Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Getting ready for a 50k

The last few world cups in Lahti and Drammen didn't go that great. I felt like I'd trained well and could produce a couple of decent results, but that didn't happen. My results were pretty poor, and I never quite managed to put a good race together. After Drammen I headed home, the idea of doing a world cup 50k at Holmenkollen wasn't so exciting for me. I'm quite tried after a long season and I'd rather head home and be able to train a bit. 

I have one race weekend left for the season. Not this coming weekend but the week after is the second half of the Norwegian national champs. The first half is in January each year and the second part is always in March or April. Normally there is only a teamsprint and a 50k at the second part, but this year things are a little different. There is a teamsprint on the Thursday, a 10k classic on the Friday and a 50k classic individual start on the Saturday. The last time a saw a 50k individual on the calendar was back in 2008. It is not an event that is run very often. Doing 50k on your own is cross country skiing, it is the oldest tradition of sport and it you can't really call yourself a cross country skier (or a man) until you've done a 50k individual start. This is my first opportunity at the event and I'm looking forward to it. 50k is a lot longer than a sprint or a 15k, which are the events I've been focussing on the most, so I've had to alter my training a bit and I'm having a couple of "50k sessions". I asked a few coaches about training for a 50k, and opted to have a few sessions that a bit longer and a bit harder than I would normally train. Yesterday was my first of these sessions, today I'm having a rest day and tomorrow I'm going to do a similar session to yesterday but a bit harder/faster. 
Yesterdays session was just over 3 hours and 50k in length with 860m og climb. The session was split 50/50 with half of the session being level 1 and half level 2. I normally ski at level 1 for easy sessions so going a bit harder into level 2 was quite tough to maintain for long periods of time. I split into rough 30min sections with 30min harder, a short break for a drink and 30min easier before another quick drink and 30min harder. It was a really fun session and covered a lot more distance than I normally would. But as I got to around 2hour 20 it was really tough. I'm not used to skiing for long periods of time, I probably hadn't eaten enough before the session or drank enough during the session. The last 40min or so weren't as fun as the first 2 hours. 
I'm really glad I did the session though. Getting a few good long sessions under my belt before the 50k at nationals is going to help a lot. Hopefully, be the time it comes to racing,  skiing for over 2 hours will be a bit more normal. I'll also have a better idea of what I need to drink and eat to make sure I have enough energy for 2 to 3 hours of skiing. I have another session like this tomorrow and I'm hoping it goes a bit easier than yesterday. You can get an overview of where I went and what the session looked like here. You'll notice on the map that I did take a wrong turn once, but the big out and back section was planned so I'd get to go all the way up Midtfjell from Kvarstad. 
My final hard distance session before the 50k will be on friday. I'm doing the relay birken, which splits the birkebeiner race into 4 stages of different lengths and difficulty. I'm doing the longest stage, stage 2, 18km from Skramstads√¶tra to Kvarstad. After that I have to ski the next 13k to get to Sjusj√łen to get a left down off the mountain. The team is made up of 3 other guys from team synnfjell, and hopefully we'll have a shot at going for a top result. 
After the relay birken I'll ease my training back and focus on recovery and hopefully I'll be in top form for the 50k at nationals. 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Lahti

After the world champs I headed home and got in a good block of training. I also had to say farewell to by first car, a 1994 saab 900. It failed it's "EU controll" or MOT test and I had to have it off the road by the end of February. So last friday I delivered it to the scrap yard and signed all the paper work to get it written off. Fortunately Norway has a deal where I get 3000kr back for scrapping my car. I guess this keeps cars bellow a certain value off the road. But for me it will at least be a nice starter for my next car.

This means I was left high and dry without a car. Or low and a long way form the ski tracks without a car. Most of the ski tracks in Lillehammer start just above the town. At the top of the ski jumps. It is a long way to walk or cycle and from where I live I'd have to take two busses to get there. Fortunately I have some nice team mates and some nice friends who came to my rescue and gave a lift up to training.

I felt my training went ok. After having had pretty much 4 days off due to being ill, 4 days of easy training and 2 days of volume training I was finally ready for my first hard session last Sunday. Considering I hadn't done anything hard since the sprint at world champs it went surprisingly well. All I did was 3x10min l3. But I didn't feel like death and I actually managed to ski sort of half alright. I had my second hard session on Wednesday. I did 5x3min with 4min breaks trying to ski around 10 or 15k race pace. I did the session with 2 of the other from Team Synnfjell. We skied well as a group taking turns to lead and do the work at the front. I think I had a pretty good session, hopefully it was just the hard run through I needed before Lahti.

On Thursday I left for Lahti, Finland. I'm now away for my last few world cups of the season. Tomorrow is a freestyle sprint in Lahti. On sunday there is a 15k classic and on Wednesday next week there is a classic sprint in Drammen, Norway. This is the last block of really important races of the season, so hopefully I'll be able to finish on a high note.