Thursday, 15 October 2015

Migration

It's now well into October and we're into the "migration" season. Skiers from all over Scandianvia are heading south. In Norway it is getting cold, the nights are longer and it's not as easy to get out and train as it is in the summer. The tarmac gets harder so rollerski poles don't grip as well, leaves are littering the roads and roller ski track and occasionaly we have to deal with ice, sleet and slush. Because trainnig up in the North is not longer ideal a lot of skiers choose to head south around this time of year. There are a number of reasons for heading south and a number of locations that skiers choose during this period. Some choose to head to Mallorca or mainland Spain to train on rollerskis in good warm conditions. Some choose to head to Ramsau to get both good dry land conditions and early season snow on the glacier at 3000m. Others choose to head to Italy of France to train at Altitude.

I'm now in Livigno, Itlay. My plan was to be here for 10 days of dry land training before heading to Val Senales to get 2 weeks of skiing up on the glacier there. Livigno is at 1850m, the lower limit for altitude training, and so a good place to start off an altitude block. After I've gotton used to training up here again I'll head over to Val Senales, where we live at 2000m and train at over 3000m.
I thought by coming to Livigno I'd get a double whamy of altitude training and avoiding the dreaded "too much snow to rollerski, too little snow to ski" that can often occur in Norway at this time of year.  I was wrong. We got to Livigno last night, just as the snow started to tank it down. We woke up this morning to 10cm of fresh, wet snow. Too much to rollerski and too little to ski.

I went for a run this morning and have strength and balance training on the plan this afternoon. So the snow hasn't affected me too much today. It is forecast to snow some more today and all day tomorrow. So I might be able to head out for a ski tomorrow, another alternative is to drive over to Val di Dentro/Bormio. It's quite a bit lower there and so there isn't any snow. There is a roller ski track and a bike path a long the valley which would make for a nice rollerski session.
Hopefully it either warms up and melts the snow or cools down and snows some more. Regardless I'm sure I'll be able to work around it and get a solid block of training done while I'm here.

The last week of training in Lillehammer went quite well. I had a pretty hard week with 3 hard sessions and 24 hours of training on the cards. In early September I felt like my training had been going really well and I'd taken some big steps forward. But the second half of September and the start of October hadn't gone so well. I felt tired, I had missed some training because I felt so tired, and I didn't think everything was going quite in the right direction. But last week I was back on track. All my training went fairly well and all of the hard sessions went smoothly.  It's a promissing sign, hopefully I can keep it up into the winter and race season.
I knocked my training back a bit at the start of this week. I know from past experience that I need an easier few days before heading to altitude. The first 4 days here in Livigno are quite easy as well. Training is a bit harder up here, and recovery takes longer. So it's better to be on the side of caution to make sure I avoid illness and getting over tired.

The next few weeks will be an exciting period of training as we get closer and closer to the race season. I'm looking forward to it and I'm looking forward to some good Italian food and coffe as well.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Ice

The last two mornings have been icy with frost on the grass and my car windscreen. It serves as a reminder that winter isn't all that far away. Its only 6 weeks until the race season kicks off at Beito. It's a bit of a shock to the system to have to start scraping ice fromt the car and head out training in sub zero temperatures. Indeed the last two mornings I've been cutting it fine to make it to sessions on time as I haven't allowed for the extra few minutes it take to defrost the car.

Yesterday I had my first "elghuf" session of the year at Hafjell. It is tradisjon that skiers meet at Hafjell on Saturday mornings and do ski bounding intervals up the alpine slopes. I haven't done that many ski bounding sessions this year but now I'm adding in a bit more to my training plan. I turned up at the car park at 8.30 just as about 5 other cars were rolling in. In total there were about 15 of us who turned up to do a 6x6minute session. We headed out for a 30min warm up, as we got back to the car park to get ready to start about some more people turned up. Half way through our intervals we met some people jogging down and after we'd finished we met another few people bounding their way up. I estimate that in total there was between 30 and 40 people spread across the alpine hill, bounding their way up. You start to understand why Norway is such a strong ski nation when you see so many people out training at once. I doubt there are even 30 people who regularly ski bound in Britain, yet at just one place in Norway there are at least 30 people out every week.
We were lucky enough that Petter was there to drive out kit up to the top and that the downhill mountain bike park is still open. This meant we could get changed into dry kit at the top and take the gondola down again.

Today was another frosty session. I met up with a big group to run a 3 hour loop. Petter Skinstad was the route finder and insisted on running loop that involves quite a bit of bog running. Some of us pointed out that it would be bloody baltic running through the bogs when the top layer of water is frozen. Petter insisted that it "wasn't that wet" and the water would hardly come up over our shoes. He was reminded of what he said when we were wading our way through a thigh deep bog/river that had ice siting on the top. My tactic was to go to the back and let the others break the ice up, then sprint through the water. It still took about a minute to cross the longest section deep water, a minute in 0 degrees water is plenty of time for your toes to go numb and start to loose feeling bellow the knee. After the river crossing the rest of the loop was quite straight forward.

Training has been going fairly well since the Hemsedal camp. I had to have a few rest days after the camp. But since then I've trained well and all my hard sessions have gone to plan. Everything is pointing in the right direction. Earlier this week I got a visit from Kelly, the SIS physio that works with the British Team, and my dad, the national team head coach. I did some physio tests with kelly and she did some massage work on my tightest areas, including cupping on my back. Most of the tests went well, although there are a few small areas I need to improve on before the winter. It should be possible to make a few small improvements and also keep me injury free if I keep up with my physio work.

Next week is another hard week of training with quite a few hours and 3 hard sessions. It's my last full week in Lillehammer for a while, as I head to Italy and to altitude the week after next.