Back to Training with Tarjei Boe

Back to Training with Tarjei Boe

It is the third week in June; Tarjei Boe and the top-ranked Norwegian men’s team is in Lillehammer for their first away-from-home camp, albeit with a few changes. It has been a very different spring, with extra time at home, more rest and less busy than usual. However now the veteran is back in a familiar place preparing for a new season: reflecting on a quiet spring, younger teammates, and enthusiastic coaches.

Back to Training with Tarjei Boe

New Camp Precautions

The Lillehammer camp is actually the team’s second of the season, but a few weeks ago in Oslo, “We all trained together but stayed and at home. This is the first official camp with the new precautions. We have to live in separate rooms. We have a chef with us who makes all the food and serves it on a plate, so there is only one person in contact with it. There are rules; the federation is being a little more strict about them just to be sure.” However, he admitted, “I tell everyone that now you can feel what is like to live like an athlete in the winter when we are travelling, washing our hands and using the hand sanitizer, just taking care of ourselves and staying away from sick people.” Adding a light note with a laugh, “Now everyone knows what our life is like in the winter!”

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Lucky Ending to Season

Thinking about the end of last season, he said, “We were lucky compared to other sports, to be honest. Finland was maybe the only place we could have finished; we had a fair end to the season, compared to other sports where they suddenly had to find a winner of something like a Total Score…It was actually fair for both the men and women. I do not feel like we lost so much. Maybe it was hard on Martin who wanted to prepare people for that last week, but it was pretty nice for him to win that last race 10 years after his first win at the same place. It was a nice ending for him.”

Totally New Spring Routine

After Kontiolahti, with no Oslo competitions, it was “totally new, because you usually come home tired after the season and then you take a vacation. You are still travelling even if you head is resting; a lot is happening. But this year, nothing happened! It was really strange; you could not go on vacation, do anything, work with sponsors or see family. I like to meet up with friends and family; that is usually my main goal. It was all gone. We were sitting at home, thinking what to do. It was less partying, less vacation, so I think everyone is in much better shape now than normally in May and June!”

My Future Career

Regarding any new skills learned this spring, he hesitated before admitting, “My younger brother is a carpenter. We bought an apartment and I helped him renovate it. That was fun, but I am not sure it will be my second career. I do not have many years left in my career, so maybe you should have a vote on Instagram about what I should do after my career!”

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Ski Vacation in Norway

The limited spring rolled right into the new training season. “I was pretty active since the middle of April, but started training once a day the first of May. Before that me and my girlfriend spent two weeks at my new cabin and we skied a lot. I did not do it for training, but just because it was so nice. We went to the cabin the first day you could travel, so you could say my vacation was in Norway.”

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Variety

As for the spring and summer training, Tarjei thinks variety is the key. “In spring, I do not want to be too specific; I like variety. I run, cycle, skating, classic double-poling and strength training; build from scratch in the spring. In autumn, there is so much biathlon-specific training that you cannot avoid, on the rollerski track with the rifle on your back skating. In my older days, I’ve become better at listening to what I need. I train a lot when the body responds to it; train less when I feel tired. I think I am better at that, not pushing every day.”

“I do not train just to do it”

His philosophy has changed over the years as the years have piled up. “When you are younger, you are always on full attack; all the training works then. You cannot say what is right, because it changes as you get older. …I do not train just to do it; you do not get the right effect from that…You have to listen to your heart. If you are insecure about doing it, the best thing is to skip it. That does not show weakness, but that you are smarter.”

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Natural Runner

At the Oslo camp, Tarjei won their first running test of the season, 3 km on the track in 8:54. “It was quite good, especially for May. Running comes quite naturally for me; we normally do not do much running in the fall, because of the biathlon training them but this is a time that might come in September. It is always fun to do this.”

Back to Training with Tarjei Boe
Back to Training with Tarjei Boe

Motivated Coaches

Coach Siegfried Mazet was “missing in action” that first week, stuck at home in France due to coronavirus travel restrictions. So he passed on some early season shooting pointers via computer video-conferencing. “It was really strange. The women’s coach (Patrick Oberegger) lives in Norway so he helped out; it worked out quite well. It was fun to have him on the computer, but it was also important for Siegfried to be participating. He is a really good coach. Over your career you have many coaches; some only want to be there the minimum. Siegfried is the total opposite; he wants to be there all the time, the maximum. You could see that he was frustrated that day. It is nice to see that he is so motivated. He and Egil (Kristiansen) are really good coaches and both are at such a high level. They have worked with great athletes so they have skills and personality to know what to focus on. We have been with them for several years; it feels very comfortable.”

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Youthful Teammates

At age 31, the 2011 World Cup Total Score winner is the senior member of the Norwegian team. “You do not feel so old except when the younger guys are coming up. That is the feeling of being older, even Johannes seems older; he has been in the game since 2013. He seems older even though his age is not ." Suddenly you are fighting with those who just came from the juniors…They learn so much from session to session with Egil and Siegfried. Sometimes you want to be young again and get better every day. I remember when I came into the team in 2009, it was the same. Each training camp I came a little closer to the best guys on the team; it was like every minute of training you put in, you get back. When you are older, it does not work the same. So it is pretty much fun seeing the young guys get better; you will see Sturla (Laegreid) and Johannes Dale take some big steps this winter.”

Back to Training with Tarjei Boe

With training now in full swing, and thinking about the strange spring that he and everyone has faced, Tarjei admitted he learned one lesson. “Less vacation and less partying will get a better and faster start to the season!”

Photos: Tarjei Boe, Norges Skiskytter Forbund

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