If you took a triathlon and put it into one sport, that’s what cross-country skiing feels like. It’s like running a 5k or a 10k where you start off with good speed, find a steady pace, you’re breathing rapidly and you can definitely feel your muscles. Then, because of the up and down nature of our courses, you can glide on the downhill, a little bit like riding a bike. You have a blend of trying to be as efficient as possible with your oxygen capacity while also needing power to get over the hills. It’s that fine line between efficiency and power. You’re using your arms and your legs, so you have a strong muscular component, which is where the lactic acid comes from. As the race goes on, your muscles fatigue first, so you have to keep mental focus and keep your technique strong. That’d be most comparable to swimming, where pure effort can keep you burning for a while, but as you get towards the end of the race it’s a loss of technique that makes things really fall apart.
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