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Interview With Elite Skier Tom Krenz of Team Cyclova XC

Tommy Krenz in action at the 2011 Seeley Hills Classic     

Recently I caught up with Cyclova XC team member  & Elite Birkie skier Tommy Krenz and interviewed him about his Birkie experience this year.  Tom is as professional about his training as anyone I have ever met and in my opinion, athletes of any level could learn much from him - so here is your chance!  There is much fun stuff and several valuable "pearls of training wisdom" in here!  Enjoy!

Frank L:  Congratulations Tommy on an amazing Birkie and ski season in general!  If you were to choose a most memorable moment of this year's Birkie, what would it be?
Tommy K:  Thanks, Frankie, young protege of mine, for the press and opportunity to talk about my Birkie.  The most memorable part of the Birkie for me was once again the post party at the cabin.  Racing the Birkie has become almost secondary for me over the years.  Sure, when I'm training I keep the focus and hunger, no one has more piss-and-vinegar between 5 and 8 pm than me, but when the Birkie weekend hits I relax and enjoy the atmosphere.  I think of myself as a wild card nowadays.

But if you pressed me, I'd say the most memorable moment of the Birkie race was Highway 77 as always.  This is when the boys are separated from the men.  I was at the back of the train, as usual, before the crossing, and then kicked it into a high tempo V2 and started moving up to make the split that always happens there.  It's an awesome feeling when your moving past people.  It's why we do all those lung-busting intervals; take the pain!

Frank L:  What was the most memorable moment of your ski season?
Tommy K:  My most memorable moment this ski season was a training night over at the Hollow (Troll Hollow at Trollhaugen).  I've been really pushing the envelope this year and was doing a VO2max workout.  That's different than a threshold or an anaerobic workout.  I really dissect these workouts down to those 3 categories. It had just snowed and it was colder than hell.  I had the waxless boards on which made it even colder.  I did 10 times 1 minute anaerobic 100 % effort.  These will have you on your poles after each one if you do them right.  Then I proceeded to do 20 times 3 minute VO2max intervals.  You have to aggressively keep attacking during this workout.  After I finished that workout 3 weeks before the Birkie I knew I was ready, or that it would be my Waterloo for the season.  Either way, I was going to accept all consequences.

Frank L:  You are one of the most dedicated and scientific trainers I know.  You love training.  Do you train to race or race to train?
Tommy K:  Franckie, you know me too well to even ask.  It's all about the petri dish.  I love dabbling in the scientific approach: change a variable here, adjust something later here, and viola, you have a Birkie to talk about or one to motivate you all summer long.  I love the process of training and racing is just a validation of the process.  I'm a practice player, unlike Big Eddie who lives for game day.

Frank L:  How many hours of training did you end up with in 2010?
Tommy K:  I've toned down over the years in total volume, mainly because I do more quality than quantity nowadays.  I had over 500 hours of training, not including weights and other non-aerobic activities.  I do interval training year around.  I follow Brad Hudson's paradigm of training where you keep your fitness level high and then add the appropriate workouts when you want to peak. It keeps me in the game whenever I decide to tackle a goal.  Too many people throw away their fitness after a season.  I've been doing a dual sport, one for summer and one for winter, for over 20 years.  I've never hit burnout physically and mentally.  The upcoming season is all the motivation I need to keep training year around.

Frank L:  Did you train differently for this ski season than in years past?
Tommy K:  I just got back to training hard.  I had some winters where I stayed on my bike and kept swimming instead of skiing.  This was very unrewarding for me.  The winters of 2008-2009 were winters of my discontent.  I'll never do that again!

Frank L:  How have the triathlons/Ironmans that you've been doing over the past few years translated to Nordic ski fitness?
Tommy K:  Cross training for triathlons is no different than training for road biking.  The fitness level you can get your engine to is unbelievable.  You just need to parlay that into the roller ski season in the fall, and that into the winter.  Having a race season during the summer keeps my aerobic and anaerobic system at a high level.  It's like they say: If you don't use it you lose it!  This is especially true the older you get.  I'm in a new age bracket next year!

Frank L:  What is your favorite place to ski?
Tommy K:  My favorite place to ski is without a doubt under the lights at the Hollow.  It's been pretty lonely there, though, this winter.  It seems that when we get snow, people go else where.  But that's fine with me.  It gives me a clean carpet to ski on and no distractions.  I don't have any negative feedback from armchair quarterbacks questioning my training tactics!  Those guys only piss me off !

Thanks for everything you guys do over at Cyclova XC!  Keep the stick on the ice!


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