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Train like a champion

Sverre Dahlen Aspenes (NOR) after winning the pursuit at the 2018 IBU Junior World Championships. Photo: Jo Dale
Sverre Dahlen Aspenes (NOR) after winning the pursuit at the 2018 IBU Junior World Championships. Photo: Jo Dale

Sverre Dahlen Aspenes (NOR) won the pursuit at the 2018 IBU Junior World Championships. Photo: Jo Dale

Sverre Aspenes (NOR) won the gold medal in the pursuit at the IBU Junior World Championships in Otepää (EST) on March 4, as well as the bronze medal in the sprint the day before. Check out how the 20-year-old trains and his favorite workout.

How was your gold medal race?
“I was very calm that day, almost surprisingly calm. Although it was a pursuit and there were racers all around, I managed to ski my own race, and ski smart. At the range, I focused on the task. At the sprint race the day before, I missed twice on my standing shooting. I felt like I had taken too lightly on the standing, and after the race, I said to myself I was going to shoot clean on the standing round as well as the prone. I started the pursuit in third place, about half a minute behind the Russian and eight or nine seconds behind the Frenchman. I quickly passed the French racer, and after the first shooting, I left the stadium in first place. From there, I felt like I was in charge the whole race,” Aspenes recalls.

What is your overall dream?
“I want to be as good as I can get, and I want to be able to call myself the best biathlete in the world. If that lasts a day or a decade, it doesn’t really matter. But to know that all my competitors tried their best but they couldn’t beat me.”

How do you train?
“It depends a lot on where I am in the periodization plan. Some weeks I train only six or seven hours, but my biggest weeks in the dryland season can be almost 30 hours. And in the middle of the race season, my big weeks tend to be 15 to 17 hours. But regardless, it’s a lot of traditional, old-fashioned ski training, nothing fancy. This season I have prioritized harder and longer workouts because I had some sickness in the meat of the dryland season. In terms of shooting, I have focused on increasing the quality of my sessions. I often spent more than 25 hours in a month on just aiming at the target, simply standing on my living room floor without even firing a bullet.”

What is your favorite workout?
“I love skating. And what I love the most is a long and hard skate workout. Sometimes it doesn’t feel so lovely while youre in the middle of the intervals, but after the workout I feel so good and accomplished. I feel like the effort really made a difference in the overall picture. Since I live in Lillehammer, I often do this workout on the competition courses at the Olympic stadium. One of my favorite sessions starts with an easy 25-minute warm-up, then six 8-minute intervals at level 4 (using the Norwegian “Olympiatoppen” intensity scale that goes from 1 to 5 where level 5 is fully anaerobic). I do my intervals progressively, so my first interval will start easy and end up at level 4; the rest of the intervals are fully in level 4. I do about 2 minutes of super-easy skiing between intervals. This makes for a total of about 50 minutes intensity. After the last interval, I do 20 minutes easy. The first 10 minutes I do on skis, the last 10 minutes I jog. I often feel like my legs get pretty tight after these long, hard intervals, and jogging seems to help loosen up.”

Workout summary
25 minutes easy warm-up
6 x 8 minutes level 4 intervals
2 minutes recovery between intervals
20 minutes easy cool-down (10 minutes skiing/10 minutes jogging)

How Champions Train

Ørjan Moseng, the reigning Norwegian junior biathlon champion as well as a regular podium finisher in the national cross-country series, shares his favorite November workout. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus
Ørjan Moseng, the reigning Norwegian junior biathlon champion as well as a regular podium finisher in the national cross-country series, shares his favorite November workout. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Norwegian junior biathlon champion Ørjan Moseng shares his favorite November workout. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Ørjan Moseng, the reigning Norwegian junior biathlon champion as well as a regular podium finisher in the national cross-country series, shares his favorite November workout.

“If you want to aim high and go far, there are no shortcuts. You have to put in the hours,” says the ambitious junior, who has his eye set on a spot on the Norwegian national team to the junior world championships this winter.

“In November, I generally put in 15 to 20 hours of training per week prior to the race season, depending on whether it’s a volume week or an intensity week,” he says, explaining that volume weeks have a few more over-distance workouts than intensity weeks.

“During volume weeks, I typically have several overdistance workouts of up to three hours each, sometimes even a bit longer. But I make sure I have some easier weeks too, where I hardly do anything really long, in order to absorb the harder weeks.” Moseng says.

The 17-year-old, who is a junior at the ski academy NTG in Lillehammer, not only has to balance his training program to the race season, but also with his academic program, tests and finals.

“NTG helps us set up our training and peaking program to where we also have time to focus on school. We do our first workout in the morning, then we go to school mid-day, and then we do our second workout late afternoon. That leaves some time for homework in the evening too. It works, but you have to be disciplined about both training and school, because you don’t have a ton of spare time to catch up if you fall behind,” Moseng says.

This is Moseng’s favorite workout in the final preparations for the race season, which starts in early December.

“My favorite workout at the start of the season is a speed/intensity combo. I start with a thorough warmup; then I do several intervals at level 3-4, which is just below threshold and at threshold. These intervals are typically 6 to 7 minutes long. Then a ski a few minutes and find a long, flat straight section of 100 to 200 meters where I go all out. The combination of intervals and sprints makes this a level 4-5 intensity workout. The training effect is perfect: It’s hard, it builds and maintains capacity and also allows you to work on technique, but doesn’t take too long to recover from,” explains Moseng, adding that he loves to go hard.

“I really like to push myself. The best feeling is when you race so hard you can barely stand up when you cross the finish line. Then you know you really gave everything,” Moseng says.

Name: Ørjan Moseng
Birthday: 19.mai 2000
Club: Røros IL
Team: NTG Lillehammer
Top results :
– Gold at the Norwegian junior nationals M17 (2017)
– Gold at the Norwegian junior nationals mixed-relay 17/18 years (2017)
– Won the overall Norwegian junior Biathlon cup 2017
– 2/2 podium finishes at the Norwegian junior cross-country cup (2017)
Goals: To represent Norway in international competitions. The short term goal is the IBU junior world championships this winter, but the long-term goal is the World Cup, the World Championships and the Olympics.
Favorite activity outside training and racing: I like driving the tractor at home on the farm in Dalsbygda. I like working, and I like doing different things. It’s good to do something other than training too.

Pettersen leads the Birkie Triple

Øystein Pettersen enjoyed his first attempt at the Birkebeiner half marathon trail run. Photo: Inge Scheve
Øystein Pettersen enjoyed his first attempt at the Birkebeiner half marathon trail run. Photo: Inge Scheve

Øystein Pettersen enjoyed his first attempt at the Birkebeiner half marathon trail run. Photo: Inge Scheve

Øystein Pettersen (NOR) debuted in the Birkebeiner running race earning himself the overall lead in the Birkebeiner Triple.

The Birkie Triple consists of all three Birkebeiner events: the 54km ski race in March, the half marathon trail run in June and the 84km mountain bike race in August.

Finishing the trail run on June 10 in 1 hour and 16 minutes Madshus marathon racer Pettersen is now ahead by eight minutes.

“I am stoked,” Pettersen said after his first attempt at the Birkebeiner half marathon.

“It was marvelous! I suffered some, I enjoyed myself some, I was fed lefse on the course and people were cheering along the way. I was a great experience,” he said at the finish line while the rain was pouring down.

“This is exactly what the Birkie should be about, and what the Birkie is all about. I hope the weather is even lousier next year, then it will be even better,” he continued.

A rookie at the Birkie half marathon, Pettersen didn’t know what to expect from the course and the competitors, and was excited to clock in at 1:16.

“I had hoped to make 1:20, so 1:16 is amazing for me, he said.

Combined with his performance at the Birkebeiner ski race in March, Pettersen has a cumulative time of 3:42:51 and leads the overall Birkie Triple with an eight-minute margin with only the Birkie Mountain Bike race to go for this season.

Plan Like the Pros

Winter starts now. Photo: Inge Scheve
Winter starts now. Photo: Inge Scheve

Winter starts now. Photo: Inge Scheve

Winter starts now: Where will 2017-18 take you? Make a plan today!

For a lot of World Cup and elite skiers, the 2017/18 season starts on May 1. Most of them spent the weeks prior to May 1 evaluating the 2016/17 season and determining new goals for the 2017/18 season.

But a goal without a plan is mostly wishful thinking. The top skiers put a lot of effort into their training plans. Based on the previous season, test results and dreams, they determine both overall season goals as well as smaller goals that are steps on the way to the main goal, and sketch a blue print for the upcoming season.

Here is how you can do the same
Start with an evaluation of the previous season.

“Determine what went well and what didn’t go so well. Did you meet your goals, those you set at the beginning of last season? Why or why not? Did you do the workouts you planned? Why or why not? Did you suffer a lot of injuries and illness? Are there other reasons you didn’t stick to your plan? These are important questions to ask yourself, and be honest with your answers,” says Sandra Alise Lyngtad, one of the coaches at the ski academy NTG Lillehammer (NOR).

“You have to dare to take a solid look at the season, the job you did and whether it was sufficient to reach your goals. You have to look at the quality of your workouts. Did you put in the effort every time?” she continues. “And finally, you have to drill down into the details. How much of the overall volume was intensity and easy distance, strength and

Based on what you find, you can draft a good plan for the next season.

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Vasaloppet already has more than 60,000 skiers signed up for the 2017 winter festival. Photo: Vasaloppet

Set a season goal: The Vasaloppet winter week offers nine different events including the legendary 90km classic race from Sälen to Mora. Photo: Vasaloppet

Make a blue print for 2017/18
First, determine what you want to achieve, the overall goals. Then determine what you need to do to attain those goals. Start with a chart of all the areas you need to address in order to have progress: technique, plyometrics, speed, endurance, capacity and strength. In what areas do you need to put in more effort?

Once you have figured out this, you can move on to specifics. Determine your training goals and your performance goals.

Training goals are elements such as become better at double-poling, be a faster sprint finisher, work at strengthening your core muscles or take recovery more seriously. Performance goals are just that: results. It could be finishing among the top 10 in your age group, earn the pin in the Norwegian Birkebeinerrennet, make a team selection and so on.

“But whatever your goals are, make sure both your training goals and your performance goals are realistic, and have a specific plan for how you will achieve them. Without a plan, it’s hard to make a targeted training program. And also, be sure to include some smaller, partial goals that are part of the overall plan and steps to the main goals. Having attainable partial goals make the overall goal less daunting, and contribute to maintain motivation,” Lyngstad says.

Madshus racers plastered the 2017 FIS Overall World Cup podium: Heidi Weng (NOR) won, Krista Parmakoski (FIN) was 2nd, and Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg (NOR) was 3rd. Photo: Nordic Focus

Dream big: Madshus racers plastered the 2017 FIS Overall World Cup podium! Heidi Weng (NOR) won, Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) was 2nd, and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) was 3rd. Photo: Nordic Focus

 

Play time!

Spring offers long days and often some of the best adventures. Photo: Christian Witting
Spring offers long days and often some of the best adventures. Photo: Christian Witting

Spring offers long days and often some of the best adventures. Photo: Christian Witting

Spring is here, days are long and here is how to make the most of it.

Whether your goal is to become a World Cup skier, race a ski marathon or just enjoy the activity with friends and family, spring is the perfect time to log hours on snow.

Sandra Alise Lyngstad, who is one of the coaches at the NTG Ski Academy in Lillehammer (NOR), shares her best spring skiing tips.

Hint: What is great for aspiring juniors, is also beneficial for masters and recreation skiers, and can easily be adapted to fit your skill level and ambitions. Every hour you ski in the spring is money in the bank for the next season in terms of development and progress.

Lyngstad points out that she has three main goals for her athletes in the spring: Volume, technique and passion/enjoyment.

To achieve the first, it’s as simple as skiing a lot. With longer days, warmer temperatures and generally still plenty of snow coverage in the hills and the mountains, spring is the perfect time to log lots of hours on snow.

Check out the best tools for the season:  Gear up for spring skiing 

Technique
Technique work is much like any other time of the season: put in time to ski without poles, focus on gliding as long as possible on each ski, work on your weight transfer and balance, and pay attention to maintain good form throughout the workout.

Furthermore, spring skiing comes with a bonus: that sloppy, wet snow and washed-out tracks help prepare you for handling any kind of conditions.

And then there is crust skiing. Those early mornings with perfect, even crust that allows you to cruise anywhere regardless of trails and grooming. It’s certainly worth getting up early for.

“Get out in all kinds of conditions, whether it’s classic skiing on klister or skins, or crust cruising on skate skis. Keep your mind on technique at all times,” Lyngstad says.

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Crust skiing in the spring offers both technique training as well as pure enjoyment. Photo: NTG Lillehammer

Crust skiing in the spring offers both technique training as well as pure enjoyment. Photo: NTG Lillehammer

Passion and joy
Enjoyment is all about collecting those good, fun memories that will fuel you through the long dryland hours in the fall, and carry you through the tough winter workouts in the cold and dark.

“At NTG Lillehammer, we make sure we schedule plenty of just easy cruising in the spring. These are longer workouts where we don’t carry a heart rate monitor and don’t focus on structured intervals. These workouts are about skiing with friends, skiing in terrain that’s not always accessible during the winter season, and simply nurturing that passion for skiing,” Lyngstad says.

“Very few of us become World Cup skiers and Olympians, but we can all ski for a lifetime. Regardless of whether you end up with medals, the passion for skiing has to be the foundation,” she points out.

Spring is also the time for summit bids and backcountry touring. While beefier skis and sturdier equipment is necessary for the more hardcore backcountry adventures, you don’t need a lot of gear to head for the hills.

“Use the skis you have, whether it’s touring skis, alpine touring skis, back-country skis or even your normal classic skis. Just get out there and try something new,” Lyngstad suggests.

These are some of Lyngstad’s favorite spring skiing sessions:
Summit bids and backcountry skiing
– companionship, adventures, adrenalin, strength training, volume, balance and technique work all in one package.
Skating on the early morning crust – discover the area as Mother Nature wakes up, volume, technique and pure enjoyment
Ski play – try your favorite games such as tag, obstacle course, jumping, parallel slalom, trick skiing, dancing…. Your imagination is the only limit. No matter what you choose it will deliver a lot of bang for the effort: intensity, balance, technique, ski feel – and lots of laughs and good times.

Happy trails!

Do not forget to enjoy. Photo: Inge Scheve

Do not forget to enjoy. Photo: Inge Scheve

 

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