The success in the summer competitions of 2021 gave Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen the tailwinds he needed to start battling for the top positions every week. He won a bronze medal in the mass start and anchored Norway's men's relay to the golden glory in Beijing 2022. Vetle finished fourth in the Total Score, but he wants more in 2022/2023. And more means working on the details.
What was the first thing you did after the end of last season?
First thing I did after the season was, like many others, to catch some COVID-19. After two years without meeting others, it was inevitable I get infected.
How did you unwind? Did you stay physically active?
Catching COVID-19, I had only one alternative, staying home and staying calm. I struggled for five weeks, and it was five long weeks without physical activities. But I tried to do some other, lighter stuff: I traveled a bit, watched my favourite football team in Liverpool, and did some alpine skiing.
How do you usually gear up for the summer camp/off-season training?
Our off-season training starts on the 1st of May. We commence pretty effortlessly with controlled bike sessions and light running sessions. Then we slowly gear up with more and more training during the summer. We switch to some more challenging sessions and intense intervals in the two months before the season starts.
Was this summer any different?
The first summer after the Olympics is always a bit different. It’s the start of a new four-year period, and we attempt to change the training structure compared with the last couple of years. There was a lot of focus on altitude training before the Olympics; this summer, we stayed at home a lot more. We do sessions with more repetitions and volume but lower intensity.
Last summer was a positive sign of the things to come. You were performing strongly in the summer circuit and then delivered the best season ever for you, with a bronze in the Beijing 2022 mass start (and relay gold) as a highlight. How much confidence did the summer results in 2021 give you for the 2021/2022 winter?
The summer shape and especially the performances at the shooting range gave me a lot of confidence to do the right things in the last months and weeks before the season. It was a lot about having the courage to rest enough and save energy before the season. And knowing that my shape was more than good enough, it was easier to do so than in previous years. Sometimes less is more :)
Your shooting after the Beijing 2022 was phenomenal. Is such accuracy also something one can improve in the summer?
Absolutely! I have actually made some changes to my prone position after the Olympics. And it immediately gave results. With good prone shooting, my standing shooting also became more efficient, since I could use the confidence and flow from the prone and apply that in the standing shooting. I haven’t done some changes after that and expect to be even better when I’m 100% used to this position.
What details have you been working on this summer?
On the exact prone position-related details that I changed after the Olympics and at the same time focusing on the first shot in the prone. Most of my mistakes last year were at the first shot. I was too tense after a harsh loop in the tracks and was not calm enough at the first shot. I’ve worked on my breathing to be more composed before the first shot. Physically I have focused on training with more volume and less intensity. I am trying to save some of this high intensity for the late fall and winter and build a good foundation.
What results/improvements from this summer would you like to take in the winter? The battle for the Total Score will be a colossal one, or so it seems.
Yes. Last year showed that I’m capable of contending for the Total Score. To be even more competitive, I want to avoid these races with two and three mistakes. Staying stable on the range is the key to fighting for the total. Physically it will always go a tad up and down, and with good shooting, you can even be among the Top 6 with a poor skiing day. It is all about avoiding these subpar races without gaining points and staying healthy. Missing races will not be very advantageous with the new system of points.