Wednesday, 29 May 2013


As promised... more blog updates.

Last week I drove over to Geilo.  The plan was to have a few meetings with my coach(s), and get everything sorted for next season.  I wasn't so pleasantly surprised to be told I was running a lactate test on the treadmill the next morning, 5min after arriving. A lactate test is supposedly up to lactate threshold. Running 5 min intervals with the speed slowly increasing, and lactate being measured at the end of each interval.  But it always ends up with me running over threshold for at least 10min at the end of the session.  This time was no different. Just as painful.  The most annoying thing about the test is that it is inside.  It drives me mad, starring at the wall, but getting no closer.
After the lactate test we had a few good technique sessions, which resulted in the decision to go up 2.5cm in my skate pole length.  I've skied on 172.5cm poles since I was 16. Occasionally dropping down to 170cm to borrow a pole or use a spare pole but otherwise never changing for 5 seasons. And now i'm going up to 175cm.  I managed to find an old pair of swix CT1 (star) poles in the basement.  I got them 4 years ago now, as a spare pole i could cut down to the right length.  But by the time i needed them i had moved on to triac poles.  So i've started using them now.  Even though 2.5cm seems like a pretty meaningless length, it makes a huge difference.  I'm a lot more tired in my upper body from training and it also gives me a lot more time to use my legs.  It sounds crazy but the extra 2.5cm buys a lot of extra time in a ski stride. The only problem is my poles are old, really long and so subsequently really soft. I tried to some sprints on them the other day and it just didn't work, they bounced about like springs.

Anyway, after the technique sessions in Geilo i tried to drive home.  It had been raining, and i knew there were a lot of landslides and a lot of flood damage over in Lillehammer.  I checked the website and all the roads were open. But when i got halfway i fireman stopped me. He asked where i was going.  I said Lillehammer. He almost laughed and replied in norwegian the equivalent of "not tonight, you aint". So i turned around.  On my way back i was driving over one of the mountain passes when another landslide went but only half way out onto the road.  The lorry in front of me squeezed by and i was the second car through.  I got back to Geilo, but i was pretty close to being stuck in the middle.  The next day i made it home.
I had a really long classic session with some of the other skiers in Lillehammer. I was out for a bit over 3 hours. It was a good session and it led to me being given a lesson in descending on rollerskis. Im not a huge fan of descending on rollers. High speed is no problem.  I have done lots of high speed stuff... with speeds well up over 40kmph... probably even higher.  It is the stopping that worries me. This had been my general approach to descending on rollerskis for the last year.  But as we descended as a group of 8 or 9 from Nordesetter to lillehammer i realised i wasnt only rubbish at stopping, i am rubbish at high speed too.  I only just managed to hold onto the slipstreams of the others, tucking as low as i dare, and standing up to take breaks for my legs. (we are talking 10min downhill here). Every small flat, or out of ever small corned i had to sprint just to stay in sight.  And that was the easy going.  After the last "false flat" and the final descent into lillehammer i was well and truly dropped.  The last few k's down into town start off with about a k of straight road, before a left hand hairpin, then about half a k of shallower downhill before a righthand hairpin bend. The 200m and the final left hand hairpin.  Then it is a straight forward 500m's into a roundabout.
I've devised marks as points i need to start breaking for each bend.  And i always take a jacket and unzip holding it up as a parachute.  The first part of the decent went fine.  I stayed at the back.  We whizzed past the 60kph sign... my normal breaking point for the first bend... the we whizzed past the final driveway where you can pull out if you aren't going to break in time. The guys are still tucking.  I'm bricking it.  I open my jacket and slam on the "snow" plough. They others are still tucking.  They break into the corner and then starting sprinting as the exit... i lose sight of them.  I make it to the corner zip my jacket up and sprint after them.
The second corner doesn't require any breaking... if there is no traffic.  I check there is no traffic, swing out onto the left and sprint out of the corner.  Still can't see the others. The final corner requires a bit of breaking. I leave it as long as possible to unzip my jacket and break for the roundabout at the bottom, timing so there is no traffic i make it back onto the flat road at the bottom.  The others are at the far end of the road, skiing off home. They don't even bother waiting for me anymore.
I just don't understand it.  I push as hard as i can. Cut every corner, break as late as possible.  My only conclusion is that Norwegians have some extra muscle in their legs which allows them to break more efficiently and quickly.
Fortunately breaking on rollerskis has nothing to do with skiing on snow fast. Otherwise i wouldn't have a chance.

The weather changed pretty dramatically over the next few days.  On Saturday night we sat out and had a bbq on the veranda.  My dad and Thomas had been touring Norway.  There were in Geilo to discuss training and racing plans with Geir, and discus my skis (Thomas is in charge of skis). They then went up to Trondheim to "have bants" with Muzzy, and have the similar meetings, before going home via Lillehammer.

On sunday morning i had some double pole intervals. Thomas joined me on the bike whilst i rollerskied. He took some video and gave me some feedback. It was an awesome day, 25 C,  and the road was busy with rollerskis and bikers... and coaches/athletes combing the two like we were. It was a good way to finish of the first hard week of the year.

I recently got asked a question about my training... and ended up posting my training on Facebook.  So i thought i would post exactly what i trained last year (12/13) here. 
I must point out that i think i logged my speed training wrong and most of it is logged as level 1.  4 hours seems way too low!
Level 1 560 hours
Level 2 9:30 
hoursLactate Threshold 15:30 
HoursHigh intensity 19:19 
HoursSpeed work 4:30 
hoursStrength 87:45 
hoursRace 19:30 hours 

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog and thanks for the info on lengthier poles and rollerskiing downhill. The Scandahoovians I rollerski with are also pretty good at braking. I discovered that when they plough they put their weight on the outside of the skis, as opposed to normally inside, and press inwards. Counter intuitive but damn effective. There used to be a clip on Youtube showing the technique from Håvard Skorstad, but I wasn't able to find it.