This post is written by Nikola Svabø, one of the contestants in Project Ylläs-Levi.
Temperatures are on the rise, snow is melting and the race is creeping up on us. These past few weeks I have seen extremely tough conditions, but an equally exciting challenge as the results of my training are starting to pay off and I am no longer being overtaken by the geriatric skiers or the 2 year old snow-plowers (well not all of them).
After many weeks wishing I could go back and only do the one sport I have always loved ‘running’, and learning how to get in and out of the tracks on high-speed downhills and standing on one leg at a time to improve my balance, I am now (finally) enjoying this process of skiing and am even disappointed that the weather is heating up! Needless to say that my husband is very much in favour of my improved attitude towards the Norwegian Winter.
Falling in love with the quiet stillness of skiing
My perseverance and determination to learn to love skiing, stop complaining about the cold and complete this race in April, are best summed up by Nelson Mandela:
“Running taught me valuable lessons. In cross-country competition, training counted more than intrinsic ability, and I could compensate for a lack of natural aptitude with diligence and discipline. I applied this in everything I did.”
As a result of the ever improving ski technique and my increase in tailored exercise I have been able to comfortably complete 30km Saturday ski trips, which I no longer dread but rather look forward to as they enable me to explore many parts of Oslo that I otherwise would never have experienced.
As a sun loving, Australian who cannot concentrate without a podcast, or 90s playlist in my head all day, I have fallen in love with the quiet stillness of the Norwegian woods and the isolation of skiing .
Co-competitors (assessing my competition)
I have also had the opportunity to meet our co-competitors from Sweden and Finland here in Oslo and spend the day skiing with them at Lyn Ski club. It was a great feeling meeting everyone for the first time and getting to train with a group of people who all have the same ‘crazy’ goal of finishing the race in April.
This meeting also allowed me to check out my ‘competition’ to see if I was, as feared, the most unskilled skier in the pack – But I think, thanks to the Norwegian Ski conditions and an excellent (and patient) coach, I may have had a helping hand in not being the least improved. Hopefully I will not finish last at Ylläs-Levi, but who knows. I will continue to do my best and train towards the big race.
An update on my training
In addition to my 2 ski trainings and 1 ski trip per week – I have increased my endurance and strength training to
- 15km runs 3 times a week
- 1 interval training
- 4 weights sessions with a lot of staking and rowing to finish off
- 2 Hot Pilates to relax my muscles and let my bruises heal
I have also reduced my dairy intake to ensure my stomach is my friend during the week.