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Training with the Best: Barbro Kvaale


Barbro Kvaale (NOR) gladly shares her recipe for success. Photo: Private


After winning the classic sprint at the Norwegian national FIS cross-country season opener at Beitostølen on November 23, and placing a solid eighth in the 10km classic two days before, Barbro Kvaale, 22, was rewarded with a spot on the Norwegian national team for the 2014-15 World Cup opener in Finland on November 29-30.


Consistency and quality
While still young, Kvaale’s success is the result of a systematic and consistent effort over years. The foundation is based on hundreds of training hours, year after year. But Kvaale is just as concerned with what she does as exactly how many hours she puts in.


“Quality over quantity is a piece of training advice I received years ago, and that has stuck with me. It’s something I really strive to live by,” the 22-year-old says.


That piece of advice is her recipe for success, and something she gladly recommends for everyone, regardless of level and ambitions. Why? It works.


“This year, I have not had ONE bad intensity workout, and I believe that’s because I focus so hard on putting quality into every single workout I do. And that is something I can wholeheartedly recommend to everyone!”


Specifically, Kvaale focuses on being present and aware. She has a plan for what she is going to do every single workout, how she plans to complete her workout and why she is doing that exact workout.


“Imagine that every single workout is one small piece of a jigsaw puzzle with a lot of pieces. If you don’t get every piece right, you never manage to finish the puzzle,” Kvaale explains.


Pushing limits
Kvaale loves everything that is hard, and she loves pushing her limits. Strength workouts are some of her favorite training sessions.


“My favorite workout it a pure max strength session followed by hurdles and plyometrics. That’s a workout where I get to push my limits to the max, and I can see the progress from one time to the next,” she says enthusiastically before thinking about it one more time.


“But I also really love speed workouts, such as 9-12 intervals of 10-15 seconds each,” Kvaale adds.


The devil is in the details
Kvaale is not at all superstitious when it comes to race day rituals. She is more concerned about having all her ducks in a row, being on top of the details, and knowing exactly what the schedule is. Nothing is left to coincidence.


“I don’t have any special race day or pre-competition rituals. I just have a plan for exactly what I am going to do, from ski testing to warm up routines. Just what that is, depends on whether the event is a sprint or a distance race, skate or classic,” she says.


And the talented young racer is not shy about announcing her overall goal.


“I want to be the best in the world. I am happy to take over for Marit Bjoergen,” she says with a grin.


New Race Formats in Nordic Combined

Starting this season, the FIS Nordic Combined schedule will include three new race formats, where the “penalty race” introduces a whole new race concept to the sport, borrowing penalty lap element from biathlon and doing away with judging.

In the new penalty race, skiers do one jump, and there will be no style judging in jumping competition, no wind factor and no gate factor, only length matters. The cross-country portion is a 10-kilometer mass start – only the winner of the jumping competition will get a time bonus: he will start 10 seconds prior to the mass start field. Depending on how far they jump, the racers will be assigned a from zero to five or six 150-meter penalty laps they have to complete during the cross-country portion of the competition. The racers can choose when in the race they want to do their laps – at the start or at the end – which adds a tactical/strategic element to the competition. The three penalties races are scheduled for Lillehammer (NOR) December 3-4, Zakopane (POL) January 28-29 and Liberec (CZE) February 25-26.

Additionally, there will be two other new race formats on the Nordic Combined World Cup schedule this season: A 2-person Team Sprint and a season final in Oslo where the top 30 racers on the World Cup will compete in an event where each racer have two jumps and ski a 15-kilometer cross-country course.

The 2011-12 Nordic Combined World Cup season consists of 27 competitions. The season opener takes place in Kuusamo (FIN) on November 25-26, and the season concludes in Oslo (NOR) on March 9-10. More information: FIS

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