Age is not a limiting factor, says Thomas Alsgaard. But the 41-year.old does think he needs to focus more on biking in the dry land season, and do more skate skiing. Photo: Inge Scheve
Thomas Alsgaard has resigned as the expert commentator for the Norwegian national TV station NRK and has cut down on other commitments in order to focus more on skiing. His own skiing. But while the Madshus Marathon Team racer emphasizes that he is not aiming for a comeback, he is planning to make his mark on the marathon circuit.
At age 41, Alsgaard certainly has entered the master category, and with a family and his own professional team to manage on a daily basis, he definitely feels the time crunch that most of us encounter: that delicate work-life balance. And Alsgaard too has realized that he doesn’t chase Olympic medals anymore.
“My goal is no longer to be the best in the world. I’m aiming to win marathon races, not World Cup cross-country races,” says Alsgaard, who thinks he has a good shot at it.
Age is not a factor
“I feel that I can handle at least as much and as intense training loads now as I could when I was training for the World Cup, so age is not a limiting factor,” Alsgaard says.
But after skiing and racing for nearly all his life, he does have some back issues that flare up from time to time.
“I have a back that’s not always on my side, but I just have to adjust my training methods accordingly. Its something that can be managed,” he notes.
“But I feel that my body responds to training just as well, and I recover fast from workouts,” Alsgaard says.
But there are differences between being 41 and 21. Alsgaard both has a family and professional commitments that full-time national team skiers don’t. That does affect training, and is the biggest limiting factors.
“I have to train within the limitations of life. This spring started really well, and until the end of June I trained like I used to when I was training full time. I was right on track. But then there was summer vacation and family time. I think I have a total of 20 hours for the entire month of July,” Alsgaard says.
“Now I have to start back from scratch.”
However, Alsgaard doesn’t lose any sleep over a slow July. With fewer commitments and a more focused effort toward the racing season, he goes after the project as planned. His previous attempts to jump into the marathon circuit have been derailed by sickness and a lack of base.
“A huge difference this time, is that from November until the start of the racing season, I can stay on my training program and continue to build my foundation and fitness toward the marathon series, rather than run around and be commenting on the World Cup races, be stuck outside for hours in bad weather, get sick and have to take time off from training,” says Alsgaard.
Need more base and power
Last weekend, Alsgaard entered his first mountain bike marathon event: the 80-kilometer Grenserittet from Stroemstad in Sweden to Halden in Norway. And Alsgaard admits it was a wake-up call.
“I made it to the finish, but I was done in at the 60-kilometer mark. I exploded like a balloon,” he said with a laugh as he finished the race, adding that the race was only his third time on the bike this season. But that is about to change.
“I really need this kind of training. It’s not enough to do just the extreme workouts that help you peak. I am planning to do more biking, and also more skating. I need that extra power in my legs,” Alsgaard concludes.