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.
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.
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.
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.