It is deer season here in northern Michigan and our favorite trails in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are pretty much off limits.
During deer season we hit a local soccer or football field. After a casual warm-up of at least 4 laps with poles around the goal posts (200+ meters a lap) at Level 1. See the American Nordic Walking System for Level 1 description:
Next we do about 12 – 20 laps where we run with our poles (Nordic Running) for half a lap and then Nordic Walk the other half.
For our cool down we will do at least 4 casual laps of Level 1 Nordic Walking.
While Nordic Running the pole plants are in sync with the opposite heel. We keep our chins up, fingers relaxed (NO squeezing/gripping the poles). Do NOT fake a long stride. Always keep the poles slightly angled back behind you.
Running with poles provides many of the same awesome benefits as walking with poles – burns more calories, works the upper body muscles (not typical during regular running), improves posture/biomechanics and reduces the stress to the ankles, shins, knees and back. Just as cross country skiing is a great cross trainer for runners, runners can also benefit from Nordic Walking and Nordic Running.
The newer Nordic Walking straps really do make a difference while Nordic Walking and Nordic Running. The fingerless glove type straps (patented by the Salomon Ski Company) have revolutionized cross country ski racing and prove to be ideal for Nordic Walking and Nordic Running – eliminating the need to squeeze or grip the poles because the straps are perfectly hinged to the poles. With the Salomon patented straps found on the better SWIX and EXEL Nordic Walking Poles the power is effectively and efficiently transmitted into the cradle of the strap from the heel of the hand. I LOVE spring skiing, but in the old days the old cheap straps always gave blisters when not wearing gloves – with these NEW straps there are never blisters as long as they are adjusted correctly.
Learning to run with poles may take a while to get used to, but is very doable with practice.
I started running with poles back in college in 1981. Skiers in Scandinavia had already proven a couple decades earlier that Ski Walking and Hill Bounding with poles was a HUGE benefit when deprived of snow during the summer.
As a ski coach it also makes sense to me to utilize one-piece poles for Nordic Walking, Nordic Running, Nordic Blading, Roller Skiing and Nordic Skiing (cross country skiing) – one-piece poles are safer, lighter and much more durable than cheap twist-lock and flip-lock adjustable length/telescoping/collapsible poles.
The important thing is to just get out and walk and/or run.
It is also important to note that individuals should consult with their doctor prior to launching any new fitness activity or adding intensity to current activities.
Have FUN walking and/or running with poles!