26 February 2013

Winter training

I have passed the last few days downhill skiing in Åre with my family. Åre is the major and largest ski resort in Sweden and was the host of the Alpine World Ski Championships in 2007. Compared to the Alps the height of Åreskutan, the mountain above the village, is not impressive with 1420 meters (4,660 ft) - but the skiing could for a real amateur as myself be quite challenging both on and off the pistes and there are some really fun black slopes. Regretfully, it was quite foggy at the top of the mountain most days so I cannot share any good pictures of the scenery – pictures of me skiing would never be pretty even in sunshine. It is quite humbling to realize that your six year old son is better even at Mogul skiing than yourself (see picture below).

On the other hand he has been skiing every winter season for four years, more than I ever did as a kid growing up in Stockholm city. Strangely enough he also seems to be less tired than myself in my legs at the end of each ski day. I tell myself that all exercise, be it biking to work or as this weekend Alpine skiing, is adding to the total training volume necessary for endurance competitions like TDG. On the other hand Alpine skiing, which is characterized by high-intensity exercise of between 90 and 120 seconds duration that requires repeated phases of high-force isometric and eccentric contractions, is something entirely different from long distance running. To be a good Alpine skier, if you in contrast to me have the skiing technique of course, appear to require the ability to reperfuse the ischemic muscle resulting from the high-force contractions and is not requiring a great maximum lung capacity like running. A good review article discussing the physiology of Alpine skiing is “Limitations to performance during alpine skiing”, by Richard Ferguson and published a couple of years ago in Exp Physiol. 2010; 95 (3): 404-10. In summary, if you want to be good at skiing - ski, if you want to be good at running - run!

20 February 2013

Luck in lottery - TDG 2013 is waiting

Yesterday, I had luck in a lottery, probably for the first time in my life, and got a place in the start list of Tor des Geants (TDG) 2013! As I had not the same luck in the UTMB lottery earlier in January, TDG will now be this year's, and probably my life's, peak running adventure. I first considered to run the Swiss Irontrail when I did not get a place in UTMB, but there was something irresistable about TDG that made me go for it and pre-register for the draw. I am now very lucky I did - I truly hope I will be the same on September 15 back in Courmayeur.

It is now exactly 200 days until the start of TDG and you will be able to follow my path towards the event in this blog. I will try to share some of my learnings from the past and new experiences as I prepare for the race.

As this is my first post I also need to add a standard legal disclaimer: This blog is my own personal and I am solely responsible for the content and opinions expressed by myself on the blog. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use. You are reading the blog entirely at your own risk. This blog is at least for the time being completely non-profit and its use cannot in any way be interpreted as having any profitable cause. No profitable or monetary claims against the blog can therefore be made for shown copyrighted pictures.  If anyway claims against the blog are made they should be brought forward in Swedish courts according to Swedish law.