Sunday, 5 October 2014

Altitude

After my last training camp with Team Synnfjell I had 2 weeks at home in Lillehammer before going to Italy. I'm in Italy for a month training at altitude and for the second half getting some early season snow skiing on the glacier at Val Senales. Having 2 weeks between training camps was quite an awkward length of time in terms of training. After the last camp I had to have a few easy days and before this camp in Italy I had to have a few easy days. I managed to squeeze in a good hard block of training from last Friday until last Wednesday. The focus was mainly on volume training and I had two back to back 5 hour training days. I had two hard sessions. The first was a classic rollerski interval. You can see the map and the heart rate and speed graph from the session here. We warmed up through the town and started out towards the university. We did 6x6minutes up to the ski stadium and did the last interval on the rollerski track. I felt pretty bad during the session and struggled to keep up with the others in the start, but by the time we got up to the rollerski track I felt better and managed to keep up. The second hard session was on skate rollerskis and was new for me. We had 6 intervals alternating between 4 and 3minutes and we had 3minutes off in between. The idea is that the pace for the 4min intervals is a little bit slower and little bit more controlled, then the 3min intervals are a bit faster before you have to switch to being a bit more controlled again. The pace goes up and down in races, particularly in mass start races, so the idea is to train at doing that. We did the session on the rollerski track to get high speeds and varied terrain with climbs, flats, bends and incorporate everything into the intervals. You can see the session here. My heart rate was really low for the session, but I think we went quite fast and I certainly couldn't have pushed it much faster by the end. That evening I had a recovery run and I definitely knew I'd been pushing myself in the morning.
Other than the those two hard session most of my training was easy but I did have a few good speed sessions and good strength sessions. This year I've added in a few new speed sessions to my programme and started doing something that might be classified as "long speed" work. Normally for speed work we only do short sprints of 10 to 20 seconds. Sometimes even shorter. But now I've had roughly one session a week with 45 second sprints. I mostly do them double poling and hopefully they will give me an edge I've been missing in double poling in the past. We've also changed things slightly for strength training this year. The programme is centred around a few key exercises instead of chopping and changing the exercises every few weeks. That way it is easier to see improvements and it's better when there is a lot of travel or short training blocks like the last 2 weeks. I don't have to learn a whole new set of exercises for 2 sessions. I feel like I've improved a lot in the gym over the last little while, it is yet to be seen if this is a good thing for my skiing, but hopefully by the time the winter comes around I'll see the benefits.
The weather in Lillehammer had begun to turn from the rather pleasant warmth of the early Autumn to the typic

al Norwegian Autumn weather. The other day we had the first "scrape ice off the car" morning and if any roller ski sessions included long downhills it was quite nice to have a hat and buff on under my helmet. So I was quite glad to escape to the south. Here it is meant to be a bit warmer, but if it isn't there is always the option to head down the valley and train lower down where it is still rather summer like.
We got to Livigno late last night and were met by lucky the dog. The owners of the apartment we tend to rent have a really old grumpy dog called Lucky. She really doesn't like me... or anyone for that matter, and refuses to let anyone touch her. She just sits outside our apartment door like a guard dog all day.
I had my first session here this morning. Just an easy run and sore core work afterwards. It's important not to push it on the first few days at altitude, so my harder days will wait until the end of the camp. I'm looking forward to getting on with some training and also eating some italian food. It's been a while since I last ate so much pasta I was actually bored of it.

No blog would be complete without some "flight banter".... here's some pictures I took from the plane on the way into land at Innsbruck last night.


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