Lasse Olsson, Nordic Strong coach, on how to get ready for Vasaloppet!
Since we launched the Nordic Strong package for Vasaloppet, including a ticket for the sold-out race, a Nordic Trainer and a 100-days training program to get in shape, many have reached out with great questions about Vasa training and what the race itself is like. So, we decided to talk to Nordic Strong coach, Lasse Olsson about Vasaloppet and what it takes to get ready for the race!
1 Vasaloppet is big undertaking! How important is it to follow a specific training program to get ready for the race?
To complete almost any type of goals, a structured work approach is crucial. To complete 90km on cross country skis, a training program is indeed needed!! I am sure we all know that one guy who completed Vasaloppet without any prior training or experience on cross country skis – this is not something I advise. Personally, I hadn’t tried cross country skiing prior to my first participation in Vasaloppet, but I had been following a structured workout plan for a few months before. A structured workout plan will impact your workout consistency and progression overload, which will result in general strength and stamina. Set yourself up for success by preparing and executing well!
2 You completed Vasaloppet twice before! How did you train for it?
Yes! And both times by using a double poling technique without any grip wax – a challenge I chose because of the Nordic Trainer.
When I trained for Vasaloppet, I used the Nordic Trainer 3-4 times a week – with a total workout time of approx. 2-3 hours. By completing many high intensity workouts, I quickly advanced in my VO2max as well as in strength and stamina. Besides the Nordic Trainer, I did one short run per week and every other day, I did 20-30 sit-ups, push-ups, and back-ups.
One month prior to the race, I had one “real” ski lesson in Sweden and then I did another two days ski training right before the race. Before this, I had never tried cross country skiing in my life.
3 Can anybody do it?
Yes!! I am certain anybody can complete Vasaloppet. It is tough, but you do not have to be an elite athlete to do it. Most importantly, you need to love being in the great outdoors and of course, you need to have a lot of focus on your training prior to the race. You need a lot of focus, both to improve your cross-country ski technique and to get in a great physical shape. It is also necessary prior to the race to test yourself getting to the point of exhaustion. This will be an indicator of how your body will react while skiing Vasaloppet and thus an indicator of your body’s strength.
4 What is the greatest thing about Vasaloppet?
For me, I found the atmosphere phenomenal. No other race I’ve ever done has had such an insane start! All the way through those 90 km, spectators were cheering and leading you on towards the finish line in Mora. A truly incredible experience that I am grateful to have felt and which I am really looking forward to trying again in 2022. The second greatest thing is to be able to feel every inch of your body the following days after the race – ouch! 😃 .
5 Can you tell us a bit about the 100-days training program that you designed for the upcoming anniversary race?
In the 100-days training program, you will experience various of exercises. In the beginning, these exercises will create a foundation of strength and cross-country ski technique. Everything about the Nordic Trainer is directly useful for cross-country skiing. By completing every workout, you will find yourself getting stronger and perform with a much higher Watt.
Watt is an important measurement in Vasaloppet. As a rule of thumb, it takes 18.000 double poling strokes to complete Vasaloppet. So, if you can push 5 Watts more, you can make fewer strokes or simply get there faster.
50 days into or halfway through the training program, most of the workouts will focus on your cardiovascular system. You will have to push yourself, endure muscle soreness and high levels of heart rates, in all to make your body adaptable towards completing the 90k Vasaloppet in March.
It is very important that your power (Watt) and your resistance level increases in all 100 days. This is balanced and adapted through the designed workout I’ve created to all Nordic Strong users.