Training for training camp — and Ambit3

Hey endurance athletes! Here comes a little training update

  • Thule Adventure Team in Spain
  • Training for training camp
  • An unusual winter trail run
  • The Suunto Ambit3 – and cool 3D film feature

Thule Adventure Team in Spain

My teammates Martin and Helena are racing in a 6 day MTB stage race in Southern Spain.

They are in the leaders’ jersey after Day 2, with a 9 minute lead. They’re doing awesome! Follow them on the Thule Adventure Team Facebook page.

bike martin and helena in spin

Helena and Martin after Day 1.


Winter training

Back in Jämtland the climate isn’t so different from Spain: The snow is virtually gone from the forest and the river is free of ice (in some places). I’ve already had 4 open water paddles in February — That’s not normal!

paddling Paddling the Indalsälven under the Kattstrupeforsen dam.


Kayak sessions in February are a bonus, but a long-term training plan for 2015 is more important. I recently met with Irina Persson, a ski trainer and endurance coach that works at Jamtkliniken (one of my sponsors who helps me with massage and recovery). Irina was a top skier in her earlier days and is well-versed in training methods, with a strong attention to detail. We talked for a while and she helped me create a “periodization” of my training/racing in 2015. It looks something like this:

Small scale periodizering. Focus on proper week-to-week recovery. I set up a schedule that looks like this (though I modify it occasionally depending on what my body is telling me)

  • Week 1 – Low volume & intensity (relatively less and fewer intervals + hard weight sessions)
  • Week 2 – Medium volume & intensity (more and longer intervals + weight sessions)
  • Week 3 – High volume & intensity (even more and longer intervals + light weight sessions)
  • Week 4 – Low
  • Week 5 – Medium
  • Week 6 – High


Large scale periodizering. Focus on the bigger picture and plan the racing year.

  • Early winter intervals (Jan – March). Focus on A2 “race pace” intervals (e.g., 6×8 min or 4×10 min) to improve race speed. As many of you know I’m an advocate of 80/20 — 80% of your training time in the low intensity A1 aerobic zone and 20% in the intense A3 anaerobic zone. Then why am I doing A2 intervals? Because my VO2 max has more or less plateaued in recent years (not unusual for someone who is 38) so there is less room for improvement in my max output. Instead I’m training myself to tolerate ‘long and hard’ sessions just below my anaerobic threshold.
  • Early spring training camps (March/April). Focus on “long slow distance” sessions (A1). Why? Back in December I booked two separate week-long training camps in Spain (March and April) so we decided this was the best time to work on running, cycling, and paddling efficiency – i.e., low intensity work over a long time period. For motivational reasons it made more sense to work on intervals in early winter (mostly inside) and save the looooong sessions for Spain, where the weather, atmosphere, and terrain make it easier to get through 5 hour training days.
  • Racing phase #1 (Late April – early July). Lots of racing (!) – A 5 day stage race in China, 24 hr race in Gothenburg, Johan Karlsson’s Race of Heroes, and the Åre Extreme Challenge. My Monday-Friday training will naturally be lighter during this period.
  • Mid season recovery phase (mid July). To keep the motivation up, I will force myself to rest before the next big racing phase. Some fishing in the mountains?
  • Racing phase #1 (Late July – November). If all goes well, this racing phase may include three travels to China for three different stage races – Wu Long, Taining, and Wuhan.

So that’s the plan … So far so good, but lots can happen and I plan to keep eating healthy, training hard, and resting more than I think I need.


An unusual winter trail run 

After a nice easy XC ski session on the trails at Vålådalen I headed out for a long trail run in the hills on Sunday.

Surprisingly, it looked almost like summer, with open grass and run-able terrain!


run fjallamara2

run screen shot

run fjällamara 3


Suunto Ambit3 Peak – and cool 3D film feature

I’m a huge proponent of using a heart rate monitor watch (to regulate training intensity) and GPS (to regulate speed).   Suunto just took a big technological leap forward with the new Ambit3.



My new Ambit3 Peak arrived in the mail.


I’ve been happy with the Ambit2, but there are a few nice new features with the Ambit3:

  • 50 hr battery life even with GPS — almost twice as long as Ambit2
  • Bluetooth compatibility to smartphones, tablets, bike cadence pod, etc
  • An improved connection to the Movescount App, where you can make changes directly to your screens and upload to Movescount remotely
  • A cadence measurer for running based on the watch’s advanced accelerator (but you still need a pod for cycling cadence). Perhaps soon they’ll be able to measure kayak cadence?
  • A smaller and more comfortable HR belt
  • Ability to take pictures from your phone while training, which provides info on your location, elevation, speed, and level of suffering (i.e., heart rate)


But here is the coolest thing: The GPS data from your watch is converted into a 3D movie via the Movescount App (which you can then share via email, Facebook, YouTube, Movescount, etc). This will be a cool addition to my future GoPro films from China and elsewhere.

Here is the 3D movie from my “snow-less” winter run on Sunday — click on the arrow to play the film


You can even go back and make films of previous GPS sessions derived from e.g., an Ambit2. I created this film today from my Christmas Eve run in San Diego and edited it to 20 seconds (instead of the standard 60). Check out the vertical drop to the desert halfway through my run – cool, hey?! Click the arrow to play.


One last thing. It’s great that Suunto gives you options but here’s one I’m not gonna use: you can “push” notifications from your phone to your watch so you know who’s calling and texting you during a training session.   Coach Cole suggests that you turn off your phone instead and be present while training  :)

Train smart (and without distraction)


PS I’m selling my old Ambit2 if you’re interested, email me. It works great – even with the 3D film feature!





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