Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal's Ashley Werhun has a quirky post-season hobby: mini triathlons. The race includes a 250-meter swim, a 10-kilometer bike ride and a 2.5-kilometer run. What can dancers get out of taking part in this very different sport?
You'll Appreciate Your Physical Possibilities
"It felt so good to identify as just a human accomplishing something, as opposed to a 'dancer,'" says Werhun. "I can appreciate my body for something else besides dancing."
It Feels Great to Encourage All Abilities
"I loved the atmosphere, where all levels of fitness and ages come together, with people passing me cheering me on. I got the same high that I do from performing. It's amazing to have that feeling off-season."
You Need to Relax After Pushing Yourself
At the finish line, Werhun was glad to see physical therapy and massage available. She took it easy for a few days after the race. "I made sure to roll out and stretch, and sit in the hot tub that week to rebalance anything that the race did to my body."
Cross-Training Improves Stamina Without Wearing You Out
To train, Werhun swims two to three times a week for 30 minutes, including high-intensity intervals (switching between crawl, backstroke and breaststroke).
Swimming Can Double As Self-Care
Werhun, photographed by Jeremy Coachman
Being in the pool helps Werhun tackle BJM's versatile rep, with its unpredictable challenges. "We might be on pointe in one piece, and then do something earthy in kneepads for another. My body can get super-confused. I need something that brings me back to neutral. Swimming does that. It's like getting a massage."