By Teemu Virtanen
To spice things up during this so-called “off-season", we are now starting a new series called “Pro Team of the Week” where we follow one pro team for a week as they are either at their training camp or otherwise engaged with collective training sessions. We will find out what they do at their camps and how they train for the upcoming Season X. And of course, we'll get to see what they do for fun when not training!
This week we will join Team Serneke from Sweden as they are in Åland, Finland, for their dryland training season kick-off camp. The team finished 8th in the pro team competition last season. The team’s captain Martin Holmstrand is very confident about the team’s future prospects and he thinks that next season will be much better for his experienced gang. And he has a new team member stepping into the arena of Visma Ski Classics for the first time, Magdalena Pajala, and she certainly possess the needed potential to be on the podium next winter.
“We will do some tests here in Åland,” Martin tells us about the program of this particular camp. “It’s important to be able to measure the performance levels before the actual summer training begins. We will have a 3000 m run and some strength tests. At the end of the week on Saturday, we are going to compete in a roller-skiing race in Sweden.”
When asked about his general training methods for the summer period, Martin says that their main focus is on long roller-ski workouts with intervals.
“No matter how you train, I think the key is continuity so that you don’t do things sporadically. For this season, our main focus is to reach a higher level in the strength workouts but also increase the uphill double-poling capacity. We will not do as many roller-ski races as we did last summer, but I’m still aiming to have at least one skier on the podium in the Guide World Classic Tour.
Martin takes a moment to answer the next question, which is about his overall training philosophy, but his response is crystal clear.
“My philosophy is to let individuals grow and be responsible for themselves. I want to create the perfect conditions for them to succeed, but I must be ready to change the direction if things are going south. My most difficult task is to meet the expectations coming from several different directions. It’s not always easy to balance everything and make sure that my skiers are well taken care of.”
Martin and his team are not overly satisfied with their results from last season and they swear to be back with a vengeance. Martin emphasizes the fact that they need to think out of the box and devote their lives to skiing. To be successful in long distance skiing, one must approach it as a 24/7 job where every aspect of life needs to be in total harmony, including diet, recovery, free time, family and such, not just training itself.
As this team is ready to attack and show us that the Visma Ski Classics podium is truly going to be a friend of theirs next winter, it makes sense to ask Martin to evaluate each member of his squad. So, here go then:
Bob Impola: an athlete with high capacity and impressive mental strength. He wants to take revenge and be back on top next season. He is in good shape now.
Pontus Nordström: an athlete who is getting better every year with great development potential. He is really good in steep climbs.
Anders Høst: on his best days, he is one of the skiers with the highest capacity. We saw this at the last race in Levi and also at the roller-skiing events last summer.
Julia Angelsiöö: a girl with great potential and ambition. She will train with focus on only long distance this season and she is one of two youth skiers in the team.
Magdalena Pajala: she is a very exciting recruit to the team and a skier with the right characteristics for long-distance races. She is a potential podium skier.
Ludwig Tärning: he is a young talented skier who just finished his best season so far and he has high ambitions for 2020.
Jimmie Johnsson: he is a very experienced skier who knows what it takes to reach the top.
Oscar Persson: he has found a way to balance distance and traditional skiing and has reached a great performance level
Check out our daily videos and updates from Team Serneke on our social media sites!