June 2003 – Designing a Plan

FasterSkierJune 4, 2003

Top National level Canadian Cross-Country skiers Tasha Betcherman and Sarah
Peters are currently in Park City for more than a two week long training camp
as part of the Karlsen/Aalberg/Gundersen personal coaching program. This
visit can be regarded as a “boot camp” for the two aspiring World
Cup skiers, where the coaches are daily evaluating and assessing their new athletes’
strengths and training methods. The main goal for the camp has been to “get
going” by having coaches and athletes learning to know each other, discussing
and practicing training methods, techniques and planning this summer’s
further training.

Our coaching methods
Knowledge and Philosophy
As coaches we are initially evaluating the skiers’ training background
and knowledge, strength and weakness in each technique and current ability or
skill level in endurance, speed and strength.  We are then “teaching”
the terminology we are using for each training method and ski technique (Canadians
are using different names for the different skate techniques than what’s
common in the US).  We are further explaining our training philosophy
in detail in both discussions “around the coffee table” and in a
variety of workouts – we want things to be done right from day one.
Training Zones
We know the importance of establishing the right training zones based upon race
threshold, anaerobic threshold and max heart rates – if this is off by
10-15 beats, the upcoming months of training might be wasted or only limited
progress will be made – we don’t want that to happen! Heart
rates are discussed and observed in both distance and interval sessions. We
even max out in one interval workout to confirm the athletes’ Max Heart
Rate. On top of that we conduct a Max and anaerobic threshold test at The
Orthopedic Specialty Hospital’s human performance laboratory in Salt Lake
Training program
A training program is then discussed and designed by evaluating the skiers’
training from previous years, their past race results, what we have learned
at this camp and their goals and ambitions. We discuss the volume and training
throughout the entire upcoming season but only plan in detail the upcoming month. By
“in detail” we mean the key workouts such as intervals and time
trials, speed sessions and repetitions and loads for strength and weight room
sessions. We decide upon the approximate volume for each training week but also
the need for necessary adjustments: “12-14 good training hours per
week that you absorbed and handled well are a lot more valuable than 18 hours
that made you tired or over-trained”.

Our goals
Our goal as coaches is to get the skiers involved in designing their own training
plans. We want to teach the skiers good interval routines, ways of peaking
and how to adjust their own training based upon how they feel and react to “The
total training load” – the combination of volume and intensity.  The
skiers are therefore deciding the day to day training volume and length of distance
sessions based upon our suggested guidelines.
It would take up to much space to discuss our entire coaching philosophy but
skiers looking for a coach can find details about our coaching program on www.torbjornsport.com
We will shortly write a few articles about some of the specific workouts we
are doing during these two weeks. We have also asked Sarah and Tasha to
each write a story about how they experienced their first camp with us –
these stories will appear on Fasterskier in the near future so keep on checking


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