The Word Tired Has New Meaning

FasterSkierJune 27, 2003

<This article originally appeared on

Vibeke Skofterud and the Norwegian National Team is in their hardest training period ever

Last week the Norwegian Women’s National Cross-Country Team started their June camp with two weeks of very intensive training. First 8 days together at the camp, then one week individually at home. Vibeke Skofterud is tired, but composed. ” It is going surprisingly well, but of course it is tough. The word “tired” has a new meaning after this”, Vibeke says.

National Coach Svein Tore Samdal’s philosophy is that the women in a cynical and extreme way need to improve their maximum oxygen uptake (Max VO2) during two weeks in June. After this, they should be able to train at a higher level the rest of the summer and fall. Even though it is a big change from what Vibeke and the rest of the team is used to, she believes in the project.
“This is exiting to test out. In the past I am used to one or two hard workouts a week, now we train hard several times a day, so it is quite a difference. However, earlier research has shown that this creates results, so I believe this will work for us as well.”

For success, it is however a condition to strongly believe that this will work well.
“The mental part is extremely important, without believing, there is no way to get through this. You have to psyche yourself up for each workout, and if so, it is incredible to find out what is possible”.
The training is as simple as it is ingenious. The team members train twice a day every other day, then once a day in between. Every workout is 5 x 4-minute intervals with 3 minutes rest in between. Each interval is done at 90- 95% of maximum heart rate. Good warm-up and cool-down is also prioritized, so each workout totals about 1:30 hour.
Each skier’s max VO2 is tested in a performance laboratory before and after these two weeks. The test results will be the first indicator of a successful project.

Skofterud was not completely satisfied with last season, this year she would like to be more conscious of what and how she is training. “I did not have enough differentiation between easy and hard workouts last year. Much of the training was done at the same speed, especially since the speed during the long distance workouts was too high. I want to be better at controlling the intensity of the training this year.

No one can claim that Vibeke is being lazy, and sometimes this has become too much of a good thing. “I was too eager when starting up this spring, and developed a tendonitis after too much roller-skiing. I then had to switch to running, but also developed problems in my legs. However, now everything seems well, and I have all in all started the new training year very well.


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