There has been quite a bit of excitement in the past few weeks. The Scottish referendum began to light a few sparks last week and even the Norwegian press was picking up on it. It seemed it was as much in the news here as it was back home. Lots of Norwegians asked me my opinion on the vote and seemed to weigh in with their own thoughts. Fortunately we have managed to hold a referendum without a civil war breaking out, which is always a positive.
I spent last week on a training camp with Team Synnfjell. The week before my parents came over for a few days to visit me and have a holiday. The weather was pretty good for this time of year. It was pretty much summer. So we made the most of it and had a good long weekend. I was however quite disappointed to be beaten by my dad in a round of crazy golf.
After a pretty easy weekend with my parents I headed to Jørstadmoen for the camp with Synnfjell. My dad was joining us for the first few days of the camp to watch a learn from Frank, the Synnfjell coach. Jørstadmoen is the location of a Norwegian Army base and is just outside Lillehammer. Through some connection or other we had got a deal on accommodation at the base. We stayed in some pretty nice student like rooms off the base but ate meals on the base. We each got our own bedroom which is pretty luxurious for a training camp. The Norwegian army run a pretty tight schedule and one that is perhaps a little unusual to most british people. Lunch is at 11am. And dinner/evening meal is at 3.30pm. This meant our training had to be on a pretty tight schedule. We had to be at the front gate of the army base at 10:55 in order to get in for lunch. So if we wanted to train for 3 hours in the morning we had to start at 7.30. If the training started a 20min drive away we had to leave at 7.10. So most mornings we were up before 7. However, I was back in bed by 11.30 most days and slept an extra few hours before dinner. We ate dinner before training and trained our evening sessions at 5.30. It caused a problem for one session at the start of the camp as we were out quite late and it was getting dark and pretty cold. But the rest of the camp had quite short evening sessions so we escaped without issue.
The camp plan was pretty standard. Lots of training, and 3 hard sessions. The first hard session was a track running session. The plan was 1x3000m, 2x1500m, 2x1000m and 2x800m. The week before I ran 6x1km. But I hadn't ran so much on the track before that. I was struggling a little bit to recover from that session so we took the decision that I would just do the 3000m and then some other intervals on rollerskis. The 3000m went quite well, I ran a PB of 9.14. We ran the first 1k sub 3min then the second 1k was a bit slower at 3.05. After 2k the best guys picked up the pace and I got dropped. The best 3 all ran sub 9min so ran well under 3min for the last 1km. It is said that a good senior skier should run sub 9min from ski training alone. Without doing too much extra track work and focussing on running. I can see that I'm getting there, I ran 9.40 in the spring, so at least I'm going forward. I think with another year of good training and (hopefully) running injury free I should be able to make it under 9. One of the guys even suggested I could go under 9 next month. Whilst I appreciate his optimism I doubt it would be possible, and anyway I'm not running it next month.
The second hard session was a skate sprint session on rollerskis. We simulated a sprint race with a prologue and then 4 heats. There were 13 of us doing the session so split each heat into 2 groups with the 2 best from the 2nd heat going up to the first and the 2 worst going down to 2nd group. I had a pretty bad session and ended up in the 2nd group. No idea why... I just went really slowly.
The last hard session was a double pole session. The idea was to have some really fast double poling in the middle of a long session. So we warmed up for an hour before doing 6x4min double poling in a group. We took turns leading the group so at some points we were sprint all we could and other points we were in the slipstream getting a little break. The hardest part is actually at the back of the group. When we change over from going a bit easier down to the back of the group we have to accelerate to get back in the slipstream of the guys going forward. I ended up in a group of 4 and we worked quite well together and had a good hard session.
In-between the hard sessions there was lots of easy training, technique work and of course the obligatory training camp football match. For once I was actually on the winning side for the football match... it is questionable that, had there been a referee, if I should have been allowed to play to end. There were perhaps too many dubious challenges, and even the most lenient of referees would probably have given me a red card.... in fact there probably wouldn't have been anyone left on the pitch if there was a referee.
Frank has played football on training camps with both Andrew Musgrave and Callum Smith, as have a few of the others on the team. And so Frank was not expecting much from me. However, after the match it was agreed that I was the best British skier at football. A fact of which I am very proud.
We finished the camp with a long running session early yesterday morning and I'm having a rest day today. The weather had slowly changed on the camp. From warm sunny days at the start to cooler, windier and overcast by the end. Autumn is now well underway. It is now only 60 days until the season starts.
I'll have a few easy days now before I get back into normal training. I'm heading to altitude in northern Italy in just under 2 weeks. So I have to be a bit careful not to do too much training right before I go, so the transition to altitude is a little easier.