As a brief introduction, Nils Göran van der Poel is a Swedish speed skater who is the current world and Olympic record holder and reigning world and Olympic champion in the 5,000 m and 10,000 event. As you can imagine, he has dedicated much of his life to the sport and through trial and error believe he has found the ultimate workout routine.
He’s written a PDF about his training routines that goes into some detail that covers his mental, physical, and specific workouts on speed skating. From a fitness angle there is a lot that you can take away from his training routine and best of all its totally free to download without any catches.
For many the idea of becoming an Olympic speedkater may be out of reach, but the guide provided by Nils Göran van der Poel has lots of takeaways that aren’t specific to the sport.
You can tell his humble background, even with his achievements, one of his opening paragraphs states the following:
I wish for the sport to keep developing and for my records to be broken. I will not be the one to break 6.00,00 nor 12.30,00, but maybe someone else will.
This is clearly somebody who is at the very top, but still believe that there may be somebody out there better than he is with the right training, ‘what a guy!’. This sums up perfectly why you should download and read through the guide:
The main idea of my training program was that you will become good at whatever it is that you train. You could use it as a blueprint to create an elite level training program. I found interesting data in here and inspiration.
- He divides his fitness training into two axes: (1) Competition speed capacity and (2) aerobic capacity. “The physical ability that enabled my success was a very strong aerobic base.”
- Nils Göran van der Poel sees the event as a number of one legged lunges and trains for this buy completing sessions in an empty ring.
- His training sessions are cycled to enable that specific training. It’s cycled in 5-2 training (5 days on 2 off) and seasonal cycles. “My yearly training program was divided into three different seasons. First the Aerobic season (aerobic), secondly Threshold season (10 weeks maximal training), thirdly Specific season (3 weeks prior to event) and lastly Aerobic season 2.0.” Which is back to “lower aerobic”- kind of a deload.
His lower aerobic consists of training is 6h biking at 220W- this is beyond most people’s maximal training. His maximal capacity is way higher, however the principles at work are similar for anyone. He goes into more detail about how he does tapering, rest days and eating during each training cycle.
Consistency and motivation was important to Nils Göran van der Poel 5 days on 2 days off. Anything that interfered with this was moved to one side (including travel to test VO2 max). Some variation of training program due to recovery or rest with simple metrics indicating when to rest (heart rate was a key one).
You can download the full guide instantly here:
It’s one of the best detailed fitness plans that we have read for a while. He posts exact training plans and notes later on in the guide.
“I’ve not done much cyclic training. Often my routine is 6-8 weeks of training, plateau, switch programs. Or 6 week program, deload and then try again. Going forward I will be re-designing my regular training with a more cyclical training program based on the guide that has been provided”
I like that it’s goal oriented, with simple, measurable goals.
“If you’re listening to the body when it whispers to you, you don’t have to hear it scream.” So does the advice on the mental portion in terms of coach and media interaction- which maybe can be an important takeaway for young athletes, or those who have sudden media attention.
But the concepts from it for mental that I’m applying is creating an environment (make it easy to train) and working motivation into the training/rest cycles.
Any way- I hope you read it and get an increase in inspiration, motivation and overall willingness to get better at whatever training you want to do. Remember that fitness and training are important for your body and mind.