Goal setting for next ski season

5 Jun

I'm planning to copy Marit's training program

General goals

Here are my general goals for the 201o/2011 ski season.

Improved technique

I want to generally improve both my classic and skating technique. I will also focus on downhill speed and control.

Up to now I’ve been painting myself into a “distance specialist” role but have decided that I would best like to be an all around good skier, doing well in sprints too.

I therefore want to learn to switch more intelligently and fluently between techniques (diagonal-going, double-poling, doubledans, free-skating, paddling)  depending on the course terrain.

Improved fitness

I also want my strength and fitness to adapt to different types of races in order to meet demands ranging from explosive speed to ultra-marathon endurance.

Goal race times

Ski races are going to be both the definitive means of measuring whether I meet my goals and indeed my goals in themselves. I don’t have any pretensions to winning any of the world class level ski races I’ll enter. But between wanting to be first and wanting to finish with a certain time, are both aims not equally arbitrary?

What I set out to do is a game, a form of play. But as the great theorist of playing Johan Huizinga writes in his book Homo Ludens “[a game]  is ‘played out’ within certain limits of time and space. It contains its own course and meaning.” Sounds like a perfect description of a ski race. And according to the extra rules I set out here, I aim to win.

Here are my goal times and the descriptions of the races I will enter. I used a handy speed- distance – time calculator to extrapolate from my actual results this year toward targets for the coming season. My time goals are therefore both arithmetically sound and anchored in personal experience on each race course.

IKT-NM:

This is a classic style sprint relay held between IT companies in the Oslo area. My time this year was an absolutely wretched 11:58. I have done much faster when training on sprints on trails near my house. My bad performance came from bad ski waxing, nerves from being in my very first ski race, an undue inferiority complex and a lack of familiarity with the course.

I think I stand a good change of major improvement. Target time 00:10:15. Pace 17.56 kmh.

Grenader-løpet:

The Grenader-løpet every February is probably the toughest ski race in the world. It’s the same 90km distance as the more famous Vasaløppet in Sweden. But this race goes from East to West through the Oslo forest, crossing ridge after ridge, making it a far more brutal race than the quite flat Vasaløppet.

This year I did a 66km test run on the roughest part of the course. After my stopping point there was a lot of downhill. My time was 5:12. I felt quite strong and had good wax and glide. At an equal pace my time for 90km works out to 7 : 12.

Next year I will officially enter the race and go for a target time of 6:52. That’s not demanding an unreasonable increase. To achieve that time I’ll have to maintain an average pace of 13.1kmh.

The interesting thing is that a time under 6:55 will qualify me for Birkebeiner Pulje 3 out of 18 total. In the past 3 years making it into Pulje 3 has meant a 3:09 up to a 3:32 time in the 54km Birkebeiner race. Though a 6:52 Grenader-løpet seems doable, such a result would seem to put me into a very elite group of skiers.

It may be that the Grenader-løpet attracts so few masochists that the results are skewed upwards. Or it may be that the race is just beastly.

Birkenprøven:

I don’t think I’ll do the Birkebeiner. It comes too late in the season for the snow to be good and is far too crowded. I did a Test Birkebeiner in early March and could not be happier. The whole route was new-prepped and uncrowded and the snow and weather were next to perfect.  I’ll do that again. The only darker point in last year’s experience was that I failed miserably with ski waxing and got wretched glide. I completed the 54km route with a time of 4:13. This season I will aim for a target time of 3:59. That works out to a pace of 13.55 kmh. That may be a little too easy, but it’s nice to plan one goal you’re pretty sure to achieve.

Skarverennet:

The Skarverennet is the great ski season ending 38km skate race over the Hallingskarvet mountain range at 1 200 to 1 400 meters. I entered the competitive class this year and logged a time of 2:28. That was down from 3:55 the year before. Both times I was held up by crowds. This last time I rarely got anywhere near my max pulse. Moreover, my ski glide was terrible again. I see a pattern :-).

This coming season my target time will be 1:59. That will require a greater than 19kmh pace. In order to avoid crowds and get a well-prepped track, I will start in the early morning in a noncompetitive class and use GPS time tracking.

Means of achieving goals

Tactical means

I have decided that rollerskiing is not enough to maintain the level of cardiovascular fitness these goals require. I’ve gone ahead and taken out a gym membership with Elixia in Årvoll. They are located at a convenient nexus of rollerski trails and have graciously offered to allow me to suspend my membership in the the winter months when I put in so much time on skis that using a gym doesn’t make sense for me.

Right now I find it essential to rollerski every day for it to be good training. When I miss a day or two I lose confidence and cease to fully commit my weight over the ski:

Good weight committment

Training fearfully and timidly, with wrong technique, will not help me reach my goals.

Rollerskiing to the gym will ensure I get my daily dose of confidence and technique building time on wheels as well providing me with the more intense cardio training that rollerskiing alone cannot provide.

The gym offers a number of core strength group classes that I think will be useful too. I have read that building core strength builds balance and that improved balance makes for more efficient and finally faster skiing.

I’ll also do some weight training for upper body strength. I’ve read that Marit Bjørgen doesn’t train lower body much because rollerskiing takes care of that. I’ll probably do like her.

As a final complement to my training program, I will work on trail running in the forest. I haven’t found anything better for cardiovascular conditioning than running. I’ll therefore try to work in a couple runs a week on the Anker round route that follows roads built by prominent early Norwegian industrialist Peder Anker.

I got two classic skiing training courses with my employer this last season. There was an enthusiastic turnout, so I hope that will be repeated. I think I may sign up for a skate course with Skiforeningen too.

Technical means

I will buy a few things:

  1. A pulse watch.
  2. New rollerskis. I’m debating between Marwe 610c’s and SRB SR02’s. The first is the widely acknowledged Rolls Royce of rollerskis used by a lot of national teams. I’ve heard the latter share the same qualities as the Marwe’s but with stiffer carbon shafts. I’ve seen a review of the Marwe 610’s that indicates that they may flex too much and scrape the pavement. See video about SRB rollerskis here.
  3. New speed reducers. I’m absolutely convinced that those things make rollerski training viable. The model I currently use on my Swenor rollerskis is no longer available, but I’ve got a new set of them from Start for my next pair of roller skis. They look promising. My current model of speed reducers must be taken off when resistance isn’t needed because they chatter unbearably when they aren’t applying pressure. Though they come on and off with the pull of a pin, putting them on and removing them interrupts my training.

Measuring intermediate progress

I’ll use these things to measure my intermediate progress toward my race time goals:

  1. Body fat percentage. I’m currently too high at 12%.
  2. Runkeeper. This will be my central and worldwide available training diary.
  3. Hear rate monitor. Tracking heart rate through various activities will give me feedback on cardiovascular fitness

Conclusion

I’ve heard that if you want to achieve your goals, then you should write them down. Check, done.

Grenader-løpet
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One Response to “Goal setting for next ski season”

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  1. Tweets that mention Goal setting for next ski season « Le coq à la crète noire -- Topsy.com - June 5, 2010

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