TrainingNorwegian Women’s Team Continues With Controversial Training Program

FasterSkierMay 5, 2004

The Norwegian Women’s coach Svein Tore Samdal and the national team women have agreed to continue with the extreme periodization (of intervals) in the training program. The program will now be even more specialized and focused than last year. We feel this is a good way for us to do things, says coach Samdal.

Sprint Queen Marit Bjorgen was also second in the overall World Cup

Samdal admits that some of the skiers were very tired in periods during the fall. Some adjustments will be made due to this. Marit Bjorgen was the skier that followed the plan the most. Other skiers were a bit more insecure since we used this system for the first time last season. Some skiers wanted to be 'on the safe side' and added more interval training in the volume period than what was suggested. There were lots of discussion in the media and that influenced some. These skiers were the ones that were most tired,” according to Samdal.

Samdal says that they should have controlled the training better in the fall. The team size is now reduced by four skiers and it should be easier to have control. He is also making some adjustments.

“We will have more focus on our goals during the capacity training periods. We will here 'forget' about volume training and down prioritize strength training. We will also do less intervals during the volume periods,” says Samdal.

They will this season have four “hard” capacity periods. Each period will last from 11 to 14 days. The toughest period will be in August and consist of 10-13 capacity sessions during 14 days.

Torbjorn’s note:

I discussed the Norwegian training program and theory in the book: How to, When to, Why to … A Norwegian Model Training Program For Cross Country Skiers (By Karlsen/Patterson). The book describes in detail many traditional elements of Norwegian training, which are still used by a large number of Norwegian coaches.

Interestingly, Chapter Thirteen in this book is called Capacity Increasing Program and shows a similar way of building Max VO2 as described above. While the Norwegian Women's National team program is controversial, it is not entirely new. While writing the book, I discussed this theory with a number of Norwegian coaches in 1997.

Canadian skier Beckie Scott and US Skier Justin Wadsworth have both successfully used various such elements in their training as well.

A note to those who have this book or are planning of purchasing it:

Recent research supports the theory used in this chapter but it suggests that the length of each interval might be to long if it exceeds 7-8 minutes and the number of intervals is too high if used as described in the book. Please adjust.

My experience is also that some of the general interval sessions used in the book can be somewhat shortened in total duration. Please adjust.

The book is available from as well as from New Moon Ski Shop (WI), Gear West Ski Shop (MN) and Reliable Racing (NY).


Details regarding the above mentioned discussion and many other interesting topics will be discussed in new ‘The Club” Subscription Service. The first issue comes out May 20.

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