MERÅKER, NORWAY – According to the national team head coach Morten Aa Djupvik, there are no better, more efficient methods to increase overall capacity than running. Accordingly, the national team is changing the mix, increasing the amount of running, at the expense of roller skiing.
The Norwegian national team started the new program with a bounding workout in Petter Northug’s home turf Meråkerfjellet on Monday. On a scale from 1 to 10 where 10 is utter exhaustion, Northug admitted that the initial foot workout was hard.
“I’d say eight or nine on a scale from 1 to 10,” Northug said to Norwegian TV station TV2 after the workout.
Northug and his teammates had just completed the workout that is characterized by the coaching panel as one of the toughest in the book, commonly known as hill bounding intervals or “moosehuf’ing.” Translation: six 6-minute intervals up steep suctiony dirt roads in the hills behind Northug’s hometown Meråker.
“This is insanely hard, and it’s key to stay within your target heart rate zone,” says As Djupvik while reviewing his athletes’ heart rates from the morning running workout.
During the Meråker training camp this week, the seven members of the men’s national team are accompanied by six guys and seven women from the U23 national team. Northug and his teammates will have to get used to their running shoes this fall leading up to the 2010-11 season with World Championship in Oslo. The national team coaches have evaluated the situation, and made some adjustments.
“We’re increasing the amount of running substantially from last year, at the expense of roller skiing. We believe nothing beats running when it comes to increasing the capacity, and we think these changes will lift us another level this season,” Aa Djupvik says.
While the snow and the season opener racers are still months away, Northug appears to be on track. ”I feel good, but the key is to stay injury free and train smart. I’m very confident of my training program, and the only adjustment I’ve made this season is more running,” Northug says.
“Petter is better at bounding this season than he was in June. Aside from that, things are as usual, he’s improving slowly but surely,” Aa Djupvik concludes after the Monday workout.
Northug expects more Norwegians on the podium
While the goal for the workout wasn’t necessarily to be the first to the top, the two rookies on the team, Kristian Tettli Rennemo and Petter Eliassen, impressed everyone up the steep dirt roads. The margins on the international circuit were miniscule last season, and everything counts.
“This year we’ve had great energy at the training camps, so now we have to make sure we carry everyone with us into the ski season. Who knows, we might just have five or six racers among the top in the World Cup,” Northug predicts.
From www.langrenn.com and www.TV2.no, translation by Inge Scheve
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.