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Should you train like a Norwegian?

Should you train like a Norwegian?

A question that came up in one of our team Q&A’s the other week was my thoughts on:


So, should you train like a pro male triathlete in his late 20’s?

The answer to the above, looking at it logically, is no;

  • You are not a professional triathlete, who has their life geared up around the sport.
  • You are not a man, women have different physiology, needs, fears, and challenges.
  • You might not be in your late 20’s and be able to recover from sessions as easily.


But there are some key takeaways that we can use from these pro’s.

It’s knowing which ones are applicable to us, and implementing what is useful, while ignoring the distractions, that can be a challenge.

The Norwegian Method has had a lot of press in Triathlon news, and the main new concept is the lactate-guided threshold interval training. Lactate levels are measured repeatedly throughout the workout with a finger or ear prick to ensure that athletes hit the right intensities in workouts. Training is individualised based on this information. They also check on core body temperature, which is very important for racing in the heat, and use some other technologies for nutrition planning and timing. The reality is, for most of us, the benefits of these innovations are minimal compared to what we can achieve by getting some of our basic habits dialled in.

Every now and then a “new” training methodology comes in that gets a lot of hype, but look a bit deeper and you will find that they are building on the same foundations that make a good training programme, and a lifestyle that supports your training. These are the things that the Norwegians are doing well, and they are the ways that you can implement what they do into your training.

It’s important to recognise that age groupers have a unique set of challenges. We can’t dedicate all of our time to training, and recovery. We have other responsibilities, and training is a recreational activity, that should fill us with joy and purpose. Adding extra layers of stress with technology and tracking should only happen if you have everything dialled in at the foundation level, and it can take a few years to get this right.

My main takeaways that you can implement;

Consistency and Patience

Gustav and Kristian, have not come from nowhere, they have been training for over 10 years to get to where they are.

What you can do:

It can take many years of consistent training to build up your endurance to a high level, it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important to know how much time you can realistically dedicate to training, so that you can stay in the habit of training for longer.

Often athletes think they can fit more training in than their life allows for. I sometimes see people start out with the best of intentions, then as the reality of trying to fit training on top of an already busy life hits, training starts to suffer. In this case it would be better to start with a sustainable amount of training, then build up at certain times before key races.

Having a great team

These guys do this professionally, so they have people in the background who support their goals and help them to be their best.

What you can do:

Communicate with the people who are supporting you, your family, friends, coach, clubs that you are a member of, so that they know how to support you. Meet with your family, so that they know what you need to do during the week, get the support you need, and prepare to get creative with how you fit your training in. You might have to simplify some aspects your life for short periods of time.


Gustav and Kristian have a long term plan, which works on their challenges, and progresses them for different races

What you can do:

Looking at the bigger picture, and what your main race goal is, can help you to understand where to focus. Which events are going to be useful to help you achieve your goal, and which ones are a distraction. You can do this yourself or with a coach.

Focusing on the process

In their interview, Gustav and Kristian, talked about the goals of their sessions, and enjoying understanding the reason why they were doing a workout, then executing it to the best of their ability.

What you can do:

This is something that we can all do. Understanding a session and executing it well should be the goal of your training sessions. The goal is not to get the most crowns on Strava, or beat your volume from last week. The goal is to hit that session as it is described.

Being Coachable

Both of these athletes collaborate with their coach, ask questions, and perform the sessions that they are asked to. They look for ways they can grow their mindset and improve their performance. They understand that being at a high level of training comes at a cost.

What you can do:

Again this is something that is available to all of us. Being open to advice and feedback is what helps us to move forward, and develop as an athlete. Reading and understanding how training works can help you to commit to sessions, and having unstructured time off from training will help you to mentally and physically reset.

Get the basics right

Gustav and Kristian have a great foundation of basic habits that they can add on top of. This is why they are using advanced tracking, and technical tools in their training.

What you can do:

Before you start chasing tech make sure you have a strong basic foundation. Tech is fun, and can be useful, but only if you understand how to use it, and use it in conjunction with your own feedback. We are not machines, and subjective feedback can give us just as much, if not more information than tech gadgets.

Adding tech can also sometimes cause extra stress that we don’t need, when things go wrong, don’t work, or become another “thing” that you need to do before, during, or after training.

The things that I consider to be basic habits are below. If you can’t or won’t commit to these basics, then layering tech on top won’t enhance your performance, it just becomes a distraction, and shiny new toy.

Should you train like a Norwegian?

You can read more about the Norwegian Method here


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