Preparing for Norseman – Part 1 – The training

I will have my debut in Norseman this year, do you have any advice to share?

This is a question I have been asked quite a bit. Unfortunately, the question is too general and unspecific to give a quick answer. In addition, the advice will vary greatly from person to person. The level of fitness, the ambition and the available resources in time and capital is essential.  Still, I will give my best shot on a general advice for a first time Norseman-competitor. Part 1 is about the most important thing, especially at this stage, the training.

Hopefully, you are already well into a good training regime already. If not, today is the time to begin. Norseman is a long day for everyone. Still, I do not think “getting in the mileage” is the most crucial factor at this point. Getting into a training regime with these key workouts each week gives you a good base:

  • one interval session on the bike
  • one interval session on the run
  • one long bike session
  • one long run session

Simply told the session could be:

  • Interval bike – 45 – 60 min at threshold
  • Interval run – 40 – 50 min at threshold
  • Long bike session – 2,5 – 5 hours
  • Long run – 1,25 – 2,5 hours

7 – 10 hours of training/week is in my book very good and sufficient to get you thru race day. The most important thing is consistency. If you lack time, go for intensity.

Regarding getting in the mileage, I do recommend having two big days prior to Norseman where you start the day with a 2500 – 4000 meter continues swim, 4 – 7 hours bike and 1-hour run. That will give you confidence that you can manage the distance and let you train properly on your race day nutrition.

Specific training for the different disciplines:

The swim – Based on statistics you are not likely to have a strong swimming background. If you do, however, this does not apply to you. Priority #1 is to learn to swim crawl well enough that you can swim 3800 meters well within the time limit without using to much energy. Getting to that stage is not necessarily easy, but absolutely doable for everyone. Does your technique suck, get a coach. Do you lack motivation and a swimming plan? Join a triathlon swim group. The swim in Norseman is not very different from other swim courses in triathlon, except from the cold water. Proper equipment can compensate for that so no worries.

Triallan - HUUB - Boardman TTE - Fusion - - Norseman 2017-26
The swim course in Norseman can look scary. With decent training and equipment, it is going to go fine. Photo: Tom Martin Hartviksen

The bike – The Norseman bike course is hilly but not super hilly. Compared against the Swiss Alps in Swissman it is nearly flat. Training for the Norseman bike course does not have to be very specific regarding going in the hills. If you have anyone in your surroundings, sure go and ride in them. If not, you can use some books under your front wheel on the turbo sessions simulating an uphill and the specific muscles for that load.

Triallan - HUUB - Boardman TTE - Fusion - - Norseman 2017-27
Staying comfortable in aero position is very important in Norseman. Use your TT-bike for training as soon as possible and stay in aero position on the turbo session as much as possible. Does your back killa you on your TT-bike? Get a good bike fit.

The run – The first 25 km of the run course are basically flat. The next 17 km are mostly quite steep. I have asked last years winner and 7 times Norseman finisher Lars Christian Vold if he is doing specific uphill run training. No, was his answer. Maybe that is because he is relatively strong going uphill compared to me and don’t need it. Maybe he would be even better with it, or maybe it is I who is wasting my time doing it. The way I train specifically for Norseman is mixing in uphill running on my intervals on the treadmill. Typically, I go 4 min hard uphill, 1 min rest then 2 min harder flat followed by 2 min rest. Then I repeat the process 5 – 7 times. Doing it on the treadmill prevents me from having to run a lot of downhill, which I do not enjoy due to the risk of injury. Running only uphill intervals made me unable to keep the speed on the flats, which is the reason I put 2 min flat running in the mix.

Triallan - HUUB - Boardman TTE - Fusion - - Norseman 2017-33
Honestly, I both looked and felt like sh*t going up the infamous Zombie-hill last year, where I in 2014/15 felt like a million dollars. The lack of specific hill running was not the cause, but pure fatigue.  However, mixing uphill running on the treadmill could be wise regarding training for Norseman.
Triallan - HUUB - Boardman TTE - Fusion - - Norseman 2017-25
Norseman is definitely one of the most awesome races in the world and the last 4,7 km run in the rocky hills are like nothing else. Still, you do not have to be a superb terrain runner or have terrain running shoes to go up there. Having leftover energy and strength in the legs and head is what matter.

Hopefully, this was a good advice, now that we are getting close to 4 months before race day. There is still a lot of time, but building a solid condition base does not get done in a few weeks so you have no time to waste.

Do you have any questions or comments? Don’t hesitate to drop then below.

Publisert av


I am a 33 year old PRO triatlete. My goal is to swim, bike and run as fast as possible, and enjoy the journey. All my adventures and triathlon related stuff is well documented on this blog.

7 kommentarer til “Preparing for Norseman – Part 1 – The training

  1. Hei! Skjønner at man også må trene på løping, men jeg lurer på om økt terskel på sykkel også vil gjøre meg til en raskere løper?

  2. Kort fortalt så vil all økning i «kondisjon» gi effekt på de andre disiplinene. Det går mao å bli en bedre løper av å svømme også. Utfordringen kan den muskelspesifikke belastningen, men sykling bruker relativt stor grad av samme muskler som løping, så jeg mener at det er veldig overførtbart. Likevel ville jeg lagt inn 2 løpeøkter per uke nettopp for den muskelspesifikke beklastningen, men de trenger ikke å være lange eller harde.

  3. Hei Allan

    Hvor mange % helning har du på møllen på den intervalløkten hvor du vekslet mellom stigning og flatt? Bruker du pausene til å heve/senke møllen?

    Et spørsmål til som muligens er off-topic, men har du forsøkt/erfaring med ? Sliter med beinhinnebetennelse den ene og lurte på om disse kanskje kunne fungert mot det.

  4. Hi Allan, thanks for sharing all the knowledge. I was wondering how you are training in the winter to prepare for the cold water. I am based in Scotland and although we do not get proper winter the sea gets too cold to swim longer than 10min. Would you leave it till May or is it still worth going in once/twice a week? I am not a fast swimmer ….

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