Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Ship Shape ?

We’ve just returned from one week of skiing, where I’ve discovered that I am in “ship shape”, which is to say, poor shape for active sports.   

The Savis trail, Ax-Les-Trois-Domaines, Pyrenees.

Our past 5 months on the boat have been active, but clearly not enough to maintain our pre-cruising life physical condition.  Patrick and I are both former marathoners, and I still run the equivalent of a marathon per week…when I’m not on the boat.  This last week of skiing made me realize that I’ve lost a lot of conditioning this year as the result of our time at sea, and something must be done.

This revelation may provoke a “well, duh” response from many, who rightly reason that sitting on a boat can’t maintain your physique in the same way that running does.  The problem is that after a long day of sailing, you genuinely feel tired.  You move and fidget all day long, adjusting sails, winching in sheets, and running stairs as you make the round-trip from the cockpit to the chart table countless times.  Exposure to sun and wind also contributes to a feeling of tiredness.  When we are in port, Patrick and I almost always pull out the bikes and explore the area, cycling between 15 – 30 kilometers (~10 – 20 miles) each outing, and on folding bikes, that’s pretty good exercise.  But clearly it’s not enough of the right kind.

There are numerous articles and work-out plans for staying fit at sea (see The Monkey’s Fist topic for some great articles). My strategy will be a simple one:  take my running shoes cruising with me…and then, of course, use them.