Men’s 50k skating winner 2019 Sami Lähdemäki: Jyväskylä Ski Marathon is an excellent preparation race for Finland’s national 50k championship race

We chatted with last winter’s 50k skating race winner Sami Lähdemäki. Sami lives in Jyväskylä and studies mathematics at the University of Jyväskylä. In the interviews with last winter’s winners it becomes obvious that to win a race like Jyväskylä Ski Marathon 50k you have to train much and hard all-year-round -and in most days twice a day.  All the winners reported training 800-900hrs yearly, training being professional. 

Kuva: Sami Lähdemäki kotialbumi

Skier Sami Lähdemäki
Age: 27
Place of living: Jyväskylä Kortepohja
Club: Saarijärven Pullistus
Coach: Nowadays self
Studies mathematics at the University of Jyväskylä. Close to graduation.
 around 850hrs yearly.
When having free-time plays with his dog and does calculations (=studies).

Racing in Jyväskylä Ski Marathon suited Sami’s training and competition calendar last winter well. For several years Sami has been preparing for Finnish 50k championship race by skiing Jyväskylä Ski Marathon 50k race.  -This year I especially wanted to test sports drinks, like the right concentration of the drink for me, and at what point I should start to take drink with caffeine. Later on I used the same sports drink concentration in Finland’s 50k championships some weeks later at Ainiovaara. I did not do any special preparation for this year’s race, couple of days before the race I did a bit faster skiing and the day be3fore slow tempo skiing, Sami states.

Sami achieved in the Finland’s champi0nships (50k) in spring 2019 an excellent 9th place in skating style, so as a preparation race Jyväskylä Ski Marathon seemed to work very well.

Sami winning Jyväskylä Ski Marathon. Photo: Touho Häkkinen

What kind of memories do you have from last winter’s Jyväskylä Ski Marathon victory?
-very nice memories, winning is always much fun. From Vaajakoski after 10k skiing three of us departed from the main group and we skied a good tempo with Miikka Kinnunen and Arsi Ruuskanen. Each of us did work. 

At what point did you believe in victory?
-Actually after we crossed the street in Tiituspohja and I changed my drink bottle I had with me and I changed my drink to caffeine drink. It gave me a good energy boost and I felt strong after that. Around 10k before the finish line I went away from the guys as they had little problems and I speeded up. The last kilometres I skied alone in the leading position.

Top three 50k skating Jyväskylä Ski Marathon Men's series 2019 (from left Sami Lähdemäki Saarijärven Pullistus (1st), Miikka Kinnunen Pyhäjärven Pohti (2nd) and Arsi Ruuskanen Siilinjärven Hiihtoseura (3rd). Photo: Touho Häkkinen.
Sami at Finland's championships in Äänekoski 2019. Photo: Sami Lähdemäki home album

Training and goals for season 2019-2020

Sami tells that training during summer and autumn in 2019 has been very good: -especially in autumn I have had some very good days, but the real indicator of one’s shape comes in the first competitions. Feelings have been good. 

Sami trains weekly on average over 20hrs: –Typically I do two more intensive trainings, one strength training, and later on the strength training day I do speed training, during other days basic training. On average I train twice a day, Sami tells about his training.

The main goals for this season are TOP10 positions in Finland’s championhips. Sami has put special marks in his calendar the longer Finland’s championships races such as 15k classic style in Vöyri, Ristijärvi’s 15k skating style race and 5ok classic style race. From these Sami thinks he has the best chances for a good position in skating style 15k race. 

It might be that we’ll see Sami in Jyväskylä Ski Marathon this season in classic style, because the 50k national champiopnship race is this season also in classic style: -In case I participate I do the race in classic style. Some years ago I skied Jyväskylä Ski Marathon in classic style when we had the tough conditions (snowfall). My memories from that race are not that positive, Sami tells with smile on his face.  

We also speculated with Sami whether to have the courage to participate in the skating race as the former World Champion Matti Heikkinen has registered in this season’s 50k skating style race. Sami was thinking that Matti might keep up such a high tempo that it is wiser to go with the classic style. 

What kind of training advice would you like to give to skiers preparing for  Jyväskylä Ski Marathon?
-I recommend doing couple of longer distance training on skis before the event, around three hours.

What kind of greetings do you have for the Jyväskylä Ski Marathon race organization? 
-the event was almost perfectly organized. The race info at shopping center Seppä was an excellent place to pick up the race bib etc. I was very satisfied with all the arrangements.

We warmly that Sami for the interview and wish you good luck for season 2019-2020, and welcome you to Jyväskylä Ski Marathon.

Text: Heikki Karjaluoto / Jyväskylä Ski Marathon

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