Interview with last season’s 50k Classic champion Veli-Matti Räsänen

Skier Veli-Matti Räsänen is preparing for the skiing season 2019-2020. He won the Jyväskylä Ski Marathon 50k Classic Race last winter and we asked a few questions about his experience with the race and his training. Notably, this was the first long-distance race done by Mr. Räsänen without grip wax!

Veli-Matti Räsänen

How did the 50k Classic Jyväskylä Ski Marathon race fit into your training plan last winter? 

Very nicely. In the early March there were not much competitions nearby and I decided earlier in the winter to take part in this race. I expected that this 50k race would boost up my shape for the remaining important races like the national championships and Ylläs-Levi Skiclassics-race. The race was also a test for me concerting my double-poling shape.

 How did you prepare for the event?

Not that much. Two weeks earlier I skied Finlandiahiihto 50k Classic that was a good preparation race.

Did you do any special double poling exercises?

One week before I did a longer double poling training. 

Facts:

Age: 25
Residence: Jyväskylä, Laajavuori
Club: Petoteam / Skimarathon Team Austria

Studies Master’s Degree in Information Systems  at the University of Jyväskylä.

How has your training been during summer and autumn?

It has been good. I was working for a summer job and during that time I did not train that much in terms of weekly hours. Now in the autumn I have done some more weekly training hours. My focus has been on classic style training and double poling. 

How does your normal training week look like?

Typically I include two strength trainings in my week, 1-2 more intensive trainings either in roller skiing or on foot (e.g. running) and one longer double poling training (around 4hrs). In the autumn I have also took part in three training camps, of which one was in Ramsau.

How much do you train per year?

Around 750-800 hours.

Veli-Matti Räsänen (Winner), Aku Nikander finishing second

Then about your victory of Jyväskylä Ski Marathon last winter. What kind of memories do you have of the race?

Naturally nice memories! In fact, it was the first long distance race I did double poling. Thus, I was a bit excited before the race how can I do that, but it turned out well!

I skied together with Aku Nikander (finishing 2nd just some seconds behind) for around 40k. Aku had grip wax and in the uphills he tried to get rid of me, but I managed to keep with him also in the last uphills.  During the last 2k I knew my skies were faster than Aku’s and I started to believe in my chances concerning the victory.

What kind of plans do you have for the next season?

I’ll do some long distance races such as La Sgambeda and Marcialonga. My aim is to finish in the top60 in those races.

In the National Championships I aim to be in the TOP15 in the Classic 15k and 50k races.

I am also looking forward to defend my victory in Jyväskylä Ski Marathon 50k Classic race on 7.3.2020.

What would you like to say to the participants for our next year’s event and the organisers of the event?

I liked the event as it is nice that the start and finish are in different places. The track is very nice also. I also enjoyed the SWIX-Sprint competition at 13k (which he won!)

I also liked all the general arrangements of the event, such as the start with ELITE-start positions secured for the top skiers. It is also very nice that the finish is at Spa hotel so the skiers can enjoy the spa and sauna after the race. Finally, the event info at Shopping Mall Seppä was also convenient in terms of location and atmosphere.

My final question, what kind of training tips would you like to give to those aiming to finish Jyväskylä Ski Marathon in Classic style?

In long distance events, even you are skiing with grip wax, double poling plays a big role.Thus, I recommend training it also. For instance during the first weeks on snow training I could recommend skiing a lap (like 1km) using double poling, then a lap with normal classic style, then again in double poling etc. And do this for 20-30minutes.

We warmly Thank You Veli-Matti for this interview and welcome you to our next year’s event

Written by Heikki Karjaluoto / Jyväskylä Ski Marathon

Photos: Touho Häkkinen

By enrolling by December 31, 2019, you will receive the following benefits:

-The cheapest payment step is valid until December 31, 2019

-You will receive a free SWIX V40 grip wax (given in participant bag)

-You are involved in SWIX and SALOMON prize draws including one pair of SWIX Quantum poles and one pair of SALOMON Skin skis. Prizes are drawn among all who have registered by December 31, 2019.

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