This is the third article in a mini-series that puts focus on the transition from junior to senior racer – often a difficult time in a young racers life.
Junior World Sprint Champion and first years-senior Johan Kjolstad is of the opinion that that it’s possible to race fast well before you turn 30. He has increased his training volume and hopes to be able to show his best in this year's World Cup.
â€œI have been told that the transition to the senior class can be brutal — and I’m sure that’s right. But I don’t agree that you have to be 28 years-old before you ski really fast. Just look at Rune Hofstad and Kris Freeman, they have proven that you can ski fast even when you are younger.â€
He believes that you can accomplish the most with hard training. He is not among those who have trained the highest volume in the past and can for that reason continue to increase his training dosages. He is now more consistent in his approach and believes in what he is doing.
â€œLast year I trained 500 hours, while 600 hours is this year’s target. I think I can handle the increase. I should at least ski as fast as last year as long as I avoid leg injuries. I feel that my training is paying off and that I’m making improvementsâ€.
Kjolstad is now a â€œpart timeâ€ member of the Norwegian Sprint National Team — he receives coaching and participates at camps but is not receiving all financial benefits of the regular members. This summer he got a chance to test himself against the rest of the team, as well as Sweden’s Sprint World Champion Thobias Fredriksson, in a rollerski race in Trysil, Norway. He crushed them all and proved that he could be a factor when he is in top shape.
â€œThat was very surprising and exciting. Things worked out that day, but it’s a difference between roller skiing and skiing. But it for sure gave me motivation.”
He believes that the senior sprinters are bigger and stronger than he is and that they have higher capacity than last year's (junior) competitors. His goal is still to place at the top.
â€œI believe I can be competitive among the seniors. The goal is to be among the top skiers in World Cup sprint races, this year. Maybe not beat everybody, but be â€œin there.â€ I was 1 second from advancing from the prologue last year in Borlenge. This year I hope to advance.â€
He believes that sprint will be his strongest event despite not fully focusing his training towards the sprint.
â€œI'm training to be better at the longer distances. I am doing hill intervals of 6-8-6-8-6-8-6-8 minutes. That interval session takes around 75 minutes. The reason for this session is my belief in the need for a high aerobic capacity even for sprint races. I’m doing one sprint session per week. I am also doing weight and strength training geared toward the sprint.â€
He did not do much strength earlier this summer.
It’s going to be exciting follow Kjolstad this winter. It looks promising.
Kjolstad’s final comment:
â€œYou need to have goals, but you can’t be too optimistic. It’s important to be realisticâ€.