Herman Paus, Team Ramudden, took a step forward during Ski Classics Season XII with 5 top 10. Paus was 9th in Marcialonga, 6th in Vasaloppet, and was closer than ever to the podium in Ylläs-Levi, with a 4th place. This summer, he took a solid 2nd place at Lysebotn Opp, just behind Johan Hoel.
ProXCskiing talked with the Norwegian athlete in front of Ski Classics Season XIV to know more about his goals, training, and hobbies.
Last season was your best one so far, and your personal best was 4th at Ylläs-Levi. Is the podium one of your main goals for Ski Classics Season XIV?
“Yes, after the season I had last year, it feels natural to have the podium as one of the big goals for this season. I felt I was very close in Levi last year, and I have taken another big step this summer and this autumn. So I absolutely believe that I can fight right up there at the top of the races this winter.”
Long races seem to suit you well (9th at Marcialonga 70km, 6th at Vasaloppet 90km, and 4th at Ylläs-Levi 70km). What is your favorite type of course?
“My favorite type of race is definitely the hard races where you can create things and make tense races early. My greatest strength is when it goes uphill. But I generally think I get better at everything when it gets tougher and longer.”
Then if you had to choose only one race of the Pro Tour, which one would it be?
“If I could only choose one race from the Tour, it would have to be Marcialonga. It is one of the biggest and most prestigious races; for me, it is also the funniest race to run. It is a fantastic course, and there is something very special about racing 70 kilometers on the narrow artificial snow trail that winds through small Italian towns and ends with Cascata, my favorite climb.”
You looked powerful at Lysebotn Opp this summer, finishing 2nd place. Do you also want to fight for the Climb bib, or will you be focused on the Youth bib?
“Lysebotn felt very good, and I got the answers I wanted for the coming winter. The Youth bib is one of my main goals this season. But if I get the winter I’m hoping for, I think I can fight for the Climb bib as well. The climbing sprints are often placed in decisive parts of the race, so it can often be quite smart to go fast when approaching a climbing sprint to get a good position before the race’s final starts.”
Who do you think will be your main rivals for the Youth bib?
“My teammate Amund Riege has looked incredibly strong on rollerskis this summer. And I know he can be fast on snow too, so he will probably be my strongest competitor. I am sure that we will work well together to ensure that the Youth bib goes to Team Ramudden. But we have many other good contenders, such as Axel Jutterström, Thomas Joly, and Thomas Ødegaarden.”
Can you tell us about your training and favorite session?
“My favorite training session has to be ‘Queen stage’ at training camps with Team Ramudden. It is a long double poling session of 5 hours with slightly longer intervals at threshold intensity at the start and shorter intervals at maximum intensity towards the end.”
Do you also ad running to your training? What about the rollerski treadmill?
“I really like to run, but there is a rather large risk of injury if you run too much. That’s why I’ve cycled a lot over the past few years because then I can still train my heart and lungs even if my upper body isn’t ready to train.”
“Then, I train on a rollerski treadmill every Sunday when I’m at home. It’s probably not that I prefer it over rollerskiing outside, but on the treadmill, I get to do some extremely specific uphill double-poling sessions. The treadmill is also a good tool for running tests to see progress. Now in the autumn when it starts to get cold, wet, and slippery outside it is better to do the intervals inside on the treadmill and/or on the SkiErg versus outside where there is a bigger risk of getting sick or fall.”
Do you have a mental training habit?
“I try to visualize the race and any situations I may find myself in before the race starts. I also talk to my coach on the phone the night before the race. He is good at making me focus and getting me in the mood so that I know what I want to achieve and what it takes to make it.”
You have been part of Team Ramudden since 2021. According to you, what is the biggest strength of the team?
“The biggest strength in the team is that we have skiers who are very dedicated and at a very high level. We get to push each other in training sessions and in training between events when we are on the Tour.”
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Do you usually have a Team strategy before the races?
“Yes, we try to put a plan together before the races. It’s never easy to get things done, but I feel we learn more every time we run and get better and better at implementing our plans.”
Team Ramudden has had some changes since last year. What is the most significant change, in your opinion?
“The biggest change is probably that there are some new skiers and that Lina is now Pro Team Director and not a skier herself. Otherwise, the team’s level is still high, if not higher than before. So even if there is something new, there is still a lot at the same high level as before.”
What about your personal life? Are you also studying in addition to skiing?
“No, I’m not studying anything right now. The plan is to start with a bachelor’s degree in economics soon. But I want to get to a level where I can fight for victory before thinking about doing other things.”
Do you enjoy watching Netflix? If so, what is your favorite series?
“My favorite Netflix series would probably have to be the documentary about Movistar (the cycling team) on Netflix.”
And to conclude, do you have a piece of advice to give to young skiers?
“I would really recommend young skiers to dare to contact Ski Classics Pro Teams and show that you are interested in doing what it takes to become good at long-distance skiing. If you want to become really good, it is an advantage to start early. And it is much easier if you have a team and to train with stronger skiers and learn from them.”