Nordenskiöldsloppet – what does it take to participate?

That fact that Nordenskiöldsloppet is a tough challenge and demands proper preparation can’t be much of a surprise for anyone. The question is more, what it really takes. How much do you need to prepare for it and what level of capacity should you have? Racefox has together with the race organizers conducted a survey amongst last year’s participant. Elite skiers have been excluded, as there already are many studies about their training amounts – furthermore it’s next to impossible for amateurs with a proper day job to come up to the elites amount of training.

Who took part in the survey?

Skiers who completed the race in between 11 to 15 hours.

How much did they train?

The average training amount for the group was around 9 hours per week. The majority trained more than a weekly 8 hours but there were exceptions who only trained for 4 hours a week too. Those latter must either have an exceptional physical constitution or an endurance background from another sport. It was however only exceptions. Those again who trained 8 hours per week split their training amount into 6 to 8 training sessions. This means that you should be able to train on 5 to 6 days a week. This allows you to rest for another 1 to 2 days but also includes double trainings on some days.

In how many races have they competed in the actual season before the race?

The survey shows clearly that one should have competed in many races, as it is important for you to understand how your body reacts to exertion over a longer period of time. The same goes for your equipment. As a recommendation, one should aim for at least 2 long distance races in the very same season that the participation in the Nordenskiöldsloppet is planned for.

How many kilometers should one have added up on skis or roller skis?

To be prepared enough, you should have skied for more than 1500 km. Results show though that there were many that had skied for a lot longer, in some cases up to 3000 km.

Foto: Marcus Olsson

Did they work out with weights/in the gym?

More than 60% of the studied group works out at once per week. Strength training helps to build up the physical constitution that it takes to endure the race’s long time exertion.

How good of skiers are these people? We asked them for their best 10 km time in terrain similar to Nordenskiöldsloppet’s tracks.

It’s mostly very good skiers that participate. They all can do 10 km between 25 to 30 minutes. That doesn’t really surprise me. To be able to ski for such a long distance, you both need to have a good skiing technique and be strong as that’s what gives you speed.

How good of runners are these skiers then? We again asked for their personal records on 10 km.

They are good runners too. Their average time for running the 10 km is just slightly under 40 minutes. That´s not really surprising either as you need a good physical base you can rely on.

Now this analysis should give you an indication of how much you need to train for the Red Bull Nordenskiöldsloppet – probably the world’s longest and toughest cross-country skiing race!

What a fantastic challenge – will you take it on?

//Christer Norström

Christer is a ski coach who uses mathematics and advanced technology to understand and teach skiing. He is one of the founders of Vasaloppet’s first official digital ski coach – Racefox, a smart app that gives real-time feedback during training.