By Johan Trygg
Ahead of Season X, Team Ramuddens Max Novak trained according to bike coach Mattias Recks methods. We all know how well Max performed in Visma Ski Classics. In his debut season, Novak won the pink youth bib.
Now Reck becomes one of the coaches for Team Ramudden.
“I had never thought of this a couple of years ago. It’s Max's success that has made the skiers interested in my training,” says Reck.
Reck will coach Lina Korsgren and Ida Dahl and also continue with Max Novak and he also gets an overall coach role in Team Ramudden.
“I am humbled by the assignment with the athletes. I will not change everything in their training but there are some things I believe in and want them to try” says Mattias.
Can you explain what your training methods look like in general?
“You can summarize it with that the athletes being allowed to practice fewer double training sessions per day.”
“At first, I don’t believe the athletes will get better training stimulation from a double training session. When allowing fewer training sessions, you will gain more time for recovery and more comfortable days. It's not a problem for a well-trained athlete to do a four-hour workout with intervals both in the beginning and end of the session.”
“The other thing that distinguishes riders from skiers is the need for training during the racing season. It has become clear to me that you train a lot before the season until November but then you often do not get enough training to be able to maintain a stable shape. It is important to get some real training blocks even during the winter when it fits into the program.”
The third thing that Reck mentions is that the athletes can take a longer break after the season.
“Cyclists often take three to four weeks off with a lot of rest after the season. I also believe in building up the shape at a slower pace. At the same time, it can be good to divide the pre-season training into two blocks. To focus on some roller skiing races in August and September and then back to do a little bit of build up again. The pre-season is long for the athletes.”
When it comes to the training sessions, Mattias believes in putting short intervals that are added to the longer workouts.
“Max has trained a lot of intervals typical for cyclists, for example; 40-20, 30-15 and 30-30 during for example 4x10 minutes. This way you can maintain high pulse and high power for a long time. Research has confirmed that it stimulates both the heart and the muscles in a good way,” says Reck.
However, heart rate measurements are not something that is commonly used in cycling. They focus on watts measurements and it is now implemented into cross-country skiing through the company Skisen's power meters in ski poles. Team Ramudden will use these ski poles and be at the forefront of the development.
Mattias Reck and Lina Korsgren in discussion the other day. Photo: Johan Högstrand, Skisens AB.
Mattias never believed he would be able to write cross country ski coach on his business card but it all started with Max Novak listening to a lecture with Reck in January 2019.
“It was a lecture focused on cycling but some skiers attended the lecture as well. Max became interested and asked if I could coach him. I was unsure and said no at first but he wouldn’t give up on the idea and told me he had been training according to my methods for a few weeks so finally, he got to me.”
The success of Max Novak last winter has increased the interest of Mattias Reck in the cross-country skiing community. For the coming winter, he is also involved in Swedish national team member Calle Halfvarsson's training in addition to the assignment with Team Ramudden.
“During Christmas break, last season Ida Dahl followed Novak’s example and used Reck’s methods in her training. She quickly felt an improvement in her shape. Of course, that was good news and finalized the decision to coach her the coming season.”
Besides the assignment with Team Ramudden Reck has been a coach for the WorldTour cycling team Trek Segafredo for the past four years. He coaches eleven cyclists in the team, both women and men. Before that, he was a full-time coach at Team Sunweb for three years. Mattias is also a head coach in the coach company Guided Heroes.
The former teacher's great interest in training methods and his background as an elite cyclist took him into the professional cycling world and now also the cross-country ski world and Visma Ski Classics.
With the experience from the professional cycling world, Reck can also introduce a certain amount of cycling tactics into Visma Ski Classics. We have already seen this in the Pro Tour, but more will certainly come in the future when more teams have more and stronger athletes.
“Bicycling is so much about tactics. For sure, we should be inspired by it and some things can be applied while skiing but the fewer you are in the team and the more hilly it is, the harder it gets.”
One who believes strongly in cycling tactics is Team Ramuden's Pro Team director Gustaf Korsgren.
“But of course we have to train and prepare so that we can implement the tactics we want,” says Gustaf.