Tuesday, 18 June 2013


Sognefjell is an extraordinary place. You drive to the top of a mountain pass. You stay in a mountain hostel and you train 5 hours a day. You sleep for 12 hours a day, and you eat 5 meals. You will use up 5 hours with getting changed, showering, eating, after meal chat. An other hour is used for team meetings and video review. You get a half hour massage from T-Dawg and suddenly all that is left of the day is 30min. 30min is just enough time to somehow force your way on to the crappy internet, check your emails and read the bbc website.
The schedule is full at the Sognefjell camp. There is no extra or free time and if you do have free time you should probably be asleep. Sognefjell is a pretty special place. Everyone who is anyone in the ski world has been there, trained there, tested skis there. And this year was no exception. For the first half of our camp the Norwegian recruit team (B-team) were there and the Norwegian Mens biathlete team were there for the duration of our camp.
For me the aim of the camp was to train a lot of volume and get in some good technique work on snow. I managed this pretty well, training 30 hours and most of it being long easy training with a focus on technique. We did a lot of film work. And each evening we could watch back our film from the day, compare ourselves to last season and see where we had improved, where we had to work on or in extreme cases where we have actually gone backwards.
The first few days i took a little easy, really slow sessions, and a bit shorter than later in the week. The first few days were also the best weather. Shorts and t-shirt skiing, can never complain about that. After 2 days i began to give it bore with training. I had two long level 3 interval sessions. One 7 x 10min classic and one 5x10min skate. After the first 3 days though a rain/sleet/snow/thunder and lightening storm moved in. This meant we decided to take an afternoon off from skiing and drive down to Skjolden at the head of the fjord 45min from sognefjell. We rented out a games hall at the local community center, and played indoor bandy to warm up before a hard strength session lead by T-Dawg (Thomas).  The following day it was still raining, but we escaped with only 2 sessions in the rain/sleet/snow. Luckily one of them was the intervals, which worked out pretty well for the athletes as getting motivated to go hard in the rain is much easier than trying to ski easy for 2 and half hours in the rain.
The final day and sun was back out.  Rain jackets exchanged for shorts and t-shirts, and a final two sessions with some speed and technique work. I was feeling pretty tired by this point so i had to knock back training a little bit. I trained two shorter and much easier sessions than i had been training earlier in the week.  It worked out ok, but it is always disappointing to reach a point where you know you have to ease off. As athletes, we always want to train more, go further, go faster than before and it often means signs can be ignored, but i listened to how i was feeling and took a few easy sessions.
For the final day the camp moved to lillehammer and we had a sprint session on the rollerski track before a strength session in the gym that afternoon.
During hards weeks like this, recovery becomes just as important as training. There is no point in training as much as we do if we aren't recovered and ready to go again for the next session. At Sognefjell hytta they serve 5 meals a day. Breakfast at 7.30, lunch at 11.30, second lunch at 3.30, dinner at 6.30 and a bed time meal at 9.30. It feels a bit strange at first, eating a cooked lunch at 11.30, but i got used to it pretty fast.
After lunch i would sleep for a few hours or get a massage from Thomas. Thomas is our waxer... who happens to be a masseuse, and a coach. Thomas would also help us with ski testing, seeing if we have any holes in our ski selection that we need to fill in, and he would watch through some of the video with us giving pointers on technique.
At night i would sleep for about 10 hours, and i think i just about stayed on top of my recovery for the week. Now the camp is over i have to take a few easy days with only one training session to recover completely before i start over again with the next hard block.

Now i'm in lillehammer before i head home next week. I will be at home in scotland for July and the start of August before moving back here to lillehammer in the middle of August.

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