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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

 

Spring skiing with the best

Spring brings some of the best skiing of the whole season. Photo: Kent Murdoch
Spring brings some of the best skiing of the whole season. Photo: Kent Murdoch

Spring brings some of the best skiing of the whole season. Photo: Kent Murdoch

What do the best skiers in the world do in the spring?

Reigning Junior World Champion Marte Mæhlum Johansen (NOR) shares her favorite spring workouts.

“My favorite spring workout is either the last real race of the season where you just dig into your last resources after a long race season. After that last race, you feel so perfectly ready for off-season. I also love long crust cruising tours in the mountains where you feel that the sun warms your face,” Johansen says.

This weekend, Johansen will race the final Norwegian Cup races of the season and the second part of the Norwegian National Championships. After that, she plans on entering some more races and fun events, depending on her schedule.

“I try to stretch the ski season as long as possible. So after the race season is over, I just go out and cruise in the mountains, and the entire month of April is generally really good. But after the race season, I don’t have a set training program. I just ski a lot and just do whatever sounds good,” Johansen says, adding that the 2017-18 ski season formally starts on May 1.

“We start the basic training for the next season in May, but where I live, we often have skiing far into May as well, and I don’t put away the skis until all the snow is gone,” she says.

“Sjusjøen is my absolutely favorite place to ski from early fall and well into May, but its also one of the best places for dryland training. I feel really lucky to live here.”

Bonus: Every kilometer logged on snow this spring contributes to build a solid foundation for future seasons.

Marte Mæhlum Johansen won the skiathlon at the FIS Junior World Championships in Soldier Hollow, USA, in February. Photo: Madshus

Marte Mæhlum Johansen won the skiathlon at the FIS Junior World Championships in Soldier Hollow, USA, in February. Photo: Madshus

It’s Snow Time. Almost

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 few racers to win both in the same season. Photo: Ulf Palm

Ski areas are opening with manmade and stored snow, the snow tunnels offer constant winter year-round, and the racing season is a month away for the elite and World Cup racers. But what do you do with this snow?

Madshus caught up on training during the transition period with Madshus marathon champion John Kristian Dahl (NOR).

Dahl, who won both Vasaloppet and the Birkebeinerrennet last winter, is embarking on a new marathon season with the Ski Classics in the end of November. This will be the fourth marathon season for the 35-year-old marathon racer, whose background is as a World Cup sprint specialist.

How do you train in the transition period between dryland and snow?
“My training is always centered around double-poling, which will remain the core of what I’m doing throughout the season on snow as well as dryland. However, in the transition period leading up to the start of the racing season, I try to be more specific. That means shorter and harder intervals. And I try to maintain volume while gradually increasing the intensity. Also the shorter intervals are intended to kick start the body a bit,” Dahl says, adding that total volume for the months of October and November is about 70 to 100 hours.

“The last few weeks prior to the racing season, I have to be very careful to make sure I don’t bury myself, and that every workout is completed with quality effort. That means that I have to adjust my training program depending on how I feel. I am the father of two young children, so I know well that unexpected issues can derail the plan along the way.”

What is your top advice for young aspiring racers, masters and recreational skiers who might not have a clear idea of how to train in the transition period between dryland and snow?
“My top advice for all skiers is to keep you head cool. Be flexible. If you are not racing very important events in December, and most of us don’t, then there is no rush to chase the snow. If you find snow, great, but don’t sweat it if you don’t. Don’t make chasing snow into a stressful pursuit that negatively affects your workouts. Good dryland training is better than sketchy snow,” says Dahl, who also suggests making a plan for the season.

“Make a plan for what is important for you and which events you will prioritize, but be prepared to change the plan. The best racers are often those who are best at adapting their plans, and who don’t get stressed out by changes.”

 

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