Obertilliach Mornings…Training Time for the Czech Republic Women’s Team
After two intense weeks of competitions with the IBU Summer Biathlon Championships In Nove Mesto na Morave and the Czech Summer Championships in Letohrad, the Czech Republic Women’s team slipped away for a 10-day training camp in Obertilliach.
Brilliant Morning in Obertilliach
New Women’s Head Coach Egil Gjelland admitted, “The races in summer are good to do, good intensity training. Still training is what is most important in summer.” No better place to resume training than in the small mountain village in Austria’s East Tirol. By early September, although the fields are still brilliantly green, the nights drop into the single digits. The chill extends into the early morning until the sun hits the small stadium, then the temperature is a perfect 15-20 degrees, perfect for training. Sunshine, blue skies, a roller loop that quietly cuts through the tall pine forests and shooting range all to themselves was what the Czech Team found on many mornings. It does not get much better than that.
Big Team; Hard Work
Gjelland, the owner of two Olympic and six IBU WCH medals oversees a team of nine women that includes Olympic Sprint Bronze medalist Veronika Vitkova, veterans Lucie Charvátová and Eva Puskarcikova and upcoming talents like IBU Junior World Champion Marketa Davidova and Anna Tradlecová. “We have a big group with a wide range of experience and ages, so there are some differences in the training. But this group has a very good background. You can see why the Czech team has been successful in the last years. Hard work is no problem for them.”
Focus on Training Levels
One of the things that Gjelland has brought to the team is a focus on the levels of intensity in each workout and volume training, so that each day results in the maximum benefit. “You need to have the low level volume workouts combined with the intensity at several levels.”
1:30 Easy Rollerskiing
On a bright September morning, Gjelland and assistants Jiří Holubec and Tomáš Kašpar are behind the scopes as the women go through 1:30 of easy rollerskiing and shooting, with “some short bursts of speed, 50-60 meters” in the middle followed by shooting. The women glide into the shooting range one-by-one, shooting at their own level, but surely focused on hitting targets and steady cadence. The coaches track the shots, and as the wind picks up, several take clicks to stay centered.
Vitkova on Target
Vitkova, eighth in the World Cup Total Score shoots confidently coming to the shooting range a dozen times without missing a shot. Afterwards, she smiles, saying, “I am doing well, no sickness and the training is good and I had some good summer races.”
Focus on Learning
Although she is mastering the targets, Gjelland and the assistants are watching everyone and commenting. “It is always about learning.” He steps to the firing line, focused on an athlete’s trigger finger. “It has to be the same every time; when it is too fast, you pull the rifle up.” Another round and all five targets close easily. His reaction, “perfect.” Sometimes they probably think I am a pain in the …, but these small things help them improve.”
One More Minute
As the loops pile up and the sun rises higher in the blue sky, the coach comments to Charvátová, “You are just about done?” Her reply, “One more minute.” She skis away, returning to pack up shortly thereafter; the morning’s work complete.
Up to Golzentipp
Yet the easy morning is just half of a typical day in Obertilliach. Part of the charm of this mountain paradise is the mountains and altitude that pay big training benefits. This particular afternoon featured a planned run up to the Golzentipp at 2317 meters. The team spent previous days mountain biking and running on the opposite side of the valley, crossing into Italy, building that all important volume training.
Although the new season is just around the corner, the perfect fall weather in Obertilliach makes the ongoing hard work a little more enjoyable.