Finding better, Tapiola intensity

Week 2 –

Find better


Me and Ryan at the World Champships (Romania, 2016), international debut for both of us.

Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you, people who challenge, inspire, and motivate you to become a better version of yourself.

In studies of army cadets’ fitness testing, the results show that within a squadron the improvement of the group as a whole is directly related to how much better the least-fit cadet got. The discussions goes that – if even the less accomplished or successful members of a group are motivated and committed to improving, the entire group will do better. (I’d cite this but that’d feel too academic.)

This speaks volumes to cultivating an inclusive, motivated culture within your team or club, where everyone, no matter what level they perform at, is seeking to do better – not only for themselves, but for the betterment of the people around them.

Ryan, my younger brother, moved to Norway in September. Norway is THE cross country skiing nation of the world. It is the home to some of the greatest nordic athletes in history. But not only does Norway boast great champions of the sport, they also have phenomenal participation nation-wide.

And that’s what Ryan went there for – the culture, the people, and the opportunity to be fully immersed in the world of skiing.

Back in the fall, he told me about how happily surprised he was with the open discussions on training and technique he and his teammates would have. His team is a mix of World Junior and Norwegian National Championship medalists, mid-pack, and bottom half skiers – but everyone was keen, had something to bring to the conversation, and opinions were valued equally regardless of how fast the holder of the idea was.

This might not sound like much, but I think most people would agree that they’d prefer to get advice from a World Champion than from a guy who came 81st at a continental cup race. And hey, it’s natural. We’re all drawn to success, and we’ll try to emulate or adapt what we see the best people do for our own purposes. But I think this group-growth mindset that Ryan described is a big part of why ski culture thrives in Norway.

To have a group of people with such diverse ability, all equally motivated to improve and pursue success by their own definition – that’s what raises the game. Because for every star performer in a group, there are chasers behind… And if those chasers are motivated, they’ll ramp up the pace and move the whole race forward with them.


Tapiola threshold intervals – 5 October 2016

This was a self-prescribed and directed running workout about a week before the Sawdust Run where I set a PB and course record… I think this period in mid-October was the fittest I’ve ever been in my life.

Tapiola is a small park on the outskirts of Thunder Bay where they have singletrack classic trails in the winter, and in the summer a soccer field with a ~730m grassy track around it. This was a pretty regular summer interval session from Timo when I was on the training centre, and one of the few intensity sessions I actually looked forward to, even though they were long trying efforts.

3×6 laps @ ~3 minutes. 1 lap easy for recovery ~ 5 minutes.

Set 1) 3:02, 3:00, 3:00, 2:57, 2:57, 2:58. Avg HR/Speed – 174/14.7
Set 2) 2:55, 2:57, 2:58, 2:55, 2:56, 2:54. Avg HR/Speed – 179/14.9
Set 3) 2:57, 2:57, 2:57, 2:58, 2:58, 2:59. Avg HR/Speed – 182/14.7

Super solid day! Time passed by quick and I was running pretty quick too. Put the spikes on for the middle set – they’re definitely not comfortable, but light and were nice on the slick grass/grime.

Times were consistent, so was effort. Measured workout, very in control, never felt like I was falling off pace or digging a hole. Recovery seemed easy between intervals, no lactates in the legs either.

It was sort of cool, very humid, and it rained a bit after the first set.


Next post Tuesday.

Find better

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