Monday, 17 November 2014

5 More Days!!

November in Scandinavia gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “fifty shades of grey”. There is actually at least 50 different shades of grey. And even things that I know must be coloured are grey. Take a pine tree for example. Everybody knows they are green. But in November in Scandinavia they are grey. In fact the only thing that is remotely colourful is the Slovenian team ski suit. Even that looks duller and greyer than normal.

After training with Team Synnfjell in Beitostølen I got a bit ill for a few days. I took 2 days off training and had two easy training days before I got back into it. This year the snow has been pretty late in coming. I know there has been skiing on natural snow as early as the 1st of October at Sjusjøen.  But here we are this year on the 17th of November and there is only skiing on a 3,3km loop of dirty manmade snow at Natrudstilen. The first day I skied at the track it wasn’t great conditions. Since then they worked quite hard to get the track in a better shape. They put out a bit more snow and they had people go round and pick up stones and take out the dirtiest snow. It has also snowed a few cm’s, which has helped.

At the weekend Natrudstilen was hosting the Norwegian Biathlon opening weekend. They had a sprint on the Saturday and a mass start on the Sunday. This meant the track was out of commission for most of the weekend. I had to change my training round a bit but I managed to ski on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night after the races and official training. For my morning sessions I ran and did strength work.

It was great to have winter sports back on the TV. This was the first weekend this season that I’ve watched NRK’s winter sports production. I pretty much watched continuous sport for 4 hours. Alpine, biathlon and speed skating were all being shown. Of course next week cross country skiing will be added to the list as the Norwegian opening weekend races in Beitostølen kick off. 

I’m planning on racing at Beitostølen, and so now I have less than a week until my season starts. The off season seems to have gone by so fast, but I think I have done everything I needed to. At least I hope I have as it is too late now. Today was my last of “volume “ training day. After Beitostølen I have 5 back-to-back race weekends. So it’s going to be a long time before I can put in a training period like I’ve just finished. When there is such a short gap between races there isn’t time to train as much as recovery is more important. Instead of going out for long session, I’ll do short easy sessions where I focus on having high quality. So now I might do a 2hour ski with 45min of technique work with a coach. But between races I might only do an hour, but still have the same technique work.

The period of training I’ve just finished has been pretty good. After I got over the slight hiccough of being a little bit ill, everything has gone to plan. I’ve had two really good hard sessions and a really good speed session. I’d like to think I’m in good shape and ready for the season. But I I’ve been in this position before. Having done some amazing hard sessions the week before the first races and then gone really slowly in the races.  In all honesty, no matter what anyone says or what any test results say, nobody has a bloody clue what is going to happen on Friday. It’s racing and results sheets that count. A fact I’m fully aware of and so I’m not thinking too much about what training I’ve done and how training has been going. Because ultimately that doesn’t mean anything. Due to the lack of snow and the fact there is only a 3.3k competition look available, I’ve done a lot more running that usual for this time of year. I’m not really sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It is probably good that I don’t try and do all my easy sessions on such a hard loop, and I’ve kept the variation in my training up for longer than normal.  But on the flip side I’ve had fewer ski sessions than normal. It will be interesting to see how or if it affects the first few races of the season. At least everyone is in the same boat. There isn’t really much snow anywhere.

The British team has rented a cabin for the last week or so up at Sjusjøen. I’ve taken the opportunity to live with them, and it saves me having to drive 30min to ski everyday. It’s only Posy and me here and my dad is here coaching. On Wednesday they are heading over to Bruksvallarna for the Swedish opening. On Thursday I’m headed to Beitostølen.

Because of the way the season calendar is set up I’ve had to make some decisions about which races to go to and which events to target. If I just went for it and did every race in the 5 weeks before Christmas It would be 15 races in 31! Almost a race every second day! That is a bit much and getting enough recovery would be nearly impossible. So I’ve had to cut some races out. I’ve tried to cut out races evenly so I still get a good balance of distances and techniques. So at Beitostølen I’m only racing on Saturday and Sunday, the 15k skate and the classic sprint.  I’m not sure what to expect in the races but that’s normal for the first weekend. Hopefully it go ok, and I’ll get a good run through before some more important races later in the year.

Today I picked up my new Team Synnfjell clothing for the winter. So watch out for the orange a white race suits. I didn’t choose the colour way, but it definitely stands out!.

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