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Roll with the best

Junior World Champion Marte Mæhlum Johansen (NOR) shares her favorite roller ski workout.

Marte Mæhlum Johansen won the skiathlon at the FIS Junior Nordic World Championships in February. Photo: flyingpointroad.com

Marte Mæhlum Johansen (NOR) won the skiathlon at the FIS Junior Nordic World Championships in February. Photo: flyingpointroad.com

Marte Mæhlum Johansen won the skiathlon at the FIS Junior Nordic World Championships in Soldier Hollow, Utah, in February, and is the Norwegian national champion in the 5km skate.

The 20-year-old loves interval sessions at home in Toten, Norway. This is her favorite roller ski workout.

Like most elite skiers, Marte spends a lot of her training volume on roller skis, although she also loves running. In June, she ran the Birkebeiner half marathon trail run for the first time, and won the elite women’s category, a workout that she categorized as an intensity workout sandwiched between finals at school and a training camp in Greece.

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Marte Mæhlum Johansen won the elite category in the BIrkebeiner half marathon trail run in June. Photo: Inge Scheve

Marte Mæhlum Johansen won the elite category in the BIrkebeiner half marathon trail run in June. Photo: Inge Scheve

I love intervals
Marte’s training program consists of a healthy balance of distance and intensity, running and roller skiing, strength, speed and plyomterics. But when Marte gets to pick her favorite workout, it’s medium long roller ski intervals.

“If I have to pick my favorite workout, it’s an intensity session that starts at my door in Toten. I open with a few controlled intervals on my way from home to the roller ski arena at Karidalen. Usually, I do two 10-minute intervals on my way there. Once I get to the venue, I do the rest of my intervals on the ski course, for instance another three times 10 minutes,” Marte says.

Big bang for the buck
Marte explains that this workout covers a lot: You build capacity, technique and tactics, as well as being a very flexible format that allows for endless variations.

“With this workout, I start out working at a moderate intensity on my way to the venue, while the last intervals are done on the ski course and are more like a race. So if I feel good, I often crank up the intensity a bit on the intervals I do at the venue, which makes it feel even more like a race,” Marte says.

“You can also vary this workout in a lot of ways. You can do it classic or skate, and you can increase or decrease the duration of the intervals. I like to start my workouts with longer intervals at a moderate intensity as a part of the warm-up, but often decrease the duration of the intervals later in the workout. And sometimes I make all of the intervals the same duration,” she says, adding that using the venue she gets the added benefit of tactics.

“First, I get to work on technique at a fairly high speed before I get to the venue. Then when I’m on the course, I switch to focus more on tactical elements, such as carrying my speed over the top of the hills, accelerate out of the turns and so on,” Marte says.

Marte Mæhlum Johansen roller skiing. Photo: Selfie

Marte Mæhlum Johansen roller skiing. Photo: Selfie

Ready for World Cup-Level Racing in July

Heidi Weng at Lysebotn OPP last summer. Photo: Blink

Heidi Weng at Lysebotn OPP last summer. Photo: Blink

The Blink ski festival in Sandnes (NOR) opens on Wednesday and is now the largest summer ski festival in the world.

Each year, more than a 100 of the top World Cup level skiers and biathletes take part in the BLINK events, including Ole Einar Bjørndalen, Krista Pärmäkoski, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, Heidi Weng, Øystein Pettersen and more. The festival and events are also open to future stars, elite and amateur skiers, and more than 5000 kids are expected to stop by the kids’ world section to try out roller skiing and laser biathlon.

This year’s BLINK summer ski festival takes place from July 26 to July 29, and features a number of races and events, starting with the 60-kilometer Blink Classic classic roller ski race on July 26 that is a part of a brand new marathon roller ski world cup.

Next up is Lysebotn OPP on Thursday, July 27. The 7.5-kilometer uphill race is expected to be a fierce fight between Heidi Weng, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg and Krista Pärmäkoski – the Madshus’ turbo trio from the World Cup. Check out the start lists HERE

Friday July 28 and Saturday July 29 feature a number of cross-country and biathlon events in Sandnes city center, including sprints, super sprints and mass start races. Check out the complete schedule HERE

Kids get a chance to try their hand at biathlon. Photo: BLINK/ Axelar Svein Erik Fylkesnes

Kids get a chance to try their hand at biathlon. Photo: BLINK/ Axelar Svein Erik Fylkesnes

Training with the Best

20.02.2016, Lahti, Finland (FIN):
Paal Golberg (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Lahti (FIN). www.nordicfocus.com. © Felgenhauer/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.
20.02.2016, Lahti, Finland (FIN): Paal Golberg (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Lahti (FIN). www.nordicfocus.com. © Felgenhauer/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Pål Golberg (NOR) in the sprint at the World Cup in Lahti (FIN) on Feb. 22, 2016. Photo: Nordic Focus

Pål Golberg (NOR) roller skis through the winter and plays golf as much as he can.

The 26-year-old Norwegian had his international breakthrough at the Lillehammer World Cup in December 2013, when he won the 15km classic race. This year, Golberg did a repeat when he won the opening sprint in the World Cup mini-tour at Lillehammer.

While Lillehammer is home turf for Golberg, who knows the trails like the back of his hand, he says there is nothing special about this venue. It’s simply a matter of racing well.

“There is nothing magic about Lillehammer. I like these trails, I’ve trained a lot here and I know the courses well, but it’s all about nailing the tactics and having the best skis,” Golberg explains.

Furthermore, success at the World Cup level is the result of thousands of training hours over years. Golberg believes in having a plan with every workout, and performing every session with dedication and purpose.

“The most important is to have a plan for every workout. Don’t just go out there to train. You need to know what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and why you’re doing it,” Golberg says.

For him, these training goals vary from making sure he’s staying in specific training zones throughout the workout to more specific technique assignments.

“Sometimes it’s just sticking to a specific heart rate, other times I tell myself that for 10 minutes every hour, I will have 100 percent focus on technique,” he says.

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03.02.2016, Drammen, Norway (NOR): Paal Golberg (NOR) - FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Drammen (NOR). www.nordicfocus.com. © Felgenhauer/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Pål Golberg (NOR) at the classic World Cup sprint in Drammen, Norway, on March 2, 2016. Photo: Nordic Focus

The secret to better technique
Leading up to this past season, which was one of his best Golberg put extra effort into skate technique.

“I worked a lot on skating in the fall, because I feel that this is an area where I still have a lot to gain. I feel that my skating is more efficient now, so the effort is paying off,” Golberg says, and happily shares his best training advice for those who want to improve their skating.

“Skating, just like classic skiing, is fundamentally all about balance and coordination. So doing a lot of no-pole skiing and working on gliding as long as you can on one ski fully committed with all of your body weight are good exercises for everyone, whether you are at the World Cup level or just getting into skiing,” Golberg says.

Favorite workout
Golberg has several workouts he likes a lot. In the winter, he loves long distance workouts in the mountains near his home in Gol.

“You can ski really far at Golsfjellet – all the way from Hemsedal to Nesbyen, which is a long ways. Maybe it’s because its home, and I don’t get to be home all that often, but I really think Golsfjellet is quite unique,” he says with passion.

Through the summer and fall, Golberg is fond of moosehoofing and bounding.

“Those moosehufing anf bounding workouts are really good for building capacity and technique at the same time. I put a lot of effort into this during the dryland season,” Golberg says.

Roller skiing in January
And Golberg’s final key to success? Roller skiing – even in the dead of winter!

“I try to do at least one roller ski workout on the treadmill every week, all winter long. My favorite strength session consists of 1-hour uphill double-poling on roller skis on the treadmill, followed by a general strength workout in the gym. The double-poling delivers specific endurance strength, while the weights and core strength works makes it a very well-rounded workout,” Golberg says.

So where does the golf come in? Before focusing 100 percent on skiing, Golberg used to be an active golf player. These days, he plays as often as he can. During the race season, that’s not very often, if at all, but in the summer he likes to get onto the green at least often enough to maintain his skills.

“I’m not sure if the skills are directly transferable to skiing, but golf does require a fair amount of coordination and technique as well,” he says.

“I also like to have something else to think about than just skiing and training, especially during times when things aren’t going as smoothly,” says Golberg, who has put his business degree on hold for a while.

Back on the Podium

Heidi Weng at the 7.5km uphill skate race Lysebotn Opp on Thursday, where she was second. Photo: Blink2016
Heidi Weng at the 7.5km uphill skate race Lysebotn Opp on Thursday, where she was second. Photo: Blink2016

Heidi Weng at the 7.5km uphill skate race Lysebotn Opp on Thursday, where she was second. Photo: Blink2016

Madshus racers collected five podium finishes at the 2016 Blink Summer Ski Festival in Sandnes (NOR).

On Thursday July 28, Heidi Weng (NOR) pulled into second place in the brutal 7.5-kilometer uphill skate roller ski race Lysebotn Opp. In the men’s race, Madshus racer Simen Andreas Sveen (NOR) was third. Both men and women raced the same distance.

In the men’s 15km skate mass start on Friday, July 29, Pål Golberg (NOR) was third, only a tenth of a second behind second place and less than a second from first place.

Finally, in the women’s biathlon sprint finals on Saturday July 30, Anaïs Bescond (FRA) was second and Marthe Olsbu (NOR) was third.

Complete results all events 

However, the 2016 Blink Summer Ski Festival opened on Wednesday July 27 with the inaugural Blink Classic roller ski marathon in Sandnes where Madshus marathon racer Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) was just one second from the podium. The 62km classic roller ski race was the first event in a brand new international roller ski series. The next event in the 3-race series is Alliansloppet in Sweden August 19-21.

The 2016 edition of the annual summer roller ski festival in Sandnes event attracted over 1,200 skiers and biathletes from more than 20 nations to compete in a variety of roller ski events over the course of four days. Read more about the 2016 Blink Summer Ski Festival.

Building a Base

John Kristian Dahl wins Vasaloppet with a 1-second margin in a 29-man bunch sprint. Photo: Ulf Palm/Vasaloppet
John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won Vasaloppet on March 6, then he won the Birkebeinerrennet on March 21, and is one of only 2 racers to win both in the same season. Photo: Ulf Palm

John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won Vasaloppet on March 6, then he won the Birkebeinerrennet on March 21, and is one of only 2 racers to win both in the same season. Photo: Ulf Palm

Maximize your training effort on roller skis.

Vasaloppet and Birkebeiner champion John Kristian Dahl (NOR) shares his training advice on how to get the most out of the time invested, whether your main focus is marathons, sprints or World Cup distance skiing.

Dahl, who won both the Vasaloppet and the Birkebeiner this season, was on the Norwegian national sprint team for years before he switched to marathons with Team United Bakeries three years ago. Dahl explains that the differences in the roller ski workouts for marathon racers and sprint specialists are less than you might expect. The basic training principles are the same regardless of distance.

“Harder workouts are more efficient, no matter what distance you are preparing for, so there are really not much difference in the training,” says the 35-year-old, who won Vasaloppet in his first season on the marathon circuit back in 2014.

The biggest difference between marathon and sprint training is what you do with the roller ski workouts. What you do will be determined by both ambition level and race/distance target, Dahl explains.

“The number of workouts and the number of hours depends to a large extent on how much time you can invest in training, and what your main focus is. But some of your workouts should be in the neighborhood of your estimated race time,” Dahl says.

For most ambitious skiers, about half of their overall training volume will be on roller skis. For the marathon racers, most of that volume is double-poling, both during distance-workouts and intervals.

“We do workouts that last four to five hours and sometimes even more, but its important to build up to this kind of volume gradually,” Dahl says.

“We didn’t jump into these kinds of workouts before we had a solid foundation of both specific strength and endurance. It’s very easy to get overuse injuries. Start by introducing more and more double-poling as you get stronger.”

 

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