By André Santos
“My favorite training session is 3-5 hours of easy double-poling in the forest with trees covered by snow, minus 5 degrees, firm conditions, no wind and the sun shining from the blue sky. This session is good for building endurance toward longer races. It is also good for the head. The hours fly by and you understand why you have the best job in the world,” says Øyvind Moen Fjeld from Lager 157 Ski Team, a Pro Team Athlete who was one of the early breakaway skiers at Marcialonga this Sunday.
This kind of a long and easy training session is essential for every endurance athlete. For long distance skiers competing in races like Marcialonga, Birkebeinerrennet or Vasaloppet that typically last more than 2.5 hours, going for long sessions helps to improve the aerobic system and the ability to use fat-burning as the main fuel for the race. In our earlier article about metabolic efficiency, we argued that the body can only storage carbohydrates for 2-3 hours. After that, it runs out of energy. And this is why training for 3-5 hours long is importante because a long distance skier can keep double-poling all day long using his or her fat as the main energy source. After some time, our body adapts to use more fat than sugar, making it possible for us to go longer and harder on the course.
For athletes participating at the Visma Ski Classics events, these long sessions should be done mostly on skis during the winter and roller-skis during the summer. It is a perfect way for developing ski-specific endurance. If you are aiming to double-pole the entire course, you should spend a lot of hours double-poling in varied terrain to develop arm strenght.
And just like Øyvind Moen Fjeld says; if you are lucky enough to find some nice cross-country ski trails with a beautiful forest or mountains around and the sun is shining, you will also feel that this is the best sport in the world. You will feel lighter and happier after a session like this.