Last month, Norway’s Kari Øyre Slind, 24, spoke with FasterSkier following double podiums at the Norwegian season-opening races in Beitostølen, where she placed third in the 7.5-kilometer classic on Nov. 13 then second in the 7.5 k freestyle the next day. Since then, she’s notched eighth- and 11th-place World Cup finishes: eighth in the 5 k freestyle in Kuusamo, Finland, and this past weekend, 11th in the 15 k skiathlon in Lillehammer, Norway.
What’s her secret? In some ways, she said it’s been the flexibility of solo training. This past spring, she finished up her bachelor’s degree in exercise science.
“I have focused on long workouts that border to recovery efforts rather than performance training, such as long mountain runs, when I can just run for hours,” Slind said. “I train with the team during team camps, and sometimes with my sisters [Astrid and Silje Øyre Slind] when they are home, but I actually really like training alone. Just being outside makes me so happy, seeing our beautiful surroundings right here where I live in Oppdal, [Norway] and just allowing my thoughts to drift.”
While she loves the long, slow efforts, that doesn’t mean her workouts aren’t hard. When asked to describe one of her favorite workouts, Slind described a brutal classic roller ski session: a workout so extreme that she only does it once or twice a year.
Starting at sea level in Skjolden, a small community at the end of a long fjord on the west coast of Norway, Slind skis 18.4 kilometers uphill to a picnic spot at 3,825 feet above sea level – just short of Sognefjellshytta, a lodge with summertime groomed skiing.
On this workout, Slind loves doing long uphill intervals at just below threshold.
“My favorite combination is 3 x 20 minutes at intensity Zone 3. The terrain is just perfect, and the scenery is beautiful,” she said. “It’s long and steep enough that you don’t have to backtrack and ski back down between intervals; you don’t get any breaks and can just continue uphill mile after mile.”
“This workout is really tough, but I also feel that it really lifts me to a new level,” she added. “And the whole distance is really uniquely beautiful.”
The Workout: Long Uphill Intervals
What: An approximately 18-kilometer uphill rollerski, with 3 x 20 minutes of Zone 3
Where: Pick terrain steep enough that you don’t have to ski back down between intervals. The idea is to minimize breaks while just continuing uphill
Why: It’s tough and enjoyable (if it’s scenic) at the same time.