackets and pants at home. Put on functional clothes, either a base layer (Kilpi Jager) and a racing suit, or warm, windproof, stretch pants (Kilpi Karang or Kilpi Rasty) and a lightweight jacket (Kilpi Nordim, Kilpi Joshua). Do not forget about headwear (headbands, hats, hat tubes) and suitable gloves (not mittens). But stay in warm clothes until the very beginning of the race. If there is somebody with you, you can give them the warm clothes right before the race starts.
A warm-up: You should be stretched and warmed up before you stand at the starting line, ideally go skiing a bit in the morning. A cold body is like a cold engine – before you go, you need to warm it to an operating temperature to get the best out of it, or else it might get broken and similarly your body might get hurt.
Skiing technique: You do not certainly need to double pole for the whole time of the race, especially If you do not go regularly to the gym and practice it throughout the year. In this case, the diagonal stride is much more suitable. If you are not particularly confident in downhill, leave some space between you and the skier in front of you, so you have time to react when a potential collision in front of you happens.
Spread your strength well: It is suitable to know the track profile or, ideally, go and try a part or the whole track before the race starts. You will get an idea of how to spread your energy throughout the race.
Training: he week before the race, do not try to catch up on what you were not able to do in the past year. Even professional skiers would rather take some rest and save energy (saccharides), which they can later use in the race. However, this does not mean you should lay in bed for the whole week. Your training should take up to an hour or an hour and a half, at least.
We believe that if you respect these basic tips, you will enjoy all your future cross-country marathons to the maximum.
Do not have impossible goals!