Roller Ski Training: This is the training program «all» the best athletes swear by

The Norwegian National team coach Ole Morten Iversen reveals which program is often used among the very best roller skiers. Maybe you've already tested it?

Text: Karl Filip Singdahlsen

Cold temperatures, snow and ski tracks have been replaced with asphalt, hot days and roller skis. Roller skis have become the most important form of training for many to lay the best possible foundation before the snow reappears.

As in the cross-country track, there are many different training programs you can do on roller skis, but on this season's last episode of the podcast “Skisporet”, national team coach Ole Morten Iversen could reveal that there is one special program that stands out as a favourite in the environment:

Interval session 6x8.

- Perhaps the increased cross-country skiers in Norway have been the most active in recent years, and which I think is a very good session, says Iversen to the program leaders Siri Sandvik and Åge Skinstad.

The session is conducted with six intervals of 8 minutes. A really hard work that puts your breath to the test.

- A good tip is to create a route that takes seven or eight minutes. Take the time and think that the goal is to manage to make the round by those minutes. If you manage it, you are tired - and you could clearly manage it - then you've hit a good i3 session. The point of such an increase is the of practice maintaining that level of speed and endurance for a relatively long time. During a competition, you should have high speed in light terrain, and then one may have to hold back a little in the longest slopes. If you think 8 minutes is a little too long, you can start with 5 - 6 minutes, Iversen continues.

Training in zone 3 (or i3) will improve the ability to keep high speed for a long time, without getting stiff. The theory says that the pulse of i3 training should be between 82.5 - 87.5% of maximum heart rate, but heart rate alone is actually not a good parameter for controlling intensity of exercise, it is much better to increase design, speed and subjective experience to steer such a session. At a well-executed i3 session, the pulse at the end of the session should be slightly above the recommended zone.

- If the speed reduces and you hit rock bottom, then you have totally missed the point. Many will be surprised at how easily the first draw will be perceived, says the national team coach.

Recommends two intensive sessions a week

Iversen who is a very systematic and experienced trainer also comes with tips on how many intensive workout sessions you should put into your training week to improve.

- On average, cross-country skiers have two intensive sessions a week. When summing up, the number of intensive sessions ends at that, plus/minus, he believes.

Therefore, those who exercise five days a week can add two hard workouts to their program. In fact, those who exercise 3-4 times a week can also have two hard workouts during a week.

- Yes, I would still have two sessions with intensity. Certainly a regular favourite session, but also sometimes find some other types of intense workout to get some variation. I would have one on roller skis and one with running (or preferably “skigang” / “ælghufs”) in the backhill, continues Iversen.

Wait a little while with systematic training

If the goal is to improve the time in Birken or another race, the training week should also include a longer session.


- What is important for those who are going to Birken is also to focus on training with duration.  Certainly a 2-3 hour training. The hour from two to three hours, you will only achieve by training longer.

Nevertheless, Iversen is aware that this part of the season should be used for something other than systematic training.


- Take a period now, disconnect a little before starting with targeted training. I would have waited until June to systematize the training, Iversen concludes.