Ivar Formo

FasterSkierJuly 16, 2003

The 50-km Olympic Champion from the 1976 Seefeld Olympic Games, Ivar Formo,
lets our readers get a unique insight into his training

Let us first present Ivar Formo for all of you that are not old enough to
remember his golden days:
Born: June 24, 1951 in Oslo, Norway

  • Olympic Gold, 50 km, Seefeld 1976

  • Olympic Bronze, 15 km, 1972

  • Olympic Silver, Relay 1972 and 1976

  • World Championship Bronze 1974 and 1978

  • European Junior Championship Gold

  • Overall winner of first ever World Cup title, 1974

  • World Championship Bronze in Orienteering

  • Several National Sportsman Awards in Norway


Ivar’s yearly training volume was 890 hours. In November 1975 he trained
123 hours. Some weeks he skied 600 km.

It is also interesting to note Ivar’s first experience with altitude training.
A hard session on a clacier in Northern-Italy at 3000m (above 9500 feet) resulted
in a headache, and both an exclamation mark and a question sign in his training
log for that day.

Regarding training during the summer, Ivar did not believe in vacation or time
off from training. As a national class Orienteering athlete he competed often.
The training consisted otherwise of rollerskiing, cycling, some kayaking, volleyball
and soccer as a supplement to running which was his main method of training.

Ivar was known for almost always staying healthy and injury free. This is probably
not due to luck. Ivar must have had a very "good head" for training
smart. This means he must have been able to cut back training when needed, and
take a more careful route. Ivar remembers that some of his teammates on the
National Team were not as "lucky", and trained themselves "into
the basement" (Editor: Overtrained).

Original training zones

It is interesting to study the way Ivar used training intensities and zones.
Today we’re used to heart rate zones from 1 — 5; Ivar’s zones

"all right tempo", "easy tempo", "ok tempo",
"very good tempo", "consistent tempo", "hard tempo",
"very easy tempo", "good tempo", "hard running",

This may seem as the tempos of a piece of classical music. And perhaps this
was how Ivar looked at his training zones and intensities? He was very thorough
in pointing out if parts of a training session were done in a different speed
or intensity than the rest. Perhaps many can learn from this way of logging
training sessions.

Training buddies

It could not have been easy for the other skiers in the club to train with
Ivar in his prime. His training log is proof of this. In reading the names of
his training companions you notice that each one of them were only able to go
along one day at a time, then again after a few days of recovery.

Once in a while you also notice famous skiers: run with Paal (Tyldum —
another Olympic Champion), easy run with Odd (Martinsen), nice session with
Oddvar (Braa).

Below we have included some typical days from June, July and August of 1975.
Remember that in 1976 Ivar was one of the very best skiers in the World. Don’t
try to copy his training. It probably will not make you any better.

June training:

11/06/1975 Oslo Running Distance 2:15 All right tempo, then easier. Dag and Olav
12/06/1975 Oslo Running Distance 3:00 All right tempo with Dag
13/06/1975 Oslo Running Distance 1:15 Setting out markers for Orienteering race. Long breaks, effective
14/06/1975 Sarpsborg Orienteering Competition 1:15 Very good tempo
15/06/1975 Fredrikstad Orienteering Competition 0:45 Easy — in terrain
16/06/1975 Oslo Running Distance 1:00 Ok tempo with Truls, Svein and Dag
    Running Interval 1:00 Hard up hills
17/06/1975 Oslo Running Distance 1:30 Easy — felt tired
18/06/1975 Oslo Running Distance 1:40 All right tempo with Kjell
    cycling Distance 0:30 Ok tempo with Liv
19/06/1975 Oslo Running Distance 3:00 Ok tempo with Svein, Dag and Mons
20/06/1975 Oslo Rest      
21/06/1975 Oslo Rest      

July training:

15/07/1975 Hoelonda Rollerski Distance 0:45 All right tempo with Oddvar
16/07/1975 Sweden Orienteering Competition 3:00 Mountain Orienteering. Tired last 15 min.
17/07/1975 Sweden Orienteering Competition 2:45 Mountain Orienteering. High speed.
18/07/1975 Sweden Orienteering Competition 3:20 Mountain Orienteering. Tired in the end.
19/07/1975 Holonda Rollerski Distance 1:50 With Oddvar. Easy.
    Rollerski Distance 1:50 With Oddvar. Easy. Very tired after Orientering. Need to take
it easy a few days.
20/07/1975 Tangen Running Distance 1:50 Easy. Felt tired. Knee hurts a bit.
  Tangen Kayak Distance 0:30 Paddling and cutting logs.
21/07/1975 Tangen Running Distance 0:30 Easy, knee hurts

August training:

22/08/1975 Oslo Running Distance 2:00 All right tempo. Dag, Knut , Einar
23/08/1975 Oslo Rollerski Distance 1:10 Double pole in easy tempo.
  Oslo Running Distance 1:10 Achilles hurting. Diarrhea, travel, wedding
24/08/1975 Halden Running Warmup 0:30 Before Orienteering
  Halden Orienteering Competition 1:30 Orienteering, very good temp. Very tired.
25/08/1975 Oslo Running Distance 2:25 Ok tempo with Louis and Dag
  Oslo Rollerski Distance 1:50 All right tempo
26/08/1975 Oslo Running Distance 2:00 All right tempo with Weltzien and Loius
  Oslo Running Distance 1:00  
  Oslo Orienteering Competition 0:30 Super hard.
27/08/1975 Oslo Running Distance 3:50 All right temp with Dag. Legs a bit heavy.
  Oslo Rollerski Distance 0:45 Easy. Legs tired after long distance
28/08/1975 Oslo Running Distance 1:35 Easy. Legs heavy after y-day

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