By Teemu Virtanen
This Easter weekend, you have had a chance to read what the three Team Ragde Eiendom Pro Team members, Jørgen Aukland, Oskar Kardin and Petter Eliassen think about summer training and why it is so important for cross-country skiers. They all point out that a skier needs to train hard and spend plenty of hours building up his or her endurance base, but they also warn about the training overkill, which simply means too much training and too little recovery.
In this last part of the article series, you will learn how Team Ramudden’s director Gustaf Korsgren and the Climb competition winner Morten Eide Pedersen, Team Kaffebryggeriet, approach the mystery of summer training.
There's a saying that skiers are made in the summer - can you elaborate on that?
Gustaf: “In the spring, you set a plan for your training including the key elements that you need to work a bit extra on. During the summer, it’s important to continue to work on those key elements. Then, a skier starts making progress towards becoming a better athlete.”
Morten: “Skiers do a lot of training during the summer and build up a solid base for the upcoming season. If you look into most skiers’ training diary, you will find a large number of training hours throughout the summer.”
What are the key elements of your or your team’s summer training program?
Gustaf: “The key elements can, of course, be varied. Athletes often work on their weaknesses. For me, that’s the wrong focus. A skier must work on his or her best abilities and make them even better. The abilities that in the future can lead him or her to victory!”
Morten: “In recent years, there have been several competitions throughout the summer, mostly roller-skiing but also some running events. Therefore, my training has been adjusted to this. Otherwise, I split my training into separate periods with a focus on different parameters that I need to improve.”
Percentage-wise, how much time do you spend on different areas such as endurance, interval/intensity and strength training?
Gustaf: “Training hasn’t pretty much changed in the last 50 years. It’s about 80% low speed training, 5% strength training, 7% hard intervals and 7% somewhere in between. But what happens within those areas vary a lot from year to year, from athlete to athlete.”
Morten: “The biggest part of my training is endurance but using different methods. My thought is that you can train more if you exercise in various ways. Intervals, I train either in blocks or for the maintenance with 2-3 sessions in a normal training week. They can vary between high intensity and controlled (threshold) intervals depending on the training period. Strength training is always a part of my weekly program, either maximum and core training. My focus on the maximum strength training has changed from season to season.”
Can you give examples of your typical workouts of each of those areas and what is the goal of each workout?
Gustaf: “A 4-hour run in the Swedish mountain terrain is a typical and excellent workout that you should do regularly. You can get an additional boost by doing some short sprints on your roller-skies afterwards. To work on your speed, it can be really good to have some friends and do a “team time trial”. Go for an hour and change positions pretty often.
You have to be skilled to do this, but when you are, it can be a fantastic workout.”
Morten: “Double-poling intervals at threshold - 6 x 10 min, with 1 min break. This exercise aims to give you a high speed that you can keep up for a long time. Running intervals: 6 x 5 min, with 2 min break. It aims to improve and increase your capacity.”
How much does your training program change in the fall and the winter when the season kicks in?
Gustaf: “The biggest change is the everyday balance of your training and your daily physical fitness. If you succeed with that, that’s the difference between winning and the 10th place. It’s very important!”
Morten: “The main differences are that the total training volume goes down and that there are fewer high intensity sessions because of competitions.”
What should a skier achieve by his/her proper summer training & what are the traps one should try to avoid?
Gustaf: “If it was that simple that the one who trains the most becomes the best, it would be too good to be true. Still, there are too many of us who think so and crash during the summer/fall. A skier must train a lot but never more than he or she can handle. You need to be aware of your limits and dare to find your everyday balance that I mentioned earlier. That’s the key factor for success!”
Morten: “With a good training base throughout the summer and autumn, it’s easier to stay in good shape longer throughout the season. The traps you should try to avoid are to exercise too monotonously and a little bit too much in the early summer. It’s smart to have a progression in your training volume from summer to fall, both for the motivation and the variation of your training.”