August 13th, 2008
I’m in Norway! My first week here was spent at a training camp with Team Statkraft Lillehammer in a small town called Folldal, about 2 hours of driving to the North of Lillehammer. There was no internet there, so I wasn’t able to really contact anyone after I got here, but I was able to fully focus on training and recovery. In my opinion there is no better way to get over jet-lag than making your body tired from some hard training. I posed a few pictures of the place we were staying in the photo album.
This was the first contact I had with the Norwegian way of training and found it to be similar in many ways to what I’m used to, but there were some small differences in the way training is approached. In a nutshell, I would say the main differences are found in the mental approaches to training and racing. Similar to cross-country skiing, biathlon races are very physical, but when it comes to the shooting aspect, biathlon takes a different mental approach. For example, how are you going to practice for the mental pressure of a close race that comes down to the final shooting stage? The Norwegians try to tackle this with several different shooting tests.
I did one of these tests, called the NSSF 3 in Folldal. It is a 60 shot test that is accomplished with an easy rollerski in combination. The goal is to hit as many of the 60 shots as possible without compromising your personal shooting speed (i.e. shoot at a typical pace that you are accustomed to). If you are shooting well, the pressure builds and builds for you to continue to hit targets. I ended up doing fairly well, hitting 54 of the 60 shots. I could definitely feel the pressure build, but I wasn’t shooting well enough to get a full taste of the possible nervousness. Very few Norwegians have ever hit all 60 shots. Ole Einar Bjørndalen is one of these few.
Another highlight of the training camp was a rollerski biathlon race that we did at the end of the camp. This was my first chance to test my ability this year and it turned out fairly well. My physical form wasn’t ideal, but it shouldn’t be this time of year. I ended up missing 5 of the 20 targets and skied myself into third place overall. I didn’t have any expectations before the race and found my result fairly surprising (I think the Norwegians were a bit surprised also so that was satisfying.
Anyway, I thought this training camp was a good start to my time in Norway and allowed me to make some great friends. The training in Folldal definitely gave me a lot of focus to train hard in the coming weeks. However, I’ll have to be a bit careful this next week because I’ll be in Lillehammer getting things set up for the start of school on the 18th of August.