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How to get ready for Vasaloppet and succeed

Are you thinking about taking on the oldest and biggest cross-country ski race in the world? We talked to 11 times competitor and ski specialist Bo Jensen on how to get ready for Vasaloppet

The first Sunday of March every year 15.800 cross-country skiers including Bo Jensen is standing impatiently on the tracks at the starting area waiting for the 90-kilometer legendary cross-country race to start. It’s the culmination of months of hard work, devotion, and preparation.

Here are Bo’s best pieces of advice on how to get ready for Vasaloppet 2018:

Get in shape

If you’re already jogging, cycling or maybe inline skating, you’re off to a good start. But you need to get on a pair of skies to learn the technique and get your body used to cross-country skiing.

“I would recommend that you have about 300 kilometers of experience with cross-country skis, before Vasaloppet”, says Bo, he points out that some first timers do it with fewer kilometers of experience.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a place with snow in the fall/winter, the name of the game is to get out there and ski. Bo recommends The Fischer Twin Skin Carbon IPF Classic Race which are waxless skis. This means that you don’t have to master the hard skill of kick waxing.

Skin skis have mohair skin that provides them with a good grip and a good forward glide even in icy and grippy snow. Skin skis also perform perfectly in warmer snow temperatures when there is fresh snow, and when a dreaded “ice clump” might form on the bases of traditional skis.

“A skin-ski is the right choice for most skiers. It doesn't take a lot of preparation to get it ready to hit the trails. Just take them out of their storage, and you’re good to go”, says Bo.

Are you looking out the window wondering why it isn’t snowing yet, or are you living in a country where it doesn't snow very often? Don’t worry there are still lots of ways to get into shape in time for Vasaloppet.

“Do yourself a favor and get a pair of roller skis. It’s the closest you’ll get to cross-country skiing without snow. The main techniques are the same, and both roller and cross-country skiing is excellent for training the body's cardiovascular system and all the major muscles of the body”, says Bo.

Even though roller skis are a great way to cross-country ski all year round, Bo points out that you need to get on a real pair of cross-country skis before attending in Vasaloppet

“You don’t have the same glide between the ski and the snow as you do with roller skies and the asphalt. Furthermore, the maneuvering is different because a cross-country ski is longer than a roller ski”.

Are you busy during weekdays? Don’t worry, just take short high-intensity trips where the main focus is interval training. Reserve the long trips for the weekend, where you got time for low-intensity training where the main focus is on cardio and technique.

Learn more about what to consider when you buy a pair of roller skis here. Remember to supplement the skiing with some muscle and core training.

Learn about how to choose the right cross country poles, boots, and clothing and get all Bo’s secret pieces of advice for surviving Vasaloppet in part two of “How to get ready for Vasaloppet and succeed.

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